This section deals with children of the gram-mar-school age, or up to adolescence. That is the age of activity and rather gradual growth, before the spurt of growth that comes at the time of adolescence. It is also the age in which habit and character begin to be formed and to show in the face. We might also call it the age of mischief, because the energy cannot be confined to growth and overflows into physical activity.
It is most important to learn to draw children of this age with a smile—not only on the face you are drawing, but on your own face. Almost one hundred per cent of children in advertising must appear as both active and happy. On the other hand, a youngsters face can be particularly beautiful in repose. Sometimes you will wish that the editors and art directors appreciated this more often. At least when a story is touching, the child may be drawn without a grin. But in advertising, especially of foods, children have to be shown going into ecstasies over the product.
Children at this age live in a world of their own. Most of the time a little revolution seems to be going on inside them, against all the authority which is heaped upon them by parents and teachers and which they are not quite old enough to understand. Try to remember your own schooldays. When asked why you did this or that, you could hardly have answered, "Because I'm getting tired of so much authority." Sometimes adults find it hard to understand why the effect of our authority slips off so easily, and the answer can only be that there is so much of it.
While we consider this the age of learning, we are likely to forget that much learning is gained by experiment, and not all by direction. All the wonders of invention are holding themselves out for inspection by the young. If your boy takes your alarm clock apart, or strews your pet tools out by the back fence, this comes under the head of experiment without direction, and you would have a dull boy if he didn't do a few of these things.
When drawing children, or even when photographing them, forget that you are grown up. Try hard to meet them in their own world, and draw them out. A child who is afraid of you or who shuts you out is not going to be himself, and so will not be a good model, if you are interested in conveying the spirit of childhood. That spirit lies in their faces only when they are free of authority. Watch their faces change when authority descends on them. I am not speaking against authority itself; I just mean that it does not photograph well, and resentment or sulldness certainly does not make an attractive picture.
Sincc proportions have already been thoroughly discussed, you can learn from Plates 67 and 68 to apply them to the faces of school children. It is helpful to understand them, but merely to get them right is not the ultimate objective.
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