Navigating Time: Successfully Age Or De-Age A Stylized Character

Linda Vuorenvirta, Illustrator, Animator, Designer

Play Speed
  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x
7 Lessons (22m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Project

    • 3. Faces

    • 4. Skin & Hair

    • 5. Bodies

    • 6. Applying To Different Art Styles

    • 7. Outro


About This Class

Do you have an original character who you want to depict believably at an older or younger age? Or perhaps some time-skipping fan art of a favourite character in mind? In this class, I hope to help you achieve those goals! 

I'll go through tips and guidelines ranging from stylistic choices to actual real-world stuff that happens to our appearance as we age. I'll also mention some good examples of characters from media who have been successfully aged or de-aged in my opinion, so you have some references to check out.

Thanks for coming on board! If you decide to stick around and join the class, I would love for you to share your project and show what you have learned!


Examples of Successfully Aged or De-Aged Characters From Media

1. Rugrats cast in original series vs. All Grown Up!

This is perhaps the first thing I think of when considering aged-up characters. The entire cast, especially the kids, have been aged up quite wonderfully. They are obviously about a decade older, but the character designers have managed to keep them looking exactly like themselves while also adding some new aspects to their personal styles and physical appearances. For example, some of them didn't even have hair in the original series since they were babies, but the transition to preteens is so smooth that we completely believe these new details that have been added.

2. Ben Tennyson and Gwen Tennyson in Ben 10 Omniverse

I know that the Omniverse style might not be as well received by other fans of this franchise, but in my opinion it actually does a better job of aging the characters from 10 to 16. I love the Man of Action style (the style used in previous incarnations of the series) as a whole, but I feel that it has some trouble successfully depicting teenagers. MoA is very good at drawing children and adults, but their teenage characters almost always look older than their intended age. The Omniverse style really fluidly transitions the characters from children into teens, while not making them inadvertently look like fully grown adults.

3. Timmy Turner in Channel Chasers (Fairly Odd Parents TV movie) (scene starts at about 15m 5s)

There is a (perhaps) surprisingly robust amount of character design expertise applied to just a few minutes of this movie, in a scene where Timmy uses a magical remote to "fast forward" through several different ages. In addition to just getting taller, his head and face are stretched slightly, he gets acne and hints of facial hair, his style changes, etc. 

4. Star Butterfly in Star Vs. The Forces Of Evil

Star's regular age is 14, but different aged versions of her have been shown on many occasions throughout this series. We've gotten both flashbacks to earlier childhood and actual transformations into different aged versions of herself through magic. I particularly like her de-aged versions, which take full advantage of things like squashing her facial features and making her eyes even rounder, plus giving her huge childlike cheeks. In the baby version, she has also been given chubbiness in her limbs due to baby fat still being present. 



Photos in Intro

Older Adult

Art in video "Applying To Different Art Styles"

Music in Intro, Project and Outro

"Life of Riley" Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License