Navigating Time: Successfully Age Or De-Age A Stylized Character | Linda Vuorenvirta | Skillshare

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

teacher avatar Linda Vuorenvirta, Illustrator, Animator, Designer

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (22m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Project

    • 3. Faces

    • 4. Skin & Hair

    • 5. Bodies

    • 6. Applying To Different Art Styles

    • 7. Outro

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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

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Linda Vuorenvirta

Illustrator, Animator, Designer


I'm a creative type from the Helsinki area of Finland. I illustrate, design, animate, sew, craft, bake, cook, and just generally try to create something every day!

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1. Intro: Hello. My name is Linda Border NVIDIA, and I am an artist who loves to draw characters. Now, if you have a project that you're working on that have a large cast of characters, they're most likely going to be of all different ages. And thus you are going to need to be able to convincingly depict Children, teenagers, adults, older adults and so forth and depending on the projects, maybe even to pick one character at many different ages. And that's what I'm gonna try to teach in this class. I am going to give some tips and guidelines ranging from rial world things that actually happened to our bodies as we age to how we can take these things and apply them to your characters, regardless of what style you're working in. And I will be focusing on grown characters such as characters in comic books and television shows and movies. Although these tips certainly would apply to casting actors or actresses for a live action feature, my experiences Maurin drawn characters so this class will mostly be centered are on that. So, yes, if you are interested in maybe learning how to age or D age some characters. I welcome you to join this class 2. Project: So the project for this class is pretty simple, just to the character. Either an original one or one that sure if enough, and draw a older or younger version of them and upload your new art, as well as an image of the character at their original age for comparison purposes. And it will be great if you could also include some information like who this character is if it's from something that you like, or if it's something that you come up with yourself, what age their original age is that they're usually depicted at and what age you have de aged or age, too. And as an example, this is something that I did. It is an original character of mine from a short, graphic novel that I wrote. He's original, ages 17 and I decided to D. H him and make a five year old version of him. He is a filmmaker, which is why the five year old version of him have a little toy video camera. I just felt like putting something in his hand, so I thought I'd communicate something about his character as well there, and this is the kind of stuff That would be really great if you could include in your projects. So without further ado, have fun and I cannot wait to see your drawings. 3. Faces: So let's start off with the face, which is, of course, one of the most distinguishing and recognizable features in a person that makes you look unique and unlike anybody else. So it's Ah, good place to start now. Generally, the shape of her face will start off quite round when we're very young, baby toddler age, and it will become more structured as we grow older. And of course, some adults do have quite round faces. But it will almost certainly be longer than the face was when that person waas a very young child, teenage and adult faces gains a more sharpness some more straight lines than then very young faces because the so called baby fat has disappeared from all over the body, including the face. And you can get features of your face starting to be more apparent like, for example, in the male adult character here and a little bit in the adult female as well. I accentuated cheekbones, made them more prominence and definitely as both of these characters progressing age there . There, Joe lines become more defined and sharp and facial features then are also very important, and they will usually be further apart from each other in older characters. If you put the facial features very close together, as I have in the toddler versions of these characters combined with the very round face with big cheeks, it makes characters look very young. It makes him look like babies or toddlers and speaking off very young characters like thes do often also have exaggerated. I size their their eyes. Air made reading really big, and I have exaggerated. The I size here is well, and this does have some basis in reality, since babies in real life do actually have either proportionally much larger than adult eyes, since our eyes are almost full five at birth, they're not quite full sized, but they're nearly full size at birth, and they don't grow very much after that, while obviously, the rest of us grows a lot. So there is disillusion off baby's eyes being huge, and this is often exaggerated and take it further in stylized illustrations. Lips are also something to pay attention to now, obviously we all have lips, regardless of our gender, our sex our age. But in style, life characters drawing fully defined lips like completely outlined and especially colored in pink or red or some color different in the skin. It can often make characters appear like their teenage or adult women, regardless of what you were going for it. And the reason for this. And this is just from my own observation and seeing a lot of ah lot of art over my lifetime , I'm making a guess that the reason that happens is that drawing fully defined lips can tend to give the illusion over wearing makeup. And, I mean, for better or for worse In modern Western culture, makeup tends to be associated with only grow women. So that's that's probably where the illusion comes from and obviously did. This is not to say that you can't draw fully defined lips on men or anything like that. It's absolutely on a character by character basis, and it depends on your style and all kinds of factors. But it just a general thing to think about, and I do pen to consider quite carefully who I'm going to give very full lips to or fully defined lips, too, and usually like I've done here, I do Onley start giving outlined and or colored in lips two characters once they're a teenager or older, and usually only two female characters 4. Skin & Hair: So let's talk about skin and hair. We're still pretty much in the neck up region, but string away strictly from speaking about facial features, and they shape so in older adult characters like the ones that I have all the way on the right side of these character lineups. And by the way, I should mention that the ages I was aiming for with all of these characters or these two characters at all these ages, the one all the way on the left, or maybe two or three years old, the next ones around nine years old or so, and the middle ones. The teenagers are safe 15 ish. And then there's an adult's perhaps thirties and an older adults, perhaps sixties. So, yeah, skin in older adult characters, as we all know, will tend to wrinkle, and wrinkles can be quite prevalent on the face. They'll appear in spots where your skin will regularly crease like the parentheses, e shaped laugh lines that you get around the corners of your mouth if you're smarting really wide or lines on your forehead that appear when you're raising your eyebrows and also kind of permanent bags under the eyes that type of thing. Um, basically anywhere your skin creases regularly. When you make facial expressions like you, you can actually look in a mirror. Make some exaggerated facial expressions and wherever your skin intends to crease and wrinkle when the muscle of your face are moving. Those are places where it might be comin to get wrinkles, and they appear because skin, as it gets older, loses elasticity that it had when it was younger. And it doesn't anymore have the capability to snap back snapback talked into place after its increased and for the same reason that the skin also under the jaw under the jawline also my sag, as I've done in both of these adult older adult versions of the characters in this can disconnection, we even make your face shape seem a little bit different than it waas on when you were younger and off. Coarse hair is extremely important, and it's something bad we all know goes through a lot of changes. As we age, the older adult characters have gone gray. Er, the hair is still stoop most of the same color, but it's it's less saturated, um, more gray and the male character has hasn't Boulding at the crown of his head and then also the the male character does have facial hair in the last two, the adult and older adults versions of him that he doesn't have in the younger version. So, yeah, that's pretty pretty sure for our way to make male characters seem seem at least teenage. Well, most likely will, depending on style, but most likely even older. It will generally tend to make male characters or any character you put facial hair on. It will tend to make them look quite adult. And another interesting note that I wanted to make about hair in more specifically female characters this time is a trend that I see all the time. In both fan art and canonical art of characters. The hair is often made longer than it was in a younger version of the character, and this, of course, makes sense in a way, since it can communicate a literal passing of time. You know, since Hair Doug's grow longer over the years, so it shows that years have passed. So yeah, it does make sense in that way. But I wanted to say that you really shouldn't use it of the crutch, and you definitely shouldn't make it. The only thing that you change in the head area of a character when you're trying Teoh, make them look older. And I wanted to show that it's really perfectly possible to communicate a character aging without lengthening the hair. So I actually went the complete opposite direction in the child to teenager Gap here with the female hair care, and I made her hair shorter in the teenage burden. I did, as you see, end up going longer again in the adult and older adult versions, but I thought it would be a good point to make to show that, yes, you can definitely make a character look older while not increasing the hair legs and instead doing things like changing the face, shape and facial features. As I talked about in the previous video 5. Bodies: So now we can move on from the head area and start looking at the entire body. So what is the most obvious thing that happens to our bodies as we get older? Yeah, we get taller, and this happens very rapidly. When we're babies and toddlers, young Children grow superfast, and we continue to grow in general to some point in our teens or thereabouts. Girls do tend to get to their final adult heights a little bit earlier than boys. This is obviously not any kind of hard and fast rule, but is quite common for girls to finish growing when they're in their early teens. Like I, I think that my sister and I both stopped growing when we were about 12 actually, and then boys can go through growth spurts in general much later than that. I remember my father telling me that when he was younger re he and some other boys that he knew would still go through girl spurts and get taller when they were 18. So, yeah, obviously depends on the character, and this is not going to be true for everybody. But it's quite common for girls to hit growth spurts earlier and reached your full. I don't hide sooner at or at a younger age, then boys dio And actually, speaking of heights, height is not unnecessarily something that stays constant throughout your entire adult life . You probably won't grow anymore, but older adults actually can shrink a little bit. It's not uncommon for elderly people to have actually lost a couple of centimetres of their height. Just do things like gravity over the years, having taking a toll on the disks between your vertebrae in your spine. Essentially, gravity just pushes down on the disks, compressive them and ends up making the spine the spine and have a whole shorter, and that consequently makes the person shorter as well. And then, of course, if the person suffers from conditions like osteoporosis, that could make bones smaller and weaker. That can also contribute to a little bit of a loss of height. Besides height, there are, of course, other changes that occurred of the body as well. Like women grow breasts and often women's hips will also wide in a bit proportionally, more so than mens hips. And men, on the other hand, tend to gain some with in the shoulder and chest area. So something that's fairly common to see is men having a body shape that's roughly like an upside down triangle, with the wider part of the triangle representing the shoulders and then pointing down. And women having a body shape that's like two triangles facing opposite ways, you know, kind of like the proverbial hourglass. 6. Applying To Different Art Styles: This is a collection of examples that I found on the Internet. I'll accept the one in the bottom row center. That's actually an illustration that I did myself for this video. Everything else is art that I found on the Internet, all actually from dribble dot com, which is a really awesome website, by the way, for finding design or our project inspiration. But, yeah, these are examples that I have compiled that I thought did a good job of showing differences between different age characters. So eventually in this video, what I'm trying to demonstrate is you can take all of these rial life things that I've talked about in the previous videos. The thing that actually happened to our real bodies. And even if you're not working in a realistic style, you can translate the things quite well into a more cartoony ish style, which most of these are. I also the drawing that I did myself in the bottom ill. I also purposely went for more cartoony style since I had previously used my normal style, which veers a little bit more towards realistic. Basically, I wanted to show that you can see examples of these things that I have been talking about in the previous videos. Even in cartoony illustrations like these things like Children's heads being rounder than adults, heads and the adult states is being longer and perhaps having more angles and more robust features. And the features themselves being closer together on young Children than adults and Children's eyes being graduated in size. All these kind of things. And then, of course, adults bodies being very much different than Children's having a different shape than Children's adult men having facial hair. Older adults having gone gray had having shrunk a little and height, all these kind of things. They can be found also in much more stylized styles like these here. And of course, these air just examples of individual artists, personal styles. But if you would also like to hear what I think are examples of successfully aged hors D age characters in media meaning in animated movies or television shows etcetera, I will write down some examples of that in the about section off this class so you can go check them out there 7. Outro: thank you so much for joining this class, and I really hope that you have learned something about how to play around with the characters age and to pick them as convincingly older or convincingly younger. And I also really hope that you do share your projects because I am very interested in seeing what you have come up with. And I guess there's nothing left to say except half on drawing and thank you. Once again, I do hope to see what you come up with.