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As we grow older, our faces change and develop, making our overall appearance change too. Last time we looked at how to show these changes in anime women. So today we’ll be moving on to men’s faces!
Let’s see how the aging process works in anime, starting from a young boy and finishing with an old man.
See part one here: How to represent different ages in anime women
A young boy has a round face with very little definition and large rounded eyes. At this age it’s hard to tell apart young boy characters from young girls, so we need to be careful with hairstyles and clothing to make it more obvious. One subtle difference is that a young boy should have a slightly slimmer face than a young girl.
Middle/high school student
As a boy grows up to school age, his strong jawline emerges, and we see more definition in his nose. To show that he’s still growing up, we leave his eyes and irises a bit larger to make for a younger, slightly androgynous appearance.
As our character grows into a young man in his 20’s and 30’s, we see his face grow longer and slimmer. His jawline and nose are even more pronounced as his bone structure has finished developing. Because the face is longer, the eyes appear smaller and sharper in comparison. Developing the contours of his lower jaw helps to give the character a grown-up, dependable appearance.
As our character enters his 40’s and 50’s, his face gets slimmer, meaning the bones stick out more – this gives the cheekbones and nose more definition. We get some wrinkles around the eyes, forehead and mouth. We want to give our character the feeling of a composed, older man.
As our character enters his 70’s and 80’s, his appearance changes drastically. He starts to lose some hair – in this case we’ve brought the hairline back to represent this. His skin loses elasticity and begins to sag. We can see that around his eyes, forehead, cheeks and mouth the skin is losing its battle with gravity and drooping down. This skin gathers around the chin area, meaning the shape of the face loses definition. Because of the sagging skin around his eyes, the eyes lose some of their sharpness, and become softer and more sleepy-looking.
And with that, we’ve covered both the female and male aging process in anime! We’ve seen how the whole shape of the face changes as the bone structure develops from child to adult, and then how the muscle and skin starts to lose elasticity with age. This process is really important if you want to learn how to age your characters correctly, and let your audience know what kind of character you’re trying to present.
As practice, you could try drawing some of your favourite anime characters at different stages in their life – try drawing your favourite older character as a child, or your favourite school-age character as a pensioner!
And of course, for more detailed lessons on how to draw characters, be sure to join our online course at Anime Art Academy! We have lots of free lessons to enjoy too!