The world of Anime – the characters have huge eyes and are absolutely adorable and striking. Not only are these characters of Japanese animation cute, they are very popular. If you google the word anime, you will find over 2 billion results!
Just looking at images of these anime characters, I became intrigued and sought out how to draw anime—specifically faces (not copying actual characters but drawing in that style).
I know you’re itching know how to draw Anime or you wouldn’t be reading this. So, without further ado, let’s break it down into clear-cut steps you can follow to render your own character. I will cover doing a female head and shoulders shot.
[If you’re a history buff, you can read all about anime by clicking here.]
Characteristics of the Anime Face
These characteristics are great to keep in mind as you draw them because if you’ve drawn the human face, they really are very different and unique. Here’s how I’ve summed them up based on my observations:
- huge wide set eyes
- tiny nose
- narrow mouth
- chiseled jawline
- pointed chin
- narrow neck
- hair with pointed ends
Grab Your Pencils – Let’s Learn How to Draw Anime!
For the following step-wise instruction, all you will need is a basic pencil and sketch pad (and eraser). Actually any paper will do.
If you want to have even more fun drawing, it’s fun to sketch in Col-Erase colored pencils. I love to sketch with Prismacolor Col-Erase; click here if you’d like to read about them.
In the next section, I will walk you through 15 easy steps (yes, they are easy, I promise!)
Note: It is advisable to draw everything lightly at first so you can erase lines you won’t need later and make adjustments to refine or change them. Also, you can refer to the photo below to see all the lines I refer to in Steps 1-10.
1. How to Draw Anime Begins with the Circle
The first step that I found rather easy is to just lightly draw a circle shape. I know what you’re thinking – my circles never look like circles haha. But never fear, you can use a compass or just trace around some bottle lid or if you want to go bigger, a jar lid, anything will be fine.
2. Draw a Vertical Guide Line
Using a ruler, lightly draw a straight vertical line down the middle of your circle.
3. Angled Lines and Shallow “V”
You will then need to draw two straight lines coming down from the sides of the circle at a slight angle toward the vertical line to begin forming the jawline.
Then, connect the angled lines with two more lines to make up a shallow “v” shape connecting at the point of the v, which will be the chin. Where the lines meet, adjust the points to be rounded. (See Photo below).
You can now erase the bottom of the original circle.
4. 3 More Guidelines (Yes Really!)
Again using a ruler draw horizontal line positioned half-way down the length of the head. That’ll be horizontal #1.
Draw another horizontal line halfway between Horizontal #1 and the chin, which will be horizontal #2.
And one more…halfway between Horizontal #2 and the chin, which will be horizontal #3.
5. Now for the Eyes
Draw a boomerang-type shape for the orbits of the eyes, positioning the tops of them slightly below horizontal line #1 and make the orbits wide set. Break up the bottom line of the boomerang shape.
Then, draw partial oval shapes for the iris cutting the oval off at the top and bottom. (We’ll do the details later).
6. Position Eyebrows
The eyebrows will be positioned higher up over the eyes than normal. Make them thicker toward the nose and tapering outward.
7. Only the Nose Knows
Draw a very small vertical shape line just above horizontal guideline #2.
8. Cute Little Mouth
The position of the mouth is slightly above the 3rd horizontal guideline.. It should be narrow and you can make it slightly smiling for a happy expression or slightly turned down for a sad expression.
9. Don’t Forget the Ears
Position the ears with their tops in line with the top of the eye line and bottom in line with the nose.
10. Tall, Slender Neck
Draw the neck narrower than a regular neck and longer for more beauty. At the bottom, extend lines out for the shoulders.
Above is a my underdrawing of all the guidelines and features positioned correctly and placed. (She looks a little like E.T. don’t you think? Lol)
11. Get Rid of Those Guidelines
After you are satisfied you have all the features just the way you want them, go ahead and erase the vertical and horizontal guidelines.
12. Putting Life into Her Eyes
In approximately the middle of the oval you drew for the iris, draw a circle for the pupil. Then draw another much smaller circle in the upper right quadrant of the pupil circle. Blacken in the pupil but leave that smaller circle white for a highlight. All eyes have highlights in them!
Shade in the iris, lighter than the pupil, then shade the top part of the iris a little darker (this is the shadow her eyelids make) and add a few eyelashes if you’d like toward the outer corner of the eyes.
13. The Hair – Oh It’s So Fun
So you can give her short or longer hair, bangs, no bangs, whatever strikes your imagination. You will want to have the top line of the hair above your original circle for the head and continue the width of the hair to be also wider than circle.
Draw the hair with sweeping, curved motions and make the ends pointed for that authentic Anime style. Don’t forget to add hair coming down in the back behind the neck (and it should be darker).
Use additional sweeping, curved lines for shading. And be sure to erase any lines the hair would be covering, such as the ears, eyebrows, etc. including the original circle.
14. Shadows and highlights
You can give her shading for a little depth—under the chin on the neck is a great place, also next to the hairline and on the hair itself.
Here you can see my finished sketch—notice all the deep shading I did on her hair and more subtle shading on her face.
15. Collarbone and Shirt Neckline
Add small curved lines for her collarbone and a couple of line representing the shirt neckline and you’re done!!
You may wish to go back over all the lines to deepen things. One pass through is never enough (in pencil).
If you wish to add color with some colored pencils:
If you’d like more advice on choosing the right drawing supplies, Click Here.
Hope Learning How to Draw Anime Was a Blast
I certainly hope you enjoyed drawing out your Anime-style character. If you did, please share this post.
If you need more basics of colored pencil, here’s one more link for you:
Thanks for stopping by.
Have an artful day!