How to draw an anime character: 13 steps (with pictures)

How to draw an anime character: 13 steps (with pictures)
How to draw an anime character: 13 steps (with pictures)

Anime is a very popular style of cartoon and drawing that originated in Japan. It may seem difficult for you to draw characters in this style, especially when you take inspiration from your favorite professionally made anime, but don't be discouraged! Anyone can learn to draw these characters, and the process is pretty easy as long as you break it down into a few simple steps.


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Method 1 of 2: Draw an anime head and face

Draw an Anime Character Step 1

Step 1. Outline the head

Draw an oval and divide it into four. It will form the basic structure of your character's head. The proportions don't have to be perfect, but make the shape thinner at the bottom, as it will be the chin. After drawing the oval, draw a horizontal line and a vertical line that intersect in the center. You will use these lines as a guide for drawing facial features later.

If you want the face to be wider, widen the bottom of the oval so that it is barely thinner than the top. If you want it to be rather thin, make the bottom even thinner compared to the top. There isn't one head shape that applies to all anime characters. Experiment with it until you find something you like

Draw an Anime Character Step 2

Step 2. Draw the eyes

Place them just below the horizontal line. Anime characters have big, exaggerated eyes. They are usually between a fifth and a quarter the height of the face. To draw one, start by drawing a thick lash line just below the horizontal construction line and next to the vertical axis. Then draw a semicircle going down from the lashes and add a black pupil in the center. Draw a thin horizontal line below to represent the lower lashes. Finally, shade the circle around the pupil, leaving one or two white dots to give the impression that the eye is reflecting light. Do the same on the other side of the vertical axis to draw the other eye.

advice: Adjust the size and shape of the eyes depending on whether you are drawing a male or female anime character. For a female character, make eyes more round and tall and add a few thick lashes that start from the upper lash line. For a male figure, make eyes shorter and smaller.

Draw an Anime Character Step 3

Step 3. Represents the eyebrows

Draw them above the horizontal axis. Draw a long line that curves downward for each eyebrow. They should be slightly longer than the lines representing the upper lashes. Thicken the inner end of each in the middle of the face.

If you are drawing a woman or a girl, make rather thin eyebrows. For a man or a boy, thicken them a bit so that they stand out more in the face

Draw an Anime Character Step 4

Step 4. Make the nose

Position it halfway between the horizontal axis and the chin. Anime noses are unobtrusive, and in general, they are only defined when the characters are seen in profile. To draw one, draw a short, simple vertical line in the middle of the face, halfway between the horizontal guide and the chin. To make a big nose, make a slightly longer stroke.

  • The nose should be the smallest part of the face.
  • It will follow the vertical axis that you have drawn. To distinguish it well, push it more than the guide or erase the axis around the nose.
  • Male characters in anime sometimes have larger noses, but that's not always the case. If you want the one in your drawing to stand out, draw a short horizontal line below the vertical line to represent the bottom of the nose. Also draw a triangular shadow on one side of this part to make the face look like it's lit from the side.
  • For some styles of anime, like chibi, you don't even need to draw a nose at all.
Draw an Anime Character Step 5

Step 5. Draw the mouth

Place it about halfway between the nose and the chin. Much like noses, anime character mouths are simple and understated. Draw a horizontal line about as long as the distance between the eyes. Don't worry about the lips. The mouth should be the second smallest part of the face after the nose.

  • Curve the ends of the stroke upwards to make the character smile or downwards to make them look sad.
  • If you want him to smile while showing his teeth, draw a line that curves upwards below the horizontal line you made for the mouth. The height of the white space between the two lines should be about half the length of the mouth. It will be the teeth.
Draw an Anime Character Step 6

Step 6. Add the ears

Place them on either side of the face. If you want the character to have long hair that covers their ears, don't draw it. If the hair is to be short, draw a thin oval on each side of the head. Align their top with the horizontal axis that goes through the center of the face and their bottom with the bottom of the nose. Then draw the folds of the ears in these ovals.

Try different sizes to make the ears bigger or smaller according to your preference

Draw an Anime Character Step 7

Step 7. Make the hair

You can choose any hairstyle you want, but usually the hair of anime characters is in separate tufts that end in a point. You can draw a very short and clean cut, medium or long and flowing in length. Whatever you choose, avoid drawing each individual hair. Instead, draw big locks. For example, you can make hair made up of four or five sections that end in a point.

  • If your character has long hair, you can make two braids with pointed ends on either side of the face. You can also make her a round bun on the top of the head or a fringe made up of three or four individual sections that go down to her chin.
  • For a shorter cut, try drawing three or four sections that curve to one side while passing over the forehead. You can also achieve hair without bangs and draw a few lines going from the top of the forehead to the back of the head so as to give the impression that the character has the hair combed back. If you prefer, try a square divided into several thick sections that stop at chin height. The possibilities are endless!
Draw an Anime Character Step 8

Step 8. Erase construction lines

Erase the vertical and horizontal axes you drew in the oval at the very beginning. Work carefully to avoid erasing part of the facial features by mistake. Use a small eraser to reduce the risk of making mistakes.

When you've erased both axes, your anime character head will be complete

Method 2 of 2: Draw an anime character body

Draw an Anime Character Step 9

Step 1. Make a guide

Draw a stick figure that you can base your character's body on. Draw straight lines for the torso, arms and legs. The arms and torso should be about the same length, and the legs should be about a third longer. Draw triangles or ovals for the hands and feet. The hands should be about one-fifth the length of the arms, and the feet should be about one-sixth the length of the legs.

  • To get the right proportions, make your body about seven times the height of your head.
  • Start arms about one-fifth of the length of the torso line from the top.
  • Draw this guide in the position you want the character to be. For example, if you want him to sit, make him bent legs. If you want him to wave at someone, fold one of his arms.
Draw an Anime Character Step 10

Step 2. Draw the general shapes

Outline the main parts of your character's body. Based on the stick figure, trace the rough contours of the torso, arms, legs and hips. Don't try to make specific strokes just yet. Just make simple shapes representing the different parts of the body.

  • Draw ovals for the different sections of the arms and legs and connect them to represent the elbows and knees. The top and bottom of each arm should be the same length and width. The thighs should be wider than the calves.
  • For the torso, draw a quadrilateral (a four-sided shape) wider at the top than at the bottom. The angles of the wide part at the top will correspond to the shoulders.
  • To place the hips, draw an oval where the torso meets the thighs.
  • Anime characters are mostly tall and thin, but you can try out different heights and body types.
Draw an Anime Character Step 11

Step 3. Refine your features

Connect the different parts that you have placed by redrawing their outer contours so as to have a single continuous contour forming the body of the character. Also begin to rework each part of the body to achieve a more realistic look. For example, draw the hands, shoulders, neck and hips. When you're done, you'll have a full, detailed outline going around the more abstract shapes you've drawn beforehand.

  • To refine the legs, trace the outer contours of the shapes that make up each leg (the thigh and calf ovals, the knee circle, and the foot shape) so that you have a single continuous shape for each. Make even outlines without gaps to achieve a realistic effect.
  • For the upper body, do the same on the arms and torso. Round off the angles at the top of the torso to represent the shoulders and draw two curves that go up from the top of this part for the neck. Remember to connect the hips at the bottom of the torso and at the top of the thighs.

advice: if you are drawing a male character, make him a fairly large chest, waist and shoulders. If you are drawing a female character, make her shoulders thinner, widen her hips and outline the breasts. Tuck in her waist to make it slimmer.

Draw an Anime Character Step 12

Step 4. Erase the construction lines

Erase the stick figure and the simple shapes you drew. Be careful not to erase part of the lines that make up the drawing. When you are done, you will have a body made up of clean, even contours without any of the guides you made at the start.

Draw an Anime Character Step 13

Step 5. Add clothes

Draw them over the contours of the body. For example, to represent a t-shirt, draw the sleeves on the arms and the body of the garment on the torso. Erase the lines that are inside these contours, because these parts of the body are covered. If the character is wearing shorts, you have to erase the contours of the thighs that are in the garment, because this part of the legs is hidden by the fabric.

  • As you draw the clothes, think about how they would naturally fold and wrinkle if a person actually wore them. Draw the corresponding folds to achieve a realistic effect. You can also look at pictures of clothes online to see how they crease.
  • You can choose any outfit for your character. School outfits, formal dresses and costumes, and traditional Japanese ensembles are some of the classic outfits in anime.

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