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How to Draw an Anime Boy (Shounen)

Mamerto Adan is a feature writer who is back in college once again. Science is one of his favorite topics.

Discover how to draw your own anime boy in just a few easy steps!

Discover how to draw your own anime boy in just a few easy steps!

Why Learn to Draw Anime?

A lot of us grew up watching shounen anime. You know, those wild and sometimes violent shows with crazy fight scenes, unique stories, crazy competitive sports (e.g., model car racing, spinning tops), and a kid in a funny outfit and spiky hair. Admit it—we love them. The West grew up with '80s action-adventure cartoons, and the arrival of shounen anime offered a unique twist.

The anime boys of the '90s appealed to a broad audience—from kids to young adults. They vary from nice guys with earth-shaking furies (Son Goku) to hotblooded competitors (Ash Ketchum), from hyperactive ninjas (Naruto) to space cowboys (Spike). Even today, shounen anime never loses its spark and will continue to charm future anime geeks for years to come.

And yes, they are fun to draw.

Shoujo characters might be the first anime figures I learned to draw, but once I got the hang of it, I "upgraded" to doing shounens. They seem to reflect a hotblooded side of me, and I have fun sketching them with oversized weapons (sometimes posing near their mechas). With that said, let's do shounen characters this time. I will draw my character based on my preferences (hence you might find their outfits more realistic and less colorful).

The sausages and eggs method

The sausages and eggs method

Yes, Sausages and Eggs Also Apply

We showed in our earlier article how Neil Buchanan’s sausages and eggs methods worked so well. It allows the figure to do intricate poses—though the anime girl we made only did a simple reclining pose. As an added twist, we added the wireframe method, my own way of starting a sketch.

And now we will do the same to our shounen figure.

The great thing about anime boys is male silhouettes are simpler than women. There are fewer curves, hence less chance of getting things off-proportioned. In short, male figures are easier to draw since they require fewer sausages and eggs.

As a Bonus, We Will Ink Our Drawing

All my anime art tutorials are done in simple pencil sketches. Back then, when I started the anime eye, I never inked my drawing because I thought it wasn’t necessary. It’s just an eye.

Now, I decided to ink my work once and for all.

For one thing, it saves time, as smudging and shading could take some effort to get right. For another, an inked drawing can be clearly seen when taken with a cellphone camera.

And I have to admit that it looks better.

We won’t get a smudged pencil sketch for our anime boy but an inked drawing.

The start of the process

The start of the process

1. Begin the Wire Frame

What works for the shojo will work for our shounen. We will first come up with a pose, and we will try doing it as a wireframe sketch. Here’s what I forgot to add when I did the anime girl article: you may start sketching wireframe posts on scratch paper until you come up with a final pose. What’s so good about wireframe skeletons is that you can control the height and proportion of your character. Again, start with faint lines.

Adding the sausage and eggs

Adding the sausage and eggs

2. Add the Sausages and Eggs

The Neil Buchanan class is the very reason I got hooked on Art Attack! We know how the eggs are for rounder body parts, and the sausages are for limbs. All we need to do now is to use the wireframes as guides, like a skeleton.

After we get our sausages and eggs in place, we may get rid of the wireframes.

The figure begins to take on a more recognizable shape.

The figure begins to take on a more recognizable shape.

3. Add More Sausages and Eggs

But then, this is a male figure we are doing. Guys would be upset if they have too many curves. Hence our shounen character here will have fewer sausages and eggs. Remember that men strive for a V-shaped look.

Your line texture will vary depending on your style.

Your line texture will vary depending on your style.

4. Defining the Rough Line

We will simply trace the outline of the figure we made from sausages and eggs until we get a more human-like appearance. I will say it again, depending on your style, you may not erase some of the rough lines.

Adding facial features

Adding facial features

5. Give Him His Eyes and Face

He is a human figure, afterall; he will need a face. We will begin with his eyes, and we could revisit how we could draw one by giving my previous article a quick scan. But first, draw a cross guideline on the face to guide us on where we will put the eyes, nose, and mouth. For better results, start with the eyes before the rest of the face. It will be up to you how big the eyes are if it won’t make our shounen effeminate.

The size of the eyes is up to the artist.

The size of the eyes is up to the artist.

6. The Hair

When we did the anime girl, the hair started as a collection of lines. It’s still a collection of lines for our anime boy, only it will form wilder and spikier shapes. Our shounen character here will receive the same messy hairstyle, and how spiky it is will depend on you.

You can gauge how spiky you want the hair to be.

You can gauge how spiky you want the hair to be.

7. Add the Outfit

Shounen characters are known for their outlandish wardrobes; somehow, many prefer shirts and jackets. Think of Naruto and the rest, though Goku will sport a sleeveless gi when stepping into the arena. Our character here will have his jacket, and that’s it. He won’t have those colorful costumes other shounens wear. In my case, I prefer things to be real, so our boy here will wear an ordinary hooded jacket.

I prefer casual clothing for my figures, like this hooded sweatshirt.

I prefer casual clothing for my figures, like this hooded sweatshirt.

8. The Inking

As I bragged at the start of the article, I will ink my work this time. My style of inking varies, but I elected to use thicker lines for this project since they hide the rough lines better. Using thicker lines also made my work cleaner, and it required less erasure to clean the rough lines. We may brush ink to darken certain areas. But I have my own style for that.

Brushing the ink can darken specific parts of your illustration.

Brushing the ink can darken specific parts of your illustration.

9. Finalize

Now here’s the final output of our work. As you can see, I apply hatches instead of brushing ink. For me, hatches will bring depth to my two-dimensional art. But if hatches are not your thing—well, so be it. Art depends on personal preference.

I like to add hatches to my figures.

I like to add hatches to my figures.

Questions & Answers

Question: How and where do you come up pictures like this?

Answer: Actually, I drew them. I did it step by step.

Comments

jason macaso on September 09, 2020:

i like it