Mamerto Adan is an engineer by profession, but a writer by night. He loves toys and knives. He also has a martial arts background.
Anime eyes alone are art pieces. They are not the beady orbs that one sketches on a face. They are complex lines and circles, colors and shadows that bring a character to life.
Anime faces are about as complex as any other drawn faces. Given the level of details, they are not simple cartoons. They are basically a reconstruction of a real human face. We need symmetry, forms, and alignments, or else our anime face will look malformed. The size of the face should also be considered. Small faces denote younger ages or female genders. Larger faces are for guys. Consider your sketch a failure if your face is not the right size.
Once you've learned to draw the eyes and face, I think you're ready to do a full body figure. This article will show you step-by-step how to bring your awesome figure to life. In this case, we will do an anime girl. Now I have enough overly cute lolis in my Facebook feed, so just to give me a break, we will do a sort of emo girl. Now with that said, prepare your pens and paper and let’s start sketching.
The Eggs And Sausages (With Line Frame) Method
This approach is not originally mine. I got this from a guy in the show called Art Attack years ago. As I recall, his name is Neil Buchanan, and he speaks in a heavy English accent (heavy for me). To his fans, the guy is now a rock star, and he stopped hosting the show years ago.
Anyway, when doing human figures, he suggested doing the eggs and sausages method. Basically, you will draw a series of eggs and sausage shapes as a rough draft. The sausages are for limbs like arms and legs. The eggs are for the torso and head. The great thing about this approach is that you could do awkward poses with it.
Now I did my own twist as I found out that I could control the pose better by starting with the wire (or stick) figure. And when you are sure on the pose, it could save me from erasures. I mean it is easier to clean lines than circles when you are not happy with the pose.
1. Start With the Wireframe and Decide on the Pose
As I mentioned before, we will start with lines so we can easily picture how our anime girl will stand. Not only can we decide on the pose, but we can also set the overall proportion of our character. As shown below, the height of our stick figure will determine the overall height of the girl here. Now use faint lines here. You may use pencils with faint lines, or just draw the line lightly with a regular pencil.
2. Do the Sausages and Eggs
And then enter Neil’s Sausages and Eggs method. As mentioned before, the eggs are for the rounder body parts, like the torso and the head. The limbs will be the sausages. The arms and legs are series of sausages. We will use the lines as our guides in doing the pose.
Now, do note how faint the sketches are so it is easier to get rid of when we are done.
3. Do More Sausages and Eggs
But then, a true human form never resembles sausages and eggs shapes being put together (unless we are creating a mascot for a tire company). And female figures never looked like that. Hence, we will make it more human-like by adding more sausages and eggs.
4. Define the Rough Outline
Now, we will make it more female-like. You may or may not erase your rough draft, it depends on your style. Again, as what we see here, our draft is still super faint.
5. Add the Eyes and the Rest of the Face
Now we will start adding the anime details, starting with the eyes. We first draw the cross guidelines, so we know where to put the eyes, nose and mouth. After that, we will draw the eyes.
Using the cross guidelines, we will add the nose and mouth. Refer to the illustration as a guide.
7. Draw the Hair
Anime hair is simply a collection of lines. It’s the style that we must decide, but anime hair is especially wilder for male characters. But we will give our girl here this spiky hairstyle, as again I'm fed up with lolis.
8. Add the Costume
I realized years ago that the usual anime girl costumes, like the sailor school uniforms, are too complex for beginners. And then there is my problem with overly generic, not to mention overly cute lolis. Hence, we will give our girl here simpler clothing. I have a weakness for female rockstars, and I had a crush with this emo girl back in my school days. So, our girl here will have the usual t-shirt and pants instead of skirts and blouses. The shirt will be tight fitting, but not revealing.
And lastly, we will clean and polish our anime girl. To finalize the drawing, we will clean the rough lines left by all those sausages and eggs. We may do minor tweaking to make the drawing desirable according to your taste. Then we will give our art some shading.
And we will end up with the character above.