Mamerto Adan is a feature writer back in college for a school paper. Science is one of his many interests, and his favorite topic.
Drawing an anime face was frustrating for me back in high school when I was still learning to draw. Doing the face is not as straightforward as one might think. Based on what I learned, a bit of miscalculation will ruin the whole feature of your beloved artwork. Try not fixing the eye alignment and you got a laughable proportion. Do fix the position of the nose, or else it will look oddly distorted. Then the there’s the placement of the mouth. It must be just right or the chin will appear too prominent. Do it too little and your character will be weak-chinned. The size of the face also dictates if your character will be too girlish or boyish.
In this article, we will draw a female character, the shojo. I’m not sure about you, but I find it easier to draw female character than males. In fact a shojo-type face was the first anime character I learned to perfect. Now with that being said, let’s bring our character to life!
1. Start With a Faint Rough Line (or Circle)
As with many of the drawings we are doing, every art starts with rough lines. When drawing faces, we will first sketch a round shape. Again since this is a rough line, what we will see here is a faint circle. In this way, it is easier to clean when we are done. You will see below this rough round shape I made, which is next to nothing as it’s so faint.
2. Construct the Guideline
Now that we have a round shape, we will get a basic idea on how large the face is. Or how wide half the face is, as later on we will do the lower half. Next step involves sketching a line that cuts in the middle of your circle. This runs from the top all the way to the bottom of the circle, and will run below our circle (about half the circle’s diameter).
3. Draw the Chin
We will then do the outline of the lower jaw, or the chin. Since we will do an anime girl, the face should be smaller; do note that older anime characters have longer faces, though female characters will always have smaller faces than men. Now remember the guideline we made? From the bottom tip of the line, sketch two curves which end at both sides of the circle. Again this is just rough lines and not the exact shape of the face. We might make adjustments if we find our drawing to be a bit off.
4. Add the Other Guidelines
What we have here is the basic shape of the face. This time we must know the location of the facial features; I mean where we will put the eyes, mouth, nose etc? For this we will sketch more lines that will serve as guides on where we will put those features. From below, we will see how these lines are positioned; some will indicate where we will position the eyes. The others are where we will draw the mouth and nose.
5. Drawing the Rough Eyes
Now let’s proceed to draw the rough eyes. We will start by doing more guideline, so both eyes will be the same sizes. We will also sketch some additional lines for the eyebrows, so they will be properly aligned. Do note that most manga artists don’t use additional lines. This is my own way as I have trouble making the face more symmetrical. After that, we will draw a pair of ellipses for the rough eyes as what we will see below.
6. Sketch the Initial Eyelids
Now this is to further check the symmetry of your drawing. Using one of your guidelines we will sketch the rough eyelids. We simply blacken the portion of the guidelines that could form the eyelids. As we learned in my previous article about drawing anime eyes, the length of the eyelid lines should slightly exceed the size of our rough eyes.
7. Add the Other Features
But before we finish the details of our anime eyes, let’s first sketch the details of the face. Now this is the style of drawing I adopted; I add the rough details first before going for the rest of the eyes. Note that I have problems with symmetry in the past, and I found this approach to be useful in checking for symmetry. Simply if I get something out of place, it is easier to make corrections with only rough sketches. With the lines as our guides, we draw the nose, mouth and the ears. See below on how to do it.
8. Finish the Details of the Eyes
Now that we have the mouth, nose and other features in place we will then polish the eyes. Again going back to my past article, the eyes will make your character look alive. We will give those eyes glares, shades, lashes, brows and everything that will bring it to life.
9. Add the Hair
Unless one is making a statement and prefers a bald character, the hair will be the next to add here. Now anime hair is another trait that sets it apart from most Western animated characters. Anime hair is wild, spiky, colourful, though neat designs are also common. Nevertheless even plain anime hairdos boast certain level of details. And for our sample character here, we will use the not so outlandish style. We will sketch the hair as a series of curved, wispy lines, almost like rough lines.
10. Clean Your Drawings
Finally we got a rough anime sketch. But before calling it ready for inking, we will first make a few touch ups especially for some features that went off. In the case of our character here, I trimmed the chin as I thought it is too long for a girl. I also sharpen some lines. This stage is where we make minor tweaking until we get it right. Lastly we will get rid of the guidelines we used.
11. The Result
And here is our end result. Just some more cleaning and it is now ready for inking. Drawing a male character (shounen) goes the same way, only with sharper and harder features (not to mention wackier hair). But that will be a different article.
© 2018 Mamerto Adan
Mamerto Adan (author) from Cabuyao on July 04, 2020:
my life be like ooooowaaaaah from the garbage can on July 03, 2020:
Mamerto Adan (author) from Cabuyao on July 15, 2019:
Thanks Rohanna! Glad my article helped.
Mamerto Adan (author) from Cabuyao on May 16, 2019:
Sure Andrea! What can I do?
Andrea Espersen on May 16, 2019:
Do u think u could help me?