Basic Anime

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Learning how to draw anime pictures takes a while to master and change to your own style, but here are a couple tips & tricks to help you along the way, such as eye shape, hair, face shape, and many other essentials to drawing anime.


[edit] Sketching

Before attemping to draw an anime character, learn how the basic body works, how arms and elbows bend, how the knee joints work and such. it's better to draw the skeleton on a layer thats set to maybe 40% transparency, preferably drawn in a light colour. From making the frame/Skeleton, it'd be easier to determine where you want things to be placed on the body. If you want extra help on anatomy, you may want to check out the Realism section. Also, there are several different "styles" you might come a across when browsing on oekaki sites. They consist of realism, normal anime, and "chibi" or "super deformed". There will be a section on that later in the tutorial.

[edit] Head

Before working on the eyes, the head should be there first to draw them on. Here's how to make a basic head sketch. Draw a large oval-like shape and make an upside-down triangle shape at the bottom of the oval. It should then appear to look like a rough head shape. Depending if the hair covers the sides of the head (hair can be found further in the tutorial), you can decide to draw ears. To draw ears, just make long, small ovals at the sides of the head, where the large oval area should be located.

[edit] Eyes

a few examples of anime eyes
a few examples of anime eyes

There are plenty types of anime eyes you could draw, and this section should cover most.

The eyes on the right demonstrate several different styles that range from anime T.V. series, to original eyes found on user art.

Some eyes are cartoony, and other are more serious. Sometimes, the way you draw eyes could affect things like if you would need to color them.

The eyes are one of the most expressive elements of an anime character. They can display tons of emotion with just the eyes alone. Once you master the eyes, then you can create the most expressive anime pieces.

[edit] Drawing the Eye

When starting to draw the basic eye, there are two ways to go about it. one would be to draw edge of the eyelid so drawing the eye would be easier. The other would be to draw the iris first and then make the eyelid shape around that. For this example, we will begin with drawing the edge of the eye first. When you draw the eye, the shape of the eyelids usually make the look of the character you are drawing. When the eyelids are close to the bottom of the eye, it gives off a sort of mean look. When you draw the eye far from the bottom of it, it gives a happy look. It depends on how you want your eyes to be shaped that make up a major part of the face and the overall tone of the character.

[edit] Nose

When drawing the nose, there are many things you should look at. You need to ask yourself, "does this nose match the face?" or "do I even need to draw a nose? (In thinking you are drawing a chibi)".

[edit] Mouth

If you had taken my advice when focusing on the shape of the eyes, then there would be very limited choices for mouths. If you decided to go free and do some normal, non-emotional eyes, than you can use tons of different types, such as smiling, frowning, open mouth, grinning, etc.

[edit] Ears

Ears can make your character look either human, or feral.

For human ears, consider the age of the character. Elderly people would have relatively or slightly larger ears than an adult or child, due to growth.

The details in the ears can be either simple or complex, depends on what your style is. It can consist of a sible curved like, or many details. The top of the ear should be in alignment with the eyebrows, and the lower lobe should be in alignment with the tip of the nose.

For furries and anthros, it's best to know what type of ear you'll be drawing. If you're drawing a cat ear, know the shape and where the position the ears. Position of these ears would be more towards the top of the head.

[edit] Hair

Ah, yes.. the hair. Hair can be fun and flirty or evil and villainous. Depending on what the character type, whether hero/heroine or villian, the hair can make up the character.

When drawing a male character, consider the age and maturity level of the character. Young boys would probably have scruffy hair, while adult males would probably have shorter, more mature looking hair.

When drawing a female character, the hair should be like a fashion statement. Teenage girls in a modern world would have hip and "in" hairstyles. Intelligent older women would have intelligent hair, maybe consisting of buns and loose braids. Military women should keep short hairstyles, or tight fitting buns. As for adult women, depends on the personality. Short to medium length hair would be great for a wild party girl.

As you draw the hair consider the environment in which you're drawing them. The wind can play a role in drawing the hair. If there is a slight breeze then the hair would be slightly rustled and flowing. For a strong breeze it would be flowing with the breeze. For a more whimsical and celestial feel to the hair, flips it in any direction, it gives a fantasy look to your character as well. Also, don't forget in which direction the wind is blowing.

[edit] The Body

A brief summary of proportions.
A brief summary of proportions.

The body is a difficult part of drawing anime and is actually what makes an anime drawing good, compared to drawing a face. Even if someone claims a mistake is part of their "style", the best anime drawings have anatomically correct drawings.

[edit] Proportions

Before you actually draw a body, you must decide how tall a person is. A chibi ( or Super Deformed or SD) can be 3, 2, or even 1 1/2 heads tall. A normal child would be 4,5, or 6 heads tall, a teen would be 6, 7, or 8 heads tall, and an adult could be 7 heads tall to even 10 heads tall but most, like Americans, use 8 heads tall.

Now onto the actual drawing portion. ( I assume that you already know how to draw an anime head.) Some artists would prefer to use a giant upside down isosceles triangle from the bottom of the chin to the crotch and the triangle is about 2 heads high. Some prefer to draw a body by drawing an egg shape and erasing part of the bottom to represent the ribcage and go from there. A very common way to draw bodies is to simply draw a stick figure with lines to show where the shoulders, hips, and joints are which is highly recommended but does not have to be used.

[edit] Placement of Major Body Parts

Arms should be 2 heads long with the elbow at the half-way point and the hands rest on the upper thighs. The pectorals should be about a head below the chin. The naval ( the belly button) should be at the same height as the elbows.

In drawing the body, the body actually consists of geometric shapes such as spheres, triangles, and tubes connected by curving lines. So joints can be represented as spheres, the head as an oval, and arms and legs as tubes.

[edit] Forshortening?

None so far.

[edit] Clothes

Clothes can be a difficult thing to draw. Designing outfits could be one of the most difficult things when drawing an anime character. Once you have a feel for what the personality of the anime character is, then you can design the most suitable outfit.

The folds and wrinkles in clothing can be hard to draw. The best thing to do is to look at your everyday materials. Look at the sleeve of your shirt for details and hints on how to draw the wrinkles and folds. Also, looking at blankets and other pieces of material can also help you a lot.

[edit] Lineart

drawn by Valisis
drawn by Valisis

Obviously one can stop at any point in this process and call the piece finished, but many pieces are "cleaned up" by tracing over the sketch with an outline. This is where the artist must choose what sketchy lines they want to keep and what to discard. Refer to this tutorial about lineart for more (better?) information. If you are planning to do lineart on oekaki, than Solids in Paint BBS should cover that.

Also, pictures may be finished without the need for lineart at all. If one were to use color properly, than the picture may turn out better than with lineart.

[edit] Color

One major style associated with anime (mostly within animation) is cell shading. This isn't actually just flat shading of a character, but rather the breaking up of gradients into just a few colors to simplify the coloring process of many frames. This doesn't mean that you "have" to use cell shading to make your drawing in the "anime" style.

[edit] Cell Shading

The basics of cell shading is to "fill in" all the white space into tones that you'll use as the basis for your colors. You can think of your image as a coloring book, where each "cell" is simply a space defined by the lines around it, hence the term cell shading. After filling everything in as you want it, you then proceed to color in highlights and lowlights by varying the colors you've chosen according to a light source. Be careful to be consistent so that your character/scene doesn't look out of place!

How do you choose the colors for your shading? The idea is to use the same tones as your base colors, but vary the brightness. The easiest way to do this is to use the eyedropper in the applet you're using and simply choose a lighter or darker color.

Remember that you usually want to give the appearance of crisp edges while cell shading, so using a harder brush is recommended. If you want to get fancy you can add several colors to your highlights and lowlights to give the appearance of a gradient. Really nice looking coloration can use probably up to five or six colors to give a nice shine to various surfaces.

[edit] Smooth Shading

The basics of smooth shading are actually very similar to cell shading, except for the fact that you want smooth gradients! Start with a base coloring of your image, and when it comes to highlights and lowlights use a soft brush as opposed to a hard brush. This gives your surfaces a nice blend between colors, although arguably this may be more work than cell shading to get the gradient right.

'Beware' of the smooth tool! While this can help your gradients by smoothing colors together, if overused this tool can give your picture a smudged look, as if someone got their hands all over your drawing.

[edit] Solids

Solids are very similar to cell shading, but usually consists of 1 or 2 different shades. You can refer to the Solids in Paint BBS for a couple tips.


Originally by Rysufio

Body and Proportions by Arkiome

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