Thursday, October 21, 2010

Manga Faces from Manga University

In this tutorial, I'm going to show you how to draw basic anime faces from various angles. Though the faces here are standard anime female faces, the proportions I show you here can be adjusted to fit any sort of character you wish to draw. ^_^

Front View
Begin by drawing a large circle. Divide this circle horizontally into thirds, and cut it in half with a vertical line. Do not worry if your horizontal lines don't split the face into even pieces; the proportions will be different depending on the style of face you want to draw, anyway, so its all right if they aren't exact.
Next, draw a little mark (a short line, not a dot) directly beneath the circle. In this particular picture, the distance from the circle to the mark is the same as the length of the lower third portion of the circle. This mark will represent the chin, so make sure it's a short line rather than a dot or the chin will be too pointy. Raising or lowering the chin mark is one way to adjust the shape and appearance of the face. Next, draw two diagonal guidelines. They should be tangent to the sides of the circle, and intersect the edges of the chin mark.
Next, you want to flesh out the face so it isn't so thin. Draw two rounded triangular shapes on each side of the face. Adjusting the thickness of the triangles and the height of the cheekbones (the place where the triangle bends) are ways to alter the shape and appearance of the face and draw different types of characters.
Now that you have the shape of the face down, you will want to add the eyes, nose and mouth. The placement of the eyes varies slightly with each character, but they generally should be located within the lower half of the circle. The nose is about halfway down the lower part of the face (the area below the circle), and the mouth is drawn directly beneath that.
Next, erase those diagonal guidelines and fill in the detail on the eyes. Now you have the basic shape of the face completed, and you can add whatever details you like, such as hair, clothing, jewelry, tattoos, scars, etc.

3/4 View

Begin with a large circle, just like you did with the frontal view, except now rotate all the guidelines up and to the left. This part of the head is a three dimensional sphere, so when you rotate it in any direction, the guidelines should follow the curves of the sphere. Divide the face up horizontally into thirds, and vertically into halves. Of course, because of the angle we are drawing this circle at, the guidelines are not going to divide the shape into equal sections, but just remember that if you rotated this shape back to a front view, it should look the same as in the first step of the tutorial for the frontal view.
Next, extend the curved vertical guideline down the sphere, and select a point beneath the sphere to represent the chin. The distance from the circle to the chin should be a little bit more than the length of the lower third of the circle. Draw two diagonal guidelines tangent to the edges of the circle that intersect the chin mark. Make sure the left guideline is steeper than the right.
To flesh out the face a little more, draw round triangles on the sides of each of the diagonal guidelines. The left side of the face should curve out where it touches the circle, and the curve of the right side should be more gentle and sloping. It may take some practice to get this to look right.
Next, draw the eyes, nose, and mouth. The eyes are located within the lower half of the circle. For more information on how the eyes line up at this angle, go to the anime eye tutorial. All of the features should line up along the central guideline. Do not let your features become lopsided! It won't look right, trust me. ;) The nose generally starts right beneath the eyes, and the mouth right beneath the nose. Notice, though, that the mouth does not extend to the left of the nose; at this angle, most of it stays on the right side of the curved vertical guideline.
Refine the lines a little more, and you have completed drawing the basic shape of the head at a 3/4 angle. From this point, you can add whatever details you like, such as hair, jewelry, etc.
 Here are some more heads, drawn at various angles. With every single one, I started with a basic circle and added the guidelines as I did in the previous tutorials (for more info on drawing heads at a profile, such as in the picture at the top left, check out the nose and mouth turorial. The proportions for these faces probably aren't perfect, because the pictures I used as examples had completely different sized features (a lot of them were guys... ^.^).
Of course, there are many other types of characters other than simple anime girls... ^_^ Here is a very small sampling of some other proportions you can try out. They all have the same basic shape, except some of the lines have been lengthened or shortened. In the top left picture, for example, the lower half of the face is longer and thinner, the cheeks are more sharply angled, and the eyes are narrower. On the top right picture, the lower half of the face is much smaller and the eyes are huge. Male faces tend to be longer and more angular, while female faces tend to be smaller and more rounded. Childrens faces, either male or female, are very small 
and round.



  1. Some of these faces are very creepy XD

  2. Cheers for guide, this will come in handy.

  3. Cool guide to drawing faces, I'll give it a try!

  4. Very nice tutorial I'll have to try it out. Keep it up, I'll be back.

  5. i'm not a very good 2d artist myself, but this tutorial will definitely help with some of the 3d stuff i do!