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How To Draw: A Simple, 10-Minute Anime Girl

Updated on June 23, 2012

Though I know that there are thousands of tutorials just like this, I've noticed that many fail to mention the importance of guidelines. You know, those little lines you see running across the face of unfinished cartoon characters? I wanted to do a hub that described a simple, versatile method of drawing a cartoon girl, using those essential guidelines. Once you learn how to use them, character positions and proportions become infinitely easier to draw. (They're more important than you think!)

To be honest, drawing cartoons doesn't take much. It's not the talent, it's the method. And practice. A whole lotta practice. For those of you at home, scrapping paper after paper, who just can't get it right, there is hope. Guidelines do wonders.

So, to help you get started, I've made a quick sketch of an anime-styled girl's head made from my own imagination. She's going to be basic, hopefully easy to draw, and take less than ten minutes with practice (mine did!) Keep in mind that I'm not a manga artist, and that I took the pictures with a webcam. They may be a bit fuzzy, but definitely not illegible!

Start With A Circle

Add Guidelines!

First...

The easiest step... Draw a circle. This won't be the final head shape, therefore it's recommended that you make it just a bit smaller than you want your final product to be. Keep your lines light, because this will all be erased later!

Also, don't worry too much about being exact. The circle is just a basic guideline. Save your artistic precision for the minor details like the hair and eyes.

Next...

Make more guidelines inside of the circle. The line running down the length of the circle determines which direction the head faces, and because my cartoon girl will be facing us (for simplicity's sake), the line stays straight. Imagine the line as the center of your cartoon's face, and decide the placement from there.

Make three more horizontal lines, designating the area for the eyes and brow. The eyebrow area should be much smaller than the eye area!

I made the eye area unusually large, only because I'm using a larger eye shape for this model, but you may use whichever length you feel comfortable with. (this is where something called "artistic license" comes in)

Draw The Chin

Softening The Chin And Basic Eye Shape

With a darker pencil...

Great, no more guidelines! Now you'll make the chin. Draw one line on each side of the circle, branching inward, and then two more to connect the sides. For this you should press just a tad harder than with the guidelines, because this will be your final product. If you aren't quite getting it, you can do what I did here: draw four loose, straight lines that connect to make a pointy chin, and round them out later. As long as the cheekbones are symmetrical (if you need it, guidelines can also help create even cheekbones) it's okay to make it sloppy. The mistakes can all be re-done later.

Now...

To create a basic eye outline, I drew two basic lines at the top and bottom eye area guidelines. Make them thick and dark, and try to make the actual eye as perfect as possible. The eye needs to be nicely drawn. (You can also take this time to round out the lines on the chin, like I did)

If you prefer a different style, feel free to use your own! It's a good idea to take cues from popular manga artists and cartoonists, until you find the style you're after.

Eye Detail And Eyebrows

Eye like this part...!

The eyes are my favorite part of the head, mostly because cartoon/anime eyes can come in such a wide range of styles. It's fun to experiment! The detail I chose is pretty basic, the first one I've ever learned, and it's my go-to for quick eye drawing. As with the eye shape, feel free to use it on your drawings, or switch out for one of your own.

The eyebrows are as simple as it gets. Just two curved lines. The only thing you have to remember is to keep them symmetrical, (which can sometimes pose a challenge, but you just have to keep practicing it!)

Creating Fringe

The "Front Hair"

Anime hair looks insanely difficult, but it's not so mind-blowing when it's split into two parts: the front and the back. So, we'll start from the front and work our way back!

For something as simple as this, I chose a really quick "spike" sort of bang. This type of fringe is popular with the more cartoon-y shojo manga, but if you wanted something more realistic, you could easily accomplish that effect by creating smaller, less chunky strands. To measure the length of the strands, I usually start at the top of the guideline circle and make my way just past the eye. But again, the design depends on the character!

Hair Structure And Details

The "Back Hair"

The back of the head is really up to the interpretation of the artist. You want to give them pigtails? Braids? Long hair? Short? Practice with your preferred style! I gave this character short, choppy hair to go along with her chunky fringe.

**Remember not to start the back of the hair on the guideline circle. It'll make their heads look abnormally small and flat!**

Clever trick: if you don't feel comfortable drawing the ears, it's easy to cover them up with some added fringe. In this case, because I wanted a quick example, I chose to cover the ears completely.

Erasing Guidelines And Applying Finishing Touches

Erasers On Standby...

This last part requires a nice, no-smudge eraser to remove any of the leftover guidelines. Go over the finished product with a darker pencil, or even a sharpie, to make the drawing pop.

If you prefer, you can start coloring now! I like to use Paint on my computer, or leave it uncolored, but some people like to use markers or a special program. I guess the choice is really up to YOU! The artist!

The guidelines aren't going to make much sense at first, and it may even seem as if it's limiting your artistic freedom. But if you practice with it, you'll discover that you can put your own spin on the guideline's rules! It's like learning to play piano on the home-row keys; it seems difficult and unnecessary at first, restricting even, but it improves your overall performance in the end.

Practice these steps, and you'll be able to draw the most professional-looking cartoons around!

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    • profile image

      BlackPeach 16 months ago

      Great advices! :D

      I grew up watching a lot animes and can't wait to create my own characters for One Pice or Naruto^^

      Do you have some tipps for the best atmosphere, too? Right now, I'm listening to smooth music, mostly something like this:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNvENGqGKS4&in...

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8eWMh94pQxA&in...

      What do you guys do? Do you watch the animes before?

      Thanks for your great Hub again! :D

    • Jagsrule5 profile image
      Author

      Jagsrule5 5 years ago

      @Pavlo Badovsky

      Hahaha, exactly! xD Convince all of your friends that you're a pro by only drawing anime heads. (that's what I do...*cough* dork *cough*)

    • Pavlo Badovskyy profile image

      Pavlo Badovskyi 5 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

      Hi, I was always amazed by ability to draw. I can't. May be your tutorial helps me at least to pretend that I can! :-)

    • Jagsrule5 profile image
      Author

      Jagsrule5 5 years ago

      @cloverleaffarm

      Thank you! :D I was worried that my crappy webcam wouldn't show the detail, but I guess it turned out alright. ^^;

      @sora63

      Hey, thanks! ^^ The circle mostly determines the shape of the head, and it shouldn't affect the size of the eyes at all. :P

      That's what the "eye area" between the two lower guidelines is for!

    • cloverleaffarm profile image

      Healing Herbalist 5 years ago from The Hamlet of Effingham

      Wow, this was really cool. I'm not into anime, but the tutorial was great. The pictures really showed the detail.

    • sora63 profile image

      sora63 5 years ago from Spain

      Hey, nice tutorial! Thanks for sharing this.

      One question: I guess the diametre of the first circle it varies depending of the size of the eyes you want to draw? Or is not that important?

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