This step by step tutorial explains how to draw an anime boy with detailed proportions of the entire body and general tips on achieving an anime look.
The boy in this tutorial is intended to look between 10-15 years old. Depending on the artists style sometimes older anime characters can be drawn to still look fairly young. Generally the more stylized the characters the younger they tend to look (“Chibi” for example).
The examples are of the front and side view of the entire body (fairly common and easy to learn from). You can try drawing try drawing either one or both.
Please keep in mind that although the provided proportions are a good basis they may not fit every character and style.
If you are going to be following along with pencil and paper be sure to start with fairly light lines as you will need to erase parts of the body in some of the steps (for example when adding the clothes). The parts of the body and head shown in blue can also be erased as these are mainly used as guides.
Step 1 – Draw the Boy’s Head
Start the drawing of the boy with the head and be sure to leave plenty of room below it for the rest of the body.
Drawing the Head from the Front View
Drawing the Head From the Side View
For the front view you will want to first make a straight vertical line that can help you see if the head and later the body are symmetrical. At the top of this line draw a circle for the upper part of the head and then add the lower part of the face.
For the side view draw the upper part of the head as an oval (just slightly so) and then add the lower part of the face below that. At this stage of the drawing don’t add any of the facial features and just make the front of the face flat as in the example.
Step 2 – Draw the Upper Part of the Body
You will want to draw the body as shown above. However, you should first read the below explanation.
Proportioning the Body
A good way to measure the body is by using the head. Anime characters tend to have bigger heads compared to their bodies than real people (younger characters especially). For this tutorial the boy will be six and a half heads tall.
To make a character look younger you will usually want to draw them more slender than their older counterpart. Muscular characters will tend to automatically look older.
The height of the head and the “above the legs” area of the body are close in height to half of the entire body.
Generally when doing height measurement you would want the legs held together but in this case they are slightly spread out for a more natural pose. While this is something to be aware of in this case it has little impact on the height.
Another thing to be aware of is that parts of the feet go slightly past the bottom measurement line. This is because you want to measure the height from roughly the same level as the heels. The toes (especially in the from view) appear to go farther down due to “eye level”.
Quick Explanation of Eye Level
Eye level is literally the level of the viewers eyes in relation to a given scene. If for example you were looking at a similar setup in real life your eyes would be above the level of the feet making it appear like the toes go farther down than the heels. If you were to lie down on the ground and look at the feet again the toes and heels would appear to be roughly at the same level.
For more on this read the following tutorial:
Drawing the Body From Different Views
If you want to draw the body from different views but in the same pose and position you can project a set of lines from one view to the other. This will help you make sure that the proportions of the body in both views are roughly the same.
Drawing the Front View
As already mentioned when drawing the boy from the front view your main guide can be the center line.
Drawing the Side View
In the side view various parts of the body are curved and angle in slightly different ways as is shown in the above illustrations.
Drawing the Body Step by Step
With all of the above in mind you can draw the upper body.
In the front view first draw the neck and shoulders followed by the sides and then the bottom. The parts shown in blue (for this view) are optional and will be erased later on. It is however recommended that you draw them as they make easier to understand the structure of the body.
In the side view Draw a shape that looks a bit like stretched out bean. Afterwards add the neck (angled slightly forward) and erase the parts shown in blue (for the side view only).
Step 3 – Draw the Upper Part of the Legs
Going down form the body add the top part of the legs. Make them wider near the upper middle and narrower near the top and bottom.
Be sure to look at the proportions below before you start drawing.
Generally the legs are the length of half of the entire body (including the head) as shown in the illustration.
Step 4 – Draw the Lower Part of the Legs
Draw the lower part of the legs in a way where they first get wider as they go down and then narrower again. The upper part where they get wider as they go down should be a bit shorter than the lower one where they get narrower.
Step 5 – Draw the Feet
Going down from the lower part of the legs add the feet. Emphasize that these are male feet by drawing them with the toes pointing outwards (away from the body). Female feet (especially in anime) tend to point more inwards.
Step 6 – Draw the Upper Part of the Arms
As already mentioned, you want the character to be fairly slender to emphasize that it’s a young boy. For be sure to draw the arms fairly thin and without showing any muscles. Also look at the explanation below before you start.
The proportions for the arms are shown above. Generally the distance from the curve of the shoulder down to the elbow is about the same as the distance from the elbow to the wrist.
The part where the hand is attached to the arm will go down to about the horizontal halfway point of the body. Please also keep in mind that in this example the arms are held out slightly to the sides so these joints will be a little higher up.
Step 7 – Draw the Lower Part of the Arms
Similar to the lower part of the legs draw the arms from the elbow down getting wider (this area should be fairly short) and then getting narrower again (this should be longer).
Step 8 – Draw the Hands
Finally draw the hands. In this example it will be done without too much detail as is often the case in anime and manga. As this is an anime character that is also fairly young the hands will be quite small in relation to the rest of the body.
For detailed examples of drawing hands see:
Step 9 – Draw the Details
Once you have all of the major body parts outlined draw the smaller details. A breakdown of these is shown below.
Drawing & Positioning the Facial Features
You can see the proportions and placement of the facial features shown in the illustration above. Draw them as follows:
- Eyes – below the horizontal halfway point of the head
- Eyebrows – a little bit above the eyes
- Nose – about the halfway point between the top of the eyes and the bottom of the chin
- Mouth – slightly above the lower lip which is positioned roughly halfway between the nose and the chin
- Ears – A little bit below the top of the eyes
For a detailed step by step guide to drawing an anime boy’s face you can see:
In the side view you will want to add the nose and mouth area as shown above. First add the upper part of the nose and then project a line down from that to the chin. Next using this line as a guide draw the lower part of the nose and the lips.
Drawing the Hair
As is done in other tutorials here on AnimeOutine the hair in the example is split into three parts. The are the front, sides and back/top. Shown in red, green and blue.
The reason for this is to make the drawing process easier to understand and manga.
For a more in depth explanation of this approach see:
Drawing the Details of the Eyes
Draw the inner details of the eyes such as the pupils and reflections.
You can also draw a hint of the eyelids slightly above each eye and fill in the eyelashes with black or pencil shading.
For some detailed tutorials on drawing eyes in the anime/manga style see:
Drawing the Details of the Ears
You can see the details of the ears in the example above. Please keep in mind however that parts of them will be covered by the hair.
Drawing the Knees (Front View)
Draw just a hint of the knees in the front view as shown in the example.
Step 10 – Draw the Clothes & Finish the Line Drawing
Over top of the body’s outline add the clothes as though their see though. A great thing about drawing in this way is that it makes it quite easy to place the clothing items.
In this case the boy will be wearing a t-shirt, shorts and shoes.
Drawing the T-shirt
For the top part of the t-shirt draw it pretty much hugging the shape of the shoulders. Make the sleeves “fan out” towards the ends. Leave some space between the body and the shirt as it will hang from the wider chest area. Finally make a little wider towards the very bottom as that area will tend to fold.
Drawing the Shorts
Draw the shorts starting from the bottom of the shirt and make them wider as they go down.
For more on drawing anime clothes see:
Drawing the Shoes
You can draw the shape of the shoes roughly tracing the shape of the feet but with some distance between their outlines to account for the thickness of the materials the shoes are made from.
For more on drawing shoes see:
Once done adding the clothes erase the parts of the body that should be covered by it so that you have a clean drawing similar to the above.
Drawing the Details of the Shirt
Draw a pair of lines at the end of the sleeves and tracing the neck opening to give a hint of stitches in those areas.
You can also add a few lines at the bottom of the t-shirt to show some folds.
Drawing the Details of the Shorts
For the shorts add some folds to the middle are where there is usually tension created by the two legs pulling the shorts in different directions.
You can again also add a pair of lines at the bottom to again give a hint of some stitches.
Drawing the Details of the Shoes
For the shoes simply add a ling along each of their bottoms to show the edges of the soles.
Once your have all of the details outlined you can darken your lines (if needed) by tracing over them.
Step 11 – Add Color
To color the drawing you can simply fill in each area with the appropriate color (be sure to leave the reflections in the eyes white if coloring on paper). Also leave a streak of little highlights in the hair. You can either outline these beforehand or create them as you color. If drawing digitally you can add the highlights in a new layer over top of the hair color. You can also add them over top of the color with white correction pen if drawing/coloring on paper.
If you feel that the highlights are too bright you can lightly go over them with the same color as the hair (as was done in the examples).
For different styles of hair highlights see:
For an explanation of different color combinations see:
For a coloring tutorial check:
Step 12 – Add Shading & Finish the Drawing of the Boy
For some basic anime style shading you can darken the ares that usually have shadow.
In most common lighting conditions light tends to come from above so the shadows will be cast downwards.
In this case the shadows will be on the shadow on the body will be on the arms and legs from the sleeves of the shirt and the shorts.
The shadows on the face and neck will be as follows:
- Around the eyelid areas
- The top part of the eyes (from the eyelashes)
- To one side of the nose (front view)
- Along the upper part of the neck (from the head)
- The inner parts of the ears
- Along the lower back section of the hair and along the bottoms of most hair clumps
There is a lot to keep in mind when drawing people. Drawing in the anime and manga style can simplified some tings, however, it can also complicate others (for example requiring knowledge of the style). To make the drawing process easier this tutorial provides a very in depth template on creating a young looking male anime character that covers the larger proportions as well as the smaller details of the body.
If you like detailed guides such as this one also be sure to check the ones linked below.
For drawing a very muscular male body see:
For drawing the full body of a female anime character check: