How to Draw Anime Characters Tutorial
This tutorial explains how to draw female anime and manga style characters using eight popular anime character archetypes with three examples of each.
As the name states this tutorial is all about “character”. It shows how you can take one anime or manga style face and tweak it’s features and expression to give an appearance of a different personality. It also suggests some hairstyles that may be well suited for each character type.
The character archetypes included are:
- Ordinary Girl
- Shy Girl
- Tough Girl
For drawing male characters see:
How to Draw Male Anime Characters Step by Step
Face Proportions for an Anime Character
The base character drawing proportions used in this tutorial are shown in the illustration above. If you’ve seen some of the other tutorials here on AnimeOutline you may already be aware of these.
If not the proportions are as follows:
- Eyes – draw a horizontal line directly through the middle of the head and draw the eyes below that line (far enough apart that you can fit another eye between them)
- Ears – make a second horizontal line between the halfway line and the chin and draw the ears between those two lines
- Nose – above the line used for the bottom of the ears
- Mouth – draw a line between the bottom of ears/nose line to get the position of the bottom lip (not actually drawn in the illustration) and draw the mouth just slightly above that
You can draw the eyebrows and eyelids slightly above the eyes.
Please keep in mind that the size and position of the facial features in the examples below will change based on character type and facial expressions.
Also be aware that these are only suggested proportions for making a character look “anime”. Different anime styles can still have different proportions.
For a more detailed tutorial for each of the facial features see:
- How to Draw Female Anime Eyes Tutorial
- How to Draw Anime and Manga Ears
- How to Draw Anime and Manga Noses
- How to Draw Anime and Manga Mouth Expressions
- How to Draw Anime & Manga Eyebrows
Basic Shape of an Anime Character’s Face
When drawing the outer shape of an anime face in the front view it may be helpful to think of it as being composed of three basic shapes as shown above (circle, quadrilateral and triangle).
Anime Character Face Drawing Step by Step
To draw any of the characters in this tutorial you can use the steps in the above illustration.
- Draw the basic shape of the head (and neck shoulders in this case) starting with a vertical line to help you make sure both halves are even
- Positioned the facial features as described earlier including the parts that are hidden by the hair (you can exclude the ears for hairstyles where they are fully hidden if you like)
- Draw the hair (overlapping some of the facial features if needed)
- Erase the parts of the face hidden by the hair and if you like apply some shading or color
For an explanation of why you want to draw this way (showing the hidden parts of the face etc…) and other helpful drawing tips see:
Beginner Guide to Drawing Anime & Manga
For the full tutorial on drawing a female anime or manga style head and face please see:
How to Draw an Anime Girl’s Head and Face
For drawing and shading the different hairstyles used in this tutorial see:
For other hair drawing tutorials see:
Drawing an “Ordinary Girl” Anime Character
The “ordinary girl” character can be the “childhood friend” or the “main girl” in the story. In anime and manga they tend to be friendly and down to earth.
Ordinary long hair may be a good fit for the “ordinary girl”.
To draw the “ordinary girl” character with their normal expression draw fairly wide eyes and large irises/pupils. This will make the character look more friendly.
You can draw the mouth with a very light smile (curving very slightly upwards).
Draw the eyebrows in pretty much their natural state with smooth curves.
Drawing a Smiling “Ordinary Girl” Anime Character
A smile is one common expression for this type of character.
For a smiling face draw the eyes slightly narrower with, reverse the curves of the bottom eyelids from their normal state and draw the mouth slightly wider.
Drawing a Happy “Ordinary Girl” Anime Character
A happy face is another expression that can be fairly common for the “ordinary girl” character.
For more on drawing anime and manga style blush see:
How to Draw Anime Blush in Different Ways
For the happy face you can pretty much draw it the same as the smiling face but draw the mouth slightly open showing the white of the teeth and add some blush just below the eyes.
Drawing an Antagonist/Villain Anime Character
The antagonist or the main villain is usually the direct opposite of the protagonist. A negative character with few to no good traits.
To draw an unfriendly looking anime character like this example draw the pupils of the eyes and irises fairly small with the top eyelids covering a good portion of the eye.
Do not add any shadows to the top of the irises (his will give the villain that “stare” type of look). Also draw fewer highlights in the eyes and make them fairly small for an even less friendly look.
Draw the bottom eyelids and the mouth in reverse curves (downwards).
Position the eyebrows lower down in “wave like shape” for a sort of semi-permanent frown.
You can use what is often referred to as a “Hime Cut” for the hair. As “Hime” means princess combined with a look like the one above it can reinforce the idea of a stuck up or spoiled character.
Drawing a Crazy Looking Anime Villain Character
To give the anime “villain” character that crazy or maniacal look they sometimes have draw the irises and pupils of the eyes very small so that there is a good bit of white space around them.
Draw the eyebrows somewhat lower in wave like shapes as the previous example but with their inner ends raised slightly back up again. Again don’t add any shadows to the irises and draw only one set of reflections.
Draw the mouth with the teeth showing in a wide smile.
Eventually you should end up with crazy looking eyes and a grinning mouth. Prefect expression for a villain (though it might be a bit hard to actually pull this one off in real life)
Drawing an Angry Looking Anime Villain Character
This angry expression is one that anime villain characters tend to make when they are ticked off (often from their evil plans failing).
For the angry looking villain draw the top eyelids lowered and the bottom eyelids raised (in reversed curves). Draw the pupils and irises small with no shadows and small reflections same as the previous example.
Position the eyebrows lower down in wave like shapes.
Draw the mouth in a sort of “bean” shape with the bottom ends curving slightly downwards and the teeth showing.
Drawing Tsundere Anime Character
For those that don’t know a tsundere is a character that may act somewhat hostile at times but it actually nice. These types of characters usually have trouble showing their true feelings and get embarrassed when they do.
For a tsundere’s normal expression you can pretty much draw her the same as you would the “ordinary girl”.
Some small tweaks you can make are drawing the top eyelids slightly lower down and drawing a slightly smaller mouth to give her less of a smile.
You can also draw slightly smaller irises and pupils than the “ordinary girl. This will give her a slightly less friendly but still normal appearance.
Pigtails may be a good hairstyle for a tsundere to give the character a slightly more childish/immature appearance.
Drawing an Angry Anime Tsundere Character
For the angry (and slightly embarrassed look) draw the eyes slightly squinted and the eyebrows with their inner ends lowered.
Draw the mouth curving downwards.
Finally indicate some blush on the cheeks with some small striped lines.
Drawing an Embarrassed Anime Tsundere Character
As already mentioned a “tsundere” character tends to get embarrased when showing their true feelings so this can be a fairly common expression for them.
For an embarrassed “tsundere” face draw the eyes squinting and looking downwards. Draw a horizontally wide mouth with the bottom ends wider than the top. Also keep in mind that when the mouth is open you should draw the jaw slightly lower down.
Draw the eyebrows lower down.
Drawing a Yandere Anime Character
A yandere is a reverse of the tsundere. A character who appears to be nice and friendly but can actually be quite hostile. The extreme versions of this character can be a downright crazy.
For the yandere’s normal face you can draw it exactly the same as you would the “ordinary girl” with big eyes and a fairly friendly expression.
You can also give her long but slightly more messy hair to give a hint that there may be something “off” about her.
Drawing a “Cold Stare” Anime Yandere Character
The “cold stare” face is one the yandere character tends to make when her true colors come out. Usually it’s towards a female rival but can be for anyone she is “upset” with.
For this type of face draw the eyes very slightly squinted with the bottom eyelids in reverse of their normal cures. Draw the pupils of the eyes very small in relation to the iris with no shadows and small highlights/reflections.
Draw the inner ends of the eyebrows raised and draw the mouth just very lightly open with the top lip raised and revealing some of the teeth.
Drawing a Crazy Looking Anime Yandere Character
This particular crazy face is one a tsundere tends to make for someone she is obsessed/in love with.
For the crazy expression draw the eyes slightly wider than normal with small irises/pupils/highlights and no shadows.
Draw the eyebrows in upside down curves (from their normal state) with the inner sides of the eyebrows raised.
Draw the mouth open in a sort of relaxed state (not too wide). Remember to draw the chin slightly lower down for the open mouth.
Drawing a Shy Anime Character
These types of characters are usually nice and harmless but may be loners due to being afraid to talk to others.
A good hairstyle for this type of character can be the “hair over one eye” to reinforce the idea of “hiding” and shyness. But in case you want to draw a different hairstyle both eyes are show in the example below.
You can pretty much draw this character the same way as the “ordinary girl” but with slightly smaller irises/pupils to give her a bit more of a “scared” look.
Drawing a Daydreaming Shy Anime Character
As the “shy girl” characters tend to be loners they may often be daydreaming by themselves.
For the daydreaming expression draw the eye/eyes to one side of the face with both the top and the bottom eyelids slightly raised. You can also draw slightly raised eyebrows
Draw the mouth smiling with the teeth showing and add some blush below the eyes.
Drawing a Shy Anime Character with an Awkward Look
When dealing with other characters the shy characters often tend to avoid eye contact and look down. They may also have a bit of a nervous smile.
For the awkward expression draw the eye/eyes looking down as mentioned above with the bottom part of the iris slightly covered by the bottom eyelid. Leave a bit of space between the iris and the top eyelid.
Drawing a Tough Anime Character
These are often positive characters that may help protect the protagonist but they can also sometimes smack them around. They also tend to be into some sort of martial arts or “kendo” and may often get into fights.
A pony tail can be fairly common for these types of characters as it can give them that “sporty” as athletes often tie their hair back so it doesn’t get in the way.
For a tough looking character draw the eyes with the top eyelids down and the bottom eyelids slightly raised. Draw the eyebrows with the inner ends lowered.
Draw the mouth in a very light upside down curve.
Drawing an Angry Tough Anime Character
The “though girl” anime characters tend to be fairly emotional and can get angry easily.
For the angry face draw the eyes a lot more squinted than normal and the eyebrows even lower down.
Draw the mouth open and fairly wide (horizontally) with the bottom being slightly wider than the top.
You can also give her a bit of medical tape on her cheek to reinforce the idea of her “active” character (working out or getting into fights).
Drawing a Happy Tough Anime Character
As already mentioned these types of characters can be fairly emotional and are as likely to easily be happy as angry.
For a happy/content face draw the “tough” girls eyes fully closed. Basically a set of curves with eyelashes. Draw the eyebrows slightly flatter than normal (less of a curve).
For a detailed explanation on drawing closed anime eyes see:
How to Draw Closed, Closing & Squinted Anime Eyes
Drawing a Delinquent Anime Character
This type of character can often be a bully/hostile and pick fights. A good hairstyle for the delinquent can be short and maybe slightly messy hair. It will help create a sort of “tomboy” image for the character.
You can draw the “delinquent” face similar to the “tough girl” but draw the bottom eyelids almost straight and the irises (with everything inside them) much smaller. Draw the top of the irises covered by the top eyelids and leave some space between them and the bottom eyelids.
Draw the mouth in a light upside down curve.
Drawing a “One Eyebrow Raised” Delinquent Anime Character
This is a face anime delinquent characters tend to make when gloating or bullying someone.
For this expression draw one eye squinted with the eyebrow over that eye lower down in a reversed curve. Draw the second eye slightly wider and with the eyebrow over that eye raised.
Draw the mouth in a sort of “crooked” smile with the teeth showing.
Drawing a “Bullying” Delinquent Anime Character
This is yet another “bullying” face the delinquent tends to make.
For this expression draw the eyebrows lower down in reversed curves. Draw the mouth slightly open.
Drawing an Anime Bookworm Character
The bookworm as the name suggest is a character that usually spends a lot of time reading and studying. They can often serve as a sort of “go to for advice” type character for the protagonist.
A more neatly combed hairstyle may be more appropriate for this type of character as they are usually fairly diligent in everything they do.
You can draw the eyes for the “bookworm” almost the same as you would for the ordinary character.
Draw the mouth pretty much straight with no curve to give her a more serious look.
Finally you want to give her some glasses. For more on drawing anime glasses you can see:
How to Draw Anime & Manga Glasses
Drawing a Curious Bookworm Anime Character
The curious expression is one the “bookworm” tends to have when reading or looking at something they are particularly interested in. In this expression the eyes are often hidden behind the reflection of the light in the glasses.
While the eyes are not shown in this expression you can still use the vertical halfway line to make sure you correctly position the glasses.
Draw the mouth close to a sort of “rounded square” shape with (slightly wider towards the bottom).
Drawing a Shy Looking Bookworm Anime Character
The “bookworm” can also be shy at times especially towards someone they like.
For a shy “bookworm” face draw the eyes as normal with the eyebrows raised towards the center of the face.
Draw the mouth in a light smile and add some blush to the cheeks.
This concludes the anime character drawing tutorial. There are still many more archetypes and other aspects that go into making a character but it’s hard to cover that much in one tutorial (this is already the longest one here on AnimeOutline thus far).
These examples should give you enough to work with that you can use them to create other character types.
For drawing other character types with different proportions also see:
- How to Draw a Beautiful Anime Girl Step by Step
- How to Draw an Anime Elf Girl Step by Step
- How to Draw Anime Christmas Santa Hat Girl
You can also check out the tutorial below for some more anime and manga style facial expressions and personality related drawing advice:
- How to Draw Anime and Manga Eyes to Show Mood & Personality
- 12 Anime Facial Expressions Chart & Drawing Tutorial
- 16 Examples of How to Draw Chibi Anime Facial Expressions
For drawing a semi-realistic looking female anime character see:
How to Draw a Realistic Anime Face Step by Step
For drawing different poses see:
How to Draw Anime Poses Step by Step