This tutorial explains how to draw a an anime or manga girl’s head head and face from the front and side views.
Before you begin drawing it’s a good idea to outline the defining features of the anime style.
Most female anime characters tend to have big eyes, a small mouth, nose and chin and a fairly round face. The lips are usually either very lightly defined or not drawn at all. The hair is usually drawn in clumps instead of individual strands and often tends to have a somewhat spiky look.
If drawing using pencil and paper be sure to make very light lines for the initial parts of the tutorial as you will need to erase some parts later.
Keep these things in mind when drawing anime characters.
Step 1 – Drawing The Head
Star you drawing with the overall outline of the head. For an explanation of the drawing order as well as some general drawing tips see:
You can draw a vertical line down the middle of the head for the front view to help you insure that both sides are even.
Make a circle or a light oval for the front view and a longer oval for the side view to help you get the shape of the top of the head.
For the front view you can basically project two sets of lines down from the oval/circle that curve to meet at the chin.
For the side view there will be a sort of indent for the nose/eyes area. Draw the nose about halfway between the bottom of the chin (covered in more detail in Steps 3) and the middle of the head. You can draw a straight line going from the tip of the nose down to the chin (details of the mouth will be added in Step 5). Again for the side view you can draw a line going upwards from the chin and then curving again towards what will later be the position of the ears to form the lower jaw.
For both views draw the chin small and almost pointy but with a tiny curve at the bottom.
In the above example you can see the basic curves and shape of an anime or manga style head.
Step 2 – Drawing the Ears
To place the ears first draw a horizontal line directly though the middle of the head and then draw another line between that and the chin. Draw the ears between these two lines.
For the side view placement of the ears they will be positioned slightly more towards the back of the head than the front.
As the ears will be covered by the hair in later step we won’t go into drawing their inner details. But if you would like to learn more about drawing anime style ears see:
Step 3 – Drawing the Eyes
To place the eyes on the head you can use the same vertical line used to place the top part of the ears. Draw the eyes directly below this line. The height of anime eyes can vary based on style and character type so there is no one sure way to place the bottom portion.
If drawing both views at once be sure that the positioning of the bottom portions of the eyes in both views is relatively even. A common mistake beginner artists tend to make when drawing the same face from different views is misaligned or differently sized facial features.
Also note that for this stage of the drawing process you can do a simplified shape of the eyes and leave the details for a later (covered in Step 7).
For more on drawing female anime see:
For drawing different types of eyebrows see:
Step 4 – Drawing the Nose
As already mentioned you will want to position the nose between the horizontal halfway point of the face and the bottom of the chin.
In the front view you can pretty much draw the nose as just a dot in the side view an anime nose is usually small and pointy.
For more examples of anime noses in different views you can see:
Step 5 – Drawing the Mouth
To mouth is a little bit trickier to place as you will first want to get the position of the bottom lip in order to do it. Also keep in mind that when it comes to anime and manga the bottom lips itself is often not drawn in the front view of the characters.
The bottom lip will be positioned between the nose and the bottom of the chin. Draw the mouth itself slightly above that.
You can pretty much draw the mouth as one or two lines (really just one line with a break in the middle for the front view). If you want a happier/friendlier looking character you can draw it with a bit of a curve.
In the above illustration you can see how the initial straight line from the tip of the nose down to the chin can then be used help you draw the lips.
For more on drawing anime mouths and lips see:
- How to Draw Anime Lips Tutorial
- How to Draw Anime and Manga Mouth Expressions
- How to Draw Anime & Manga Mouths – Side View
Step 6 – Drawing The Hair
Add the hair.
Keep in mind that the hair will overlap some of the other features of the character’s face. But it is still good practice to draw those out especially since they may be visible if you choose to draw a different hair style. You can erase the parts that are covered up by the hair once you are done.
For this stage you can simply draw out the major parts of the hair clumps without any of the smaller inner details of the hair. Try and vary the clumps slightly in size shape and direction to give the hair a more natural look.
For more information on drawing anime and manga hair check:
- How to Draw Anime & Manga Male & Female Hair
- How to Draw Anime & Manga Style Hair Braids
- Different Ways to Draw Anime Hair Highlights
Step 7 – Drawing the Smaller Details of the Face & Finishing the Line Drawing
At this stage you can erase the parts of the face that are covered by the hair and add the smaller details o the eyes such as the eyelashes, pupils, and highlights. You can also shade in the eyelashes and add some more details to the hair.
When drawing the eyes you can lightly outline the highlights (reflections of light) with a very light lines so that if you shade the eyes you don’t accidentally shade them in also.
Once you are done you should have a finished line drawing of an anime girl’s head and face.
This is technically a finished drawing and you can leave it as is but if you want to go a little bit further you can move on to the next step for the shading.
You can see the finished line drawing of the facial features without the hair in the way in the illustration above.
Step 8 – Applying Shading
You can add some very basic shading to your drawing to make it stand out a lot more.
Anime uses what is known as “Cel” style shading (basically shading with no gradients) which generally makes shading fair fast and easy.
The way the shading is applied will be determined by two things. The areas that are naturally darker and the areas that have shadows cast on them.
Generally you will want to darken the hair and the irises of the eyes (leave the highlights white). Shade the pupils and the upper area of the iris even darker.
Leave a white area in the hair for the highlight. For more on drawing these see:
In Shadow Areas
The way shadows are cast is determined by the light source. For the sake of this tutorial we will go with very “generalized” lighting conditions where the shadows are usually cast downwards.
In this case the shadows (top to bottom) will be:
- Forehead – from the hair
- Eyelids – due to them being indented in the head (less light reaches)
- Top of the Eyes – from the eyelashes (somewhat optional these can be too small to notice)
- Nose – to one side
- Below Mouth (optional) – from the lips
- Neck – from the head
For a tutorial on shading anime faces in different lighting conditions see:
If you would like to color your character see:
- Beginner Guide to Picking Colors When Drawing Anime & Manga
- How to Color an Anime Character Step by Step
This tutorial provides general guidelines for drawing an anime or manga style female face. For instructions on drawing anime style female bodies check out:
- How to Draw an Anime Girl Step by Step Detailed Tutorial
- How to Draw Anime & Manga Arms Tutorial
- How to Draw Female Anime Legs Tutorial
For drawing an older or younger female character’s head and face see:
For drawing male anime heads and faces see:
For drawing different types of anime characters see: