This tutorial shows how to draw a muscular male body in the anime and manga style with a step by step breakdown of the various muscle groups.
The focus of this tutorial is on the upper body (excluding the arms). It shows an example of a very muscular but still a more realistic looking character. It’s important to note this as sometimes anime characters can be drawn with very exaggerated proportions to look absolutely huge.
If drawing on paper it’s recommended that you make light lines up until the final step of the tutorial. This will make it easier to erase any potential mistakes.
For more general drawing tips also see:
Step 1 – Draw the Outline of the Body
Generally very muscular bodies will be wider towards the top and narrower towards the bottom. As the muscles are basically “popping out” from the body sort of like they’ve been inflated almost everything will be drawn with some sort of a curve.
Draw the outline of the body as follows:
- Make a vertical line through the middle of the drawing area to help see if both sides of the body will be of relatively equal width.
- Draw a hint of the head (or the entire head if it’s easier for you).
- Add the neck going down from the bottom of the ears. You can draw it just a tiny bit wider towards the bottom.
- Going downwards from the neck in light curves draw the trapezius muscles.
- Down from the trapezius draw the shoulders with just one curve each.
- Add a hint of the arms. Make them fairly thick as this is a muscular character.
- Down from the arms draw the body getting narrower and then doing a sort of “wave shape” around the waist area where it gets wider and then narrower again.
- From the waist area the body will get wider again as it transitions into the hip/leg areas.
Step 2 – Position the Collar Bones
Going down from around the transition of the trapezius muscles into the shoulders draw a hint of the collar bones. For now you can pretty much show each one with just one line.
Step 3 – Draw the Chest Muscles
Make the overall shapes of the chest muscles slightly narrower towards the center of the body and wider towards the outsides. They should start from just below the collar bones and go down well past the shoulders.
You can draw each side of the chest with four sets of curves. The first one should somewhat face towards the shoulders, the next one can follow the angle of the collar bones. The third curve can be along the center line drawn in the first step. Finally for the last curve draw it’s line going slightly downwards in a light curve and then going back up again in a fairly sharp curve towards the start of the first curve.
Step 4 – Draw the Outline of the Abs
Start the drawing of the abs by first outlining their combined shape. In this case the character will have an “eight pack” so make the set of muscles just below the chest significantly wider. These should then transition into the next set of narrower abdominal muscles. You can outline the rest of the abs with just two curved lines on each side of the body as shown in the example above.
Step 5 – Draw the Individual Abs
Now draw the details of the individual abs. You can do this by drawing some light horizontal curves in between them.
The abs can curve up or down it really depends on the preference of the artist. Just don’t draw them straight or your character will not look natural.
Step 6 – Draw the Shoulder Muscles
Draw the shoulder muscles sort of “cutting” into the arm where they then split into the arm muscles such as the biceps.
Step 7 – Draw the Neck Muscles
Draw a hint of some of the neck muscles. In this case it will be the “sternocleidomastoid muscles” starting from the inner ends of the collar bones and going towards the ears.
For a more detailed explanation of these see:
Step 8 – Draw the Side Muscles
Now draw the muscle groups to the sides of the body. These will basically be two sets that sort of “weave” together. For an anime/manga style you can just give a hint of each of these with one curve.
Step 9 – Add the Small Details & Finish the Body Drawing
Finally to finish the drawing you can add all of the smaller details and curves of the different muscles groups. You can also erase the center line and go over your drawing with a darker stroke.
The details you will want to add are some of the smaller curves around the abs. You can also add a hint of the curves at the end of the collar bones.
After you finish you should pretty much be done with this tutorial.
Drawing bodies can be quite complicated. Muscular bodies can be an even bigger challenge as you have to show the individual details of all of the muscles. Anime and manga characters can be stylized to have certain muscles pop out more or be larger than normal but generally they are still based on the anatomy of real people. If you want to draw muscular characters then it’s a good idea to at least have a basic understanding of the size and placement of the various muscle groups.
This tutorial should give you a good idea of how to draw the upper part of a muscular male body from the front view. If you want to have a slightly slimmer or more pumped up character you can experiment by adjusting the size of the torso and different muscle sets to see what you get.
For more on drawing male anime characters see: