How to Draw Fingernails 6 Different Ways

This tutorial shows how to draw fingernails in several different ways. The examples are focused on anime and manga but can also be applied to other styles.

Fingernails drawing different ways
Fingernails drawing different ways

You can see the main examples of nails shown in this tutorial in the examples above but there are also a few other variations so make sure to go over the whole thing.

Drawing a Hand With No Fingernails

Hand drawing no fingernails
Hand drawing no fingernails

Before drawing any types of nails you should first draw the hand. The pose in the above example is a good one for showing off the nails and will be used for the rest of the tutorial.

It’s also important to note that in anime and manga hands can sometimes simply be drawn without fingernails and will look somewhat like the example above. This is especially so when a hand is shown from far away. You are however more likely to see nails when a hand is drawn up close.

As this tutorial is on drawing nails it will not go into the details of drawing the hand.

For guides on hands see:

Drawing Short Fingernails

Fingernails drawing
Fingernails drawing

When drawing short realistic fingernails you can fully outline each nail.

Make their inner ends more rounded and their tips a little more flat. You can also leave a tiny bit of space between the tips of the nails and the tips of the fingers.

Drawing Simplified Fingernails

Anime fingernails drawing
Anime fingernails drawing

Quite often in anime and manga fingernails tend to be drawn as in the example above where the nails are not fully outlined and a gap is left towards their inner ends.

This is likely due to the fact that there is not really a gap between the fingers and the nails in that spot.

Other than that you can pretty much draw these nails exactly as in the first example.

Drawing Long Fingernails

Long fingernails drawing
Long fingernails drawing

For long nails you should obviously draw them longer. You can also give them pointier tips.

Long fingernails see through drawing
Long fingernails see through drawing

Its generally a still good idea to first fully draw out the hand and then draw the nails over top of it as shown above.

You can simply erase the parts of the fingers that are covered by them afterwards.

Drawing Simplified Long Fingernails

Anime long fingernails drawing
Anime long fingernails drawing

Similar to the example with the short nails longer nails can also be drawn in a more anime/manga style with a gap in their inner ends.

Other than that once again draw them pretty much the same as the previous example.

Drawing Fingernails With Nail Polish

Painted fingernails drawing
Painted fingernails drawing

For painted nails you would generally want to first draw long nails and then simply fill them with the appropriate color. One thing you may want to do though is leave a tiny highlight inside each nail. This will make them appear shiny (as polished nails often are).

Anime painted fingernails drawing
Anime painted fingernails drawing

If you want to draw the anime/manga style nails with the open inner ends you can still fill the shapes of the nails with color but leave the gaps in the outlines.

Drawing Long Finger Nails With no Nail Outlines

Long fingernails no nail outlines
Long fingernails no nail outlines

Finally this last example is somewhat similar to the first one that it does not really show the outlines of the nails but instead gives the fingers pointier tips.

You can use this trick when making non-close up drawings of hands with long fingernails (as is often done in anime and manga).

Conclusion

This is a fairly short tutorial as there is not really that much to drawing fingernails. You can pretty much get all of the information you need from the finished drawing. If you need help with drawing hands you can see the links at the start of the tutorial.

For other similar tutorial also see: