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Facial Proportions in Drawing Anime and Manga Faces

As I discussed in my blog post about drawing cartoons, drawing anime and manga draws on a variety of traditional drawing skills although those techniques are tweaked and exaggerated in cartoons, anime, and manga artwork.  But it’s an extremely popular topic in art and drawing.

Take facial proportions.  Drawing anime and manga faces is a huge interest to many artists.  While you can learn a few very specific guidelines for one particular angle and one particular type of face, that’s going to limit you to that angle and that type of face.  You want to learn how to SEE like an artist so no matter what angle, what face shape, what gender, you’ll be able to draw from your solid drawing foundation.

Take the anime facial proportions diagram below, from http://discover-how-to-draw.com.

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You can see a variety of different face shapes and genders, which is terrific.  You can also see the guidelines for the proportions of each face (meaning the distances between various features).  That’s good if you just want to draw these particular faces.

However, what many developing artists find is that (1) they don’t understand what the lines really mean and therefore don’t know how to place them where they need to be for individual faces, each of which is unique and requires just a bit of tweaking, and (2) how to apply these lines when faces are turned at different angles.  After all, watch any anime cartoon, strip, or graphic novel, and you’ll see faces turned in all kinds of angles.  How do those artists maintain the specific features and likenesses so that as the faces turn, you still know which character you’re looking at?

A great way to master these skills and establish a strong drawing foundation with facial proportions is finding a good lesson on the subject.  My blog entry on guidelines for choosing quality online drawing instruction can prove useful to you at this point in your journey.  An example of a solid lesson on this subject would be the seventh lesson of my “Drawing Secrets Revealed” series, Lesson 7 – Facial Proportions.  In this lesson, I teach not only the basic guidelines for facial proportions (similar to the ones shown above but more thorough), but also how to apply them to faces tilted at different angles (see below).  The practice activities for this lesson help you lock in those concept into your muscle memory.

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 My lesson on facial proportions is certainly not the only one out there on the Internet, nor is my 12-lesson drawing series the only drawing program you’ll find.  However, it is chock-full of solid instruction.  Make sure when you are investigating the quality of the drawing instruction out there, you consider factors such as:

  • how they’re teaching (video is extremely helpful, which I feel is the most valuable way to teach drawing online)

  • what concepts they’re covering (are they teaching you how to draw one particular thing or are they showing you how to apply what they’re teaching to many different subjects?)

  • how their instruction is structured (is the concept they’re teaching taught with no context or foundational skills so it might be far beyond your current skill set, or is it organized so each lesson builds on the previous ones?)

  • how much money and time you’re willing to invest to hone your art

Whichever method you choose, I wish you luck and encourage you to keep drawing!  By the way, a great source for anime products and merchandise can be found at The Anime Collectionary – I know a lot of your hard-core anime fans will find something you like here!

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Click HERE to find out how you can draw anything you see in just weeks with my college-level drawing course.

Also, check out my original works for sale or my prints for sale.

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