How to Draw Chibi Characters

Welcome to the How to Draw Chibi Characters guide!

Chibi, or in other terms super deformed characters, are essentially manga characters with huge heads and tiny bodies. It can also be used to denote child-like versions of characters.

As with all other art styles, there is no set way to drawing a chibi-fied character. So you're pretty much set if your character fits the above description! =)

Moving on with the tutorial... I was doing a banner for a friend of mine and decided to design a chibi character from scratch and create a tutorial out of it. Here's how I designed the chibi character, start to finish!

How to Draw Chibi Characters Tutorial

How to Draw Chibi Characters Step 1: Imagine with Guidelines

This should be pretty familiar to some of you by now. If not, pay attention~!

Imagine the character that you'd like to draw.

Remember to always think of what you'd like to draw. I mean, if you don't have any idea what your character is like, you could be staring at scribbles that make no sense on your paper. So here are a couple of things you can ask yourself:

  • Is your character male or female?
  • Do you have a theme for your character?
  • What is his/her personality?
  • What does he/she look like?

Write or Sketch down what you've imagined.

  • Male
  • Theme: Lightning, blue and gold outfit?
  • Personality: Cool and strong headed. You don't really wanna mess with him lol.
  • In this picture he's pointing towards the viewer.

Let's just call him 'Strikes' for now. It'll be much easier to explain the tutorial if he has a name of some sort. =P

Sketch in rough Guidelines using basic shapes.

Trust me, you don't want to skip this step and go straight to drawing. Sketching light guidelines beforehand helps you get the proportion of your character right. So here are the How to Draw Chibi guides for Lightning Strikes:

  • Extra details: You can skip this step if you want to, but I normally add more details to my guide before starting on the actual artwork.
  • Like I said, Strikes has a hand pointing towards you. To make this more obvious, I drew a 3d looking rectangle extending outwards.

I fill in the rest of the limbs and body and at the end of the day,
I get a light messy sketch like this:

Don't worry if you feel lost all of a sudden, the point here is that your sketched guidelines don't have to be beautifully crafted. It's okay to be messy as long as you keep it light.

Remember, your guides do not have to be as detailed, it's your personal preference really. As for how I drew the various body parts, I'll explain it to you in step 2.

How to Draw Chibi Characters Step 2: Sketching in your Chibi

How to Draw Chibi - Face

  • Chibi art is really simplified. Simply draw a curved in 'U' with the right side cut out for the head.
  • Chibi eyes aren't different from anime eyes, refer to my tutorial on How to Draw Anime Eyes for instructions. =)

How to Draw Chibi Body

  • The circles you see here are Strikes' shoulders.
  • His chest is connected to the arms like a huge 'W' (the reddish brown lines).

How to Draw Chibi Arms

  • Using the 3d rectangle guide from before, sketch in the basic shape for the arm.
  • The arm has 3 portions: Shoulder, upper arm and forearm. (Yes, the shoulder actually does extend into the arm.)
  • Then you have the joints at the shoulder, elbow and wrist.

How to Draw Chibi Hands

  • For Strikes, I decided to go with a proper hand, 5 fingers and all (since I wanted him pointing towards the viewer). Strikes' left hand is clenched around a potential belt.
  • Note: You should actually draw the object that your character's holding before drawing his/her hand. However for the purposes of this tutorial I have to shift the belt towards the end instead.

  • The fingers are shorter and rounder in chibi form.
  • I also added in a fingerless glove for Strikes that extends to his elbow. Looks pretty nifty really.

Matilda's Tips and Tricks!

How to Draw Hands

I've mentioned this in a previous tutorial that is no longer available on the site, so I decided to re-introduce this tips and tricks section here.

1)Research and Refer

Refer to your very own hands! Look in a mirror, or grab a camera and take a few pictures of yourself or others.

2)Additional Guidelines

A fantastic way to make drawing hands easy. Some examples:

Start with an oval.Add in stick fingers.Flesh out fingers. Keep in mind the joints and bones of each finger. (Joints are red, Bones are blue.)

How to Draw Chibi Legs

  • So this would be how Strikes legs would look like without pants-as miniature as his body.
  • Strikes wears pants, so you'll have to take the clothes into consideration. Most noticeably the wrinkles and fold of the pants.
  • Since this is a chibi character, there's no need to be specific. Just a couple of slightly exaggerated folds will work. For example the cloth can gather at his knee area or pinch at the top of his thighs.

Boots

  • To start off, you can draw a semi-circle at where the tip of the boots will be pointed at. You can check out the 'messy guides' above if you're not sure what I mean.
  • From there, drawing in the basic shape of the boot should be much easier.
  • While drawing Strikes' footwear, I admit that I went slightly detail crazy. ^_^" So you can leave out the little odds, ends, and designs till the last step of this tutorial. (E.g. that little metal piece at the front.)
  • You can also add in little wrinkles on the boots where your character might be putting pressure on.

Clothes

  • So here's the belt I mentioned previously.
  • I also threw in a coat for Strikes. Why? Well... it looks nice!
  • Note that the coat isn't stagnant and actually looks like there's some sort of wind blowing it upwards. (Rather like what Michael Jackson likes to do.) This is done by drawing loopy curves in an arc around Strikes' body.
  • Try to take note of which is the inner and outer part of the coat. I lined the inner side of it.
  • Lastly, add in the appropriate wrinkles and folds that come with your 'loopy curves'.

Hair

  • Here's another subject that I can do a couple of tutorials on, how to draw hair. Anyway I'll give you a simplified version of it.
  • When drawing hair, you gotta remember that the strands and clumps vary in size. They also vary in position. So draw clumps of hair in different sizes and place some above or under other strands.
  • Sketch out a messy guide for your chibi character's hair. Look at my messy guide above for an example. As you can see, you really don't have to be neat.
  • It's important to not end up with the top portion of your hair too close to the head guide. Your character might look like he/she is balding! =P
  • When you're happy with how it turns out, you go over it with neat, precise lines.

How to Draw Chibi Characters Final Step: Fun Details!

Phew! We're finally at the last step of this tutorial! Thank you so much for sticking with me till now. =D All you have to do now is to add in all sorts of details to your chibi character or fill in stuff that you think you might have missed out!

Here's what I did:

  • Drew in the Lightning symbol on Strikes' cheek and the emblem on his chest.
  • Erased intersecting areas (e.g. belt and coat).
  • You can add in all the designs your chibi characters clothes!
So that's it for the very first step-by-step tutorial on How to Draw Chibi Characters. Remember to keep practising and experimenting with your drawings!

If you liked this tutorial, why not try these out?



Female Eyes (Front View)


Female Eyes part 2 (Front View)


How to Draw a Cat