How to Draw Manga Tutorial
In this How to Draw Manga Tutorial you learn to draw Manga Heads from
different angles and in different positions.
This is an important skill
for all Manga artists, since it is essential for the creation of
You want to show your characters in a lot of interesting action.
Choosing a good posture for their heads and drawing
them in a fitting angle will also make them interesting to look at.
So let's master this basic skill of Manga Drawing.
Table of Contents:
How to Draw Manga Tutorial - Part 1: Rotating a
1.0: Drawing a Sphere with Reference Lines
1.1: Rotating the Head
1.2: Lifting or Lowering the Head
1.3: Leaning the Head Sidewards
1.4: Dynamic Head Postures
How to Draw Manga Tutorial - Part 2: Facial Shape
We draw the outer shape of the face, which consists of three parts:
1. Cheek Bone
3. Jaw Angle
How to Draw Manga Tutorial - Part 3: Sketching in
Here we consider how to place the organs into the face:
How to Draw Manga Tutorial - Part 4:
and Fine Tuning
In this final step we clean up the sketch and perfect it, until we
arrive at the finished drawing.
How to Draw Manga Tutorial - Part 1:
Rotating a Sphere
The best way to start drawing a Manga head is to sketch a sphere.
On this sphere you draw lines that indicate the direction into which
the character's face is looking.
Think of it as a skull, to which the
cheek bones and the jaw still have to be added.
Let's first take a look how to draw the sphere for a head that is
looking straight at the reader.
Then we figure out how to rotate this
How to Draw Manga Tutorial - Part
Sphere with Reference Lines
Start by drawing a circle.
Interpret it as a sphere which you see from the side.
the sphere in half with a straight, vertical line.
Then add two horizontal lines into its lower half.
We'll call these lower lines the eye-lines, because the eyes will be
in between them, each on one side of the middle line.
And since the nose will sit in the middle just below the eye-lines, you
can probably already imagine what the finished head would look like.
Here is a very rough sketch:
So this is the way to draw reference lines on the sphere for a head
looking straight at the reader.
Now let's see how we can rotate the head through changing the reference
How to Draw
Manga Tutorial - Part 1.1:
Turning the Head Left or Right
To make the head turn to the left or the right, you just have to
the straight middle line with a curve. The more you let the curve bulge
towards the edge of the circle, the
stronger the head will be turned aside.
For example, the curve on the left sphere is a bit stronger than the
curve on the right one.
(You can see this clearly by looking at the arrows. Both have the same
length, but only one of them touches the circle's side.)
The eye-lines are not changed at all, because the eyes'
height remains the same.
How to Draw
Manga Tutorial - Part 1.2:
Lowering the Head
When the head is lifted or lowered, this changes the eye-lines, while
middle line remains the same.
Draw the eye-lines curving upwards, to make the head look upwards.
Let them bulge downwards, if your character is supposed to look to the
Again, the stronger you make these curves, the more the head will be
lifted or lowered.
How to Draw
Manga Tutorial - Part 1.3:
Draw the middle line into the circle tilted, if you want to lean the
Since the eye-lines have to be drawn in a straight angle to the middle
line, they'll run diagonally, too.
The head continues to look straight at the reader, however.
With this last way to change the reference lines, we now have
everything we need to create all possible head positions.
How to Draw
Manga Tutorial - Part 1.4:
For really interesting head postures you have to combine all the three
methods shown above.
Rotate the head, lift or lower it, and also lean it sidewards a bit to
get a good positioning.
Let's look at two examples:
First of all, this head has been rotated, so that it leans slightly
Through an additional bending of the middle line towards the left, it
has also been rotated.
And since the eye-lines are bulging downwards, the character is looking
to the ground.
This head was rotated in the opposite direction and is looking upwards.
The middle line is very close to the edge of the circle, so that you'll
almost see the face in profile.
Now you know how to create a sphere as the basis for the head, and
how to make it look in different directions.
In the next steps of this How to Draw Manga Tutorial, we are going to
turn these spheres into complete heads.
How to Draw Manga Tutorial - Part 2:
After you have drawn the sphere as the basis of the skull, the next
step is to add the shape of the face.
It consists of three important elements:
1: Cheek Bone
3: Jaw Angle
Start with the cheekbone, when drawing the face.
It begins at the height of the eye-lines and bulges out slightly below
Draw a steep line after the cheek bone, going down towards the chin.
Place the chin in such a position, that you can draw a straight
extension of the sphere's middle lines towards it. If it helps you,
start with drawing this straight extension, and then add the shape of
the face around it afterwards.
The line connecting chin and jaw angle should be drawn in a rather
plane angle, in comparison to the line connecting cheek bone and chin.
Let it bend up into the circle at the end.
And with that your character's facial shape is finished.
Since this shape strongly influences the look of your character, subtle
differences are important here.
Below I point out what makes each of these three heads special.
This character is supposed to be a very masculine man.
For that reason I drew the borders of his face with straight lines that
meet in rather pointy angles.
I also made the chin broad and flat.
A young boy will be the owner of this head.
Since young people have rather smooth features, I took care to avoid
angles and made all shapes rounded in this face.
His chin is fairly narrow and doesn't look as strong as that of the man.
Also note how the line bulges slightly inwards after the cheek, to make
his features a bit more fragile.
This head will belong to a woman.
To achieve a certain femininity, I let her cheek stand out clearly and
made the curve of her jaw angle very smooth and flowing.
Yet what makes this head really special is that you see the chin from
below. It is not a curve that goes downwards, but a curve pointing
the direction of her gaze, and the middle line of the face is touching
it at its highest point.
From this point of view, you also see both borders of the jaw.
The first one, on the left side, transitions downwards into the throat.
The one on the right side also goes slightly down first, before it arcs
up into the circle.
For such rather complicated head positions, I
recommend that you go to a mirror and take a quick look at your head
from this angle.
Realize how the lines of your cheek and jaw are running, and imagine
transferring them to your paper.
This will ease your drawing process a lot!
For some head positions it may also be helpful
to draw in additional
reference lines for mouth and nose.
In this case, I had problems to imagine in which angle to draw the
After several tries of drawing and erasing, I ended up with these
Now you can already get a very clear idea how the finished face will
look like, just by looking at the reference lines.
How to Draw Manga Tutorial - Part 3:
Sketching in the Organs
The head is ready, so that you can sketch in the organs: eyes, mouth,
nose and ears.
Our goal is not to draw them in their final shape, however. We are just
concerned about placing them correctly. So just sketch them in loosely,
trying to find the
right spot for them.
It may be necessary to slightly change the facial reference lines,
they aren't working at some point.
In my case, the woman got a new reference line for her mouth.
(I also added the throat for man and boy in this step of the how to
draw manga tutorial, as you can see below.)
Of course you've got to place the eyes between the eye-lines, one on
each side of the middle line.
When the head is seen from a side angle, it makes sense to place one
eye much closer towards the middle line than the other. Look at the
right two heads, for example.
On the side of the face, which is turned away from the reader, the eye
is sitting very close to the middle line. On the other side, it has a
rather large distance from it. This is a realistic approach.
The left head, however, is different. You can see that both eyes are
very close to the middle line, and sit narrow together.
Yet this suits the character rather well, since it gives him a very
piercing gaze, fitting to the man I wanted to create.
So you are free to divert from realism, if it fits your purpose.
One more thing about the eye that lies on the "escaping" side of the
Since this eye is farer away from the observer and also seen from a
side angle, you should draw it slightly smaller and narrower than the
The nose is fairly simple to draw in Manga Style.
It is usually just a
little pointy shape.
Place it below the eyes on the middle line.
Small variations of the nose can still be useful to enhance the
individuality of your characters.
The angle of the man's nose is rather plane in comparison to the pointy
angle of the boy's nose.
And since the woman is looking upwards, you can see the bottom of her
nose as a triangle.
Draw in the mouth, so that its center is lying on the facial middle
In Manga, the mouth is often just one single line, which indicates
where the lips are meeting.
I usually also draw another small line below, to define the bottom of
the lower lip.
The woman has rather uncommon lips for Manga Style.
I wanted to give her the look of a royalty, so I thought full, rich
lips are appropriate.
Put the ears just atop the jaw angle.
You may need to experiment a bit, to figure out how large to make them,
and how high they should reach.
On real humans, the ears reach up to level of the eyebrows and line up
with the nose at the bottom. But since this is a comic style, and the
noses are so tiny, you can freely divert from this scheme.
How to Draw Manga Tutorial: Heads - Part 4:
Cleaning Up and Fine Tuning
Now it is time to go into the details and finish the head.
Erase all reference lines and get ready to redraw the initial sketches
of the facial organs into their clean, final version.
You will most likely still have to make a few small changes to their
positioning, however. Because now, that the reference lines are gone,
some things may look a
bit awkward, which you didn't realize in that jungle of lines before.
I already mentioned above that the eye, which is slightly turned away
from the reader, should be drawn narrower and slightly smaller than the
other one. Here you can see this best in the man's face, where one eye
looks like a "squeezed" mirror version of the other.
Apply this also to the corners of the mouth, and make their lines a bit
shorter on the "escaping" side of the face.
In the case of the woman, whose head you almost see in profile, you
don't even see the other corner of the mouth any more.
I'll leave the heads bald for this How to Draw
Manga Tutorial. The hairstyles would just distract. Once you are
practiced in drawing Manga heads from different angles, you can easily
add cool haircuts on top of them. I'll publish a lesson about that soon.
Probably this step is the most time consuming.
You may need a few
attempts, until you get it perfect.
Persistence pays off however!
The more you practice, the quicker you will be able to draw good
looking Manga heads. And in the end it will be a breeze for you.
It was my pleasure to bring you this How to Draw Manga Tutorial.
Stay tuned for more drawing tutorials to come soon!