How to Draw a Chibi Character
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Chibi is a Japanese word used to describe a "small thing or a person with a small body". Chibi is a simple, cute form of manga
-- Super Deformed or SD is another name for chibis and it's meaning is obvious. It is essentially a version of manga/anime.
Steps to Draw Chibi Characters
- CG - Computer graphic [CG] chibis can be drawn by hand and then scanned and edited on a PC or drawn and coloured on a PC. The lines are shaped better than hand-inked lines and the colours are very vivid and usually 'perfect colouring' [no white gaps or pencil marks] it's also easier to do chibi shading, on the hair there will be a white or light colour zigzag to show the light hitting the hair, the rest of the shading is done using darker shades to show shadows. Some great programs for CGing are Adobe Illustrator, and OpenCanvas. look these up on google to get some free trials. To CG, most prefer to use a tablet, but they can get expensive (up to $1200 for a really nice one), and you can still use a mouse, it just might be more dificult.Type chibi into Google to see some examples o work. remember though, no tracing!
- Traditional - This is hand drawn chibis, less common on search engines but found on sites such as gaiaonline.com and deviantart.com they can either be black and white or coloured in by hand, occasionally showing shading thought this is generally tonal shading using gradual darkening of colours to create a 3D effect. Usually, when people choose traditional, they scan their work and adjust opacity or other factors to make their work look neater.
- How Can I Draw Them?
- There's different methods depending on your equipment, time and style. First decide traditional or CG. #Traditional:
- What You Need -Pencil, black pens or outlining markers like pigma microns (these you can get in diferent width, which can be really nice when you start to get really good.), colouring pencils and/or pens
- Things To Remember: Everything about a chibi should be simplified, hair, feet, eyes and the head size are exaggerated. The photo tutorial is an independent source. remember that porportions are MUCH diferent in a chibi, and using a "head giude" to help with porportions can be extremely helpful.
- )Start with a circle, it can be any size but for a first time make it big enough so you can practice the detail
- )The body - draw a simplified outline of the clothing, for this tutorial we'll look at a very simple dress, it should be a similar shape to a triangle, and the chibi won't have a neck [A photo tutorial will be posted so don't worry if you're lost]. If you've mastered this method, try drawing a simplified and smaller body using rounded rods and circles for joints.
- ) The arms should end at about hip-level. The important things to remember is that the elbow isn't really shown unless the arm is bent and even then its just a rounded corner in the arm; the arm should start big and end small with a simplified hand. Try to taper the hands, don't make mickey-mouse cartoony hands.
- ) the legs also start big and end with a smaller ankle. Shoes must be kept simple, trainers or sneakers become a circle or occasionally a simplified trainer, [an x shape for laces and lines for the sole of the shoe] sandals are a circle with a square to show straps, other details may also be simplified.
- ) The facial details - Chibi eyes are huge and an important 'cute' factor, start with an arch for the top of each eye and draw a straight line quite a bit beneath them, link the left end of the curve with the left end of the line and same with the right side. Try to develop your own chibi eye, this will make your drawing much more unique! Noses aren't really there on a chibi face, and the mouth is small when closed, and big when opened.
- Inside this new space you've made between those lines draw a circle nearest to the curve and a smaller circle near the base line, colour the rest of the space in either black or the colour of the iris, if the chibi is looking to the side then draw these circles slightly closer to the lines on the side of the eye and make the colouring fade as it reaches the other side.
- The eyebrows - an arch shows happiness, diagonal eyebrows like these \/ show anger and diagonal lines like these / \ show sadness, other expressions such as sarcasm can be shown by having one like a V and one like an upside down V
- The Nose - doesn't exist, to replace it draw 3 straight lines close together where the nose should be
- The mouth - is very simple, think of MSN smilies either draw a sideways D or a simple curve for a smile or sad face
- The ears - are just a curve, they should be set low on the face, the top should be in line with the middle of the eye and the bottom of the curve should be in line with the top of the mouth
- ) After drawing the face focus on the hair, it should be big and exaggerated, fringes cover most of the forehead and often the eyebrows too, partings should be huge curves that extend away from the head and down,always draw it behind the body if ot extends past the shoulders. Bangs and fringes are the only parts that should be touching the face.
- 7) Go back and add detail, examples: hair accessories, earing, bows or images on clothing, shoe details, shading etc.
- Computer Graphic [CG]:
- What You Need: A Graphics Programme, OPTIONAL: a sketch, a scanner, a tablet
- ) Read throught the traditional guide, it shows how to draw the chibis properly, this is what we are going to do but using you graphics programme.
- Optional: if you have a black and white sketch you want to use then scan it onto your PC and open it using the graphics programme, when the guide is telling you to draw something simply outline it in black on your graphics programme, after outlining you can use the programme to colour it in.
- ) Get used to the basics of the programme and find a shape tool, draw a circle using the shape tool, if you don't have a shape tool then draw a circle using the pen/pencil tool
- ) Follow the steps of drawing the simple chibi shown in the traditional guide, you can use either a pen or line tool to draw it
- ) Pick colours for each of the outlined sections, use the paintbucket/fill tool to fill these in with block colours. Well done you've completed a simple CG chibi, to make it more advanced add some shading, look at pictures of chibis there's some simple things that they all have.
- A zigzag or shape with the same curves as the chibis hair, this is normally coloured white or a darker colour than the chibi’s block hair colour, you can also try out the shadows, look at where they are on other chibis such as under the fringe, eyes and chin.
- Keep your hands clean so you don’t smudge pencil lines, you can even wear a latex glove if you need to.
- Use sharpened pencils to get fine lines and to keep everything consistent.
- Practice drawing the eyes and different expressions, think of as many as you can and just draw the different faces, if you don’t want to draw the whole head then just draw the eyes, nose dashes and mouth
- Keep looking for different examples of chibis. look at how the different eyes and clothing are drawn.
- Try places like gaiaonline for great little chibi/manga characters to practice drawing, lots of players will pay [in in-game money] for chibi art, go to www.gaiaonline.com to sign up then check out the forums for people looking for art, it’s a good place to practice drawing.
- Never be discouraged by doing something wrong, just keep trying until you get it right, especially for CG it can take many months until you can control the graphics programme properly and make your chibis look lifelike and 3D
Things You'll Need to Make Chibi Drawings
- Pencil and eraser
- For CG - a drawing program on your computer, like paint, paint.NET, manga studio, photoshop, photostudio 5.5 and adobe. If you need a free program, try GIMP.
- For traditional - Colored pencils or markers to color in the chibi.
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