How to draw Japanese high-school uniforms: Part 1

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[1] Tutorial Introduction

This is Part 1 of illustrator hnk's tutorial series “How to draw Japanese high-school uniforms”.

It will cover how Japanese students wear and accessorize their uniforms.

Let’s learn how uniforms are worn in Japan, and widen your character repertoire!


[2] Gakuran

“Gakuran” (Japanese: 学ラン) is the name of the Japanese high school uniform typically worn by boys.

They are usually black, although some schools have navy or gray uniforms, and they appear in flashier colors in some anime and manga.

First, let's go over the most distinct features of the gakuran: the shoulders, buttons, and collar.



■ Shoulders

The shoulder area is padded, making the shoulders appear slightly wider than they actually are.



■ Buttons

There are usually five buttons on a gakuran. The bottom third of the jacket is buttonless. Some gakuran designs have seven buttons.



■ Collar

The collar is the defining characteristic of a gakuran.

It is a rigid standing collar that fastens around the neck. You can think of the collar as like a short band around the neck. The collar has a hook fastening, so don’t forget to draw these too.

On the inside of the collar is a separate inner collar. This collar is made of white plastic and is usually removable, but some uniforms affix it to the outer collar.


Usually, a little bit of the inner collar can be seen over the outer collar. It’s a minor detail, but make sure to not forget it.


[3] Blazers

A blazer is a type of jacket. Blazers can be part of high school uniforms or elementary school uniforms. They tend to have much more variation in design and color than gakuran.

It’s easy to make your own uniform design by choosing the color and deciding whether to match the slacks or have the slacks in a different color.

Let's look at the characteristics of the blazer in order of collar, shoulders, chest pocket, and buttons.



■ Collar & Lapel

Most blazers have a short collar and a long lapel. Keep the proportions in mind when drawing.



■ Shoulders

Like on a gakuran, the shoulder area is padded, so make sure to draw the shoulders a bit wider.



■ Chest pocket

The chest pocket is on the left side.

Many uniforms have the school crest embroidered over the chest pocket. You can draw small objects like glasses in the pockets.



■ Buttons

Blazers typically have two or three buttons. The bottom section is buttonless like the gakuran.

There are two types of blazers: single-breasted blazers, which have one column of buttons, and double-breasted blazers, which have two columns of buttons. Single-breasted blazers are more common.


[4] Summer clothes

Below, I sketched out some examples of standard, casual, and formal summer uniforms.


Standard

The top button is open, and the shirt is tucked in.


Casual

This style is often seen in manga and anime.

The shirt is worn open with a graphic T-shirt underneath. Keep the shirt untucked to complete the look.


Formal

In contrast with the casual style, the shirt is fully buttoned and is worn with a necktie and vest.

Typically, straight-A types will be in this style.

In this way, you can express the personality of your characters through how they wear their uniforms.


[5] Uniform Accessories

Finally, I will introduce some accessories that go well with uniforms.


■ Watches

Design-wise, stylish and expensive watches will look out of place with a school uniforms, so it’s better to use simpler designs.


■ Clothing

Common clothes are parkas, sweaters, cardigans etc.

You can express a character’s personality by adding them under gakuran or blazers.


■ Bags

Bags are one of the most important items for students.

There are many varieties, from typical school bags to sports bags, backpacks, and so on.


■ Mobile devices

The most common mobile devices are smartphones and music players.

You can increase variation by adding earphones or headphones as well.


■ Winter accessories

Winter items include scarves, gloves, knitted hats, and so on.

These items add more variation to your characters’ clothing to add extra flair to your art.


You can express the personality of your characters and add more variation to your designs by adding accessories. Have fun mixing and matching to create unique characters!


[6] Palmie video course

Ready to start drawing school uniforms now?

The below Palmie video tutorial also covers how to draw student hats, with more examples of uniform and accessory combinations.


Check it out!

※ This video is in Japanese.


Over 200 free lessons are available on the drawing course website Palmie!

Note: The Palmie website is only available in Japanese.


・ Artist profile: hnk

My name is hnk. I doodle a lot. I also love drawing girls. Thanks for reading the article!

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