How to Draw Chibi Characters (For Beginners)

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Hello! I’m Reg and I’m here to help you turn any of your desired characters into chibis. In this tutorial, you will not only learn the basics, but also learn the various styles of drawing chibis so that you can explore and get more creative with your drawing. Well, what are we waiting for, let's get on with the tutorial!

[1] Getting to know the shapes

First thing you need to know before turning your characters into chibi is the general anatomy of chibis. Chibis are characters that are made cuter and smaller, and sometimes simplified. Lets begin:

THE HEAD:

You can draw your chibi’s head with every shape you want, a circle, sure; a square, no problem, etc.. Any shape you use for the head works.

THE BODY:

When drawing chibi bodies, always make it smaller than the head, kind of like a bobble head figure. For me I usually use a bell shaped body as you can see in the image above but it's up to you on how you want your chibi's body going to look. You can choose to simplify or add a bit more detail.

THE ARMS:

For the arms, we have 2 styles to choose from:

1. First is that you draw 2 oval shapes (the length of each is up to you), this will make a separation look for the elbows in between.
2. Or if you’re going for a very simple look, just draw a long oval or triangular shape (with curved corners) as shown on the image above to make your chibi's arms.

THE HANDS:

As for the hands... you’re not required to have all five fingers in your chibi's hand. You can have none, just the thumb, or even just 3 fingers, it's totally up to you. For me, I sometimes add fingers when my chibi is pointing somewhere or holding something.

THE WAIST, LEGS AND FEET:

The legs are basically the same process with how you draw the arms but of course with feet and waist this time.

[2]: Head Details

Now that you know how the Chibi's basic anatomy works, let's take a closer look at the head of your character. The head of your chibi is the most important part of your chibi, why? It's because it holds 60% of your chibis personality and identity.

It's up to you if you want to add a nose or ears. It will work either way; it will still be cute.

THE EYES:

For the eyes of the chibi, it’s usually the same anime eyes but larger or magnified, in order to look cute and adorable. But did you know that you don’t always have to draw the typical anime eyes? You can draw different styles that fits your style, and here are some examples for you:

THE HAIR:

The hair is basically what type of look you feel suits your chibi best.

1. To draw a hairstyle for your chibi, first is to identify the hair line:

2. Then add some lines on how you want the hair to flow:

3. Draw simple leaf like shapes for a cleaner flow of the hair. Then find the end of the strand:

4. Clean the lines.

Here are some hair style samples:

[3] Facial Expressions

Facial expressions are probably the most important feature of a chibi because they enhance your chibi's cuteness. Chibis are basically what anime or manga uses for exaggerated expressions, like sad, shocked, angry, overjoyed, etc.. This is where the emojis come in, chibi face expressions are just basically emojis but drawn by your own style that fits your chibi style.

Here are some samples:

[4] Poses

The pose is also important because it will bring your chibi character to life. Chibi's are a little bit limited when it comes to dynamic poses but it doesn't mean they can't be posed. The trick is to use limb or anchor joints as guides when making your chibi pose a certain way.

Now that you know where the limb/anchor joints are, here are some examples for you:

[5] Clothing

It’s time to dress your chibi. You can choose any fashion style you prefer. I will show you guys how to turn any style of clothing fit our chibi's cute body. Here are some examples:

[7] Character Reference to Chibi style

Now that you have an idea how to draw your own chibi characters, I will show you how I do my step by step process.

Let’s turn this Fan Art character that I drew into a chibi!

Step 1: Sketch your Chibi.

Step 2: Add details on your sketch.

Step 3: Start adding cleaner outlines by making a new layer above the sketch layer.

Step 4: Add details to your outlines.

Step 5: Add flat colors by making a new layer below the outlines.

Step 6: Shadow and Highlight:

A. To add shadow to your flat color, identify where the light is coming from. I like to make a new layer above the flat color, lower its opacity to 30% and fill the layer black.

B. To add highlight, just do the same technique on how we added shadow but this time, fill it with white. Then we color from where the light is hitting on your chibi.

ADDITIONAL TIP:
Draw your chibi at different views like back view and left and right side views so you can easily figure out how to pose your chibi.

Step 7: Pose your chibi. You can do this as the first step at the very beginning but if you really want to have a better understanding of your chibi character’s details and features, I suggest doing this as step 7. It's up to you.

After you’ve decided on a pose, you can proceed to adding all the details and colors to completely bring your chibi character to life.

And...That is how I draw my chibi characters. I hope this tutorial helped in expanding your knowledge and understanding of drawing chibi characters.

Thank you and have fun drawing!

Reg Canlas

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