There are a lot of tutorials out there about how to draw a manga girl and the reason why I did one is because I think there is something more to be said about drawing a unique manga girl. In other words, drawing a character that resembles not what you have seen before, but one that resembles you as an artist.
Every time I want to draw a character on my own from scratch, I think about what makes me me. About what I like, about my experiences, about everything that inspires me. I also think about the mood. What is the character doing? What is her/his usual facial expression; the one he/she presents to the world?
So first, let’s draw a circle. And by circle, I don’t mean a perfect circle. It doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, nothing you sketch at this stage has to be perfect, or pretty \(^o^)/
Look at my circle! It looks more like a football ball badly shaped ^.^
I usually don’t draw the blue lines you are seeing in the picture above. It’s not that I can do without them, it’s just that I am lazy ^.^ But using them, gives you a more precise place of where to put the eyes, the nose and the mouth. Also, if you are using Manga Studio, create a different layer for the different colors you will use while sketching.
Let me be more clear. Once you have got a head shape you are satisfied with, create a new layer and draw the next features. If you do that and you label each layer with the color you are using, not only will you be able to safely erase something you have just drawn that you dislike, but it will be so much easier to navigate through your drawing in a more organize way ^.^
In the next picture, for example, when I went ahead to draw the facial features, I created a new layer, labeled “green” and used a green ink while drawing.
Hint: be consistent. If you are working on a layer that says red and you know you used red to sketch the head shape, then make sure you are using red and that you are editing exactly that, the head shape and not the facial features, for example.
After drawing the eyes, keep drawing the rest of the features of the face.
Hint: the way you draw the eyes of your characters and the mouth is important. You are trying to convey something, and these features should be drawn in a way that feels natural to you. Check out how other artists draw their facial expression and decide which one feels natural to you and add a little extra to make them different ^.^
I am not trying to get you to buy Manga Studio, but the good thing about buying it and using it for your drawing is that lets you hide what you don’t want to see when you don’t need to see them. In the picture below I hided the “blue” layer because I wanted to see how my drawing was coming along.
As you progress in your drawing, you will find yourself going back and forward, reshaping sketches. I reshaped the character’s chin and hair a couple of times until they felt right to me ^.^
I originally intended to draw just the head and the hair, but I felt like drawing the shoulders. I played with the way the shoulders look until I realized I wanted to draw this specific character as if I was taking a view of her slightly from above.
Hint: when you realize the perspective you are drawing, everything has to go accordingly. If the character is facing you, then the shoulders and the head and everything in the drawing should also “face you”. It should be symmetrical and proportionate.
At this point, I couldn’t resist and started inking. I know! Too early. But then again, once you have your intuition wires working, just follow them. There are no regrets if you do :)
There is something I want to point out here. When I ink, I like to ink in different layers as well. Since this is a close up, I inked the head, the hair and the shoulders in one layer and the facial features in the other. Again, it let’s you erase more safely. Besides, I inked the hair first and then I realized the eyes were sort of like peeking through her bangs, so I placed the “ink face” layer below the “ink” layer and got the chance to draw the eyes without worrying about erasing parts of the hair ^.^
Once you are done inking, you can erase the sketching layers to keep things organized. Create another layer, label it with the color you are going to use and start sketching details. I used purple ink.
The way every artist work is different, so work at your pace. However makes you feel comfortable. I was watching a T.V. as I drew, so I was drawing between commercials. But I kept drawing details in purple and once I was happy, I switched the ink to black, selected the layer that said “ink” and I would start inking. I did this because it gave me the sense that I liked what I had drawn so far and it’s going official now.
Again, working with layer makes things easy. Once I would ink the details, I would select the layer “purple” and clear the contents (as to reset the whole layer) and I would just keep drawing more details. I do this to make sure I don’t draw something by mistake. I know.. >_>
I go back and forward a lot. But I like it ^o^
It makes things fun for me and keeps me alert along the way.
In case if I haven’t mention it, this character is a model and she is walking down the runway. And as she was walking by, I took a picture of her from above ^o^
Since she is fashion-forward and she is modeling a designer’s clothes, I couldn’t call this drawing done unless I drew her some jewelry!
At this point, I was very satisfied with the overall look. So, once again, I switched the ink back to black, selected the layer in which I have been inking on, and started inking.
What do you think? ^o^
I do want to point out, however, that nothing anyone draws comes out to look presentable at first. I have drawn things that I had to throw in the digital garbage. In many instances, I have had to stop drawing, get some air, do some other things and then go back. Sometimes it takes me days to come back before I am ready to try again. Thankfully I have the luxury of time. But if you are drawing and there is a set day to hand in your finish work, then you most be ready to try again even if you are not actually “ready”.
That’s why is important to practice. Draw a lot, even if you never get to use them in any publication. Know your limits, challenge yourself. Time yourself. Motive yourself. While you have the luxury of time and you are drawing to hone your skills, then no drawing is worthless!
Here is a final look. I will work on the shadows, color and the rest of the background and post it on a different post. I didn’t draw on my usual desk today because I am still taking care of my back. I feel better, thank you ^o^ But I still wanted to draw something and post it in here. So while I am resting, you can get busy and start drawing your own unique manga girl.
And again, Ganbatte!!!