Tutorial for Drawing a Manga Head in 3/4 View

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3/4 View Gives Your Manga Characters Dimension

Manga characters are fun to draw and they're relatively simple when you break down their finer details. If you have not drawn a manga cartoon, you might want to begin by drawing a Manga head face-on. This will introduce you to the features that define these popular Japanese characters and it's a useful introduction to this tutorial. 

Once you're confident with that, you're ready to try drawing in three-quarter view. This will add another dimension to your character and is the next logical step to drawing full-body cartoon spreads full of action.

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Drawing the Guidelines for the Head

Head Sketch
P Stone

Begin the same way you did with the head facing forward, with a circle and a vertical line. This time, though, draw a curved line that begins at the top of the vertical guideline, follows the imaginary curve of the head to about the half way point, then continues straight to a point just left of the bottom of the vertical guideline.

This new guideline is essentially the replacement of the vertical one and will help you place the eyes nose and mouth. (You can draw it facing right, of course, but for the time being let's work in the same direction.)

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Draw the Face Outline

Head Sketch
P Stone

Draw the guidelines for the eyes nose and mouth. The proportions are the same as for a forward facing head, but this time, you'll need to draw them at an angle. They can be parallel or slightly in perspective.

To draw the far side of the face, start by following the curve of the circle for the forehead as far as the eye line. Then curve the line outward a little to shape the cheek, then inwards and down to the chin point, with a very slight outward curve.

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Draw the Ear and Chin

Head Sketch
P Stone

Imagine the top of the head from a bird’s eye view, with a line running across the middle and down the sides of the head (almost like a set of headphones). Sketch this line, and use it to place the base of the jaw and ear as shown.

Draw the ear as a simple loop, between the eye line and nose guideline.

Draw the jaw and chin line as a simple, shallow curve beginning just above the bottom of the ear and ending at the tip of the chin. Be sure to round off the chin.

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Placing the Eyes

Head Sketch
P Stone

In Manga drawing, placement of the eyes can be tricky, especially in 3/4 view. I sometimes draw guidelines for myself to indicate where the pupils will go. Remember in three-quarter view that the eyes are narrower and that the features all shift in the direction that the character is facing.

The inside corner of the furthest eye is usually hidden by the bridge of the nose. The nose itself sticks out a little further, so looks wider than when viewing face-on. It is still drawn very simply.

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Adding the Hairline

Head Sketch
P Stone

You can go ahead and erase your guidelines so far and add a new one, the hairline. Keep in mind that you don’t see the other side of the head and therefore will not draw that part of the hairline.

Draw the back of the neck as though it’s a continuation of the back of the head, as in, it curves nicely into it. The front of the neck should be pretty much straight down from the chin. Feel free to add neck details such as muscles, and for men, an Adam’s apple.

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Finishing

Head Sketch
P Stone

To finish up your manga head, clean up your drawing and add any finishing details.

You might want to add a cleft chin or indicate the plane of the cheekbones or temple, for example. Bear in mind, though, that the more lines and detail you put in the face, the older the character looks.

Once you've sketched in the hairline, add the hair, blocking in sections first as in the face drawing tutorial