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How to draw chibis

Chibi characters are a Japanese phenomenon that literally means "short person". It is a term, which is popular amongst fans of anime and manga cartoons and used as a description for cute people and animals. Artistically, chibi characters tend to have over-sized or under-sized features, such as eyes and noses, in order to emphasise their character. This article will explain on how to draw chibis.

Getting started

To begin with, it's a good idea to try and find a reference image to help you on your way. These pictures help as guides for the extra little details that you otherwise may miss, or the proportions of certain features. Choose an image that you would like to replicate. It can be a chibi boy or a girl, and keep that image close by. Sketch the outline The first drawing of your character will be a rough outline of simple shapes, a circle for the head, rectangles for the limbs and triangles for smaller features such as hands. This may seem like a waste of time, but it's an invaluable way to ensure that the picture never strays off track. This outline will be the template for the final image. Add the detail This is where your skill as an artist comes into play. It's time to add the features, such as hair, eyes, fingers and clothes. These are all the details that add character to your chibi. You can be as creative as you like here, as chibi characters are known for their exaggerated expressions and wild styles.
If you need inspiration, don't forget to look at your reference image and remember to draw lightly in pencil, in case you make a mistake. Experiment to get the best look!

The final steps

Once you are happy with your character, it is time to give them some life! This is done through shadows, shading and colouring and soon, your chibi person will look just like the real thing. Shading Shading sounds easy, but it's actually quite difficult to perfect. It's important to ensure that all of the shadows are located in the right place and this can get quite confusing in more complex images. Again, the reference guide will help here. Shading adds depth and life to your character, so don't be afraid to add as much as you need. Colour It is the final step. Now, you have a full chibi character, but their most important feature is yet to come and this is colour! Colouring gives your chibi a personality, as it brings them to life with vibrancy! Be as creative as you like and be proud of the chibi that you have created!

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