How to Draw Manga Heads

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Manga heads and faces are comprised of very simple shapes that most beginning artists can learn very quickly. This tutorial and the corresponding illustrations will guide the artist through the drawing process.

The Head

The basic manga head is an inverted egg shape. The artist can start by drawing an oval. The bottom of the oval should be erased and replaced with a curved V-shape for the chin, as shown in the first illustration.

The neck is two slightly curved lines extending from the jaw. Manga necks are usually thin and long when on younger subjects and wider on older or very muscular characters.

The Eyes

The eyes on a manga character are the most important feature, especially in shoujo styles. They are placed on the second third of the head, making them very prominent.

For males, the artists should start by drawing an oval. Then, a half-oval should be added to the upper part and the lower part of the eye as a highlight, as shown in the second illustration. The artist can color in the area around the highlight and add curved lines around the eye for eyelids. These lines are usually thicker on one end and taper into a point near the nose. The eyebrows are also drawn this way.

Female eyes are often more complex than male. Like the male’s, the eye is started by drawing an oval and coloring it in. Then, a larger circle is drawn around the first with light, short strokes for shading. The highlights are added in-between the first and second circle. The lid is an elongated triangle shape that is drawn over the top of the outer eye. Lashes are added to the center of the lid and a curved line is drawn under the eye for the bottom lid. Lashes are also added to this lid.

The Nose and Mouth

Since the nose and mouth are less important features, they are drawn with minimalism in mind.

The nose comes in two basic shapes, the frontal view and the profile view. For the frontal view, the nose is drawn as a triangle with dark shading. In profile, the nose is a curved J-shape. There are no nostrils or details in either type. Also, no matter which nose is being drawn, it is usually placed on the lower third of the face.

The mouth is just as simple. It is usually no more than a thick, black line. A talking mouth is often a thick line with a c-shape drawn on the bottom.


These basic facial features can be adapted for any type of character the artist wants to draw. A finished example can be seen in Illustration Five.