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Manga: Drawing faces

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Enormous, lively eyes are characteristic of manga characters. Making the most of their size allows you to create a broad palette of emotions. Every mangaka has his own style: it's up to you to create yours!

What you need to know

The eyes tell all: your character's age, personality, nature, and mood. Take your inspiration directly from the source: pay close attention to the style of your favorite mangakas.

1. Place the eyes on the face

For a child or teenage character (or a kawaii), the eyes and eyebrows should be placed on a line in the middle of the face. Place the line higher for adults.


While doing the pencil drawing: lightly draw reference lines on the face.

  •  Draw a vertical line: it should go between the two eyes, placed symmetrically.
  •  Draw three parallel horizontal lines to make sure the pupils are well proportioned.

2. Getting the eyes to point in the same direction

It's a snap! The position of the pupils determines the direction they are pointing in. There's just one caveat: put them both at the same height unless you want your character to look cross-eyed..

3. Shape of the eyes and character traits

Eyes say a lot about character! Here are a few examples you can use for inspiration.

  •  Kawaiis have big round eyes with light pupils. Add sparks to their eyes to show their mischievousness.
  •  Affectionate characters have rather small eyes with slightly droopy outside corners, to show their kindness and empathy.
  •  Seducers, who are a mite egocentric, have wide eyes, closer to the nose than in others, with triangular corners.
  •  The bad guys have narrower, more angular eyes. Reduce their pupils to their simplest expression, to show their lack of humanity.