Chibi is a Japanese word meaning "small," "short," or "little."
In the world of manga and anime, chibi refers to a specific style of drawing characters with large heads and small bodies.
Chibis are typically drawn in a stylized form, altering and exaggerating traditional proportions for cuteness comedic effect.
Despite their simplified appearances, chibi characters can be deceptively difficult to draw well.
In this blog post, we'll show you how to draw a chibi character step-by-step so that you can add these adorable little creatures to your repertoire.
There are two main styles of chibi: super deformed (SD) and proportionally small.
The SD style is characterized by its disproportionately large head and small, stubby body.
This style is often used for comedic effect, as the exaggerated proportions can be quite funny.
The proportionally small style is, as you might have guessed, simply a smaller version of the traditional manga/anime style.
This style is often used when a manga/anime character is drawn in a chibi form, as it retains the traditional proportions of the character.
Artists can take different spins on these chibi styles, playing with the idea of "chibi" in a way that matches their own artistic style, so don't feel like you have to strictly adhere to either one.
Experiment and see what you like best!
Drawing Chibi Characters
Drawing chibis can be as simple or complex as you want it to be.
If you're just starting out, we recommend keeping things relatively simple until you get the hang of drawing chibi proportions.
You can always add more details later.
When you draw different characters, the most important thing to remember is the head-to-body ratio.
As we mentioned before, chibi designs have large heads and small bodies.
The head should be about 1.5 to 2 times the size of the body.
This doesn't mean that the head has to be absolutely massive, though.
A good rule of thumb is to make the head about 1/3 of the total height of the character.
For example, if you're drawing chibi characters that are 6 inches tall, the head should be about 2 inches tall.
The other important thing to remember is that chibi characters are supposed to be cute.
When you're ready to start chibi drawing, begin with a chibi sketch and follow these steps.
Step 1: Draw the Head
The first step is to draw the chibi head.
Chibi heads are typically drawn as large circles, with the character's features added on later.
Start by drawing a large circle in the center of your paper.
Then, use a light pencil to sketch in the basic placement of the eyes, nose, and mouth on the chibi face.
Use horizontal line and vertical line guides to help you place the eyes at the halfway point between the top and bottom of the head.
The nose should be placed just below the halfway point, and the mouth should be placed just below the nose.
Once you're happy with the placement of the facial features, think about what style you want the chibi hair to be.
Don't worry about getting these features perfect just yet—we'll refine them in later steps.
Step 2: Draw the Body
Next, it's time to add the chibi body.
For most chibi characters, the body will be much smaller than the head.
Start by drawing a small oval beneath the head.
Then, add two lines coming down from the oval—these will become the character's arms.
Finally, add two small triangles at the bottom of the oval—these will become the legs.
Male and female chibi characters will have different proportions, so keep that in mind as you're drawing the body shape.
Males will typically have broader shoulders and narrower hips, while females will have narrower shoulders and broader hips.
Step 3: Draw the Features
Now it's time to add all the details!
Use your light pencil to refine the placement of the eyes, nose, and mouth.
Chibi eyes typically are large, anime-style eyes, although you can play with the size and shape to match your own style.
Then, start adding in smaller details like eyelashes, eyebrows, and pupils.
Once you're happy with how the face looks, erase any remaining pencil marks so that your drawing is nice and clean.
Step 4: Add Clothing and Accessories
Now it's time to dress up your chibi character!
This is an incredibly fun step because you get to explore your character's personality!
Start by adding some simple clothing like a shirt and pants (or a dress, if you're drawing a female character).
Then, have fun adding accessories like glasses, hats, or jewelry.
Remember that chibis are typically drawn in a super-deformed style, so don't be afraid to exaggerate the clothing and accessories for comedic effect.
Once you're happy with your drawing, it's time to add some color!
Have fun and be creative!
Creating Chibi Drawings
There you have it!
Now you know how to draw your own chibi characters step-by-step.
Just remember to have fun with it—chibis are all about being cute and quirky!
Feel free to experiment with different styles to see which chibi style you like best.
Before you know it, you'll be drawing chibi characters like a pro!
So, what are you waiting for?
Get out there and start drawing!
Looking for a video tutorial on how to draw chibis? Check out Neko Rina's video guide!
Want to learn more about how to draw?
Check out some of our other guides: