Creating Anime Character: 5 Practical Tips
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 6 min read


  1. Study Anime Character Design
  2. Create a Character Profile
  3. Draw Basic Shapes for Structure
  4. Add Detail and Personality
  5. Practice and Refine

Have you ever marveled at the intricacy of anime characters and wondered how they're designed? It's not as complex as you might think, and with the right techniques in place, you can start creating your own unique anime character turnaround. This blog will guide you through five practical steps that you can follow to breathe life into your anime illustrations.

Study Anime Character Design

The first step in creating an anime character turnaround is to dive into the world of anime character design. Grasping the fundamental principles of anime design will set the groundwork for your character creation process. Here are some aspects that you should focus on:

Understanding the Anime Style

Anime has a characteristic style that sets it apart from other forms of animation. This includes exaggerated physical features, expressive eyes, and distinctive color palettes. By watching a variety of anime shows, you can gain a deeper understanding of this style. Try to identify common themes and stylistic elements that resonate with you.

Analyzing Character Turnarounds

Next, you'll want to study existing anime character turnarounds. These are comprehensive views of a character from multiple angles, usually front, side, and back. Anime character turnarounds are paramount for consistency in animation and help you understand the character's three-dimensional form. Take note of how the character's features change with different viewpoints. For instance, how does the shape of the eyes or hair alter when viewed from the side?

Identifying Key Traits

Lastly, analyze the unique traits that define each character. These could be physical attributes, like a specific hairstyle or clothing style, or more abstract traits like a unique aura or personality. These distinguishing features make each character unique and memorable—something that you'll want to incorporate into your own anime character turnaround.

Don't be shy to pause, rewind, and re-watch your favorite anime scenes. The more you observe, the more you'll understand the art of anime character design. And remember, the goal isn't to replicate, but to be inspired and develop your own unique twist on the anime style.

Create a Character Profile

Now that you've studied the art of anime character design, it's time for the fun part: creating your own character! But before you pick up your sketchpad, it's a good idea to establish a clear character profile.

Formulate a Backstory

Every character has a story, and your anime character turnaround should be no exception. Think about your character's past: where they come from, their family, their experiences, and how these elements have shaped who they are. This backstory will inform their personality, appearance, and behavior, adding depth and authenticity to your character design.

Outline Personality Traits

Next, define your character's personality. Are they shy and introverted, or outgoing and flamboyant? Are they serious and wise, or playful and naive? These traits will not only guide their dialogue and actions in your story, but also impact their physical design. For instance, an energetic character might have bright, wide eyes and a constant smile, while a brooding character might have narrow, intense eyes and a stern expression.

Decide on Physical Characteristics

Finally, decide on your character's physical attributes. These could include their hair and eye color, body type, style of dress, and any distinguishing marks or accessories. Remember that these elements should reflect your character's personality and backstory. For instance, a character with a rebellious streak might have unconventional hair and clothing styles, while a disciplined martial artist might have a toned physique and practical clothing.

Creating a detailed character profile will not only make your character more relatable and engaging, but it will also guide your design process, helping you create a cohesive and believable anime character turnaround. So, are you ready to bring your character to life?

Draw Basic Shapes for Structure

Once you have your character profile, it's time to start drawing. But don't worry, you don't have to be an expert artist to create an anime character turnaround. The trick is to break down complex figures into basic shapes. This makes it easier to understand the structure and proportion of your character.

Start with a Skeleton

Firstly, you need to draw a simple skeleton. This doesn't have to be anatomically correct, but it should give you a rough idea of your character's height, body type, and posture. Use lines for limbs and joints, and circles for joints like elbows, knees, and shoulders. This skeleton will serve as the framework for your character.

Add Basic Shapes

Next, layer basic shapes onto your skeleton framework to create the body. Use circles for the head and joints, rectangles for the torso and limbs, and triangles for the hands and feet. Don't worry about details at this stage; you're just creating a basic structure.

Define Proportions

Now it's time to fine-tune your shapes to define the proportions of your character. Keep in mind that different characters will have different proportions. For example, a child character will have a larger head in relation to their body, while a muscular character might have broader shoulders and smaller waist. Don't be afraid to experiment until you find the right balance.

Drawing basic shapes for structure may seem like a tedious step in the process of creating an anime character turnaround. But trust me, it's an invaluable skill that will greatly improve your character designs. Plus, it will make the next steps of adding detail and refining your character much easier!

Add Detail and Personality

Now that you've constructed a solid structure for your anime character turnaround, it's time to breathe some life into it. How? By adding detail and personality, of course! This is where your character really begins to take shape.

Bring in the Facial Features

Start by sketching in the facial features. Anime characters are known for their expressive eyes, so make sure to spend some time on them. A simple trick is to draw a horizontal and vertical line across the face to help place the eyes, nose, and mouth correctly. Remember, the details in the facial features can say a lot about your character. Are they old or young, happy or sad, kind or villainous? The choice is yours.

Sketch the Hair and Clothing

Next, draw the hair and clothing. Anime hair can be as wild and gravity-defying as you want, so have fun with it. As for the clothing, consider your character's personality and backstory. A shy, bookish character might wear oversized sweaters, while a confident warrior might sport armor. The possibilities are endless.

Don't Forget the Accessories

Finally, add any accessories that fit your character. This could be anything from a magic wand for a wizard character to a backpack for a school-going character. These props not only add visual interest but also give more depth to your character's personality.

Adding detail and personality to your anime character turnaround can be the most rewarding part of the process. After all, you're not just creating a drawing; you're creating a character with a life of its own. So, go ahead and let your imagination run wild!

Practice and Refine

At this point, you've got the basics of your anime character turnaround. But like any good artist, you know that the first draft is just that—a draft. Now's the time to refine your work and polish it until it shines. Here's how.

Practice Makes Perfect

First, keep practicing. Drawing is a skill, and like any skill, it gets better with practice. The more anime character turnarounds you create, the better you'll get. Try different characters, different poses, different styles. Each drawing will teach you something new. Don't be afraid to make mistakes—that's how you learn!

Refine Your Lines

Next, refine your lines. Start with your rough sketch, then slowly go over it, smoothing out the lines and adding more detail. This is where you can really start to see your anime character turnaround come alive. But remember: it's not about perfection, it's about progress. Each line you draw brings you one step closer to the finished product.

Consider the Feedback

Lastly, don't be afraid to ask for feedback. Show your work to friends, family, or fellow artists. They might see something you missed or give you a new idea to try. And remember, not all feedback has to be positive. Constructive criticism is just as valuable—it can show you where you need to improve.

Creating an anime character turnaround is a journey, not a destination. So keep practicing, keep refining, and most importantly, keep having fun. After all, the joy of creation is what drawing is all about!

If you're excited about creating your own anime character and want to learn even more about character design, be sure to check out the workshop 'Creating Characters: The Design Process' by Kit Buss. This workshop will provide you with valuable insights and techniques to help you craft unique and engaging characters for your anime projects.