How To Draw Konoko
by Lorraine Reyes
Starting with the basics
Lightly draw a vertical oval or egg-shape. If you don't get the right shape the first time around, keep going, just don't get too dark with your pencil lines. Then draw a slightly more circular oval so the right side of it is about adjacent to the upper right "corner" of the oval/egg-shape. These shapes will define the mass of Konoko's skull.
Draw a curved horizontal line along the equator of the first oval. This line will be where the corners of her eyes go. Draw another one above it about a quarter of the way from the center to the top. This will be where we'll put her eyebrows. Then draw a curved line, a very shallow backwards C, going from the top of both ovals to the bottom. This will be the line down the center of her face (since she's looking to the right, this elongated or shallow backwards-C should be pretty close to the edge of the face). Draw another curved line that splits the lower half of the face. This line will be the bottom of her nose. Then draw another line that splits the bottom portion to define where her mouth will go. Oh, and her hairline should be halfway up from the eyebrows to the top of the skull.
From here on it gets complicated.
What makes a face anime-like? The common thing to say is "big eyes" --- This is to help the character be more expressive (Disney does the same thing. And the shape and size of eyes usually reflects the personality type of the character). But big eyes isn't all there is to an anime-style character. Like with any animation, the simpler the lines the easier it is to animate - which means different people can draw it several hundred times in a day and not have it look too different from one frame to another. It's how the lines of the face are simplified that makes it anime-like (at least in the more general sense of the word. See Figure A).
Draw the angled eyebrows on top of the eye-brow guideline. Remember that the eyebrow away from you should be shorter and the angle sharper than the one towards you. The thicker part is lower than the thin part and should be towards the bridge of the nose. The more you tilt it and bring closer to the eye-guide-line, the more angry Konoko will look. You can put the creases on her forehead for such a frown if you like. (See Figure B for various Konoko expressions)
The eyelashes should be drawn en-masse with some individual lashes and grouped ones towards the edges. The eyeball should be fairly large and not all visible. In this picture, I drew her eyes looking slightly to her right. Konoko's eyes are a bit narrow, kind of almond-shaped or a long egg-shape, with the larger end toward the edge. The bottom eyelid shouldn't be drawn in completely. Put some 'floating' lashes to help define it. The bottom lid is a shallow curve, with the lowest part towards the outer edges.
Most anime noses merely suggest the shape of the nose, or rather, the shadow that the nose casts on the face. For this exercise, draw a slightly curved line that start from the intersection of that vertical shallow backwards-C and the nose-guide-line and go up to the right diagonally. This will suggest the bottom of the nose. The line for the bridge of her nose should start on the line that goes down the center of her face just above where you drew her upper eyelid and shouldn't go too far down.
The one visible ear is a tilted-back C that spans the space between the eye-guide-line and the nose-guide-line, starting from the intersection of the eye-guide-line and the left edge of that first oval. Put in detail sparingly. Look at your own ears or a friend's ear to decide which detail to draw in (two to four lines should be enough).
The lips shouldn't be too far from the bottom of the nose. I drew the bottom of the bottom lip on the lip-guide-line. Notice that that dip at the center of the upper lip is also on the line defining the center of the face. Konoko's lips are generally thin, particularly the upper lip.
Oh yeah, let's draw the neck in. The back should be behind the ear, the front should be coming from the bottom of that oval, behind her chin. Don't' make the line too straight or she'll look a bit mechanical and stiff - don't make it too short because then she'll look brutish, or too long and she'll look fragile..
And finally, the hair. Konoko's hairline should be a gentle curve, not straight or a widow's peak. The forelocks part a little to the left (your right). The longest bangs should either be the first or second of the three groupings on her right (your left). The two to her left (your right) are shorter than the ones on her right (your left --- confused yet?). Make long curves that lift from her scalp, not dragging down. The back flares upwards in gentle S curves and cinch right at the base of her skull then flares to small C's that reach a little below the base of her neck. When you draw the hair, it must be done in big masses, not all little strands (although putting in some strands are pretty cool). PULL the curved lines towards you - which means you'll have to turn the paper left or right depending on which way the curves are going. If you're right-handed, it's harder to make curves going to the right past where the base of your palm sits on the table, so turn that paper. Better yet, for lefties and righties, lift your hand off that paper and draw the long graceful curves of her hair with the motion of your whole arm. Make sure to add some hair going the 'other' direction (up instead of all down) to make it more "natural".
And that's it! If you want to get real good at drawing, you keep on practicing!