How to draw a Kawaii character?

How to draw a Kawaii character?

Feb 01, 2023 Tags 

Drawing kawaii characters isn’t as complicated as you think. Unlike anime/manga drawings, kawaii characters are ultra-simplified. All you need are shapes connected together, a face with or without an expression, and cute colors.

If you’re looking for inspiration, just think about Sanio characters. Do you want to get started with drawing kawaii style? In today’s post, we’ll give you tips and a couple of straightforward, step-by-step approaches to drawing adorable characters.


What is the kawaii drawing style?


kawaii Characters


Cute is the rough translation of the word kawaii (可愛い or かわいい). To achieve a cute character, the overall design and details should be minimalistic. They are structured from round shapes and edges and often have child-like looks. Hello Kitty is a great example of the kawaii drawing style. Yet another characteristic of this style is that it often elicits happy and warm thoughts.


How to create a kawaii character


Kawaii Pattern


Kawaii faces are very easy to make. Whether it’s a human, animal, or anthropomorphized object, all you need to do is simplify every body part. The key to a kawaii character drawing is to lessen the details as much as possible. The nose, for example, can be a single stroke or a shape. Adding more details will only make the artwork weird. Plus, it’s completely okay to make them out of proportion. In fact, all kawaii drawings have oversized heads and smaller bodies. You can think of it as a cute version of caricatures.

If you want to get into drawing, you can start with the kawaii style as it is very simple. All you need is a pencil, paper, marker, and coloring materials.

Want to get creative? You can use Japanese stationery to create your characters. Japan has a range of products, which include gel pens, markers, paper, and more for your art journey.

You can also draw kawaii characters digitally using your phone or tablet. The best thing about kawaii characters is that they have a uniform line thickness, so you don’t really need a stylus that features pressure sensitivity.


How to Draw Kawaii Faces




Emoticons can inspire you to create facial expressions for your kawaii characters.

Let’s start drawing the faces first. It’s important to create a character sheet that contains different facial expressions. Some characters have minimal-to-no expressions. Others display a range of emotions.

How minimal can kawaii faces get? If you ask us, they can be as simple as Japanese emojis, which are also called kaomoji (顔文字). You can get inspiration from these text-based emoticons when creating kawaii characters.


Kawaii Faces


Here’s how to draw kawaii faces step by step:

  1. First, draw the shape of the face. Stick to circular shapes or squares or rectangles with rounded edges.
  2. Draw the eyes. There are plenty of ways to draw cute eyes. They can be the following: 
    1. Huge black dots (think of Pikachu) with or without white highlights
    2. Slanted straight lines (for characters who are sleepy or angry)
    3. Brackets like the ones you see on emojis (> <), and many more
    4. Eyeballs with a bigger outer circle and a smaller black circle in the middle



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  1. Kawaii characters can be with or without a nose. Noses can be a dot, U-shaped, a circle, or a simple shape.
  2. The mouth will depend on the emotion of the character. The mouth can be a simple stroke or a shape.
  3. Don’t forget the blushies! They can either be small slanted lines, a circle, or oval.

Some kawaii characters only have a head (anthropomorphized onigiri, for example). So it’s completely okay if your character sheet only has a few facial expressions.


Kawaii Facial Expressions


How to Draw Kawaii Bodies A.K.A. Chibi


Do you want to create a kawaii human character? It’s actually super simple. You don’t have to memorize human anatomy to create one because chibi characters are actually deformed versions of humans.

Here are the steps to create your chibi character:

  • You will be making a charter that’s three-heads high. So start by lightly drawing three equally sized circles from the top to the bottom.
  • The first circle is for the head. Start with the steps on how to draw kawaii faces and draw the head on the first circle. Remember that it needs to be bigger than the body
  • Create a pear-shaped pattern for the torso. This will be placed on the second circle.
  • On the third circle, draw two lines from the torso until a point before the circle ends. Determine where the knee would be. Afterward draw the thigh, legs, and feet from your line pattern.
  • From the shoulder draw a line pattern of your preferred arm pose. Determine where the elbow is. Then draw the whole arm.
  • Draw a simplified hand. You don’t have to draw every finger. Just an outline of the hand will do.


How to Draw Kawaii Animals



A lot of animals are already cute. So why not make them cuter with kawaii style? But since these creatures have different anatomy, the drawing process will be different.

Here’s an easy guide on how to draw kawaii animals:


  • References are important. So choose an animal you’d like to draw first.
  • Simplify the body of the fish using shapes. This will be your pattern.
  • If you’re on a tablet, use layers. Lessen the opacity a bit and add a layer to draw the basic shapes
  • If you’re using pencil and paper, print a page of your preferred animal. Lessen the opacity before you print. Then draw over the animals using simple shapes.
  • Draw the shapes in a blank space. Add a cute face then draw the body.

When drawing a spiked animal, remember to make the tips rounded to make your animal cuter.


How to Color Kawaii Characters


Coloring your kawaii character will always depend on the medium you use. For starters, you can use crayons or colored pencils.

When you look at kawaii characters, you’ll notice that they’re usually pastel-colored. Pastel colors display calmness and youth, which are what the kawaii style represents. You can also use rainbow colors for your cute drawings. 

If you’re looking for ideas, we recommend using color palette generators like Coolors. If you search the terms “kawaii” or “cute” using their Explore option (Explore Palettes on mobile), it will generate the colors you can use for your kawaii character.

You don’t have to choose all six five colors for your kawaii character. A scheme of two to three colors can work.


The Best Thing About the Kawaii Concept


Do you know what’s great about the kawaii style? You can turn everything into a cute character. Whether it’s an evil villain, scary monster, or frightening wild animal, you can apply all the concepts of kawaii to make them adorable! If you're looking for more drawing tips, check out our article about cute kawaii drawings!


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