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This page was added on December 12, 2009.


About

It seems to be common for anime proportion tutorials to base everything around the height of the head. For example, the head fits into the body 6-8 times (depending on the size of your character), the legs are as tall as whatever half the number of heads is (e.g. legs are 3 heads tall if the character is 6 heads tall), upper arm is 1 head, etc. I personally don't find this very useful.
Here's a list of tips I consider to be useful. Some of them are based around the head, but many things are based around other parts of the body, which might make things easier for some people. Of course, you can always adjust things a little bit to create/match your own unique style or characters. Some of these are tips I've heard around, some of them I came up with on my own.

List

Head


-Your eyes are located at the vertical center of your head; the bottom of the nose is about 1/3 to 1/2 down from there; the mouth is somewhere around 1/3 to 1/2 of the way down from there.
-You can fit around one eye inbetween your eyes.
-The height of the ears should go from around the eyebrows to the bottom of the nose.
-When you close your eyes, your eyelids don't meet at the center; the upper eyelid pulls down and covers most of the eye. The lower eyelid pulls up a little bit... Maybe something like 80% vs. 20%... I'll have to look into this more.
-A person's face is generally pretty symmetrical... The mouth should be centered, the eyes should be the same distance from the side of the head, etc.

General body

-Children's/short people's heads don't fit into their bodies as many times as your standard height character. If you draw adults 8 heads tall, then you might draw a child 5 heads tall.
-A male's body is typically more angular and straight.
-A female's body is typically more of a "pear shape", and the hips would be more in line with the shoulders. The female body is also curvier/smoother.
-Your shoulder width is around the same width of 1.5 to 2 heads; a female's shoulders are not as broad as a male's.
-The shoulders should stick out from the body.
-The bottom of the pelvic bone (crotch) is the half point for the body's height.
-The back is not perfectly straight; there's a curve inwards from around the hips to the shoulderblades.
-The chest seems to reach down to around the half point of the upper arm.

Arms and hands

-Your middle finger is the same height as your palm, and is also the same width as your palm.
-Your fingers curve inward by default. Spread your fingers and bend them to see this.
-Together, the forearm/hand is longer than the upper arm/shoulder. The upper arm/shoulder length would reach to around the middle of the palm.
-If your arms are straight and at your sides, they shouldn't appear behind or in front of your body.
-The wrist reaches to around the bottom of the crotch.
-Your hand reaches around the middle of your thigh.
-You can see the webbing on the back of your hand, but not on the palm side.
-Your elbows reach to around the thinnest part of the waist.
-If your arm is up, the elbow should go higher than the head.

Legs and feet

-If you sit with your knees up, your knees should be around your collar bone.
-The length of the foot is around the same as the forearm (excluding the elbow).

General... just general

-The background is just as important as the main focus for a complete picture.
-The viewer's eyes should go to the main focus easily/by default. Use thin lines for the background and even use thicker lines for the main focus if that's what it takes to make it more distinguishable.
-Use perspective art as much as you can, or at least if you want your art to be somewhat realistic. Flat 2D backgrounds or 2D backgrounds that face some random direction just don't make sense and should only be used in cartoony settings.