WHAT IS A CHIBI?

by Matthew Russell - Posted 1 month ago

Welcome my CryptoComics Compatriots. Today we will be tackling the new art style of the Chibi. You might be asking yourself 2 questions right now; 1) What is a Chibi? 2) Why do I care? Let’s begin by tackling the first question before we move on to the second. 




WHAT IS A CHIBI?

This is a new artstyle coming out of Japan that is the next evolution of anime. Here in the US, it is often pronounced as Ch EE Bee. 


It is a slang word for “dwarf” and translates as “to wear out or make shorter.” This new type of caricature is drawn in a specifically exaggerated way. You can go online and find almost any fandom represented in this fashion. 


Below are some examples of the major comic book & pop culture characters created in the Chibi style. As you can see, they are typically round and short with very little detail.  Batman Chibi by BlueSeaAnna on DeviantArt



WHY ARE CHIBI SO POPULAR WITH ARTISTS?

You can see Chibi’s all over social media and other platforms due to how easy they are to make.


On several crowdfunding platforms, many add-ons, and stretch goals are stickers, pins, and even covers in Chibi-style. 


TIPS FOR DRAWING A CHIBI

HEAD HEIGHT- Chibis typically have a uniform style and shape. The head size is typically either ? or ½ of the entire height. 


MAKE YOUR CHIBI STAND OUT!- Since it is a caricature with a typical rounded head and bubble-like body, you have to go “extra” to make your Chibi stand out. 


Try to focus on emphasizing the features that help to stand out such as hairstyle, clothing (or armor), and the eyes. The eyes are widely important due to the fact that they will take up so much real estate on the page. 


CREATING OUR CHIBI

I decided to try my hand at drawing a Chibi earlier and I learned a few things. Now I get to have another go at a Chibi. This one is a mockup for possible new mascot for Stacks.NET. Without further adieu, I present to you...my sketch.




Since I learned a few things, I decided to pass my knowledge onto you. 

DRAWING THE CHIBI HEAD

Always start with your Chibi’s head. Focus on the shape. Keep it as round as possible. Keep it big and over exaggerated.  It should be so big that there is no way any neck should be able to support the head. 


NECK- Since we are omitting any unnecessary details, often necks are the first to go. If not, keep the neck short and thin. Make sure that the head connects with the neck in the correct position.



DRAWING THE CHIBI BODY

Do away with as much detail as possible so that the head stands out! Since the Chibi head already breaks the laws of physics with its size and shape, throw physics away and don’t worry about the typical principles when drawing.


SHOULDERS- Remember to slope everything. If you have sharp lines in the shoulders, it will lose its “cute-factor”. Keep it soft and round. All joints should be round; elbows, knees, ankles, wrist…all the same size, and all without hard corners.


TORSO- Ignore the waste on a female if you can. By leaving the torso completely rounded, it will create a “baby-like” feel that is perfectly suitable for this art style. 


Men and women typically have the same body shape. Don’t over sexualize your Chibi or it will look off. 


Take a look at this “Vampirella Chibi” of Buffy the Vampire Slayer VS Vampirella by Rick Basaldua. Instead of the typical Vamp sexuality on display, it looks like a little kid in a Vampirella-style swimsuit. She also has the same dimensions as Batman (a male with a drastically different body-type). 





ARMS/LEGS- Ignore all realism in the muscles. If you start adding that detail, you will start to make your Chibi look more “adult” and it will not fit into the style. If you can, make both the arms and legs the same thickness. This means that a straight tube is acceptable with no thoughts to biceps or triceps. 


For that matter; thighs and calves don’t matter either. Don't worry about the wrists or ankles either. The tubes for the arms and legs should simply flow into the hands and feet bypassing the joints altogether. 


If the arms or legs are bent, take an overall curve to the structure. If they are bent at a 90 degree angle or more (as if the character is kneeling, then a curved right angle is appropriate. 




HANDS/FEET- Don’t draw hands and feet with a lot of detail. Outlining is perfectly acceptable. As you can see, with ours, there are gauntlets that I needed to draw, I kept everything as an outline and the detail gets added after the fact. 


If you don’t have to add anything, then don’t! I can’t stress this enough…DON’T…DON’T …DON’T!!!! 


As far as fingers go, it is ok to draw the characters as if they are wearing mittens. This will allow you to focus more attention on the head. If you like, give the hands that classic “Disney-feel” and only add 3-4 fingers. 


FINISHED PRODUCT

Once I had my sketch mocked up, I took it into Adobe Illustrator in order to use the pen tool and the shape tool to make a perfect outline. I then went back into Procreate to color it. Here is the end result. 




Let me know what you think. Also, it would be wonderful to see your own work in a Living Art Journal posted here on CyrptoComics Marketplace. Add some Chibis and let us know what you think of drawing a Chibi VS drawing they typical more realistic style of characters. While you're here, use the badge code "ChibiRobot".