The eyes are a key defining feature of anime and manga drawings. In fact, anime characters as a genre are often identified by their large, expressive eyes.
The eyebrows also play a key role when drawing facial expressions.
The brows may be wide or narrow, thick or thin, made up of long or short hairs to give the character a distinctive look.
Even more important, they are angled and adjusted horizontally to express specific emotions.
How can you use anime eyebrows to improve your characters? Keep reading to find out.
How to Use Anime Eyebrows to Display Emotions
Take a look at the three faces in the following reference illustration. When you look at each face, how does it make you feel? What emotion is the character expressing?
The top face has neutral eyebrows. The eyebrows are in a resting position - no muscles are pulling on them, causing no lines or wrinkles on the face. These could be used with a number of different emotions - happiness, curiosity, listening, or just resting, for example.
Next, look at the face on the bottom left. Can you tell that he feels angry? The brows are arched on the outer edges, and wrinkles have formed between the brows at the top of the nose.
If you make an angry face, you can feel your brows moving in just the same way.
Look at the final face in the trio. This face is suited to a range of negative emotions - sadness, despair, or fear, for example. In this image, the brows are raised on the inside - the opposite of the angry face. Lines or wrinkles have formed above the brows, both on the outside and above the nose.
Isn't it amazing that you can determine the emotion without even seeing the eyes or mouth?
How to Use Eyebrows in a Complete Face
We've been looking at sample faces showing ONLY the eyebrows. But how do they fit into a complete face?
Look closely at the eyebrows of this crying anime boy. They are raised in the center, above the nose, just as we observed in our illustration above.
Most anime and manga characters have eyebrows. Imagine what the crying boy would look like without them. True, you would still know he was crying. But the depth of his emotion would not be communicated as effectively.
What to draw next?
Mastering eyebrows is an important step to creating great anime facial expressions.
Many artists have benefited by drawing a single character or a group of characters with different expressions. Why not try it yourself, focusing on the eyebrows?
For example, can you use the concepts we discussed with the negative/sad eyebrows to draw a sad face? How would closing the eyes or widening them change the emotion? See this Sad Anime Face drawing for reference.
What about a scared character? You can use the negative raised eyebrows for this as well.
Angry characters can also be fun to draw because their brows are so much different from the others. Practice characters with "knitted" or "furrowed" angry eyebrows - slanted down and inward toward the nose. See this Easy Angry Anime Girl drawing.
Happy characters (like this Young Anime Girl), embarrassed characters - keep practicing until you can draw them all.
Sometimes, eyebrows are purposefully left off to create an unsettling effect. Try drawing your favorite character without eyebrows and see how it changes them.
Did you know that our anime drawing tutorials will teach you how to draw anime and manga characters for free. The course covers drawing anime faces, bodies, facial features and expressions, emotions, hair, clothes, and complete anime and manga characters. Find all our how to draw manga and anime guides here.