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How Do I Turn My Picture Into an Anime Character?

Updated February 21, 2017

Anime, also known as Japanese animation, features cartoonish characters with wide faces, large eyes and wild hair styles. Because anime characters closely resemble human characters, you can draw yourself as an anime character using the same techniques you use to draw human figures. If you wish to turn a photograph of a human into an anime-style cartoon, use an image-editing program to transform a portrait photograph into a digital line-art image.

Double click on the "My Computer" folder, then the "Pictures" folder. Locate the picture you wish to alter, right click on it and scroll to "Open With." Left click on an image-editing program such as Photoshop, CorelDraw or Pencil.

Click on the "Layers" menu and scroll to "Brightness/Contrast." Drag the "Brightness" slider towards the positive, increasing the brightness of the image. Click on the "Layers" menu and scroll to "Duplicate." Drag the new layer so that it sits on top of the layer. Right click on the new layer and scroll to "Re-name." Enter the name "Cartoon Outline" and press "OK."

Navigate to the "Layers" window and click on the button to the far left of the original layer. This turns off visibility for the original layer. Click on the "New Layer" button and highlight the new layer.

Click on the brush tool and click on a black colour swatch. Outline the shape of the head, including the hair. This creates a simple line art base for your anime picture.

Open the "Image" menu and scroll to "Image Size." Uncheck the "Constrain Proportions" box. Click on the 'Width" text field and increase the width by about 10 to 20 per cent. Press "OK." This increases the width of your face, making it closer to the anime style.

Outline the shape of the nose using the brush. Outline the bottom of the mouth. At the edges of the bottom of the mouth, draw a horizontal line. This creates the anime-style mouth. Outline the shape of the eyes, including the iris and pupil.

Click on the Select tool and drag a box around the right eye. Click on the corner of the box and drag the box outwards to increase the shape of the eye. Drag the box downwards slightly to increase the height of the eye. Click on the Arrow tool and drag the eye into the appropriate location. Repeat the process for the other eye.

Add a duplicate layer and drag it over this layer so that it is the top layer. Click on the "Fill" tool. Click on an appropriate colour swatch, such as a skin-toned swatch, then the appropriate area of the face, such as the cheek. This adds colour to the drawing. Continue adding colour until no more colour is necessary.

Right click on the third layer, in the "Layers" window. Scroll to "Delete." Delete the remaining layers until only the first and second layer remain.

Things You'll Need

  • Portrait photograph
  • Image-editing program
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About the Author

Breann Kanobi has worked as freelance writer since 2010. Kanobi regularly submits content online to Gamer DNA. Kanobi received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in film and television from New York University in 2010.