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How to Draw Black People by Nubia06 How to Draw Black People by Nubia06
There are probably lots of people that would like to draw black people but don't know how. That can't be helped since many of us began by getting or ideas from existing anime/manga, who rarely have black characters. I couldn't help but share my knowledge with others. This is my first ever tutorial so please don't hunt me down if it's not perfect. If you have any valid suggestions or comments, please feel free to make them.

Now that that's out of the way, let me just say this. If anyone has a problem with me using the term black instead of something more politically correct (i.e. African American) I'm sorry about that. The reason I use that term is because it includes anyone of African descent whether they be American, Brazilian, English, or actually African. Not only that but that's what I grew up with and I'm not very politically correct.
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MysticaQueen Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2015  Student General Artist
I really, really wanted to thank you for this tutorial! I have a character in my series that I've wanted to draw as African-American but I couldn't find any good tutorials until now. I wish people would add some more--I would love to see some more details just to be sure I've got it.
Wadjet90 Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2015  Student Digital Artist
princessofvernon Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2015
Very helpful and thank you so much
MizzTusspot Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
So much love for this. Thank you :)
wxrrior Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Why xD
PipProductionCo Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
This will be so helpful cause ive had no idea how to draw myself cause im half and half. So helpful.
PipProductionCo Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
This will be so helpful cause ive had no idea how to draw myself cause im half and half. So helpful.
BlackKopGirl Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I love this. 
robertsloan2 Featured By Owner Edited Nov 19, 2014
Thank you for an excellent tutorial! The one manga idea that I have must be diversity oriented and this is an enormous help. You've shown me ways to handle every one of my characters. Thank you!

And thanks for the genre point about unnatural colors. Out in the real world I see people using fanciful hair dyes all the time, it's migrated out of the stories into reality where hair is concerned. 

How to translate stylized features and still convey ethnic features is very interesting and relevant. I think there are probably ways to do this with Hispanic and native South American people too. Also sometimes face shape can be altered from the standard manga shape to show more specific ethnic backgrounds. 

I remember a fellow student from Kenya when I was in college, who wasn't just dark brown, he was literally black, so dark it was a neutral tone. He had gorgeous blue highlights on his skin in the sun and distinctive Masai features. He was all a study in angles. Translating him to anime style I'd have to draw him more like the older characters in Ninja Scroll and get the highlights in on him, to convey that. Shadows were more matte and oddly warmer, but that also depended on what he wore because reflected color is quite strong on very dark skin. I think he was dark even for pure African descent. His complexion has stuck in my mind ever since. 

He dated a blue eyed, ice blonde and slightly plump girl from Finland, they both spoke about 8 or 9 languages in common and had many shared interests. They both belonged to a club for foreign exchange students. The girl was horrified at the racism in the USA and frankly confused by it. 
EmberRain319 Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2014
Thank you for this. I'm not a good artist but i want to draw my own super hero. She's going to be a mix between African and Native American and this tutorial is more then helpful. Again Thank You!!!
trueLuminus Featured By Owner Edited Sep 5, 2014
Excellent tutorial.  I'm having trouble finding artists that can do black characters.  MANY artists need to see this, stat!  Oh, yeah, you could just say Ethnic.  African American carries it's own set of problems.  European American?  Asian American?  Jewish American?  I think you see where the problem lies.
SecretsEtcetera Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Would you say Papa Mbaye Siki (… of Kuroko no Basuke is a good or bad example?
singer-of-songs Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Really helpful! Thanks so much!
castformrain Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm so glad somebody made a tutorial like this! Especially the section about hair.
Blizky Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2014
Thank you. It seems to be some kind of taboo about black people. (I'm not American so I  don't really get it)) I want to include a big bad ass black general and his beautiful daughter on my comic and is hard to find references. Any comment about eyes would be appreciated :) thank you
Kebiru Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2014  Hobbyist Filmographer
Have to save to my studies folder.
princessofvernon Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2014
Its very helpful 
aoxxus Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
oh sweet jesus ;;;
amazonprincess61 Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2013
Actually black/Black is just as politically correct as African American, just an umbrella term, as you indicated earlier.  I'm politically correct and and also grew up with the "B-word."
Kebiru Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2014  Hobbyist Filmographer
I'd still rather be called black than African American since Americans don't understand that I'm a Trini Canadian.
amazonprincess61 Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2015
Fair enough, since "black" is the umbrella term and "African American" and "Trini Canadian" are more specific national names.
Illuminating-Dreams Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I like calling black people "African descendents" at times.
Kebiru Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2014  Hobbyist Filmographer
That works too.
Rianetta Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2013   General Artist
Thanks for this! Small tips and strong words I see!

I myself am of the brown variety. And honestly, because I couldn't really pick out any features different between black and white (Like sheep soft hair and voluminous lips where the only ones I knew) since I didn't really see much diffrences! Haha!ouo

But now I can make more hairstyles and take advantage of that nose tip you added.-u-
rugbiter Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
although I'm technically looking up non-anime instructions for drawing all different ethnic faces, I stumbled on this and I still find it very helpful, especially the side profile.
BlackieChan35 Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I like to use Ayako from Slam Dunk and The Cloud Nin from Naruto as reference (even though I'm pretty sure they're not 'black'. 
DarkFireHeart62 Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2013  Student Artist
This is so helpful! Thank you for making this.
SJacko Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
This is so helpful! Thanks! It's so hard to draw other non-white/japanese characters in manga. This'll definitely help out!
ChiefRunningWall Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
erikrogers Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2013  Professional General Artist
Thanks for the tips, I'm working on a comic book with primarily black characters and this helps.
KendrixTermina Featured By Owner May 27, 2013
TXH; It's kinda hard to convey ethnical features in a style that it so very stylized, but this here probably fits into many typical anime styles.

I esp. value the tips on the hair, because, yeah, you're never quite sure how much detail to draw/ how to keep dreadlocks/minibraids etc. recognizeable as such while still being able to draw them in sufficient quantities.
Teshyr-Menessi Featured By Owner May 6, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I saw this after looking up how to draw Animal People...why couldn't I have stayed away...
Whetsit-Tuya Featured By Owner May 3, 2013  Student Filmographer
:iconmrpopoplz::iconsayingplz:You mean that is how black people look?
DeNaiDelite Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2013
Thank U for this site. I am in school right now for graphic designs & we must leaner to draw. Which I am excited about however all the tutorials have been white artist on U tube so far anyway searched for drawing black people & found U.
Oh & thank U for using the word Black in reference to the purpose of this site truth be told "politically correct " is not how we NORMANLY talk just how we talk when necessary.
Cosmictyger Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2013
Good word! Education is solid.
AcidicGumdrops Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2013  Student General Artist
thank you for this omg
lidsworth Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
i really do like this! It irks me when i see some drawings of black people and they just don't look black. Really good job, and I don't find your terms offensive.
MissLadyGrim Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I kinda worked out my own formula for drawing African Americans. For me you have to focus on the distance between the eyes, nose, mouth and chin and the over all shape of the head sense I can't cut corners if the person I'm drawing has cornrows, a shaved head/short hair or a tight bun/their hair pulled back.
veemon-tamer Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2013  Student Digital Artist
I was kinda flipping out for a second because my comic features black characters but I didn't know how to draw low cut hair styles for the character sheets. This saved me. Super helpful! Thanks! =D
alishathesheepcat Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013   General Artist
This helped me a lot, thank you so much!
djdihengo Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
TheFlu2 Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2013
THANK YOU, now send that offensive part to all the people in the anime and manga industry.
blackhatpirate Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
this might be helpful everytime i draw them they look like a bad ben stiller impersination, i sadly can only draw asians and arabic people...
starchild334 Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
iliowahine Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2012
slowtiming Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012
redlipstick444 Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012  Professional Writer
yeah XD i needed this, and I'm black myself.
COMY-100 Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
ZantMarx Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is so useful. I was drawing a picture of someone I know in manga style, and when I had finished the sketch I realised it didn't look like the right ethnicity. I'm glad there was such a good tutorial because I can't actually think of many black people in Manga and Anime series to look for inspiration
CashewNut Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
Wonderful tutorial! It helped to answer a number of questions I had about drawing someone of a different ethnicity and will definitely be of help in my art.
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Submitted on
March 17, 2007
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