This comprehensive tutorial provides a step-by-step breakdown of drawing a muscular male body in the anime and manga style. By following these instructions, you’ll learn how to depict different muscle groups with precision and realism. It’s important to note that this guide focuses on the upper body, excluding the arms, and aims to create a character that looks both muscular and proportionate.
To ensure ease of correction, it’s recommended to sketch lightly until the final steps. This way, any potential mistakes can be easily erased. For more general drawing tips, check out our Beginner’s Guide to Drawing Anime & Manga.
Step 1 – Sketch the Body Outline
Muscular bodies tend to have a wider upper portion that narrows towards the lower section. Since the muscles appear to be “popping out” from the body, maintain a curved approach throughout your drawing.
Follow these steps to sketch the body outline:
- Draw a vertical line down the center of your canvas to ensure equal width on both sides.
- Create a rough outline of the head (you may draw the entire head if it feels more comfortable).
- Add the neck, making it slightly wider towards the bottom.
- Extend light, curved lines downward from the neck to depict the trapezius muscles.
- From the trapezius, draw the shoulders with a single curve each.
- Indicate the arms, considering this character’s muscular build.
- Continue drawing the body, starting narrow at the waist, then forming a gentle “wave shape” to widen and narrow again.
- From the waist, let the body widen again as it transitions into the hips and legs.
Step 2 – Position the Collar Bones
Starting from the transition area of the trapezius muscles into the shoulders, lightly sketch the collar bones. For now, one line per collar bone is sufficient.
Step 3 – Depict the Chest Muscles
The chest muscles should have a shape that narrows toward the center of the body and widens towards the sides. Begin slightly below the collar bones and extend them well past the shoulders.
Here’s how to draw the chest muscles:
- For each side of the chest, use four sets of curves:
- The first set aims toward the shoulders.
- The next set follows the angle of the collar bones.
- The third set aligns with the center line drawn in the previous step.
- The final curve starts by lightly descending and then sharply curves back up towards the beginning of the first curve.
Step 4 – Outline the Abs
Start by outlining the combined shape of the abs. In this case, the character will have an “eight-pack,” so make the muscles just below the chest wider. Transition these muscles into the narrower abdominal muscles. Use two curved lines on each side of the body to complete the rest of the abs’ outline.
Step 5 – Detail the Individual Abs
Add details to the individual abs by incorporating light horizontal curves between them. Remember that these curves can either slope up or down, depending on your artistic preference. Avoid drawing them completely straight to maintain a natural appearance.
Step 6 – Draw the Shoulder Muscles
Draw the shoulder muscles, which somewhat “cut” into the arms before they split into the biceps.
Step 7 – Depict the Neck Muscles
Lightly sketch the “sternocleidomastoid muscles,” which begin from the inner ends of the collar bones and extend towards the ears. For a more detailed explanation of drawing neck muscles, refer to our guide on How to Draw Anime Neck & Shoulders.
Step 8 – Add the Side Muscles
Depict the muscle groups on the sides of the body, using two sets of curves that intertwine. In the anime/manga style, a single curve for each set of muscles is often sufficient.
Step 9 – Finalize the Drawing with Details
To complete the drawing, add smaller details and refine the curves of different muscle groups. Erase any remaining center lines and emphasize the drawing with darker strokes.
Ensure that you incorporate smaller curves around the abs and hint at the curves at the end of the collar bones. Once you’ve finished these steps, your tutorial will be nearly complete.
Drawing muscular bodies can be complex, especially when aiming for realism. While anime and manga characters can have exaggerated proportions, they are still rooted in the anatomy of real people. To successfully depict muscular characters, it’s crucial to have a basic understanding of the size and placement of various muscle groups.
This tutorial provides a solid foundation for drawing the upper part of a muscular male body from a front view. If you want to experiment with slightly slimmer or more pumped-up characters, feel free to adjust the size of the torso and specific muscle sets to achieve different results.
For more guidance on drawing male anime characters, check out our step-by-step tutorials on How to Draw Male Anime Characters and How to Draw an Anime Boy Full Body.