Chibi is a style of caricature that exaggerates a character’s proportions for maximum cuteness. Typically, the body is compressed, the head and eyes are enlarged, and everything is treated with simplicity. This chibi pony stands a mere 2 heads high, but their body and legs are proportionate to a full-sized pony. The approach to drawing them is similar to other pony types, just remember to keep it simple…and CUTE!
Step One: Plan the Gesture
It can be helpful to start with rough sketch to serve as a plan for the final drawing. Working small (no more than a few inches big) sketch the pose and pony design. Messy lines are okay!
Step Two: Sketch the Body Position
Draw a large circle for the head. Add a horizontal guideline for the eye to rest upon (no vertical line is needed because this is a profile shot of the head). Next, draw two much smaller circles (chest and rump) for the chibi pony’s itty-bitty body. Connect them to create a bean shape.
Step Three: Build up the Head
Create a stubby dished muzzle shape by pulling a line in from the head slightly, then out again and reconnecting at the base of the circle. Draw a large oval-shaped eye along the horizontal guideline. Connect the head to the body with a short tube-shaped neck. Note that the neck is centered beneath the circle for the head. Finally, add a triangular-shaped ear towards the back of the head. Add an inner ear crease.
Step Four: Sketch the Legs
Starting from about midway up the chest, sketch the front legs straight down and slightly splayed to ground the figure. Then, from midway up the rump, add the back legs. Although simplified, the leg segments are still based on horse anatomy, so keep the joints in mind. Add the hooves.
Step Five: Add Details
Fill in the inner eye with a semi-circular iris. Scoop the muzzle into an open mouth smile. Give your pony a bouncy mane that flips over her forehead, and pair it with an equally perky tail. Breaking the tail or hair into segments and surface lines over the form can help you visualize orientation and overlap.
Step Six: Refine Lines
Draw some extra lines in the mane to show the flow of the hair strands. Darken the upper and lower eyelids and add lashes. Add the pupil to the eye and make it sparkle with a big highlight! Erase your guidelines.
Step Seven: Finish with Color
Choose some colors for your chibi. They can be any color of the rainbow you like—the key is to pick colors that look good together. I paired eggshell white for the fur with peachy oranges and browns for the eyes, mane, and hooves. Keep the shading minimal—a little goes a long way on a low detail drawing. Add a bit of soft blush on the cheek, and she’s done!
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