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Serena/Usagi/Sailor Moon

The animated style of Sailor Moon is quite unique, and not terribly difficult to get the hang of.  You can always pick out the style of Sailor Moon from any general anime lineup. This is because their eyes tend to be longer top to bottom that from side to side in comparison to other anime. Here's a step by step instuction booklet, big and long for inconvenient storage, and paper and ink wastage. I'm using Serena here for the most basic lesson, because she's usually the one everyone wants to draw first.

The first thing I always do is draw the foremost eye. It's terribly simple, and is the staple of Sailor Moonism.

Start with the top line of the eye. A simple curved line will do nicely. Make sure you've got it the right size, the fate of the world (or at least the size of the rest of the picture) rests on this line.  Most people would determine the size of everything according to the head, but I find that it's easier to get the right size by doing the eyes first, and going from there.  You may find otherwise, but hey, whatever works, right?

Anyway, try it out.

See how simple that was? But don't worry, it gets better. Then do the eye's bottom line. It's slightly smaller and less curved than the top eye. Remember, Serena's eyes are longer up and down than side to side.

See how far apart those lines are? That's pretty important. Of course, this is used for Serena's usual vacant expression, or for surprise. Anger and sadness bring about a thinner eye, and these lines come closer together.

Okay, next you wanna draw in the rest of the eye. Remember to add enough little waterspots to make it look like she's not staring off into space. Trust me on this one.  Some of my friends tried tracing my work, didn't include the waterspots, and their stuff ended up looking really creepy. The most important waterspot is the big one in the middle, the one that extends from the top of the eye about halfway down.. The rest of the eye is pretty much open to your interpretation.  Just, uh, heh-heh, eyball it.

See that big spot in the middle? Never forget that one!

Then you can add eyelashes and the second eyelid thing that goes over the top of the eye. Eyelashes are important, it's what separates the girls from the boys (besides the obvious, of course).

Voila! You've got Serena's front eye! This is usually the same whether you've got a 3/4 view or a front view.  Profiles are a little thinner.

But don't stop there (like you were going to)!  The next thing to do is put in the other eye, which changes appearance and placement depending on the view. For this example I'll give a 3/4 view, the easiest for me to do. Measure about 3/4 to 1 eye (side to side) to the left, and begin the second eye. An easy way to do this if you're not that accurate with your fingers (like me) is to get a spare piece of paper and mark in the sides of the eyes, then use that as a reference.  Distance is truly important, otherwise you end up with a freak. Try it a few hundred times, you'll eventually get it right.

See how the eyeball is right up side the edge of the eye? That creates the sense that Serena's looking straight forward, at you.  If you want her looking at somewhere else, move it around a little.  The left eye also has to be thinner, in order to make a sense of depth.

Now you'll probably wanna put in eyebrows. The eyebrows are one of the most important points of creating feeling in the character. A slight change in angle and height above the eyes can make Serena look happy, mad, afraid, and any other emotion you can make.

When Serena's expression is somewhat noncommital, the eyebrows have about the same curve as the eye. Note the left eyebrow is shorter, and starts parallel to the right edge of the eye.  Just like real life!

Next you wanna add the nose. I love this part. It consists of two simple lines.  And if you feel like it, you don't even have to connect these two lines at all.  They didn't bother in the anime, why should you?

Remember, on a 3/4 view, the nose is going to be put closer to the eye that is farther away. The more slanted the view, the closer the nose goes.

The nose can go a little farther down if you want, but just remember that the farther down the face, the older Serena is going to look.  So keep it up high to make it accurate.

Oh, here's an interesting point. See those little dots/lines underneath Serena's eyes? Sometimes you wanna put those in. I don't know what purpose they serve, they are just another way of distinguishing her from, say, Shampoo from Ranma 1/2. Of course, if you want Serena to look older, leave these lines out.  For reference, the Outer Senshi don't ever have these.

Okay, now for the mouth. This is also an emotion-setting item, and is subject to one of the anime laws of physics: the character's mouth is directly proportional to the decibal level of which the person is speaking. But, when the person ain't talking, the mouth is nearly non-existant. Observe.

Note how the close the nose is to the mouth. Another point, usually there's no lip line underneath Serena's mouth. This line makes her look older and, while used heavily in the manga, it is rarely used in the anime.

The next thing to do is to put in the ear. It runs about perpendicular to the eyes, maybe a little below. The ear helps to place the face lines. Take a look, and see size and details.

To tell the truth, I draw the ears far too big in comparison to the anime.  I usually do a more realistic style, with correct proportions, as opposed to the extraordinarily small ears used in the show.  Just a reminder.

When used in correct proportioning, the ear is lined up with the eyebrow and the bottom of the nose.  That's how it works on a basic human.  Of course, in the show the ear was shorter, and was lined up with about  the middle of the eye and the mouth.  That was done to make the face line right.

Which brings me to the most annoying part.  The face is a very strange line, and really difficult to get right.  Well, I find it difficult.  It's pretty much one line, but there are important points in this line that you should remember. Just look at the picture and I'll explain.

Now, pay attention. Start at the chin, right below the mouth, and draw a diagonal line up and to the left to the point just a little below the eye.  Then, you can either curve inwards or just draw a straight line upwards to the forehead.  Go back to the chin (make sure it's a little curved), and draw another line that, if completed, would stop mere millimeters below the ear.  This line may or may not ever get to the ear, depending on the angle.

Next you can do the neck and shoulders.  With this angle, it's easier to do the neck first, in order to get the hair right.

Quick proportion note, the distance from the left face line to the ear is the same as from the middle of the neck to the end of the shoulder.  Go ahead and check, I'll wait.

Now, here is the cool part about Sailor Moon. From here on, this picture can be either Serena/Sailor Moon, Lita/Sailor Jupiter, or Mina/Sailor Venus. The only things that change with these three scouts is hair and height. Sailor Jupiter is a good half-head higher than Sailor Venus, who is only slightly taller than Sailor Moon.

Amy/Sailor Mercury and Raye/Sailor Mars' eyes are slightly different from the other three.

Keeping with the title, Here's Serena's hair. It's not exceedingly difficult, but remember that the distance from the chin to the eyes (The uh, top part of the eye) is the same as the distance from the top of the eyes to the top of the head. Otherwise she'll look weird.  Don't bother with the meatballs (odango for you otakus) until you've got everything else in.

Start at the middle with all those little lines coming from the scalp, and work outwards from there. Usually there's only 4 or 5 lines of hair going from the center of the hair to the ear. Here's another quick note, when I do Serena's bangs they hang a lot lower than they should.  I do this because A)it makes her look a little older, and B) I like it.  If you're counting, her bangs in the anime never go past her eyebrows, and curve inwards a tiny little bit.

Serena's meatballs are surprisingly large, about the same in diameter as Serena's front eye. Don't forget the tension lines from the hair to her meatballs!

Hey, lookin' good there, sweetheart!