Drawing Chibi Characters
By YUKIO ONISHI and MANGA UNIVERSITY
What is a “chibi”?
“Chibi” is a Japanese word used to describe cartoon characters (and real people and animals) that are small in stature, which in turn makes them cute. In manga, chibi characters are also sometimes called “super-deformed characters,” or simply “SD.” (The popular “SD Gundam” manga and anime series, which features miniature robot characters, incorporates the abbreviated phrase right in its name.) Chibi are are often used for comic relief or to depict the lighthearted mood or atmosphere of a situation, and thus the smallish characters are drawn differently from their full-sized counterparts. The drawing below compares a regular-proportioned character with a chibi character.