Top tips for drawing anime expressions! Part 10 – Fear

In this series, we’re looking at a range of different anime expressions, and learning how to use and draw them in our own work! Today’s expression is “fear”. Fear is an interesting one to draw, because the whole face can often freeze and constrict with terror. There are all kinds of things to be afraid of in the anime and manga world, including supernatural things like ghosts, and very real concepts like death.

Let’s get started looking at the expression!

How to draw an anime character with a scared expression

As the character tenses up, ready for danger, that tension is seen in their face too. The eyebrows raise and furrow, and the eyes are opened wide. The expression will look even more dramatic if we show tension all over the face, including the mouth and cheeks.

Front view of a scared expression

Point 1

The lines here are straight and vertical, so unlike blush lines (which are usually angled), these “manpu” comic symbol lines show the colour draining out of the face.

Point 2

The eyebrows are angled upwards at the centre, which suggests the character may be holding back tears.

Point 3

The mouth is stretched out wide to show tension in the face – it seems like the character could cry out at any time!

3/4 view of a scared expression

Side view of a scared expression

Low view of a scared expression

High view of a scared expression

Practical techniques for drawing an anime character with a scared expression

Here we have a character screaming in fear. It’s a kind of mixed expression of fear and shock/surprise. The mouth is open wide and the character is screaming very loudly.

Point 1

Drawing the irises, and the pupils in particular, very small, helps add to the atmosphere of fear. We see the pupils constrict as the character looks at whatever it is they are afraid of.

Point 2

These vertical lines show how the character’s body is trembling with fear

Point 3

We see the mouth is wide open, and the shape is distorted to show both how loud the character is screaming

How to draw an anime character lost in fear

This character is so afraid, they’ve totally lost themselves to the fear. They’ve zoned out and are being drawn in by the object of their terror.

Point 1

We want to give the idea that the face is kind of relaxing and stretching outwards as the character widens their eyes. We see extra definition lines around the eyes here, which makes the eyes look wider and more hollow, adding to the atmosphere of madness.

Point 2

These rings in the eyes, showing the irises and pupils as doubled, makes the character look like they are stunned, and their eyes aren’t focusing properly.

We hope this article has been useful to you in your study of different expressions! Use this article as a reference when drawing scared or shocked expressions in your own work. These kind of emotions and expressions can really add drama to a scene, and show feelings that characters might not necessarily express through words.

Good luck with your studies!

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Top tips for drawing anime expressions! Part 11 – Shock