Top tips for drawing anime expressions! Part 11 – Shock

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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 “shock”. Shock is a type of surprise that is largely linked to negative emotions and situations. We often see some anger or sadness mixed in with the expression at first, morphing into a dumbfounded expression afterwards. We also sometimes see a discouraged, deflated expression follow.

So let’s take a look at this shocked expression!


How to draw anime characters with a shocked expression

When we’re drawing a shocked expression with a hint of anger, it’s common to have the eyebrows sloping down inwards, and for a sad shocked expression, we see them starting high in the centre and sloping down outwards.

We also often see the vertical lines on a character’s face representing the blood draining out of their face, and their face looking pale with shock.

Front view of a shocked expression

Point 1

Using totally straight vertical lines on the face shows the colour draining out of the face with shock. This shouldn’t be confused for angled lines on the cheeks that show blushing!

Point 2

The eyes and mouth are wide open to further represent the shock the character is feeling.


3/4 view of a shocked expression

Side view of a shocked expression

Low view of a shocked expression

High view of a shocked expression


Practical techniques for drawing anime characters with a shocked expression

Above is an example of a more comical way to express shock – we’ve broken the expression down to lighten the atmosphere while still showing the negative emotions.

This expression makes good use of all the facial features together to make a panicked, shocked, and sad expression. The eyebrows coming down at the outer side adds a sense of sadness or worry, and the tiny dots for the pupils show the panic and shock. Small pupils are a common method used in anime to express strong feelings like anger or shock.


We hope this article has been useful to you in your study of different expressions! Use this article as a reference when drawing 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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