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how to draw a japanese geisha girl

How to Draw a Geisha

Step 1.

Lets start this step by drawing the frame guide for the geisha. You start this by drawing a circle for the head, then go to the left hand side and put your pencil on the paper and draw in steps, down, right, down, left, this sketches the pattern for the arms and shoulders. Now draw the torso and a line going down from the middle of the torso and then a long square block shape for the lower body.

Step 2.

Now here in this step you will be outlining the geisha's attire. You accomplish this by sketching the upper part of the kimono and the sleeves. As you can see there are two long curved shapes for the fans that they use to entertain with dance. Her kimono on the left side looks very stiff, so you really don't have to much detailing to do in this step. The bottom of the dress in later steps has lots of definition.

Step 3.

Now, in this step you will sketch out and draw the geisha fans. They look like half moon shaped objects that are being held by her hands, she is in actual movement in this image so she will be a little complex to draw. Before leaving this step you will need to sketch in the detail in her kimono with just simple line art. After you do this move to step 4.

Step 4.

In this step you will be doing very little. this part is preparing the kimono to look realistic by wrinkling up the dress with some basic definition lines on the bottom, on the long sleeve hanging to your left, and also on the right shoulder of the kimono. This is really the only thing you have to do here after you are done move to your next step.

Step 5.

Here is where you will draw the fans folding lines one by one. But you will only be doing this to the fan on the left. I do this so you don't miss out on detailing the entire step. Now, her face looks different from the image and that is because after looking at my finished work on adobe, I notice it looked nothing like my sketch. So I reopened the program and notice that I didn't save the original drawing, so I took the actual line art that is prepared for the tutorial and drew her face and hair differently. That is the only thing that was changed.

Step 6.

This step you will be Detailing the fan that sits in the right hand, and again take your time there is no rush. After your done with this step erase all the guidelines and sketch marks made from going over the paper a dozen of times. When you are satisfied move to step 7.

Step 7.

Here is what you should end up with when you are done. Like I said before, fix her hair buy adding two buns and little pieces of hair that sit around her face. Just look at the finished colored image and you will get an idea of what to do.

NormalCompactSlideShowDraw Sheet
Uploaded: January 29, 2008
Artist: Dawn
Difficulty: Intermediate  Intermediate Skill Level
Steps: 7
Updated: February 12, 2010
P.O.V: Front
Favourited: 8 times
Artist comments

Geisha are woman of Japan that has been a part of Japanese culture for decades. These beautifully dressed girls have such a unique and captivating life style. The history of Geisha and how they become who they are is an interesting story. Now, I’m no historian on the subject but I can certainly fill you in on what I know myself. The first thing I know about these girls is that, they are Japanese entertainers that poses a variety of skills to be successful at what they do. Geisha girls begin training at a very young age, some are brought into this lifestyle because their mothers are geisha, and of course if you’re a young Japanese girl and have a mother that is geisha you will be geisha too. When young girls start their training, stage one is called shikomi, they get put to work as maids and do as they are told. After intense training and gaining familiarity with geisha arts they are tested and if passed you move to minari status. Once you are labeled as a minari you no longer have to perform housekeeping duties, instead your training is field based. You attend the same banquets as the geisha. This level of training last for a short period and if you pass you are then promoted to maiko status. When you are in this stage you follow your geisha mentor where ever they go and learn from what they do. They teach you the proper way to serve tea, how much skin should be revealed, the proper way to sit, the proper way to stand from your sitting position, they also teach you how to play shamisen and engage on polite conversation. Once you are taught all things geisha (which could last from 6mths to 5 years) and your stage name is picked out, you are then finally promoted as a geisha. I find these woman remarkable and I especially enjoyed the movie “Memories of a Geisha” it was heart felt and I truly felt sorry for all the girls when there life was so intensely hard on them. Learning "how to draw a geisha" step by step will have you using a combination of line art, sketching and shading all in one. I made the instructions easy to read cause I know when you read something online it needs to be clear and to the point. I hope you have fun.