How to draw Goku from Dragon Ball Z – full body





For more Dragon Ball tutorials click here

Welcome back mangakas! You’re in for a real treat today as we’re going to learn how to draw everyone’s favourite Super Saiyan, Goku from Dragonball Z! Not only that but we’ll also get a chance to practice the principles of proportional representation or “sectioning”. This is a really cool concept that artists use to make sure their illustrations are the correct size/shape, and look more life-like. It also helps you work on a “top down” way of drawing, which helps keep your art more organized and less chaotic when you’re drawing. Ever heard of it? Well after today’s walkthrough you’ll be able to add it to your artist’s tool kit for sure! Ready to begin? Then let’s start!

Visualize: Before we dive right in and start putting pencil to paper, I wanted to further explain the “sectioning” technique. When drawing the human form (or in this case, the Saiyan form) it’s important to make sure everything is proportionate (ex: the arms are a proportionate length to the body, which is a proportionate size to the legs etc.). Think of your drawing like a puzzle; if the pieces aren’t all the correct size or shape, they’re not going to fit together properly. If your legs are too long, or not long enough then your final product isn’t going to look right. And when you’re drawing one of the greatest warriors in the universe, you’re going to want to make sure he looks as good as he fights!

Take a quick moment to study the picture above. Notice how everything seems correctly sized? This was no accident! The space from the top of GokuÂ’s head to his waist is the same as the space from his waist to his knees, which is the same as the space from his knees to his feet. Now compare this to your own body. Notice any similarities? The human body grows proportionately, so when weÂ’re trying to recreate this on paper a great way to do so is to draw it “proportionate sections”, which is what weÂ’re about to do.  

Step 1

Step 1: Frame your body.

Start by setting up your 3 sections. You can make Goku as big or as small as you want, just as long as all 3 sections are the same size. If youÂ’re using a standard 8.5 x 11 piece of paper, I recommend making each section about two inches high so you have room to add hair and fix any mistakes later on.

WeÂ’ll start by building the framework for GokuÂ’s body. Start in section 1 by drawing a vertical oval shape that begins at the top of the section, and ends just shy of halfway to section two. This will be GokuÂ’s head. Next weÂ’ll add an inverted rhombus (square-like shape with a base thatÂ’s wider than its apex) just underneath for his torso. This should end at the bottom of section 1. Try to round out the corners of the rhombus, after all you wonÂ’t find too many square corners on the human body! For section 2 weÂ’ll start by drawing the mirror image of the shape we just drew by placing another rhombus underneath to create GokuÂ’s hips (try to leave a small space between the two rhombusÂ’ this will help you visualize approximately where his belly button would be located). This shape should be the same width as the one above and should be roughly the same length as GokuÂ’s head in section 1.

Next we can draw two diagonal lines that start just inside each corner of the rhombus in section two and end in two small circles (Note: the midpoint of the circles should be at the line that separates sections 2 and 3). These will act as Goku’s thighs and knee joints later on. Moving on to section 3 we’ll continue our diagonal lines on the same plane as the thigh lines roughly ¾ of the way through the final section. There we can add two smaller circles to serve as a reference point for Goku’s ankles (we’ll be adding feet on later so you want to be sure you don’t go all the way to the bottom of section 3 or you will run out of room!) Keep in mind that Goku is a fighter, so he’s usually standing in a battle stance. As such you’ll want to make sure his legs are shoulder width apart to form that classic inverted “V” fighter look and not side by side like he’s relaxing (after all we’re not drawing Bulma here!).

Step 2

Step 2: Add some limbs.

For this step we begin by drawing two circles on either side of GokuÂ’s torso to create his shoulders. The circles should be about the same width as his head, and roughly half the height. They should also slightly overlap the torso lines (donÂ’t worry weÂ’ll be erasing the overlap later on). Next weÂ’ll extend two diagonal lines parallel to his legs that end in two more circles (these should be about half the size of GokuÂ’s shoulder joints and will serve as a reference point for his elbows). The circles for his elbows should begin at the top of the line for section two and fall in line with space between our two rhombus shapes (Try this: when standing straight up let your arms hang by your sides. Notice how your elbows are about the same height as your belly button?). Continue your diagonal lines from there and draw two more circles. These will form GokuÂ’s hands and should end at roughly the halfway point for section 2.

Next we will draw the outline of his legs/pants. Begin at the corner of your rhombus in section 2 and extend a diagonal line about 1/3 of the way through section 3. This should follow the same contour lines of his leg from step 1. Extend a horizontal line through the leg and send the line back up towards Goku’s hips, ending at the midway point of the base of the rhombus in section 2. Do the same for the leg on the right to create his other leg line. When this is done you should have a shape that looks like a big “W” with a flattened bottom.

Finally we’ll create the outline for Goku’s feet/boots. Begin by drawing a sideways “V” shape around the circles we created in section 3 for his ankles (think Pacman eating a dot). Next, extend two parallel lines at a 45 degree angle downwards to help frame Goku’s boot. Finally add another sideways “V” (mirror image of the first) to close off the shape on each foot. This should give you a pointy boot shape that sort of resembles a cat’s eye. Not the most common kind of footwear but the Saiyans aren’t exactly known for their fashion sense!

Step 3

Step 3: Finalize the form.

This is our last real “construction” step before we start to add some details to our friend. Begin by drawing a vertical line through the middle of GokuÂ’s head. Next add a horizontal line the width of his face about ¼ of the way up (this will serve as a reference for GokuÂ’s nose later on). Add in two vertical lines at slight angles to attach his head to his torso (his neck should be about the same width as his head). From there we can add in two sideways “V” shapes starting at the corners of his shoulder line, extending out past the circles we made for his shoulder joints, and ending about halfway down his torso (this will form the basis of GokuÂ’s famous orange outfit he received from Master Roshi). 

Next, add a long slender rectangle to join Goku’s torso and hips and you’ve got yourself one of the most famous belts in all of manga. Just above where we drew Goku’s hands in section 2 we’ll add two small squares, slightly wider than his hands that extend to the midpoint of his forearm to form his cuffs (artists sure do love adding cuffs to their characters don’t they?). And finally we’ll add two “U” shapes from the base of Goku’s leg to the top of his foot to finish framing his boots. That wasn’t so bad now was it?

Step 4

Step 4: LetÂ’s add some detail.

Here we’ll start to see Goku really start to come to life. Start by adding two sideways “U” shapes on either side of Goku’s head. These will serve as his ears and should be about 1/3 the size of his head. Next we can add two diagonal lines starting at the same height as his ear tips and sloping downwards before ending just shy of the line of symmetry we drew on Goku’s face. Add in two tiny circles at the base of each line and we have a rough-in for his eyes & brow. Finally add a small dash just above Goku’s chin for his mouth and the basis of his face is set.

Now, starting at the midpoint of Goku’s neck, draw a semi circle through his shoulder line and ending at the midpoint of his neck on the opposite side (think of the rings around Saturn). Just underneath we can add a similar “V” shaped line that begins at the midpoint of his shoulders on the left, and ends at the midpoint of his shoulders on the right. These lines will serve as collar line for Goku’s shirt and gi. On the right side of the drawing we will add a diagonal line extending from the midpoint of Goku’s chest at a 45 degree angle and squaring off to meeting with his shoulder (kind of like a sideways check mark). Just underneath this we can add a small sideways “V” on Goku’s side to help give his outfit a more realistic “battle worn look”. Flipping over to the left side we will add a similar “check mark” shaped line with the same beginning and end points as the one we just drew, only this time instead of adding a small “V”, we’ll throw in a capital “L” shape to mix it up (Note: when drawing the human form, it is good to have symmetry in parts like the face, torso etc. However when drawing clothing, small changes to the wrinkles, tears, or scuffs on each side go a long way to making your drawing more realistic). And finally we can add a small circle in the lower right hand portion of Goku’s torso for where his crest will be later on.

Moving on to section 2 we’ll add some meat onto Goku’s forearms. Start by drawing slightly bent vertical lines joining his cuffs to his elbow joints (similar to this ~) on both arms. Next we’ll frame Goku’s fists of fury with two “U” shaped lines with slightly square bases (Note: if you are unsure of how these lines should look, try making a fist and holding it up to a mirror. Take note of the subtle contour lines of your hand and apply this to our Saiyan friend). From there we’ll look to add some detail lines to Goku’s legs/pants. Begin by drawing vertical lines that follow the angle of the leg. When drawing the contour lines for the pants, think of waves on an ocean. That choppy pattern is what you should use to join the base of Goku’s hips to the tops of his boots. Repeat the above step for each side of his legs. And last but certainly not least, we’ll add the strings to Goku’s boots. This is done by drawing a small square, with a floppy rectangle on either side of it at the apex of his foot which we drew earlier in step 2. Repeat for the other foot and you’re ready to move on!

Step 5

Step 5: ItÂ’s all about the hairÂ…

Oh if only we could all have hair like Goku, let alone Super Saiyan Goku! Hey, if we can’t have his hair, let’s at least draw it properly. To begin let’s draw his bangs. At the top of Goku’s head we can draw several spikes of hair sloping downwards. Draw in a “W” shape and transition immediately into a “V” shape to form his hairline. The points of these strands of hair should extend right into the lines we drew for his eyebrows earlier on. Next we’ll begin at the left side of Goku’s head. Start by drawing a small “V” shaped line beginning just under the base of his ear and jetting out away from his head. Follow this up by adding 3 more “V” shapes, each one getting progressively bigger and wider than the last, before ending just off centre on top of Goku’s head (Note: imagine shark fins swimming from Goku’s neck to the top of his head. This should give you a good visual of what your lines should look like). Next we’re going to do the same thing on the right side of his head, only this time the fins will be going in the opposite direction. Add one small “V” shape, followed by two more progressively larger ones and end with a small gap between the each set of fins on top of Goku’s head (on a clock this would be at 1 o’clock). Here we’ll add a small curved line to join the two sets of “fins”. Inside each ear we can now add small “Y” shaped lines to give some more detail to our drawing. And finally we’ll draw a line at a right angle (90 degrees) beginning at the tip of the brow and ending at the base of the brow for each eye to give Goku that “big eyed” manga look. Is your illustration starting to look like the real thing now? We’re getting close!

Just underneath Goku’s chin we can draw another small “V” shape on his neck that ends just before his collar line. At the base of the “V” we’ll add a wavy line that spans almost the whole width of the shirt before stopping at either end. This will be Goku’s collarbone. Next we’ll finish up the arms on either side. Begin by drawing a vertical line with a slight bulge (to simulate muscle) beginning at the elbow joint and attaching to the shoulder joint. Repeat this motion 3 more times on the other sides of the arm to finish framing both biceps. On each hand you can now add a diagonal “ ~ “ shape to provide reference for Goku’s fingers. Lastly we’re back to the belt (Goku is all about the accessories you know). Beginning just left of the midpoint of the existing belt (right about where his belly button would be) we’ll draw a wavy square based “U” shape that ends roughly 2/3 of the way through section 2 before looping up again and meeting the waistline. Right next to this we’ll add another “U” shape, only this time we’ll go about ½ through section 2 before turning around again.

Phew, done the tough part now, ready for the home stretch?

Step 6


Step 6: Detail, detail, detail.

WeÂ’ve now got the basic framework of Goku in place, and weÂ’re now focused on adding in those final touches to really make our drawing stand out. Begin by lightening any remaining construction lines on your drawing with a good, clean eraser. Once this is done we can begin to add the detailing. Keep in mind that Goku is a fighter, so heÂ’s going to have muscles bulging, fists clenched, and hair out of place. In the TV show he usually has three lines of hair that are out place (one to the left, one on the right, and one on top of his head) so this is as good a place to start as any.

Next let’s add some detail to his face and neck areas. Start by drawing some squiggly lines inside his ears to make them more realistic (a good hint is to try to draw “bean shapes” inside to make it true to life). Follow this up by adding a horizontal line or two under each eye to give Goku an intense look. On his neck, we can add “complimenting lines” to our existing “V” shapes (a complimenting line is when you draw an additional line or shape that mirrors the direction/form of the original line but usually on a smaller scale) to help him look more muscular. For his arms, try adding a bent vertical line that begins at the sleeve line and curls in towards Goku’s body to help highlight the muscle lines in his biceps. At the midpoint of the elbow join we can add a small horizontal dash to show the fold in the arm where it bends. Next comes a bit of a tricky part, the hands. When drawing hands, try to draw the thumb first. This should give you a good reference as all the other fingers should be longer and skinnier than the thumb. Use the “ ~ “ shape we drew earlier on to give you a starting point the thumb and work your way out from there. Again, looking at your fist in a mirror from time to time is never a bad idea even for the most experienced artist.

Finally for his boots we simply have to add the piping and we’re all set. Begin at the top of the boot by drawing a “T” shaped pipe that runs along the top and ends in the middle of the square lace or “knot”. From there we can extend the piping horizontally from the “knot” to just above the heel. And finally, beginning at the tip of the foot, run the piping vertically back to the center of the square “knot”. Repeat this step for the other boot and you’re just about done.

For the clothing stage, you can really make your drawing your own. You can use the above drawing as a guideline, but don’t think that you need to get every fold, and pleat in his outfit down exactly as we have here. Instead try to think of the mechanics of what’s going on underneath to strategically place your detail lines. For example notice around the knee that the contour lines of his pants follow where his knee would be underneath? Or how in his shirt there are pleats where his arms meet his torso and the shirt looks “bunched up” in his arm pits? Take a few minutes to look in the mirror and see where your shirt may bunch up or fold on your body, or where your pants become tighter or baggier on your legs. You can copy the example above, but if you really want to develop your skills as a mangaka then you should also be working on perfecting your own techniques as well.

(Note: For GokuÂ’s crest on his outfit, the above image may be a bit hard to see. If you really want to make sure you get it right, here is a great website you can use as a reference http://dragonball.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_symbols )

Step 7

Step 7: Erasing the construction lines.

WeÂ’re so close to the end now, hang in there! Start by removing your sectioning guide from the paper with an eraser and any construction lines that may be left, make sure to let your ink dry first! ^^ 

Step 8

Step 8: Shadowplay.

At this stage it is good to be honest with yourself. If you would consider yourself a beginner to novice mangaka then I recommend using pencil and then tracing over it when you are done. If you are an advanced to expert illustrator then feel free to complete this stage using ink.

Here weÂ’ll add a few shadows and a bit of shading to finalize our picture of Goku. Keep in mind, less is more, especially when working with ink! If you add in too much you may find that your drawing becomes too dark or doesnÂ’t turn out the way you wanted it. When shading or adding a “shadow effect” to manga or anime pictures what you donÂ’t want to do is make the shades one solid blob. If you look closely, the shadows are usually made up of many thin lines placed closely together to create the illusion of shade. The other trick to keep in mind when shading is to know where your light source is. In this case, letÂ’s imagine that the sun is in the top right corner of the page. As you can see, all the shading on the picture above follows that principle (i.e. all the shadows go to the left). A simple trick to prevent making duplicate shadows, or shading in different directions, is to place a desk lamp in the top right corner of your drawing space to act as a “sun” and draw from there. 

Add some shadowing to the left of each foot, under GokuÂ’s chin, and under each knee to give the pants some depth. If you did this in pencil, trace over your lines with ink. If not then move on.

Step 9


For more Dragon Ball tutorials click here

Step 9: Shading.

If you donÂ’t plan on adding shades then step back and admire your work! If you want to fully complete your drawing then bust out your grey markers or pencil and fill away. 


If your goal is to become a great mangaka make sure to try to draw Goku again from memory. Then compare the final drawing with the original and correct any mistakes you might have made. Try once again from memory and continue this process until you are happy with the result. This is the best way to build a huge library of lines and shapes in your head that you can use in the future to design your own manga characters.

Draw with passion! ^_-


Text by Goku