in this raffle you will win a drawing from me of your original character or favorite character!
How to Draw Manga! School Uniforms Introduction
A common theme in manga and anime is the school setting. Often the school uniforms are what the character wears all of the time (even when half way across the world, looking at you Jotaro). School uniforms often take a similar style, but variations can be a key design aspect of the character. This is Part 1 in this series, Girls uniforms.
This is a common girls uniform that takes the inspiration of a sailor suit with a thick collar drawn into a point, the collar then folds over the back with various 'flap' styles. It is pulled on over the head, having a large neck rather than buttoned up like a blouse. It is generally made of a thicker cotton and the collar is quite stiff and does not crinkle easily.
Colours and styles vary, most have a stripe(s) of some kind, the collar can be the same or a different colour than the rest of the blouse. Sleeves can be short or long, depending on the season.
Underneath the collar on the outside is either a scarf pulled in with a clasp (often a school logo clasp) or a ribbon of any size. Beneath the collar (as it is quite open, can be nothing, a small section of fabric or a skivvy is worn underneath. There are countless options for style even before colour comes into play. Use the links below to further understand the variations of the Sailor fuku.
In this very rough example there are two variations on the front, whilst there are three variations on shape at the back (other shapes are also used as well as these three common ones). Even bow size and type varies, as well as the short clasped ribbon with or without stripes.
If using stripes on a Sailor fuku the theme is commonly repeated throughout the uniform, such as at the cuffs or on the socks and skirts.
When using a Sailor fuku in winter, they either have a wide loose jumper or come in a longer thicker variety for the colder months. However often the colour may change, for example in Cardcaptor Sakura, the summer version is short and white with black stripes and red scarf, whilst the winter is black with white stripes and a red scarf - so this does offer some variation during colder months. Warm jackets and other accessories are up to the individual typically and can also vary according to their personal style.
Blouses and Jackets or Jumpers
Blouses can have a number of different collar shapes and the same variety of scarf, lapels, ribbons in a bow or even a tie. Sleeves can be very short and puffy or straight.
In winter a blouse can be accompanied with a cardigan of any length, a jumper, a vest and cardigan or a blazer. Often the colours are representative or opposite of the summer variety.
In this rough example two different cardigan lengths, one with short tie, the other a thin bow. The second example is two different blazer types, these are fitted blazers. One is longer and has a centre line, the other is a cross over with multiple buttons.
The style and colours chosen often match with the rest of the uniform, having repeating themes (stripes or colour for example). Length of the jacket can be at or below the waist, but typically is a fitted style. An alternative is a looser cardigan and maybe a fitted vest underneath even. So many different and fun variations.
This rough example shows same length but different pleats, typically lots of pleats is uncommon in art because it can be quite cumbersome to draw, soft pleats are favoured for their easiness. A button or clasp on the side or back is a common position for a skirt.
Skirts can be plaid, solid coloured and may have a number of stripes tying in the rest of the uniform. They are rarely two toned or translucent (unless you go to Magic School ).
Shoes and Socks
Socks in winter tend to be high (or replaced with leggings if appropriate) and shoes are standard-issue (flat shoes, no heels or boots typically) or joggers. Stockings or coloured leggings can also be used, typically solid-coloured rather than patterned, bright patterns seem reserved for flashy mothers. When the students get to school they replace their shoes with indoor shoes known as Uwabaki.
The following rough example is of puffy pushed-down socks or leggings with brown or black standard school shoes. The second example demonstrates straight socks and uwabaki.
Go take a look at some of your favourite anime and manga artists and see how they have designed a school uniform, try and find common elements that you prefer such as skirt length, colours and start drawing up some mock ups of what you would like for your character. The choice is yours and have fun with it!
Guides and References
Remember: Do not steal someone's design, be inspired instead. Especially with RPG uniforms they are for the purpose of the RPG group and are mentioned here for demonstration only.
Part 2 of School Uniforms Coming Soon, Boy's School Uniforms!
Cosplay Uniform References
Manga Tutorials: Girls Uniforms
Japanese School Shoe Examples
Want to suggest a theme or provide article content? Want to see other articles? Tips and Tricks: Introduction and Master List