Tips on How to Learn How to Draw Anime and Manga

If you are a fan of anime or manga and would like to learn how to draw in the style but have no idea where to start these are some  tips that can help.

1. Learn the Basics

Drawing Basic Shapes

Drawing basic shapes

Drawing anime characters is great. But if you are a total beginner to drawing in general you should start by learning the basics. Practice drawing  simple things like straight lines and basic shapes like circles, squares. This can be boring at times but will help you improve. You don’t need to stop drawing anime or anything else you might like. Simply do both. Practice drawing basic lines and shapes a few minutes a day and then draw anything you find fun or interesting.

2. Learn Perspective Drawing

Cubes drawn in perspective

Perspective drawing example

Perspective is objects getting smaller as they go farther off into the distance. A good example of this is if we were to look at a cube. Even though all sides of it are even the sides that are further away from the viewer will actually appear smaller. The larger the object the more noticeable this will be.

Perspective drawing is taking this effect into account and portraying it in a correct and realistic way. You can practise by drawing basic three dimensional objects such as cubes and cylinders from different angles. This will help you draw more complex shapes later on. Including anime characters.

3. Learn Some Basic Anatomy

Anime proportions

Anime proportions

You don’t need to be a doctor to draw people but at least some basic anatomy knowledge will definitely help. Knowing the proportions and placement of different body parts will help you avoid making mistakes when drawing. In anime certain proportions may be exaggerated but overall most anime characters are still based on real people.

You can also check some of the tutorials in the Anime & Managa Drawing Tutorials section of this website for tips on how to draw anime characters.

4. Learn how to Shade

Shading when drawing

Shading objects when drawing

Properly shading in a drawing can give otherwise two dimensional looking objects a three dimensional appearance. To be able to shade an object in a proper and realistic way you need to study how light reflects off of different shapes and surfaces. But the basic rule is that the side of an object that is facing the light source will be the lightest and the one facing away from the light source will be the darkest.

Correct shading can help indicate the lighting conditions of an environment, the time of day, and even the weather.

For example if you are drawing a character that is outside on a bright sunny day. Then the shadows would be fairly sharp with high contrast between shaded and lit areas. On a foggy or rainy day it should be the opposite the shadows would be fairly blurry and harder to see with far less contrast between shaded and lit areas.

5. Learn How to Use Colour

Colour wheel

The colour wheel

To be able to use colour effectively you should learn at least some of the basics of the colour theory such as warm and cool and complimentary colours. You can always look at a colour wheel if you need some help remembering which colours are which. The colours across from each other on the colour wheel are the complimentary colours. An example of a warm colour would be yellow. While an example of a cool colour would be blue.

Using the right combination of colours you can create a more interesting and attractive looking anime character.

6. Use Reference Material

Drawing anime

Drawing anime

No matter what you are drawing it is always good to have some reference material. Especially if you are a beginner. This can be photographs but if possible it’s better to use real objects, people or animals.

When drawing anime you can study the work of other artists to see what defines the style. There are also several tutorials on this website that may be able to help you.

7. Be Patient and Don’t Give Up

Anime style drawing of a girl

Girl drawn in anime style

Learning to draw is not easy. It takes time and a lot of effort and patience. But it can also be very rewarding to see your improvement.

At times it may seem like your drawings don’t come out the way you want them to or that you are not making much progress. Don’t let this get you down. Take a break or try again another day. With practise you should eventually get better.

If you ever need inspiration you can always look at the work of other artists which in this case can be watching anime or looking at your favorite manga.

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