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 this article will provide you with a list of things you should learn as well as some links to relevant tutorials.
If you are looking for advice on making your own manga you may also be interested in:
The above illustration shows some of the things you will need to know to be able too draw anime and manga. Below is a detailed breakdown of each.
1. Learn the Basics of Drawing
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 and squares. This can be boring at times but will help you improve.
Continue drawing anime or anything else you might like. Practice drawing basic lines and shapes a few minutes a day and then draw anything you find fun or interesting after that.
For a detailed guide on the basics of drawing as well as tips on approaching the drawing process in the correct way see:
2. Learn Perspective Drawing
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 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 practice by drawing basic three dimensional objects such as cubes and cylinders from different angles. Later on this will help you draw more complex shapes and even anime character.
To learn about some of the basics of perspective drawing you can check:
- Perspective Drawing Tutorial for Beginners
- One Point Perspective Room Drawing Tutorial – Step by Step
3. Learn Some Basic Anatomy
You don’t need to be a doctor to draw people but some basic anatomical 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 anime and manga characters are still usually based on real anatomy.
For drawing anime character bodies you can check:
- How to Draw an Anime School Girl in 6 Steps
- How to Draw an Anime Boy Full Body Step by Step
- How to Draw an Anime Girl Body Step by Step Tutorial
- How to Draw an Anime Guy Body Step By Step Tutorial
4. Learn How to Shade
Properly shading in a drawing can give otherwise two dimensional 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.
The shading technique used in anime is highly simplified but is still based on the study of real people and settings.
For some basic examples of anime style shading see:
5. Learn How to Use Color
To be able to use color effectively you should learn at least some of the basics of the color theory such as warm and cool and complimentary colors. You can always look at a color wheel if you need some help remembering which colors are which. The colors across from each other on the color wheel are the complimentary colors. An example of a warm color would be yellow. An example of a cool color would be blue.
Using the right combination of colors you can create a more interesting and attractive looking anime character.
For more on color anime see:
- Beginner Guide to Picking Colors When Drawing Anime & Manga
- How to Color an Anime Character Step by Step
6. Use Reference Material When Drawing
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 or real objects, people and animals.
Study the work of other artists to see how anime and manga are drawn. Learn the style.
For tips on designing your own manga or anime character you can check:
For help with catching and fixing mistakes see:
7. Be Patient and Don’t Give Up
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 own 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 practice you should eventually get better.
If you ever need inspiration you can always look at the work of other artists by watching anime or looking at your favorite manga. Of course there are quite a few tutorials here on AnimeOutline that can help you with drawing in the anime and manga style. Check the Anime & Manga Drawing Tutorials section.