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Best Japanese Manga Drawing Kits and Books

Updated on May 10, 2011

Bringing Life to Japanese Manga Anime

If you want to learn how to draw Japanese anime manga you are going to need a set of manga artists' pencils and color markers. These are the necessary tools required for drawing your favorite television/movie manga characters seen in Naruto, Bleach, Full Metal Alchemist and especially the little Chibi characters we all know and like. These unique Japanese cartoon characters are the craze now and many want to learn how to draw their favorite manga Chibi figures.

There are many manga drawing kits to choose from. Faber-Castell and Prismacolor are just few of the best art companies with really good manga drawing supplies. Though a standard regular pencil will do just fine; a wide variety of pencils with different tones and strokes will offer you more creative techniques for drawing manga styled hair, eyes, emotions and body shapes that are unique to Japanese anime characters.

But if you are truly serious about drawing manga it is best to invest in a set of books and tutorials for learning how to draw manga. A few good books on drawing manga with pencils, pens and markers will guide you to bringing your samurai, elves, fairies and anime kung-fu characters to life.

What pencils should I use for drawing Japanese manga?

Most aspiring manga artists starting out want to know what pencils are good for drawing manga. The truth is any ordinary pencil will do. However, as I mentioned earlier you do need a good variety of pencils with different shades of darkness and strokes to achieve a fuller character with details.

Manga, hair, eyes, figures and action shapes are quite unique so a good variety of pencils in your art arsenal will make your creativity flow.

Besides a good set of pencils for drawing manga you will also need a set of coloring pencils and markers. Manga art draws their audience not only with captivating story lines and characters alone. It is the eye popping color that breathes life into the characters.

A few other items you will need along with your pencils are:

  • Art gum erasers (you will need a lot of these)
  • Mechanical pencils with a variety of leads
  • Small 6 inch ruler / 12 inch if you're planning to draw big anime characters
  • Pencil sharpener

It goes without saying, colors in Japanese anime drawings are important so the more colors you have the better.

Popular Books on How to Draw Manga

Below are some of the best stand alone books teaching beginners how to draw manga cartoon. As you can see they are all from a popular series of books called the 'Monster Book of Manga'.

Manga Monster books are big so the contents, instructions and illustrations in the books can be a bit intimidating. Each book has over 350 pages but sadly not all of the artworks inside have full detailed instructions.

So these books are good if you have a little basic experience in drawing Japanese Manga already. Though these books are invaluable for aspiring manga artists with intermediate drawing skills they might not be what a beginner needs.

Manga for the Beginner by Christopher Hart

Christopher Hart has a a few popular books teaching the art of drawing manga. His instructions are clear and concise with step by step instructions found in 'Manga for the Beginner: Everything You Need to Start Drawing Right Away!' This is a true beginners manual so he will first teach you the basic shapes that are made to create defined characters that you know and love.

'Manga for the Beginner Chibis' is a really good book with instructions on how to draw cutesy Japanese chibi characters. So if you are interested in creating your own chibi girls, boys and even chibi vampire drawings you will find this book very helpful with its step by step guided tutorials.

Pics from Anime Convention in Bangkok, Thailand

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Advice for Beginners

Drawing manga takes patience. A lot of it. Keep on practicing and never give up if your drawings do not come out the way you expect them to. Most beginners make the mistake of attempting to draw advanced techniques such as full bodied manga characters with elaborate postures and fighting sequences too soon.

It is a good idea to slow down. We all have to crawl before we can walk. Start practicing on certain features instead, such as the shape of the face first followed by facial expressions and emotions created by the eyes of the characters. Then of course the cool manga hairstyles should follow.

I've been practicing on and off on my own time and sometimes I just want to give up. But there are a lot of inspirations out there to keep you going. So never give up and your passion for Japanese manga will shine.


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    • Earl Noah Bernsby profile image

      Earl Noah Bernsby 

      5 years ago from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

      Just what I was looking for. Thanks Edwin Clark!

    • profile image


      7 years ago


    • profile image

      john slaton 

      7 years ago

      I am an intermediate drawler my friend showed me how to start I iv gotin better as I went along with patience iam abil to draw many different charcters including lufy from one piece and ichigo from bleach

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      im like awesome at drawin manga i even teach kids to draw it and i enjoy drawing manga espesily womens bodys lol

    • Edwin Clark profile imageAUTHOR

      Edwin Clark 

      8 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      Hi dredcuan, keep at it, you'll get there with practice, good luck!

    • dredcuan profile image

      Dred Cuan 

      8 years ago from California

      I know how to draw but not as good as the one in the video. Now, I feel like I want to draw same thing especially that I like anime. Maybe, I might try drawing anime later, astroboy! lol

    • Edwin Clark profile imageAUTHOR

      Edwin Clark 

      8 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      Sharon - It does take a whole lot of patience. I know most people give up way before they've even started.

      Alma - To me One Piece is so so ; ) Now that I have a bit of free time I'm just catching up on Bleach.

      Thank you both for commenting!

    • Alma Cabase profile image

      Alma Cabase 

      8 years ago from Philippines

      I love one piece..^^

    • Sharon Douglas profile image

      Sharon Douglas 

      8 years ago from GA, United States

      Yes drawing manga do take a lot of patience.

      Excellent info and advice.

      Up and good to go


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