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How To Draw Japanese Anime Manga

Updated on April 29, 2011

A True Die Hard Manga Fan

Turning Imagination and Creativity into Art

So why do you want to learn how to draw Japanese Anime? Maybe because you've watched a lot of it and were drawn into the intricate story line and the beauty of the artwork. If so, then you are not alone.

I started watching anime when I was just a kid. First I fell in love with Speed Racer. Yup, if you didn't know Speed Racer is considered Japanese anime, then now you know.

Frome there I went on to watch G-Force, Robotech, Akira, Vampire Hunter, Ghost in the Shell, Appleseed and so on and so on. I remember I was not only enthralled by the artwork but also by the enthralling story line. It captured my imagination like nothine else before.

Japanese Manga mirrors real life. The story behind the artwork give the characters real life as though they are actually living breathing actors and actresses in CGI skin.

Manga can be funny, touch your soul and warm your heart. Or it can be cold, bloody and brutal and vomit inducing. Manga comes in all forms of genre just like films and books. Manga's boundaries are only limited by it's creator's imaginative and sometimes twisted mind.

History of Manga

Manga: Sixty Years of Japanese Comics
Manga: Sixty Years of Japanese Comics

If you're a freshman to Manga then check out this great book.


5 Basic Tips On Starting To Draw Manga

  1. You'll need to gather some essential tools to unleash your inner Manga imagination. Start with some basic drawing pencils (4H to 6B), pencil sharpener (preferrably steel), 18 by 24 inch drawing pad (with a sturdy backing), portable sketchbook, kneaded eraser, white nylon eraser and black ink pens (various line weights), and finally a blending stump.
  2. Draw basic shapes such cones, spheres, cubes and cylinders until you can do it with your eyes closed. By mastering the fundamentals you will be working on a foundation for mastering difficult drawing techniques.
  3. Study up on Manga drawing by reading books from Manga master artist Hikaru Hayashi. His books can be found on the links below.
  4. Take a drawing class. Even if it doesn't have anything to do with Manga. Learning other drawing skills can lead to more creative ideas when you are drawing Manga. You might even surprise yourself if you invent your own Manga style.
  5. Practice until you've had enough. Then practice some more. If Manga is what you love and it is your passion then you will find time to practice. Don't have time? Turn off that television. You can catch reruns of your favorite shows online these days.

This would look great on television
This would look great on television

A word about "Real Manga"

If you love to watch Japanese Manga because you think it's great cartoon, then you're in the wrong mindset. Manga is beyond cartoon just like the "Mona Lisa" is a leap away from "Dogs Playing Poker". Real Manga to me is a true mixture of a great imaginative story telling with beautiful artwork drawn and created by Da Vinci like geniuses.

Mark Crilley's "Miki Falls" Series Available On Amazon

A Word About The Videos

Throughout this hub will see How To Videos on Drawing Manga. These videos are created by a talented artist named Mark Crilley. His thoroughly informative videos give beginners a great start on the Manga art form.

He has a Manga sold in book stores called "Miki Falls". Go check it out.

He has a great set of videos that will teach you how to draw eyes, hair, fight poses, etc. Watch his videos and learn from the best. So I really have to give credit where credit is due. Mark Crilley is a true Manga art master.

Check out his "Miki Falls" series available on

How To Draw Manga Hair

Drawing Hair On Manga Characters

Manga character have over the edge hair styles. Sometimes the more over the top the better depending on how wild your character is. The biggest tip for drawing hair on a character is to draw the character bald first.

This all goes back to doing baby steps. Just like real people we all have a skull underneath our hair. So it is logical to draw the head bald first and than start working on hair detail.

How To Draw Manga Fight Post Pt. 1

How To Draw Manga Fight Pose Part 2

Check out a video on "How To Draw Manga Eyes"

One Style Of Manga Eyes
One Style Of Manga Eyes
Basic shapes of the eyes
Basic shapes of the eyes
Begin to add a bit of detail
Begin to add a bit of detail
Now you can add details to the inner eye
Now you can add details to the inner eye
Add final touches and details and you're done!
Add final touches and details and you're done!

How To Draw Eyes On Manga

There are many styles of eyes on Manga characters. But one important key factor is the eyes often enough are not Asian in feature. They are drawn bigger, wider and in essence more exxagerated. Each Manga artist have their own style. The more you draw and practice the more you will start to developed your own true Manga style.

  1. First start off by sketching the basic shape of the eye as best as you can. It's important to get the size and the shape right the first time.
  2. Begin to flesh out the eyelids with a heavier pencil. Details are key. Add light glares to bring out some realism.
  3. Now is the right time to add detail to the pupil and begin to thicken the area around the eyes.
  4. Time to complete your first set of Manga eyes. Draw the eyelashes with a pencil and use a marker to thicken and curl. Clean up any penciled guide lines. Now you can add some color to the iris for a little more flare.

Chibi Style Manga

Chibi Manga - A Different Style of Manga

Just like paintings have different styles and types of art, Manga too has a vast variety of final look on the artwork.

Manga drawings and their characters can range from the sublimely exaggerated to utterly cute and fluffy. Sometimes you will see hard core Manga mixed in with a bit of Chibi art, usually just to lighten a mood in a more serious Anime series.

Chibi Manga are drawn differently as well by various artist. The most notable being Naruto to even Ultraman.

First off you have to remember that Chibi drawings are simplified. From head to toe the character's body is exaggerated in proportion. The head being the biggest portion of the body. The hands and feet have the least details while the face has the most with expressions.

Never the less the artwork is backed by some of the most imaginative stories ever created.

How To Draw Manga Figures In Motion

How To Draw Manga Hands

How To Draw Body Proportions

Manga Studio 3.0 Debut for Windows

Tablets - You Will Need This For Manga Studio

Manga Studio 4 and EX Software

If you are a fan of drawing animations on the computer then this is a great software for you.

This softwar has a setup and features similar to Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. So if you are already familiar with these graphic softwares then you should get along with Manga Studio 3.0 very quick.

This software is built for hard core artist but with a little bit of a learning curve a beginner passionate about Manga shouldn't have any problems using the software.

Now this is not to say that Manga Studio has the same features as Photoshop and Illustrator. It basically has the same setup. Manga Studio is designed to help Manga artist build a comic book and give your drawings the desired affect to make it Manga style.

Manga Studio is equiped with inking capabilites and tools the emulate Manga style. So it has more pen options and pen tip selections to increase your toolbox for better design and artwork.

As I mentioned earlier Manga Studio can help you create a Manga comic book by helping you organize the pages. It organizes and saves all your files in one directory so you will know where all your pages are.

You will need a pen tablet to draw with Manga Studio. Using your mouse is not recommended for finer details for your artwork.

"APPLESEED" the Movie

The most kick ass Manga of all time!
The most kick ass Manga of all time!

Appleseed the Movie available from as well as other Anime movies of interest

Do you have a favorite Japanese Manga series? Go ahead and let everyone know.

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    • profile image

      Pikaswag200 5 years ago

      OMG! This is awesome! I love animae. My favorite animae is Sailor Moon and Inu Yasha. Now I know how to draw from this since I can draw basic shapes and I was born with an art teacher as a mother so I can draw I just could not draw animae till now. Thanks!

    • profile image

      Doof 5 years ago

      I like chicken!

    • profile image

      Ashirogi Muto 5 years ago

      this is great

      tnx for all :DD

      now I will practice this and perfect it and can you also teach us also how to draw background and effects ^^ hehehe

    • profile image

      Boorooboodoo Brad 6 years ago

      Could you do a video on backgrounds?

      Iv gotten pretty good at my characters but my backgrounds really need help before I can write a full manga

    • profile image

      Crazy birdie 6 years ago

      I love drawing. I suck at drawing realistic figures so I have my own style which is complimented by manga eyes. How exactly do you pronounce this? Oh, are there any other cutesie manga eyes???? :)

    • profile image

      Naomi Shmidt 6 years ago

      Hi I love anamea books and I used to like drawing anamea

      too but now I try to do my best, so I start out drawling

      pretty good but then I freeze up and I don't really care any more about how it looks! I know I can do better... any suggestions?

    • profile image

      xXAyameXx 6 years ago

      I love to draw anime & manga and I am fairly good at it but I SUCK at proportions. Chest, arms legs, face, you name it. I'm good and hands, feet & hair size, though. Some of the books I've read tell me to draw lines and circles to make the design of the head/body first but I find it easier to just draw...well I think my proportions turn out 5% better without the lines. When a character is facing to the side or a 3/4 side, I don't understand how to draw that sort of bumpy side. I know you just do one side normally, but the other has to sort of curve in then out then in so it can fit the nose. Any advice is helpful. Thanks!

    • brennawelker profile image

      brennawelker 6 years ago


    • profile image

      Aubrey 7 years ago

      Errr.. Well I grew up with the anime Mew Mew Power. NOT Tokyo Mew Mew. Sadly the show was canceled.. But all the episodes can be found on Youtube. The drawings aren't the best, but I had a fun time drawing Zoey Hanson. It wasn't TOO difficult. Besides that.. I love the anime Naruto! ^__^" The illustrators are AMAZING! Some people though don't really like the series.. But if you enjoy hardcore action, adventure, or even comedy, Naruto would be great for you. And the characters.. You can always relate to one of them! Which.. That's just awesome! ALSO, THANK YOU SOO MUCH FOR PUTTING THESE ARTICLES UP! I'm going to start working on an anime of my own now!

    • profile image

      Melissa 7 years ago

      Recently watched Appleseed Ex Machina. Loved it!

    • profile image

      sunako nakahara03 7 years ago

      im a really(100x) a fan of animes and manga!!! and im drawing my own now! titled fantasy world savers.. tnx a lot! i could use a lot of tips from here!

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 8 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      Thanks for dropping by Cheeky Girl, yeah Ghost is my all time fave too!

    • Cheeky Girl profile image

      Cassandra Mantis 8 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

      Ghost in the Shell is my favourite but there are lots of others, like Tokyo Babylon or Police Dominion Tank with the sexy ladies. Lots of anime and Mange is cool. Akira is one of my all-time faves! Got on DVD, and it just amazes me at how clever it is. great hub! I really enjoyed reading this.

    • profile image

      boredchick 8 years ago

      Inubaka's cool...

      Absolute boyfriend,


      Peach girl's.....OK,

      Loveless is awesome but confusing

      Fruit's basket is full of WIN as well as Death note

    • profile image

      Dayana 8 years ago

      wow i am amazed ha ha ha ha ha

    • anime_nanet profile image

      anime_nanet 8 years ago from Portugal

      Damn, that's a great hub!

      Myself are an immense anime fan, but I always sucked at drawing. Maybe I give it a go now!

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 8 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      Thanks all for visiting, yes we all have our favorite animes and the best thing of all there's so many to watch =)

    • Uzamaki profile image

      Uzamaki 9 years ago from Uunited States Of America, MN, Osakis/Alexandria

      Well i ought to say, Nice hub! But,to me the best manga of all time is naruto Shippuden cause in kost polls it usually ranks highest... Not to be mean though just in my advice...

    • Cam Anju profile image

      Cam Anju 9 years ago from Stoughton, Wisconsin

      This is an awesome Hub, a lot of good information on here! I'm sure that a lot of people are thankful that you wrote this.. including me! :)

      I am currently working on my manga drawing, and I have always found Mark Crilley's videos great help! :)

    • profile image

      scripted06 9 years ago

      very good!!! excellent

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 9 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      lol! yeah waynet, overfiend is pretty nasy and Akira is still my favorite.

    • waynet profile image

      Wayne Tully 9 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom

      Manga is one of them artforms that will always be inspirational and good to look at, I prefer the nnasty legend of the overfiend series, ninja scroll, fist of the north star and that old classic Akira.

    • Trisha's Artworks profile image

      Trisha's Artworks 9 years ago

      hello edwin. this is a nice hub. I am stuying how to draw anime myself. you are welcome to visit my hubs and see my drawings too.

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 9 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      Thanks for the nice words umaianime! And thank you for dropping by!

    • profile image

      umaianime 9 years ago

      this is one of the best article i have ever found. thank

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 9 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      Hi Nour George, yeah it a real pain to draw with a tablet pen. My hands are kind of big so it's even more difficult. But keep at it, everything takes time. Good luck!

    • profile image

      NOUR GEORGE  9 years ago



    • profile image

      Kai 9 years ago

      I luuuuv Hellsing too and I hope Seres Victoria and Arucard get together

    • Journey * profile image

      Nyesha Pagnou MPH 9 years ago from USA

      This is awesome.

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 9 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      Yeah Helsing is my favorite too, thanks for dropping by!

    • profile image

      Beast of east 9 years ago

      My favorite anime is helsing jus throwing tht out there

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 9 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      You can try your local library Kai. As for the iDraw eBook you can only download it after a purchase. Also just practice and keep watching anime and you'll be fine.

    • profile image

      kai 9 years ago

      how can I get all these books at a discounted price as I am young and would love to learn every thing there is to know about Manga