5 Essential Ways To Get Better At Drawing Anime

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Written by Juha

Whether you are an anime fan dreaming of drawing your favorite characters, or you want to create your manga, this article will give you some helpful tips and pointers on how to improve your drawing skills.

This post’s purpose is to help you understand how to illustrate these unique anime features, such as emotionally exaggerated expressions, extraordinary hairdos, and extra-wide eyes.

Also, we will help you to develop your unique artistic view and style and learn the basic concepts and quirks of anime art.

Even if you have a natural talent for drawing, or you are a professional artist, drawing anime can still be tricky and requires mastering a specific style.

I understand the appeal and nuances of anime and manga drawing, so I’ve prepared a list of 5 helpful ways to improve in manga art and to get better at drawing anime.

Related article: 10 Must-Know Tips To Improve Your Anime And Manga Art

Study other anime and manga artists

Before you even try drawing, it’s crucial to study and get inspiration from the well-known or favorite manga and anime artists. Search for the exquisite components and elements in different art styles of Japanese artists.

Study the poses, props, and backgrounds of the characters and the unique factors that set manga and anime art apart from other art types. You have to notice even the smallest details if you want to improve your drawing skills.

Often, the eyes are the focal point of the character’s face, while the rest of the features are simple and don’t grab your attention.

However, even a few straight lines on the cheeks can change the emotion that the manga personage exhibits.

Look closely at the work of famous artists that are already considered icons in the world of manga and anime, such as Takeshi Obata with the Death Note, Ken Sugimori with the Pokémon, or Akira Toriyama with Dragon Ball.

Related article: World’s Best Anime And Manga Artists Ever

You can also study contemporary and modern artists such as Linnea Kataja, Rose Benjamin, and Toni Infante. It all depends on what and who motivates you and what kind of anime or manga style you want to show in your drawings.

Find Your Anime And Manga Art Style


There are many art styles and genres in manga and anime. Some examples include Shójo, Shónen, Seinen, Josei, or Kodomo. As a fan, you probably noticed how these styles vary in their themes and details.

For example, the male audience often prefers the Shónen style, seen in classical works such as One Piece and Naruto.

Related article: Best 15+ Anime And Manga Art Styles And Genres

Look at the art techniques that stand out, find the one that you love, and start practicing. The manga and anime art forms usually involve black and white, slick, sharp, and clear outlines, colored painterly elements, and the traditional ways of halftone, airbrushing, and cel shading.

The typical manga and anime characters are realistically proportioned, well, apart from their facial features, and follow the accurate anatomy of body shapes.

Related article: Drawing Style And How To Create One

The backgrounds are usually very detailed and intricate to help transport the reader into the manga and anime environment.

Focus On Environment Or Character Design

Being able to draw characters, props, and background is a rare occurrence in the art world. Start by picking the manga and anime element that interests you.

If you prefer to draw characters such as Naruto, you have first to understand his personality traits, history, and background. If you are creating a new character from scratch, then first consider his story.

If the environment and background are what interests you, try to envision the world where the characters of your story live. Is it a busy city or wild nature?

Maybe, it’s a future fantasy world or an old historical setting. You have to consider every small element of that world, from a plant and a fallen leaf to the smoke and weather conditions of the background.

Some great background examples that you can learn from and get better at drawing manga and anime are the Ghibli style environments and Makoto Shinkai’s background.

Both are realistic yet magical in their ways. Ghibli designs have a more nostalgic touch to them with the beautiful nature and countryside, while in Shinkai’s world, we can see such details as the stunning sky and sun rays breaking through the buildings in the background.

These lively and breathtaking elements set the tone for the whole manga or anime story.

Choose Your Colors And Color Palette

It’s crucial to learn the basics of color theory that includes knowing the right color combinations, color intensity, and various color themes.

Using warm and bright colors like yellow, red, and orange will create a more cheerful character and background, while cool and muted colors such as blue, green, and purple are great for grave or gloomy anime and manga depictions.

Colors are affected by tints, shades, and tones, so it’s vital to understand how you can use these techniques to your advantage.

Look at the saturated color theme in Fate/ Stay Night and how it provides the action and modern feel to the anime.

Meanwhile, the use of muddy and earthy colors in studio Ghibli designs create a more vintage-looking environment and characters.

You can mix and play with colors to create various effects. For example, using an intense color in a tinted and muted colored character can fabricate a glowing optical illusion.

This coloring method is significant when you need to accentuate and bring attention to a specific weapon or object in the drawing.

Drawing Mature vs. Teen Characters


Anime and manga aimed for teens is one thing, but anime for the older crowd is another story altogether.

There are more nudity, violence, and sex involved in the mature characters so drawing the proportions and anatomy of human bodies is an even more intricate process.

We can see some great examples of adult heroes in the Shigurui: Death Frenzy, the Berserk, or the Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust.

Teen and Kodomo (children) characters usually have bigger eyes to show innocence and purity. The artists depict older and more mature characters with narrow eyes, smaller pupils, and more elongated faces. 

Meanwhile, they often portray the antiheroes and villains with glowing eyes in dark and gloomy colors.

Related article: Character Design | How to Design Your Own Character

Related article:  How To Draw Anime Characters That Look Cool

Related article: How To Draw A Cute Anime Girl

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