How To Draw Anime Art – The Complete Guide

Table of Contents

I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read the disclosure.


Written by Juha

I’m Juha Ekman, a.k.a Okuha, and I’m here to help you get started with anime & manga art, make you more confident with your art skills, and teach you new drawing techniques to get your creativity to another level.

Do you imagine what anime & manga art combined with confidence in your skills can give you? That’s what I’m here to help you discover.

I have been drawing for years already and went through an incredible transformation from a traditional artist to becoming a digital artist.

Old vs New Fast and Easy Drawing Idea - Draw This Again
Transformation from traditional art to digital art

It wasn’t easy for sure, and we all start from zero. So if you’re feeling behind – don’t worry. I’ll give you a fast start to anime art and how to draw digitally.

Choose drawing materials (Traditional Art Path)

Before we dive deep into creating anime and manga art, you have to choose whether you want to create anime art using traditional or digital mediums?

This guide slightly covers the traditional medium and how to use pencil, paper, and eraser to create anime art. However, we mostly focus on creating anime art digitally in this guide.

Creating anime art using traditional medium

Traditional medium means using tools like paper, pencils, graphic pens, markers, etc., to create your anime art.

Pencils on paper, old drawing from years back

When I first started to draw anime art, I used a series of pencils, mostly HB or 2B, to create the line art.

Uni Wooden Pencil - 2B - Box of 12 (U2B)
454 Reviews
Uni Wooden Pencil - 2B - Box of 12 (U2B)
  • Set of 12
  • 2B
  • A smooth writing feeling, breaking hard...

For inking, I used Sakura Pigma Micron Ink pens with varied thicknesses of 005, 05, and 01. This enabled me to draw a 0.20 mm line width among other line widths.

Sakura Pigma 30062 Micron Blister Card...
23,610 Reviews
Sakura Pigma 30062 Micron Blister Card...
  • PRECISE POINTS & LINES: Create precise...
  • SMOOTH WRITING: Experience smooth,...
  • ARCHIVAL QUALITY: Pigma ink colors are...
  • CERTIFIED NON TOXIC: Approved by ACMI...

For paper, I used a Copic alcohol marker pad by Transotype. I used this paper for its superb marker usage quality. If you are using Copic markers with basic A4 paper, it will more than likely bleed over your lines, and you are not able to keep the colors of the markers pure and bright.

No products found.

Drawing from the old days when still using traditional medium. Drawing made with Sakura Pigma pens and Copic markers on a Copic marker paper.

For coloring, I used the ever famous Copic markers as they are the best in the class for anime art. Copic markers give you pure colors with zero compromises.

And by using these markers with the correct paper, you are able to produce damn fine anime art drawings in no time.


Choose hardware and tools (Digital Art Path)

Even though I started my artistic journey by using traditional tools, I soon felt slightly limited by it. That’s when I found digital art, digital drawing tablets, and the art world opened up to me in a whole new way.

If you are just starting out and want to get into the digital art world, a good place to start is to know that you need the following equipment to draw digitally:

Must-have tools for creating digital art:

  • Desktop computer, laptop, or a tablet
  • If you choose a laptop or a desktop, then you need to get a drawing tablet
  • Art software

Understanding hardware

Now that iPad Pro, among other tablets, enable you to draw anime art at a professional level, you might not even need a fully-fledged computer anymore. But you still need art software. 

The most important aspect of choosing any hardware, whether it be a tablet, desktop pc, or laptop, you need a lot of RAM memory. You also need a good processor and a display that has rich colors.

RAM memory for drawing

RAM memory is not the same as HDD, SSD, or such memory. Ram memory (random-access memory) is a form of computer memory that can be read and changed in any order, typically used to store working data and machine code.

The main point is that it does not store any files but is lighting fast at processing “files.” 

32GB of RAM memory is the best to go for if you want to draw crisp, high-resolution anime drawings. 64GB is the next best to go, as it could be a bit of an overkill in some cases, but then again, more is better when it comes to RAM.

Bestseller No. 1
Timetec 16GB KIT(2x8GB) DDR3L / DDR3...
  • DDR3L / DDR3 1600MHz PC3L-12800 /...
  • Module Size: 16GB KIT(2x8GB Modules)...
  • PCB Color may be different (Black or...
  • For DDR3 Desktop Compatible with Intel...
  • Guaranteed Lifetime warranty from...
SaleBestseller No. 2
Timetec 16GB KIT(2x8GB) Compatible for...
7,313 Reviews
Timetec 16GB KIT(2x8GB) Compatible for...
  • DDR3L 1600MHz PC3L-12800 204-Pin...
  • Compatible for Apple Mac Book Pro -13...
  • Compatible for Apple iMac – 21.5 inch/...
  • Compatible for Apple Mac Mini - Mid...
  • PCB Color may be different (Black or...

More allocated memory for your art software, more speed to your drawing process. But do bear in mind that increasing memory allocation also affects other software. So the other software might not be as responsive as they were before.

HDD, SSD, M.2 Drive, Scratch Disk for drawing

Thankfully we live in an era where SSD drives exist, and the speed of write/read operations has increased massively. SSD drives have enabled faster access times, loading times, writing times, and whatnot.

SaleBestseller No. 1
  • THE SDD ALL-STAR: The latest 870 EVO has...

I am using M.2 (Samsung 1TB 960 EVO – though it’s already getting a bit old) drive for the scratch disk but also as a working disk. This enables fast saving times, faster file processing, among other benefits.

The main benefit is that you can start drawing faster, save faster, and progress through the image faster.

I grew tired when I had a traditional HDD in place, and loading and saving the drawings took like forever. So when I built my new computer, I focused on speed and silence.

I did achieve both, but it didn’t come cheap. I also have a lot of artworks saved from different sites, like DeviantArt, Pixiv, Artstation, Behance, and so on, which also reside on the M.2 drive.

That is because looking and finding inspiration and reference images with the old HDD were too slow for me.

I want things to be done fast, or at least the information should be acquired as fast as possible.

Efficiency and speed are a must for me. So I put an effort (and money) into it.

Also, do consider the amount of space you might need for your artworks and work-in-progress files.

What I’ve seen with my work is that artworks roughly take 2Gb-4Gb of storage space from your hard drive (and that is for one artwork/folder). And to counter that storage need, I’ve installed one 5Tb WD Red HDD to my desktop. And another as an external backup.

SaleBestseller No. 1
Seagate BarraCuda 2TB Internal Hard...
  • Note: Graphics May Vary and Size (3.5")...
  • Store more, compute faster, and do it...
  • Build a powerhouse gaming computer or...
  • The go to SATA hard drive solution for...
  • Confidently rely on internal hard drive...

Making the whole storage solution look like this:

Processor for drawing digital art

You do not need a powerful processor to draw efficiently. However, when and if you want to do other tasks, like zipping files or video editing. It would be best if you had a powerful processor.

Do get yourself an Intel processor. That is my go-to manufacturer when it comes to processors. Look for the latest model and pick either the best, second-best, or even the third-best that is currently in the market and does not cost a fortune as some high-end models do.

Around 300$ is the price range to aim for.

SaleBestseller No. 1
Intel Core i7-12700K Desktop Processor...
750 Reviews
Intel Core i7-12700K Desktop Processor...
  • Intel Core i7 3.60 GHz processor offers...
  • The processor features Socket LGA-1700...
  • 25 MB of L3 cache to boost the...
  • Intel 7 Architecture enables improved...
  • To boost graphics and visual quality,...
SaleBestseller No. 2
Intel Core i9-12900K Desktop Processor...
  • The processor features Socket LGA-1700...
  • 30 MB of L3 cache memory provides...
  • 10 nm enables improved performance per...
  • Intel 7 Architecture enables improved...

If you are building a small desktop pc, do also take into account the TDP (Thermal Design Power) of the processor as bigger and more powerful processors will quickly heat up your pc, which is never a good thing, and it brings fan noise to irritative levels.

Best display for drawing

A display is probably one of the most important things you need. You have to have good color accuracy or color gamut, as some call it. Meaning that the display actually shows the colors as you intended. Reds are shown as reds and not as magenta, for example.

Look for a display with 99%+ Adobe RGB or 99%+ sRGB. This is somewhat a base standard to be expected from a display for professional drawing. So aim for color accuracy over 4K and other things. Color is the thing that matters.

Currently, you can get 10K displays, but it seems like 4K or 5K is the next standard for displays. 4K (3,840 by 2,160 pixels) resolution has four times the pixels found in a 1080P monitor. Wide-Quad HD (WQHD) displays have a pixel ratio of 2,560 by 1,440 pixels, also known as 1440p.

SAMSUNG 32 inch UJ59 4k monitor...
  • 32 inch 4K GAMING MONITOR provides...
  • Widescreen monitor provides the enhanced...
  • Minimize eye strain during long working...
  • AMD FREESYNC synchronizes the refresh...
  • CONNECT MULTIPLE DEVICES like laptop,...

What is also important is the I/O (input/output) connections the display offers. For you to get everything out of your monitor, make sure it has DisplayPort 1.2 or greater. Also, HDMI should at least be at version 1.4, but yet again, the bigger the version number, the better.

I currently have an age-old HP LP2475w, but if there’s one display I would more than likely buy today, it would be one from the Dell Ultrasharp monitor line or one from BenQ. Brands that I’ve trusted and have seen perform in the monitor market.

Choosing desktop, laptop, or a tablet

Now that we have covered the most important aspects of hardware, now it’s time to choose the form of that hardware.

Whether you go for a tablet, desktop pc, or laptop does not matter in the end. What matters is the fact of whether you like to draw with a big screen or are you comfortable using a tablet for drawing. 

Also, what is worth mentioning is that the beefier (powerful) your hardware is, the faster you are able to create drawings.

While speed isn’t everything you should care about, I’ve found it extremely pleasant when I can get to drawing pretty instantly and don’t have to wait for the files to load or layers to show up.

So when you choose your hardware, keep in mind whether you want it to be portable (laptop, tablet) or would you like to dedicate a place in your room for drawing (desktop pc). 

I found that I like to draw on a big screen and chose a desktop and drawing tablet as my hardware.

One of the best laptops are:

SaleBestseller No. 1
NEW Microsoft Surface Book 3 - 15'...
508 Reviews
NEW Microsoft Surface Book 3 - 15"...
  • Most powerful Surface laptop yet, with...
  • Fastest graphics on Surface, powered by...
  • Power when you need it. Up to 17.5 hours...
  • Robust laptop, powerful tablet, and...
  • The connections you need, including...
Bestseller No. 1
2022 Apple MacBook Pro Laptop with M2...
  • SUPERCHARGED BY M2 — The 13-inch...
  • SUSTAINED PERFORMANCE — Thanks to its...
  • BRILLIANT DISPLAY — The 13.3-inch...

And the below table lists the very best tablet options for drawing:

Bestseller No. 1
HUION Inspiroy H640P Graphics Drawing...
8,798 Reviews
HUION Inspiroy H640P Graphics Drawing...
  • Support Linux/Mac/Windows/Android: Not...
  • Ideal for Online Education: With stylus...
  • Accurate Pen Performance: Digital pen...
  • 6 Customized Press Keys: Set up the 6...
  • Compact and Portable: H640P art tablet...
Bestseller No. 1
Wacom DTK1660K0A Cintiq 16 Drawing...
3,057 Reviews
Wacom DTK1660K0A Cintiq 16 Drawing...
  • Wacom Cintiq 16 is a more affordable pen...
  • C intiq's 15.6" 1920x1080 HD display...
  • See your creations in vibrant color on...
  • C connect to your computer with the...
  • Wacom Cintiq 16, offers Wacom advanced...


Focus on RAM memory, processor, display, and file saving. When you have to wait for ages for something load, or when you are waiting for an effect to render itself to your drawing. You wish you had focused on these things.

It is granted that these things might cost a bit and maybe even more, but what you gain in speed, efficiency, un-interrupted workflow, smooth drawing process will make up for the “loss” of money. And these things do matter a lot when you are in the flow state.

And have to say that it even enables you to go to the flow state easier, when the hardware is not the bottleneck, but more your imagination and skills. 

Choose A Drawing Tablet

A drawing tablet is a tablet that enables you to draw digitally using a stylus. Drawing tablets are separate hardware that you connect to your computer. 

Drawing tablet without a screen

When I first started drawing digitally, I chose a tablet that didn’t have a display/ drawing screen. My choice for the time was Wacom Bamboo. I drew with it a bit until I noticed that I didn’t feel the disconnection of hand and eye.

When you don’t have a screen, you have to look at the monitor while you are drawing to the tablet. 

Currently, the best drawing tablet without a screen is the Intuos series by Wacom.

SaleBestseller No. 1
Wacom PTH660 Intuos Pro Digital Graphic...
  • Built with high quality materials and...
  • Wacom's finest creative pen tablet to...
  • Pro Pen 2 - Designed as a natural...
  • Built-in Bluetooth connectivity and a...
  • Quality materials and compact design...

Drawing tablet with a screen/display

Drawing tablet with a screen enables you to draw directly to the screen. So the drawing experience is as close to drawing a traditional paper as it can.

After experiencing a lot of frustrating drawing moments with the Wacom Bamboo, I bought myself a new drawing tablet, Wacom Cintiq 12WX. It was a game-changer for me and for the next 10 or so years. 

In 2020, I bought a new drawing tablet, and this time I decided to buy the best you can buy in the market. Wacom Cintiq 24 Pro. I can only say that this drawing tablet has given me the best drawing experience ever.

Wacom DTK2420K0 Cintiq Pro 24 Creative...
406 Reviews
Wacom DTK2420K0 Cintiq Pro 24 Creative...
  • Wacom's most natural and advanced pen...
  • 4K resolution (3840 x 2160 pixels) is...
  • The Express Key Remote puts 17...
  • The etched glass screen reduces glare...
  • Connect Cintiq Pro 24 to your Mac (OS...

While the tablet that I bought is one of the most expensive drawing tablets on the market, it is also the best. And when you get the best, you know that hardware is not the bottleneck.

If, however, you are just starting out, getting the most expensive drawing tablet might not be the best thing to do. So the second-best would be XP-PEN Artist 24 Pro. It costs roughly half of the Wacom but delivers exceptional performance and results.

Drawing stylus

A stylus is a pen that works with digital screens. However, almost every tablet in the market has a dedicated pen to it, which means that you can’t just buy a stylus and use it with every screen out there.

But when you buy a tablet, you get a pen with it, so no worries there.

iPad Pro has a dedicated stylus for it, and for example, using a Huion stylus with Wacom tablets is not possible.


Drawing tablets come in many forms and shapes. Some have bigger screens, some have express keys/ hotkeys, and some don’t.

So when buying a drawing tablet, think about the space you have on your desk, calculate your budget, and think about the way you would like to draw and work.

Using a portable drawing tablet, like Wacom MobileStudio Pro:

Bestseller No. 1
Wacom Mobile Studio Pro 13" Windows 10,...
  • Our most powerful compact device yet...
  • See your graphics & artwork in great...
  • Enjoy fast-processing and performance in...
  • Extraordinary precision with the Wacom...
  • Comes with 16GB system memory and 512 GD...

Or an iPad will greatly affect the way you draw and create artworks.

2020 Apple iPad Pro (12.9-inch, Wi-Fi,...
11,882 Reviews
2020 Apple iPad Pro (12.9-inch, Wi-Fi,...
  • 12.9-inch edge-to-edge Liquid Retina...
  • A12Z Bionic chip with Neural Engine
  • 12MP Wide camera, 10MP Ultra Wide...
  • 7MP TrueDepth front camera
  • Face ID for secure authentication and...

Of course, you can choose both. Get yourself an iPad Pro and a Wacom, and if you choose this route, I suggest you think about how you save your files (cloud preferably), so you can access your files no matter what device you are using.

I chose a desktop setup, and I think the biggest reason for that is the creative workflow and the big screen estate.

Pick Art Software

Art software is the last piece of the tools you need to draw digital anime art. Art software is software just like Microsoft Word. But it just enables you to draw with it.

There are free art software and paid ones. And if you are serious about art, then we focus on the ones that have a price tag in them. 

If you want to, you can read about the best art software for anime art, but the below art software is considered to be the best ones when it comes to drawing anime art.

The reason why I recommend the above art software is because they have everything you need to draw professional looking anime art.

Now there are a few things you should consider when starting out. What is your anime art style, and what is your budget for the art software?

But rather than focusing on the budget, let’s focus on the style. Now, if you are going for a more painterly style, then I would recommend either Corel Painter or Rebelle. If you want an all-around good solution, Adobe Photoshop is the way to go.

Now, if you want the best art software to draw professional anime art, then you get yourself Clip Studio Paint.

Example drawing created with Clip Studio Paint Pro

I started with Adobe Photoshop CS4 back in the days and used it for many years until I found Clip Studio Paint. After using Clip Studio Paint for a few months, I saw how superior it was to Photoshop.

After that, I completely switched my workflow to CSP and haven’t regretted that decision ever.

However, I do have to say that it’s not the software that will make great art; it’s you who create the artworks. You can create great art with any software out there, but the key to it is that you stick with one and learn the ins and outs of that software.

When you do that, then it doesn’t matter which software you use. Some software is better, for example, painting realistic looking oil paintings, whereas line art is best achieved with another software (CSP).

My artworks feature a lot of line art, and I use cel shade as the coloring technique, and for that, Clip Studio Paint is phenomenal.

Learn The Art Fundamentals

Now that you know what hardware you need, and you might even have selected software for yourself. Now it’s time to actually draw your next masterpiece.

I’ve selected three main categories that you should know the basics of. I didn’t select human anatomy because it could be that you want to draw anime environments and background art.


Colors and color theory plays a big part in anime art, but not at all in manga art. There’s a difference between anime and manga, and when we are talking about anime, we use colors more than often.

There are three color categories:

Primary Colors: Red, yellow and blue a.k.a RYB, but not RGB

In traditional color theory (used in paint and pigments), primary colors are the three colors that cannot be formed by any combination of other colors. However, all other colors are derived from these three hues/colors. 

Secondary Colors: Green, orange and purple

These are the colors formed by mixing the primary colors.

Tertiary Colors: Yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green & yellow-green

These colors are formed by mixing a primary and a secondary color. That’s why the hue is a two-word name, such as blue-green, red-violet, and yellow-orange.

Color Harmony

When talking about color harmony, we are talking about how colors create a pleasing viewing experience. Harmony is something that is pleasing to the eye. And if you think that every color is beautiful, that is not the case if you combine colors in an unpleasing way.

There is beautiful anime art out there, especially in Makoto Shinkai’s production, where the colors are so brilliantly selected that it creates an experience like nothing else.

Color schemes

Color Schemes From Adobe Color

There are many ways you can create a color palette, and below is a list fo those:

  • Monochromatic
  • Analogous
  • Complementary
  • Triad
  • Split-Complementary
  • Double Split Complementary
  • Square
  • Compound
  • Shades

Now, if you just want to get yourself some nice color schemes, do check coolors website. It has plenty of awesome ready-made color schemes for you to use.


Proportions, composition, and rules

Proportions are everything when it comes to drawing human anatomy, but also when it comes to drawing items, objects in 3D space. How objects bend in space is important to create believable forms.

However, we do have to take a step back and assess whether we are drawing realistic looking anime art, semi-realistic, or unrealistic anime art.

Because as you and I know, anime as an art form is all about breaking forms, bending shapes, and making things look ultra-beautiful while not being too realistic.

While proportions (for example, face proportions) are important, we shouldn’t forget how proportions and rules play together. They are almost the same thing. However, rules let you create interesting and pleasant drawings.

Having the emphasis in the right place lets you guide the viewer’s eye exactly to the right spots, creating a visually pleasant experience for the viewer.

The most notable rules are the rule of thirds and the golden ratio. While not going too deep into where they come from, the main point is that when you use those, you are ultimately creating a composition and proportions that please the eye.

Light and shadow

Example drawing to give you a clear idea of a strong light source behind the character

Possibly the most important part of all art fundamentals is light and shadow. Light hitting an object, and object, creating a shadow.

But to be honest with you, light and shadow are too deep of a topic to go through in this post, so I will give you the very basics so you can get started with your drawings.

One light source

The thing with light is that it always travels in a straight line. The shadows made by the light always work in direct response to whatever the light hits, whatever angle the light is coming from, and of course, the intensity of the light source.

So when you are creating your anime drawings, think about the light source, think how it will the forms and how long or short the shadow could be. 

If you don’t have a reference drawing next to you, try to use your imagination or find a reference that resembles your drawing. So you could see or imagine how the light and shadows would work in your drawing.

When you introduce another light source, the image gets more depth but also more complexity, which in turn could demotivate you to draw the drawing further. 

Start simple, and only use one light source, and when you are a bit more experienced artist, introduce another light source.

Light and shadow rendering categories:

  • Ambient occlusion
  • Key light shadow
  • Bounce/Fill light
  • Ambient Light
  • Subsurface scattering

Drawing Anime Face Front view

The main thing you need to know about drawing anime faces is that the facial features are exaggerated, the eyes (especially with teen girls) are big, the mouth is big (but can also be just a dot), and the head, in general, is big compared to the rest of the body.

Anime face proportions front view

Drawing anime eyes

When drawing anime eyes, there few key things you need to consider, and that is the age of the character. If you are drawing a teen girl, you draw big eyes or in a non-continuous style (upper and lower eyelids do not connect).

If you’re drawing a more mature anime character, you should draw slightly slimmer eyes, and preferably in a continuous style (connecting the upper and lower eyelids).


Drawing anime nose

Drawing anime nose is pretty interesting because you can draw the nose very realistically, or you can just not draw it all. You can draw a dot, a triangle looking pointy nose, or as realistically as you want.

In anime art, the nose has a special place in facial features, as it has to follow the style of the eyes. Drawing realistic-looking eyes, and drawing just a dot for the nose, will not create the most pleasant viewing experience.

So when you are drawing an anime nose, think through the character’s age and whether you are using continuous or non-continuous style.

From one of the lessons inside The Collection

Drawing anime mouth and lips

Yet again, an interesting facial feature, which you depict with a single line, or by taking the realistic approach and drawing lumptious lips and rich teeth and so on.

When drawing the mouth, just like before, think about the style that you are drawing in. All facial features must connect with each other in a consistent way.

Mature characters more often have more defined facial features than teen and kid characters.

Anime face guidelines (front view)

When drawing the face from the front view, I start the drawing process by first drawing the eyes, then the nose, and then the mouth. The key to drawing visually stunning and beautiful anime faces is to divide the eyes into three evenly placed rectangles.

Then the next thing for you to do is draw an evenly sided triangle so that the point of the triangle is pointing down and the other corners are aligned with pupils.

This is a rough measurement, but usually, this guide creates very pleasing and beautiful anime faces.

Anime face guidelines (profile view)

Drawing an anime face from a profile view is actually pretty easy when you kind of realize that it can almost have any form.

What I mean here is that the key placements are for the eye, nose, and ear. Maybe even the back of the head, but the forehead, chin, mouth, eyebrows, etc., can be very imaginative. 

I start by drawing an eye, then the nose, forehead, chin, and the last being the neck and the rest of the body.

If there’s one guide I can give you, it is to place the ear roughly in the middle of the head. Otherwise, I like to keep things pretty loose and open to imagination.

Draw Anime Body

Drawing anatomically correct anime and manga characters is not an easy task for anyone. Maybe Kim Jung Gi is one of those grandmasters who can draw anything correctly in any position and Proko, to name a few.

When it comes to anatomy in anime and manga art, you can either follow the usual path, where you draw the human body like it is. However, anime and manga style enables you to draw human anatomy in a very different way too. In a very unrealistic style if you so choose to.

Anime and manga are all about breaking the rules, breaking forms, and molding them back together to create sensational poses and figures.

In anime art, you can draw hands, legs, and torsos twisted in every way, but the key for body parts to look believable is proportions.

You have to nail proportions for the anatomy to look believable.

Using 3D models to draw anatomy

There are ways to go around drawing proportionally correct anatomy, and that is by using 3D models. There is a couple of software that let you do this, but my favorite is Clip Studio Paint.

While Clip Studio Paint is the best in the market drawing software for anime art, it also provides a very customizable and easy to use 3D modeling feature.

I use the feature all the time, and I feel like I couldn’t live without it. I still do, however, believe that you should study anatomy and the main muscle groups, and that leads me to the best teacher for that. Proko.

Learning to draw human anatomy

it’s not easy to draw human anatomy, but with the right guidance, it becomes so much easier. If there’s one teacher who knows his stuff, it’s Proko

Proko has online courses and tutorials for you to learn how to draw correct anatomy, and it’s all taught by an artist well-known in the area.

Muscle groups, proportions, and bone movement are all the things you need to draw believable human anatomy.

Reference stock images

Now, if you would just like to draw without guidance, then stock images are a good way to practice. There are plenty of good anime art sites to find reference images for drawing an anime body. 

But maybe the most convenient one is Pinterest. Pinterest offers you a ton of content when it comes to anime and manga art.

All you need to do is click the search bar and insert the thing you would like to get images and drawings for. 

I think the best drawing to practice from sketches and not completed artworks because sometimes the sketches reveal parts that are not visible anymore in the final artwork.

Sketches also enable you to draw the concept further if that is your thing. 

Another way to practice anatomy drawing is to use sites like Practice Anatomy or Quick Poses.

Coloring The Drawing


When it comes to coloring, you have a few options: cel shading or soft rendering. While there are plenty of other ways to color, we will focus on these two because they are the most used ones.

I personally color using cel shading style, but in the past, I did soft rendering and found it to be much fun. However, as time went by, I fell in love with cel shading and have stayed on that path ever since.

Cel shading

Example drawing of a simple cel shading coloring

Cel shading is all about using flat colors to convey shadow and base colors. Cel shading comes from the use of celluloid sheets (in the past) where the animator drew the artwork/animation frame to it.

These are not that much used anymore in the modern anime creation process, but cel shading came from using those celluloid sheets.

Cel shading is an extremely simple and easiest place to start learning the colors and coloring process in general.

I started by doing soft rendering and went to an easier coloring form, but even though cel shade looks simple and it somewhat is, it’s super hard to master. 

You see, in cel shading, you are using only flat colors on top of each other until you create shadows with the aid of a multiply layer mode on top of the flat colors.

In a way, you are creating a hierarchy inside the art software, where every layer has its own place and effect on the end result. It’s the way I color and have seen the best way for me. 

A very structured way to color, but at the same time very manageable and easy to control.

Soft Rendering

Example drawing of soft rendering

Soft rendering works very differently than cel shading. In cel shading, you used flat colors and stacked them layer by layer, creating a shadow with multiply layer mode or by changing the value of the color.

In soft rendering, you are gradually introducing new colors to the layer and mix them by hitting the ALT-key continuously. 

In soft rendering, the goal is to use a hard-edged brush and gradually mix two or more colors together. If you use an airbrush or a very soft edged-brush, the results do not look good.

You need to gradually mix the two colors together. That’s the big secret there is to gradual and soft rendering.

Finalize The Drawing

When it comes to finalizing a drawing, you might already feel like there’s no room to improve the drawing or that there’s nothing to change.

I suggest you leave the work to the WIP (work-in-progress) folder for a few days and bring some fresh eyes after those few days to see if there’s everything just like you want it.

I tend to rush my drawings in the end because I would already like to show them to the world and start a new one.

However, the best works I have always go through a few steps before they see the daylight. These are 20%-rule, color correction, line art adjustments, effects, background check.

That 20%


It’s those last moments you spend with your artwork before you show it to the public. It’s that last 20% you should apply to your drawing, and if you are wondering what that might be, it’s the last few details and color corrections you need to do. Just to make sure, it’s the best of quality you can produce.

When you create a new drawing, and you feel like it’s done. Leave it in the WIP folder as mentioned before, and then add those last details and adjustments to the drawing.

Trust me; it will make all the difference when you put a bit of effort at the very end to the artwork at hand.

It might feel like you don’t have the energy or the willpower to add anything to it anymore, or you might even get bored with the artwork (it happens a lot to me) and would just like to start a new one. My suggestion is to stick with it and add the final adjustments to the drawing.

Color correction


I LOVE colors and hate them. And the hating part comes from the fact that there are too many colors to choose from. I love them all and would like to use every color variation there is in my works.

However, at some point, you just have to make up your mind and settle on a color scheme, and when that’s done, then you still have to make sure every color works with each other.

You can easily use Adobe Photoshop’s color adjustment options like Hue /Saturation, Levels, Brightness/Contrast, Color Balance, Channel Mixer, among others, to adjust the colors to their final stage.

Line art adjustments

If you are doing line art heavy work, it’s not a bad idea to slightly chop away the super crispness of the line art by adding a bit of blur to them. 

By adding a Gaussian Blur to the line art, slightly making the line art softer, will also make the line art blend a bit more to the colors beneath it.

This is optional, and sometimes I do this, and sometimes I don’t. It depends on the mood and what I want to end piece to look like.

Also, changing the opacity of the line art layer is one way to make the line art layer work better with the colors beneath it. If you want the line art layer to blend a bit more to the colors, some blur and opacity change might be a good idea to do.



By effects, I mean accompanying elements. Something that is complementing the drawing and adding a bit of flow to it. As you can see from the example drawing below, there are these flow lines there that don’t inherently have a meaning other than just making the drawing look a bit more interesting.

So it might not be a bad idea to think about adding some final effects to the drawing, to tie the whole drawing to its final form.


If you are an environment artist in the anime art area, then this part does not apply to you. You have it already covered.

However, if you are mainly drawing characters, then drawing the background can be a challenge. And the reason for that is because drawing environment or backgrounds is not your point of interest and passion.

What I’ve found is that drawing something to the background, even something tiny, small, and insignificant, can already make the drawing look that much better.

I have added to some of my artworks few different color hues to the background, and even those little tricks already break the otherwise dull background.

Remember that drawings should look interesting, and even adding a flat color rectangle to the background can already take your drawing to the next level.

Share Your Drawing

When I put my first artwork online, I was super nervous. I feared that my artwork would be rejected somehow, disliked, judged, and just bashed.

But that wasn’t the case. I received critiques, compliments, likes, and so on. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what others think about your works.

You care for your artworks, and you share them with others, and if you want to learn, you ask for critique. But the one thing you shouldn’t do is care about likes and dislikes.

We, as creative persons, share something that is personal to us, and we shouldn’t care how others take it. If they enjoy your artwork, good. If they don’t enjoy it, it’s ok too.

Sharing your artwork for the first time is scary, but when you do it more and more, it becomes natural, and soon there’s nothing to fear of it anymore.

The best places to share your artworks are art sites like Artstation, Behance, DeviantArt, or a social platform like Instagram.

Also, Facebook groups are a fantastic way to gain reach and audience when you are just starting out. Because let’s face it, when you create your Instagram account, there ain’t that many people who will immediately follow you. 

So you will have to grow your audience little by little, and Facebook groups are fantastic for that.


This guide is pretty in-depth, and I still feel like it is missing a lot. I tried to make this as complete as possible, but if there’s anything more I can give, it’s through my Patreon page.

Drawing anime art is not always easy, but I think it’s one of the easiest art forms you can start with. While anime art does follow the rules of reality, anime art also enables you to break those rules and still make believable art.

Anime and manga art is the best form of art, I know. It’s the most beautiful one and the one art form I will always draw and improve on.

I hope this guide helps you to start drawing anime art confidently. While materials and tools do not determine the success of your art, it does help you to draw efficiently, joyfully, and enables you to grow as an artist.

I have always invested in my art equipment and believe that with the right equipment, you improve your skills as the tools are not blocking your progress.

Thank you for checking this guide, and if you feel like someone could benefit from this guide, don’t forget to share it. Thanks!

Table Of Contents

This site uses cookies to personalize content, provide social media features, and analyze website traffic. You have the right to disable cookies at the browser level, though this may impact your experience. To learn more or opt-out, read Cookie Policy. Please also read the Privacy Notice and Terms of Use. By choosing I Accept, you consent to our use of cookies and other tracking technologies.