Should Anime Be Considered Art – The Art Behind Animation


If you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. As an Amazon affiliate partner, I may earn from qualifying purchases.
Read our disclosure.

I’m sure that most of you have watched anime before, but have you ever wondered if what you are watching is artwork made by a group of professional artists?

As cinema is one form of art, animation and anime can be seen as belonging under the umbrella of cinema and thus can be considered art.

Anime is produced either in CGI style or hand-drawn. Especially hand-drawn anime requires a lot of knowledge about art and the creation of art.

Artists Create Anime

One of the most spectacular and popular anime artists that have made an astounding contribution to the world of anime is Takeshi Obata. One of his most popular and interesting anime that has caught a lot of attention worldwide is Death Note.

He made his first appearance in 1985, but even before his success with Death Note in 2003, he had made a lot of beautiful illustrations in the past.

The Manga community had made their final decision and decided that they would recognize Obata as one of the best manga artists who had contributed many astounding artworks to the industry.

What we can conclude from this one example already is that the creators behind anime are, in fact, artists. Artists that have studied the art fundamentals relentlessly. Artists have drawn countless drawings and created art for even more anime episodes.

Anime Has Line Art, Colors, And Soul

Most of the characters available in every anime story would somehow feel as though they are real, and this might be due to the passion and soul that the artists have given to every character in this Japanese animation. 

Unlike other types of cartoons, Japanese anime has its own set of unique characteristics, and this can be seen by how every character, environment, and object is drawn.

Anyone could tell the difference between an anime and a Disney character, which is considered a non-anime character. This is because every anime character is drawn based on a specific line art style that can be commonly found in Japanese culture.

This unique drawing style to represent an individual or a person separates anime from the rest of the Western cartoon world.

Screenshot from an anime movie called: Your Name (君の名は) by Toho

Apart from that, the colors used for a specific character, environment, or event also play an essential role in highlighting the message or clarifying a certain degree of importance that the illustrator or artists intended to deliver to the audience.

You may find such an example in a story called The Dragon Ball. When Goku decided to shift himself into a Super Saiyyan mode, the audience could see apparent color changes that happened to the character.

In this case, the character’s color changes in the story represent the sudden increase in the level of strength of that particular character.

Aside from making the story to be a lot more attractive to the audience, the utilization of beautiful colors is also meant to catch the attention of the audience as humans, by our default nature, are naturally attracted to colorful objects, so this explains why you may find a wide range of colors each with a different spectrum is being used during the process of producing the artworks.

Anime Is Considered To Be A Form Of Art

Anime has already been recognized as the most important form of artistic expression by the Japanese Ministry of Education.

This is because Japanese anime originates from traditional Japanese entertainment, known as Utsushi-e, which has been around since the 19th century.

The characters and objects within a particular story would usually be drawn by hand during this time.

Since then, anime has rapidly developed with all of the technological advancements made in the 21st century.

There is also a wide range of programs used by artists not just in Japan but also from all around the world to produce spectacular animations for the world to see.

Anime has also become one of the essential aspects of artistic works in the Japanese culture, and hence it is protected by the Japanese government as a national asset.

The anime industry has over 430 production companies working closely together to produce only the best anime in Japan, and this includes large anime studios such as MAPPA, Toei Animation as well as Studio Ghibli.

Creating Anime Requires Knowledge Of Art Fundamentals

Creating anime certainly requires skills in art, experience, and knowledge of the art.

When it comes to producing high-quality anime content for the public, one of the essential core values that you will need to have is obviously the passion for it.

Apart from that, you will also need to be incredibly talented at drawing if you want to be good at making anime, a 2D animation.

On top of that, you will also need to understand the 12 principles of animations that animators use from every corner of the world to produce high-quality content for your audience.

The 12 principles of animation:

  • Squash and Stretch: This principle involves stretching and compressing the form of an object or character to create a sense of weight and impact.
  • Anticipation: Anticipation refers to the preparation an object or character makes before an action, helping to make the action more believable and natural.
  • Staging: Staging involves the arrangement of characters and objects in a scene to make it clear to the viewer what is happening.
  • Straight Ahead Action and Pose to Pose: These two methods of animation refer to the different approaches to creating movement in a scene. Straight Ahead involves animating frame by frame in a linear fashion, while Pose to Pose involves creating a series of key poses and filling in the in-between frames later.
  • Follow Through and Overlapping Action: These two principles involve the continuation of movement after the main action has stopped, creating a more fluid and natural motion.
  • Slow In and Slow Out: This principle involves animating the beginning and end of action more slowly than the middle to create a more organic and natural movement.
  • Arcs: This principle involves creating the path of motion for an object or character in an arc rather than a straight line, as this is more natural and visually appealing.
  • Secondary Action: Secondary action involves the addition of smaller, supporting movements to an action to create a more realistic and believable scene.
  • Timing: Timing refers to the speed and rhythm of action and is crucial in creating a sense of weight, impact, and emotion.
  • Exaggeration: Exaggeration involves pushing the movements and expressions of characters beyond the boundaries of reality to create a more engaging and entertaining scene.
  • Solid Drawing: Solid drawing refers to the ability to create three-dimensional objects and characters with depth and weight, creating a more realistic and believable scene.
  • Appeal: Appeal involves creating characters and scenes that are visually appealing and memorable to the audience, often through the use of interesting and unique designs and personalities.

Learning to draw different facial expressions of your characters is also vital in the process of producing engaging anime characters, so you might as well learn it to enhance the quality of your artwork.

Then, you will also need to familiarize yourself with most of the popular animation software available online to start producing an interesting story for your audience to watch.

Next, line art fundamentals are also an important piece of creating an engaging anime, as it will greatly affect the quality of the artwork that you make.



Digital Artist

I’m a digital artist who is passionate about anime and manga art. My true artist journey pretty much started with CTRL+Z. When I experienced that and the limitless color choices and the number of tools I could use with art software, I was sold. Drawing digital anime art is the thing that makes me happy among eating cheeseburgers in between veggie meals.

More Posts

All Anime Genres Explained with Examples

All Manga Genres Explained with Examples

Which Came First, Anime Or Manga?

Top 13 Manga Comic Books – Must-read

How to Draw Anime Mecha – Full Step-by-Step Tutorial

Explaining The Difference Between Anime And Cartoons

Contact and Feedback