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A Simple Guide to Anime Drawing

Anime has become an incredibly popular artform in recent years that many of us at least want to dip our toes into.  But where should you start and how do you structure the development of your art skills in this style? Learn about these in this simple guide to anime drawing.

Look At Reference Material

A lot of people start off with looking at reference material and finding styles they like.  No matter what form or technique you look at in art there are different styles. Since you are trying to get into anime drawing, take some time to watch anime or read manga to find art styles you like. Then use them as references for some of your first drawings as you learn the skills before you develop your own style.

You can back this up by looking up some basic drawing exercises online from basic shape drawings to perspective guides in order to develop your basic art skills and make it easier to keep your hand steady as you draw.


Related >> 5 Tips To Get Better At Coloring Anime Characters Digitally + BONUS Pro Tip


Work Lightly to Start

This goes for all art that you will ink in later; you should create a light guide in pencil first that you can later erase in order to give you room to edit and fix any mistakes as you go.  

“Nobody is perfect, and mistakes are going to happen,” relays anime writer Twanda Silva from Best essay writing services and UKWritings, “the important part is making sure you can fix these easily with little impact to the rest of your art.”

This is why sketches are the basics of anime drawings, and any other form of art.

Begin with Basic Structure of Head and Face

Once you have these basic concepts down it is time to really get started on drawing your anime character and that means starting from the top and working down.  The first stage is to create the basic structure of the head. Don’t be afraid to use what you’ve learned from drawing exercises here and include guide and construction lines to help you.  Anime tends to be very symmetrical in style, so these guidelines can help greatly to make sure things match up on both sides.

Then you want to move onto the features, start with the eyes which tend to make up the largest part of the face. Anime drawings tend to focus more on the eye details, but for starters, you can keep it plain and simple. Then add the defining features of nose, mouth and hair to develop your character.  Feel free to experiment with different types of hair and facial expression. 

Finally, even though you’ll never see it remember to include features that might be hidden by hair etc. in order to make sure you keep everything symmetrical.  A lot of anime hair styles will lead to one eye being covered, even if this is the case it’s worth drawing in that eye in your light pencil drawing for various reasons a) it helps you to get used to drawing both eyes, b) it makes sure both sides do still match up and c) you can cover yourself if the whole eye isn’t covered by the hair completely.

Add the Body

“The faces in anime may be the focus but if you don’t practice on the body you will struggle to move into full poses and character designs,” warns journalist Sheri Allen, Essay services and Do My Assignments.

The body should be your next step and so you should take some time to learn the basics of anatomy, so you don’t make any major mistakes. Keep perspective in mind when you draw the body so that it doesn’t look like your character’s head is too big or small for the design. Draw the basic body shape and pose first before drawing in clothing and accessories.

Add Shading

Once you have your drawing done in terms of the basic light pencil outline you want to ink the drawing to give you the clean outline to work with for colouring and shading.  The first stage is to consider shading and planning it out. Colour is not a necessity in anime drawing style, most manga in fact is black and white except for the cover art. Shading however is vital and is something that can make or break your drawing. When doing this it’s worth considering the position of light sources in your mind and how shadows will realistically play across the face and body. 

This is just a basic guide to get you started with anime drawing. The main thing about learning to draw anime is to practice the basics and build up as you go.  Look at existing manga and anime to get ideas and reference materials as you start off and remember to pay attention to what areas seem to be the most iconic to the style i.e., the eyes.

Author’s Corner
Writer Madeline Miller, Essay Help and Big Assignments, writes about anime and blogs in her spare time for Write My Essay.

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