I’m going to break it down into a few sections so it’s easier to follow. We will be covering everything from your initial character design, to rough sketches and inking, to shading and coloring. Not all manga is created equal – there are tons of nuances depending on the kind of style you’re into. Because of this, we’ll be focusing (at least in more detail) on drawing eyes, faces, and the differences in male and female characters. To keep things simple, this tutorial will focus on drawing the head of a character. Check out other tutorials later on for more advanced tips on bodies, poses, hands, feet, etc.
Español: dibujar manga, Deutsch: Manga zeichnen, Italiano: Disegnare Manga, Français: dessiner des mangas, Português: Desenhar Mangá, Nederlands: Manga tekenen, Русский: рисовать манга, 中文: 画日本漫画, Čeština: Jak kreslit mangu, Bahasa Indonesia: Menggambar Manga, 日本語: マンガを描く, العربية: رسم المانجا اليابانية, ไทย: วาดมังงะ
PART 1: OVERVIEW PART 2: MANGA TIPS PART 3: MANGA EYES PART 4: MANGA HAIR PART 5: EXPRESSIONS
So, there you go. Once you get all your tools together, you’re ready to begin.
Learn to Design, Draw, Ink, & Color Manga Characters, Eyes, Faces, & More
The mouth is a little trickier since it’s nearly as expressive as the eyes. Let’s go ahead and draw a basic closed mouth with a little bit of a smile. Again, this will only consist of a couple lines and some shading, but you can experiment a bit more with it. Draw a line under the nose about the length from one pupil to the other and give it a slight curve. Next, keeping the same shape, draw a shorter, thicker curved line under the first. This distinguishes the bottom lip.
Once you finish, you can collapse all of the layers and export your image into an .img, .png, or whatever file format you prefer.
Try observing real life objects to see where the light would fall. Shadows will usually be under folds of clothes and hair, and lighter areas will be opposite to this.
You can’t. Impatience will ultimately destroy your style in an effort to get professional looking manga. Take your time and get better as you go.
Add some facial expressions to your manga faces. These can help communicate emotion in your characters, expressions are very important in drawing manga.
Add shading in the iris and white patches, as if your character was looking into a light.
Pictures to look at for practice, especially for eyes (you can’t draw if you don’t know how to; study on how to flesh out and add detail)
Ink your drawing, more possibly with a nib pen and color, if desired. Practice over and over. Once you are confident,start reference with other popular manga on paneling and story. Then good luck with your manga!
All that’s left now is the eyebrow. Make a thick, curved line above the top eyelid and angle it however you feel is best. For male eyebrows, they tend to vary in thickness – usually they are widest in the middle, with very narrow tips, but feel free to style them however you like.
A few great resources for finding a good variety of characters are Pinterest, Anime Planet, and My Anime List.
New to drawing Manga? Looking for some inspiration or to spruce up your process? The Complete Guide on How to Draw Manga is one of the internet’s top resources on Manga art and provides a fairly comprehensive view on getting started with drawing Manga style characters. Start on this page with our overview or jump straight to one of the specific tutorials below.
Draw a template of a manga head. Use this as a starting point for your manga characters.
First, draw your curved eyelash line as you did for the female eye. Then, draw a second curved line (a bit thinner this time) underneath to represent the bottom eyelashes. This line shouldn’t be as long as the one on top.
Try drawing gothic-style manga clothing. This usually incorporates features such as top hats and petticoats.
So, how was it? If this was your first time drawing manga, just keep practicing. The more you draw and edit, the better you will become. Once you feel you have the basics down, check out some more advanced tutorials and maybe someday, you’ll publish your own manga.
Now comes the fun part. Grab yourself a fresh, clean piece of paper, your favorite pencil, and get drawing. If you’re not into traditional methods, you can use a tablet or a drawing pad and do your sketch right onto your computer. Isn’t the future great?
Like I said, using picture editing software can get very, very complicated, so just take your time trying out new things and see what you can come up with.
If you’re satisfied with your character’s colors, you can move on to shading. Shading is pretty similar to what you just did, but you’ll want to use a larger, softer brush tool and go over section of the hair that should be lighter than the rest. Getting the lighting right can be very challenging, so use an image for reference or keep playing around until you get something you like.
This next part is something very common among manga and anime character eyes.
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Draw a manga boy. Change the hair, eyes and facial expression as you see fit.
So, you should now have your image on your computer. Go ahead and open your drawing in your program of choice.
Now, you’d think eyes would be fairly intuitive to draw, seeing as how everyone has them and you see them all the time. They are actually one of the trickiest parts for artists to get down skillfully – especially on manga characters since they tend to be much more expressive.
Near the middle of the top, draw a small circle for the pupil and surround that with a larger half circle for the iris. Again, expression is entirely up to you. You’ll notice that how much of the iris is exposed can drastically change the emotion the character is showing. To give this eye a more masculine look, draw some curves around the corners of the eye to emphasize wrinkles in the skin, and a long, thin line above the eyelashes to make the eyelid stand out.
This part should be a piece of cake, right? You have a million ideas floating around in your head – all you have to do is pick one.
And that’s how to draw standard manga eyes. Again, there are hundreds of different styles, but they all seem to follow a pretty rudimentary method. Play around with different approaches to see what works best for you.
Now you should have something that is starting to resemble an eye. If for whatever reason you aren’t happy with it thus far, just gently erase and start again. This is why you are pressing so lightly with the pencil. When the inking starts, there’s no going back.
Because of this, eyes get their own little section in this tutorial.
Let’s start off with a basic female manga eye first. Start by drawing a curved line (remember to press lightly) where the top of the eyelid and the eyelashes will sit. From here you will want to draw a large oval shape underneath, roughly the same width and the first line you made. Leave one side of the oval open (this will be filled in later during the coloring process).
If you’re interested this quora anwser is a reasonably comprehensive (if not complete) explanation of what different aspects of eyes could mean when drawing your Manga.
Easier said than done, I know. But for this tutorial, let’s start with a simple human (male or female).
Make a small oval near the top of the eye, covering mainly the iris, but also a bit of the pupil. Draw a second, must smaller oval on the opposite side of the eye, covering the area where the iris meets the white of the eye.
Draw anime-style eyes. Do it by hand, or try drawing on a computer. When you’re ready, try to use anime eyes to express emotion.
Find a point in which you want the wind to be coming from. Then, you can estimate how long the character’s hair is and make it flowing the opposite of where the wind is coming from.
Table of Contents What to Expect An Idea for Your Character Sketching Your Character Drawing Eyes Drawing Faces Inking Your Drawing Coloring & Shading
Add unique manga clothing styles. Start by tracing the clothing over a basic form, then erasing unnecessary lines.
Flesh out your stick figure. Add weight and depth to the various parts of your stick figure and you must do it well. Head: Indicate which way it’s facing with a line, and then add the chin and cheekbones.
Remember that the chin may be very pointy depending on your style. Shorter cheek and round chin indicates cuteness. Chest/Torso: Block it in with a circle, or a simple prism – more rectangular for guys, more triangular for girls.
Make sure that with girls, the waist is thin, flaring out into rounded hips; while for guys, the shoulders are much wider, and the hips are narrow. Hips: Can be indicated with a sphere/circle. Limbs: Should be blocked in with ovals or cylinders, with circles/spheres for the joints.
Hands and feet: Can be left simple for now, though you might want to indicate their positions.
So you’re a fan of manga and you have a passion for drawing?
To draw the same character is kind of tough. Have an original image of the character for guidance, and use templates of people in different positions/angles and imitate them. Keep a sketchbook to try out different perspectives until you’re happy with them.
Use the ‘head’ rule: the body is roughly 5 heads tall and the shoulders are 2 heads outward.
Grab a quality, fine-tipped pen (or a darker pen setting if you’re using a tablet) and very slowly and carefully go over your lines. It’s best to not lift the pen halfway through a line – try and maintain a steady solid pen stroke. Once everything is properly outlined, let it dry a bit, then gently erase any sketch lines that remain. If done properly, you should be left with a very clean looking drawing of your character.
Now that you have your character’s head with all of the needed facial features, it’s probably a good time to add some ears and hair (unless you like bald… Bald is cool, too).
For the interested, these reflections are called “catchlights” in both film and photography.
Once you have something in mind, start putting down some very rough doodles of how you want things to look. This is where you figure out the character’s features, expression, overall style, etc. Don’t focus on quality line work or anything here – you just need something as a base for your actual sketch. It’s a great idea to use something as a reference when figuring out how you want your character’s features to look. Find some images online of manga characters you like, or even use photos of real people. Whatever works best for you.
Try drawing a whole character. Incorporate face, hairstyle, eyes, and expression as you work.
If you created your sketch on paper, make sure it’s free of any debris and scan it into your PC.
Blending pencil (used when shading not required at the starting point)
If you used a tablet or drawing pad, your image should already be on your computer. You can go ahead and open it in Painter or whatever program you prefer to use for shading and coloring.
Make the hand larger than the body and draw it in front of the body.
Draw the “stick men” This is the basic framework of your character. Draw the lines for where arms/legs will go and their positioning. Draw the circle for the head first, a line for the spine, a line for the shoulders (a little below the head, so there’s a neck), a line across for the hips.
It may be easier to draw circles for joints . You’re drawing a stick figure. This step is to block out the proportions and figure out what your character is doing; Standing? Sitting? A heroic pose? More things to note! Don’t feel too worried about your proportions being messed up, more practice then! Usually you can go on and copy more pictures OR copy a page from your favorite manga.
They can guide you on how to get an “active” drawing. One day you will realise a style,a way you WANT to draw,a way where the characters look right to you and everybody else. Practice hard for that day to come.
Do in pencil first, then lightly shade it before drawing in the lines you want with ink/pen.
Copy, but don’t trace! From tracing you only draw it in that moment nothing more. Copying is better, doing so then you have a concept of what you drew. Find a simple character on a manga you like or on the web.
More possibly headshots, Make sure they have relatively easy to draw hair. Fan art can be just as good as the originals. Practice drawing the pictures you have found, so you can develop a “feel” for manga style.
Things to note: Eye Styles: This varies greatly, not just between manga, but also between characters in the same series. Eyes are a very expressive feature in Manga, and a character’s eyes can tell you all about them.
Proportions: Manga style is all about manipulating proportions, your character may be anywhere from three to eight/nine heads tall. Compare to a normal human figure, which is generally six or seven.
Since this tutorial focuses on the head, it seems like as good a place as any to start.
All right – things should be looking pretty good at this point. You have your character drawn the way you like and you’re ready to take the plunge into inking. There’s no going back after this step.
Now we’re getting somewhere. What’s a good eye without an eyebrow? Draw another, thicker curved line above the eye contouring to the shape of your first eyelash line. How much of a curve you draw and at what angle is entirely up to you depending on what expression you’re going for. Play around with a few different ideas on some scrap paper to get a feel for it. From here, feel free to add a few more lashes or detail lines wherever you see fit.
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Look at where the clothing scrunches up on a figure and add lines there. If you need more help, use a reference image to give you a better idea of where the wrinkles should go.
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Three Methods:Drawing Manga BasicsBorrowing from AnimeDrawing a Standard Manga FigureCommunity Q&A
Manga are typically done in black and white, but you can color it using things like watercolor, gouache, Copic markers, etc.
Choose whichever area you’d like to start with first and with the brush tool and color of your choice, begin filling in the whitespace. Take your time so you don’t go outside the lines (the magnifying tool helps to fill in those tiny, hard to reach places). Repeat this step for each layer until your entire image is colored how you like.
Give your manga characters a pet by drawing a dog. Once you get the basic technique down, try adapting it to different breeds.
Let’s make the lashes look a bit more… lashy. On the underside of the line you initially made for the eyelashes, draw a couple smaller curves nears the outside of the eye to give some more detail.
There are probably hundreds of different styles you can use for eyes, but we will just go over some of the basics. For obvious reasons, male eyes differ greatly from female eyes, just as “evil” eyes look much different than “good guy” eyes. We could spend hours going over every single nuance, so for this tutorial, we’ll keep it simple.
Inside this first oval, you’ll want to draw another smaller oval that is slightly overlapped on the top by the eyelashes. Then, draw yet another oval around pupil to represent the iris (the colored part of the eye). If you’re tired of drawing ovals, too bad… There are more coming.
Clean up and get ready for inking. Erase any other guidelines, and make sure you know which ones you want to keep. Again, this is one place a kneaded eraser comes in handy.
To draw manga, start with a basic outline of the head. Use sharp, zig-zag shapes for the hair, and large, expressive eyes. Draw a small nose and mouth, keeping the focus of the face on the eyes. For the rest of the body, start with the basic outline of torso, legs, and arms. Add unique clothing to the character, like a gothic style, and accessories, like bags, pets, or hats. For a less detailed character, you can borrow styles from anime to make the character look more like a cartoon.
Ears are relatively simple unless you’re showing them really up close. For this tutorial, they’ll be pretty basic. Typically, ears should go from about the top of the eyes to the bottom of the nose. It’s usually a good idea to look at a picture of an ear for reference during this part just so you can get a more solid idea of the shape. Obviously the earlobe will be thicker than the tip of the ear, but it’s entirely up to you when deciding how big they should be or what shape looks best.
Add manga-style eyes. As with hair, eyes are an instantly recognizable hallmark of manga drawing.
Manga hair – this is where you can really use your imagination. Short, long, curly, straight, spiked, bangs, tied back. The options are almost endless. Let’s keep it simple, though.
Using light pressure, start with the basic face shape (don’t worry about the hair or any features yet). Once you’re satisfied with the size, angle, and form, you can begin plotting out where you want the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth so sit.
This guide is geared towards the beginner to intermediate artist who wants to dive head first into the world of manga character creation. First, let’s go over some tools you’ll need. A graphics tablet or some type of digital drawing pad is highly recommended, as well as digital art software such as Corel Painter. You’ll also need a pencil and paper to do your initial sketch, and a scanner to get the image onto your PC. That’s about it, really… Other than time, motivation, and determination.
Whether you are using a digital media or pen and paper, Tom Richmond has a great inking tutorial if you want to take a look.
Very lightly, draw a rough outline of the hair. Don’t worry about parts or points or anything like that yet. Just focus on where you want the hairline to sit and how it should lay around the ears. From here you can start experimenting with length, bangs, and more of the fine details. Unlike realistic hair that is made up of millions of individual strands, manga hair is drawn in several sections or clumps. Once the shape of the hair is how you like it, you can start adding some finer lines throughout the different sections of hair to indicate the way it flows and where shadows will lie.
It’s a good idea to separate areas of your drawing out into several layers. Create a layer for the background, a layer for the hair, a layer for the skin, and a layer for the eyes. This makes things easier if you make a mistake and need to undo something.
That’s really about all there is to simple noses and mouths. For other features such as stubble, wrinkles, scars, or blemishes, you can play around with various techniques. Just remember to keep your lines faint so you can make changes easily.
Start with manga hair. Hair is usually one of the traits that instantly identifies a character as manga-style. When you’re comfortable with these steps, move on to more complicated styles, and add shine to the hair in zigzag patterns.
Now let’s try drawing a male eye. The overall concept is pretty much the same, but you’ll see the differences.
When it comes to picture editing software, the possibilities are endless. There are hundreds of books out there that go over every feature and offer thousands of tips and tricks, but we’re going to keep it basic for this tutorial and give you a very broad overview of what goes into coloring and shading digitally.
Start adding detail. Start drawing in the clothes, making sure they fit the form of your character. Shonen styles character will have fancy heroic clothes,comedy style has carefree or strange clothes draw the hands and feet, and fill in the, eyes, nose, mouth, hair, etc.
Refine your figure. Still don’t worry about details for now, but clean up your lines, and generally just make the figure clearer. A kneaded eraser can come in useful here.
Draw a manga robot. Try combining the shapes into different robots as you get more comfortable with the technique.
“Manga” refers to comics and graphic novels created in Japan, but this style of comic is popular worldwide. To draw manga or illustrations in a manga style, you’ll need to practice sketching facial features, clothing styles, and other elements common to manga. You can also incorporate elements of “anime” — Japanese animation — into your drawings, as well.
Use a pencil and draw lightly so it will be easy to erase your starting lines. Make sure that your head has the right proportions. For beginners, this is a common and easy mistake. Manga and anime characters don’t have to have huge eyes to qualify as manga or anime.
A lot of manga and anime characters have eyes that are very close to actual human anatomy! Start drawing your manga before you get an instruction book (if you do) so you can gain your own style, rather than copying someone else.
At the end, very carefully go over the main lines over in nib pen. Make sure the hands drawn are relatively the size of the head, usually smaller. If you have your own anime figures, put them in front of you while drawing.
Sketch the main shapes first, then go over the lines. Practice folds and shadows too. Comedy genre characters usually have lesser folds. If you do not know how to draw certain figures or objects, do your research online as reference.
Try creating animal-based characters, such as catgirls or rabbit-inspired chibis. It will help you to add personality to your characters too: just think about the personality of the animal. For more inspirational ideas start watching anime, draw your favourite characters and then draw your very own original anime characters.
Adding details to the eyes will add more life and dimension to the character. Learn anatomy and study the human body before even attempting a full body. This will give you more body proportions as well as the right anatomy.
Practice drawing facial expressions for your characters, as these are important. There are many useful resources available from Pinterest and Google Images. Search for ‘drawing expressions reference’.
Draw most body parts with straight lines instead of curves. Facial features can be curved.
How do I make a character seem to be reaching towards the viewer?
How do I make my picture look professional even though I am an amateur?
Does your character have any other features that most human beings have? Nope, so let’s fix that.
Start by drawing very faint lines through the head to mark where you want to place the nose and mouth. Like eyes, there are multiple ways to draw a nose. For most manga and anime characters, noses are comprised of just a line or two and some shading. There’s no heavy detail on nostrils or bridges or anything like that – a simple vertical line that slightly bows out to one side is all you need.