Anime is an adorable type of Japanese cartoon that is characterized by its large eyes and cute facial features. As amazing as the final project looks, it is actually deceivingly easy for a beginner to learn how to draw anime–they just need to know how to start.
Before you can dive into drawing anime, it’s important you know some of the basics, such as the supplies you will need and how to draw anime eyes. But don’t panic, as we’ve done most of the work for you, as well as compiled a list of easy anime drawing projects you can use to get started
So if you want to become a pro at anime drawing or maybe even create your own manga, keep reading, as we walk you through how to draw anime characters from start to finish.
Tips For How to Draw Anime
Drawing anime characters may seem difficult but it is as simple as drawing shapes and then adding details just as in any other type of art. But there are a few tips you should know before you begin to draw an anime character.
1. Practice Practice Practice
Just like any other skill in life, you will not be perfect at drawing anime the first time you try. Instead, you will likely need to make multiple attempts to get an anime character just right.
Try to carve out time in your week to regularly practice drawing anime characters. Then stick with these times and before you know it, drawing anime will become second nature.
2. Learn the Basics of How to Draw Anime
Although your anime characters will have their own unique hair, figure, and style, the basic anatomy of anime characters is all the same. Spend some time committing this basic structure to heart and the rest of drawing anime will become much easier as you can build on this basic anatomy.
3. Use Shading to Your Advantage
When you draw anime characters, you often create a mood based on how you draw the character and this is what makes this style of drawing so loveable. You can help create this mood by adding light reflections to a character’s eyes as well as shadowy edges to their body using shading.
So take some time to experiment with your shading. Besides just adding light and dark areas, you can also take the time to make certain aspects of your anime 3D or make it look as if certain body parts are in motion.
Supplies You Need for How to Draw Anime
Of course, drawing anime will be very difficult if you don’t have the correct supplies. Obviously, you will need paper, and at least a pencil to get started.
Anime cartoons are known for much more than just their shape though, and you should be prepared with an eraser or blender to add shading to your drawing, as well as some sort of color to add to your anime once it is outlined.
There are several different mediums you can use to add color to your anime. Don’t be afraid to switch mediums if the first one you try doesn’t give you the depth and emotion you are looking for.
Best Markers, Pens, and Colored Pencils for Anime Drawings
By mediums, we mean that you can use pencils, pens, or even markers when designing your anime. But not all of them are created equal so here are some of the best drawing utensils to use for your anime drawings.
- Copic Markers- these have a bendy point that is specifically designed to draw manga.
- PrismaColor Markers- Prismacolors have a fine tip perfect for adding small details.
- Tom Bow Dual Brush Markers- these markers have a paintbrush-like tip that can give you brushlike strokes perfect for filling in anime hair.
- PrismaColor Pencils- from the marker brand comes soft-tipped colored pencils best used for shading and blending.
- Spectrum Noir Sparkles- Sometimes with anime you need a little sparkle, and these sparkly markers will make it happen.
- Chameleon Color Tops- Blending with markers is a necessity when it comes to anime and these markers make it easy to smoothly transition from one color to the next.
- Arteza Ever Blend Markers- Besides just blending, you will also need some skin color markers to make your anime’s skin. Arteza has all the skin colors you will need in one set as well as blending capabilities.
Now you don’t need all of these markers and colored pencils to draw anime characters. Rather you should start with a single medium that contributes to your overall goal (such as sparkles or shading) and then work your way up from there.
When Would You Draw Anime
Maybe you are reading this and wondering when you would draw anime. While drawing anime is a fun pastime, there are also many practical uses for this skill.
Here are some ideas in your life when you would draw anime.
- To illustrate a book
- To make a presentation more fun
- As part of a school project
- To pass the time while you are waiting for an appointment
- To entertain yourself and your friends on a rainy day
- It can help your overall development as an artist
You can honestly draw anime any time you want or just because you love anime, don’t let yourself feel restricted by the situations mentioned above.
Best Uses for an Anime Drawing
When done well, anime drawings are beautiful works of art that can serve many purposes. Even if you aren’t working to draw manga books of your own, there are many uses for anime drawings.
Here are a few of our favorites:
- To put in your own anime shows
- To frame and put up as a home decoration
- As a gift for a friend
- To take a picture of and use as your phone background
- To decorate a birthday or other holiday card
As you can see there are several uses for an anime drawing once you learn how to draw anime, so let’s take a look at some easy steps to drawing an anime.
Easy Steps of How to Draw Anime
Ready to draw some anime? Here is a beginners step by step instructions to help you bring your very own anime characters to life.
- Pencil or Pen
- Colored Pencils (as desired)
Part 1: Draw the Anime Face
Step 1: Circle
Start off by drawing your character’s head by drawing a circle on the page.
Step 2: Lines
Draw both a horizontal line and a verticle line through the circle to use as reference points for creating your character’s face.
Step 3: Eyes and Eyebrows
Next, draw the eyes on, or above the horizontal line. It can be helpful to just make large ovals for the eyes, but leave the interior blank as you can come back and fill them in later.
Then add some eyebrows. Remember that eyebrows are critical to your anime’s expression. Don’t be afraid to get creative as anime characters are known for their unusual facial proportions.
Step 4: Mouth and Nose
Draw the nose of your anime on the verticle line. Add a mouth below the nose with half on either side of the verticle line you drew.
Anime nose and mouth features are generally quite simple, sometimes just being a line with a few dots.
Erase the vertical and horizontal lines when you are finished.
Part 2: Draw the Anime Hair
Now that your anime character has a face, it’s time to give them some hair.
Step 1: Decide Hair Style
Some anime characters have natural human-looking hair (also called line art), while others have more blocky or chunky styles. Start by deciding which style your character will have.
Step 2: Start with Bangs
Most anime characters have bangs, or at least a few wisps of hair hanging near their eyes. Start here by drawing either lines in the line art style or blocky shapes for the chunky style on the character’s forehead.
Step 3: Add the Rest
Once the bangs are addressed, add the rest of the hair to your character, either using the block or line style. You can even add a small detail like a bow or a ribbon to your character’s hair if you so choose.
Part 3: Draw the Anime Body
An anime head on its own isn’t going to cut it. Here are the steps to add a body to your illustration.
Step 1: The Chest
Draw a rectangle beneath your anime’s face, for their chest. Leave a little space for you to add the neck in later.
Step 2: Add Hips
Draw an oval beneath the rectangle for your anime’s hips. Leave a little space between the rectangle and the oval.
Step 4: Add Circles
Draw small circles where the anime’s shoulders should go, as well as where you want the legs to be. Draw smaller circles a little further down for the knees.
Step 5: Connect the Shapes
Now begin to connect the shapes, starting with using the neck to connect the face and the chest then continuing with the stomach to connect the legs and the hips.
Don’t forget to add small details as you go along, such as half circles in the corners of the rectangle for breasts.
Step 6: Add Arms
Arms should be the last aspect you add to your anime because they need to be drawn in proportion to the rest of the body. The character’s arm should generally reach to their mid-thigh.
Once the arms are added you can add clothes and other interesting details as you see fit.
Part 4: Draw Anime Eyes
Anime eyes are one of the most distinct parts of drawing anime which is why it is recommended you do this part absolutely last.
Step 1: Draw the Upper Eyelid
Use a curved line, or a triangle with a squiggly bottom line to create the upper eyelid of your anime eyes.
Step 2: Draw Short Lines
Extend a short line from the corner of the eye to create the bottom of the eye. You can leave the two lids unconnected for softer facial expressions.
Step 3: Add Details
Add large irises complete with details like shading and light reflections to give the anime eyes some character. You will also want to add eye laches for female anime eyes.
How to Draw Anime: 15 EASY Drawing Projects
1. Anime Girl
Once you learn how to draw the basic anime it is very easy to branch out and discover your own unique anime style. So start by learning to sketch this basic anime girl with long hair and bangs from Anime Outline.
2. Anime Boy
If you are going to draw manga you will need to know how to draw both boy and girl animes so check out this example of how to draw male anime faces on Drawing For All. They will even walk you through the process of adding shadows beneath faces for a more 3D look.
3. Anime for Kids
Drawing anime isn’t just for adults, as your kids can get in on the action too. They will need a more simple illustration to start on, however.
So have them practice using this example from How to Draw for Kids. They’ll be a pro in no time.
4. Sailor Moon
Sailor Moon is a favorite anime tv show that features a beautiful main character anime with long hair. Although it may seem complicated to draw her, she is actually quite easy to sketch.
You’ll simply start with basic shapes and then add details. You can find the full instructions on Drawing Tutorials 101.
Ryuk is a shinigami, otherwise known as a Japanese god, from the anime show Death Note. With such a unique hairstyle and look, many people assume he is complicated to draw, but the opposite is actually true.
Because Ryuk isn’t human, many people find his figure easier to sketch. Either way, you can decide for yourself when you follow this example on Manga Jam.
6. L Lawliet
On the subject of Death Note, L Lawliet is another anime character that many people aspire to draw. Find the instructions to do so on Sketch Ok.
You’ll want to pay close attention to ensure you can get your drawing to have the shadow across the face this character is known for.
7. Yagami Kira
Your Death Note practice sketch would not be complete without learning how to draw Yagami Kira, the main protagonist of the series. While he isn’t always the most loveable main character on screen, you can follow this outline on Draw Doo to learn how to draw the character in depth.
8. Yumeko Jabami
Yumeko is the main character in the popular Kakeguri anime show. She is a schoolgirl with an affinity for gambling.
This character has few facial expressions, making her an easy female anime to practice drawing. Check out Manga Jam to find the full outline so you can make your own image of Yumeko Jabami.
Not all anime eyes are sweet and innocent, as every series needs a villain. Those looking to vary their anime eyes drawing skills should practice drawing Alucard from Castlevania following these directions on Sketch Ok.
10. Violet Evergarden
Looking to practice with some color blending materials? Try drawing this anime, Violet Evergarden, as outlined on Manga Jam.
Just ensure you have multiple colors of blue and purple on hand so you can get the layers of her eyes in the perfect gradient.
11. My Hero Academia
When you have a child who is old enough to have mastered the anime for kids instructions above, but still too young to tackle a larger project like Sailor Moon, grab these instructions for My Hero Academia from I Heart Crafty Things.
With an easier shape and more kid-friendly style, this anime character is a good bridge for your child to the adult anime drawing world.
12. Akira Fudo
The men in anime series’ are always dark and brooding, and Akira Fudo is no exception. Learn how to draw this easy anime character from How to Anime, then spend a little time to practice placing the character in the settings he could possibly be found in.
13. Kanade Tachibana
Kanade Tachibana is the leading lady in the anime series Angel Beats, and it’s easy to see why. With beautiful eyes, this manga series is one you definitely want to spend time creating.
So after you learn to draw anime eyes, head over to Drawing Tutorials 101 to test out your skills with Kanade.
No list of easy anime drawings would be complete without Naruto. Famous for his running style, find the instructions for this loveable friend on Easy Drawing Guides.
For practice consider sketching Naruto both in his famous running motion, as well as standing up straight.
Another fan favorite is Goku, from Dragon Ball Z, and despite what you may think he actually is very easy to draw. Find the full directions on how to do so on I Heart Crafty Things. Then grab your brush-colored markers to practice filling in your illustrations.
How to Create an Anime Story
Now that you know all about how to draw different anime characters, it’s time to discuss how you can put these characters into an anime story.
Step 1: Create Characters
Before you can start developing the plot of your own manga, you need to start with character development. Think about how they will look as well as how they will react to certain situations.
You can also be creative and give them traits like special powers. It can be easiest to write these things down as they come to you. You should also have a sketchbook to practice drawing your characters. Play with proportions, shadows, and interesting styles until you are happy with the result.
Step 2: Write the Plot
Brainstorm your plotline. Most manga are set up as a series rather than a movie. So ensure you have both short plotlines that can be resolved in a single episode, as well as an overall plotline that won’t be resolved until the end of the series. Write these down.
Step 3: Break Up the Plot
Break up your plot into sentence-size pieces, ensuring what is happening in the sentence can be explained within an image.
Step 4: Draw an Image to Match
Once your plot is broken up, begin drawing images for each piece of the story. Each image should have actions going on, or the main character’s face.
Take extra time and care to develop the background of your images.
Step 5: Put it all Together
There are many layers to a manga story, and you won’t finish this process overnight. But once you do have all your plot sentences and images ready to go, put them all together in order.
Don’t forget to sign your work before you send it off for publishing.
How to Draw Anime FAQ
Who Created Anime?
Anime was created by Japanese cartoonist Osamu Tezuka in the 1960s.
How Long Does it Take to Learn How to Draw Anime?
Drawing anime is a unique and difficult art form to master and you shouldn’t expect to learn how to draw it overnight. Most people report it takes them 2-3 years to learn how to draw anime.
What is an Anime Artist Called?
An individual who devotes their time to drawing anime is known as a manga artist.
Can You Get Paid for Drawing Anime?
It is possible to get paid for drawing anime if you sell your drawings as paintings or use them to create a manga that can be put in book or movie format.
How to Draw Anime Conclusion
Drawing anime is an amazing art form that can be used not only to pass the time but also as a form of emotional expression. Once you master the unique way to draw anime eyes and facial expressions, you will be well on your way to knowing how to draw anime.
Whether you decide to turn your anime into comic strips called manga, or maybe just turn them into a painting that you can sell, there is no reason not to learn how to draw anime.