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How To Draw Manga Figures: A Basic Tutorial

As many people know, manga and anime are popular nowadays. Whether it be series, books, or paintings, many people seem to like it.

First of all, what are manga and anime? Even if they have so many similarities these two concepts have a big difference. While the technical definitions of “anime” and “manga” in Japan mean all forms of animation and printed cartoons respectively, their meanings have slight differences in the rest of the world. Outside of Japan, “anime” is commonly understood to refer to animated films and TV shows originating from Japan, while “manga” is used to describe Japanese comics (Eri Izawa, 1995).

To those of you who are interested in drawing anime and manga figures, here is a basic tutorial.

Step 1:

First, imagine… Imagine a character of your very own, and think of its pose. After that, draw it in your mind.

Step 2:

If you don’t want your figure to look unproportional or irregular, I highly recommend you start by outlining*. You can draw your outline as lines[1], circular and cylindrical shapes, or even rectangular shapes[2]. But my honest advice would be to use more organic shapes[3] like curves that remind the human body because the human body has no rectangular shapes and hardly has circular and cylindrical shapes.

*A general description or plan showing the essential features of something but not the detail (Oxford Languages).

Image 1: by Defne Aksoy

Step 3:

Start drawing the main units of the body like the head, hands, shoulders, and such, by following the outlines. I mostly start from the head in my drawings and draw the feet last, because that way suits me the best. This means it is a subjective matter. So, you need to find the starting point that seems the most practical to you.

Image 2: by Defne Aksoy

Step 4:

Erase the outlines and begin drawing the more detailed units such as hair, eyes, ears, mouth, nose, etc.

Image 3: by Defne Aksoy

Step 5:

Draw the clothing and the accessories of your figure. You can add earrings, fancy clothes, nail polish, and more! This is my favorite part, maybe because I like the little details.

Image 4: by Defne Aksoy

Step 6:

Your drawing is done! But if you want to paint it go over the lines with a black marker first (a marker with a thin tip is recommended), erase the ones you’ve done with the pencil, and after that, paint as you like!

Image 5: by Defne Aksoy

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