How to Draw Anime: A Comprehensive Guide


Anime, a Japanese animation style, has become increasingly popular worldwide. One of the reasons for its popularity is its unique style, which is characterized by distinct features such as large eyes, small noses, and colorful hair. Drawing anime is a skill that many people wish to learn, but few know where to start. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide on how to draw anime, from the basics to the advanced techniques.

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced artist, this guide will help you perfect your anime drawing skills. We will cover all the important topics, such as anatomy, proportions, shading, and coloring. By the end of this guide, you will be able to draw your favorite anime characters with ease. So, grab your pencils and let’s get started.

Why You Should Learn How to Draw Anime

Learning how to draw anime has many benefits. First, it is a fun and creative hobby that can help you express your ideas and emotions. Second, it can help you improve your hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. Third, it can open up new career opportunities, such as working in the animation industry or creating your own manga.

What You Need to Get Started

Before we dive into the art of drawing anime, you will need some basic tools. Here is a list of the essential items you will need:

Item Description
Pencils A set of drawing pencils with varying degrees of hardness
Erasers A kneaded eraser and a regular eraser
Paper High-quality drawing paper or sketchbook
Ruler A straight-edge ruler for drawing straight lines
Compass A compass for drawing circles and curves
Colored Pencils Optional, but recommended for coloring

Understanding Anime Anatomy

One of the most important aspects of drawing anime is understanding the anatomy. Unlike realistic drawings, anime characters have exaggerated features that give them a distinct look. Here are some of the key features you should focus on when drawing anime:


Anime eyes are one of the most recognizable features of anime characters. They are typically large and expressive, with brightly colored irises. To draw anime eyes, start by sketching the basic shape of the eye, then add the iris and the pupil. Finally, add details such as eyelashes and highlights.


Anime noses are usually small and simple, with just a few lines to indicate the nostrils. The placement of the nose can vary depending on the character’s age and gender. For example, a child’s nose will be placed higher on the face than an adult’s nose.


Anime mouths are often small and simple, with a single line to indicate the lips. The shape of the mouth can convey emotions such as happiness, sadness, or anger. To draw a mouth, start by drawing a horizontal line for the mouth, then add the lips and the teeth.


Anime hair is another important feature that can help define a character’s personality. It can be long, short, straight, curly, or spiky. To draw anime hair, start by sketching the basic shape of the hair, then add the details such as the strands and the highlights.


In anime, the proportions of the face and body can vary depending on the style. However, there are some general rules that you should follow to create a balanced and realistic-looking character. Here are some guidelines for drawing anime proportions:

  • Draw a vertical line to indicate the center of the face
  • Divide the face into thirds: the top third is for the forehead, the middle third is for the eyes and nose, and the bottom third is for the mouth and chin
  • The eyes should be located in the middle third of the face, with a distance of one eye-width between them
  • The nose should be located in the middle third of the face, below the eyes
  • The mouth should be located in the bottom third of the face, with the corners lining up with the pupils
  • The body should be around seven to eight heads tall, with the head being the first unit

Basic Anime Drawing Techniques

Now that you understand the anatomy and proportions of anime characters, it’s time to start drawing. Here are some basic techniques that will help you get started:


Start by sketching the basic shapes of the character using light pencil marks. This will help you establish the proportions and layout of the drawing. Once you are satisfied with the sketch, you can start adding details and shading.


Shading is an important technique that can add depth and dimension to your drawing. To shade an anime drawing, start by identifying the light source and adding shadows where the light does not hit. You can use cross-hatching or stippling to create different textures and shades.


Coloring can bring your anime drawing to life. You can use colored pencils, markers, or digital tools to add color to your drawing. Start by choosing a color palette that matches the character’s personality and style. Then, add shadows and highlights to create depth and contrast.


Inking is a technique used to create bold and defined lines in your drawing. You can use a pen or brush to ink your drawing, or you can use digital tools for a cleaner and more precise line. Inking is best done after you have finished sketching and shading your drawing.

Advanced Anime Drawing Techniques

Once you have mastered the basics of anime drawing, you can move on to more advanced techniques. Here are some techniques that can take your anime drawing to the next level:


Backgrounds can add depth and context to your anime drawing. To create a background, start by sketching the basic layout of the scene. Then, add details such as buildings, trees, or other objects. Finally, add shading and color to bring the background to life.


Perspective is a technique used to create the illusion of depth and distance in your drawing. To use perspective in your anime drawing, start by drawing a horizon line and vanishing points. Then, draw the objects in your drawing using the rules of perspective, such as size, scale, and position.


Emotions are an important aspect of anime characters. To convey emotions in your drawing, focus on the facial expressions and body language. Use lines, shapes, and shading to create a dynamic and expressive character.


How can I improve my anime drawing skills?

Practice is the key to improving your anime drawing skills. Start by drawing simple objects and characters, then gradually move on to more complex ones. Study the work of other anime artists and try to replicate their techniques. Take classes or workshops to learn new skills and get feedback on your work.

What should I do if I make a mistake in my anime drawing?

Don’t worry if you make a mistake in your anime drawing. Use an eraser to correct the mistake or start over if necessary. Remember that mistakes are a natural part of the learning process, and every artist makes them.

Can I use digital tools to draw anime?

Yes, many anime artists use digital tools such as tablets, software, and apps to create their drawings. Digital tools offer many advantages, such as precision, control, and the ability to undo mistakes. However, traditional tools such as pencils and paper offer a tactile and organic experience that many artists enjoy.

How can I add more detail to my anime drawing?

To add more detail to your anime drawing, focus on the small elements such as the hair strands, the clothing texture, or the facial features. Use shading and color to create depth and contrast. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different techniques and styles.

What is the difference between anime and manga?

Anime and manga are both forms of Japanese media that share many similarities. Anime is a form of animation that is typically watched on TV or online, while manga is a form of comic book that is read in print or digital format. Anime is often based on popular manga series, but it can also be original works.

Can I create my own anime characters?

Yes, you can create your own anime characters. Start by brainstorming ideas for the character’s personality, appearance, and backstory. Then, sketch the character using the techniques in this guide. Finally, add color and shading to bring the character to life.

How can I create a unique anime style?

Creating a unique anime style takes time and practice. Study the work of other anime artists and identify the elements that make their style unique. Then, experiment with different techniques and styles until you find your own voice. Don’t be afraid to take risks and try new things.

What is the best way to learn how to draw anime?

The best way to learn how to draw anime is to practice regularly and seek feedback from others. Attend classes or workshops, join online communities, or find a mentor who can guide you on your journey. Watch tutorials or read books on anime drawing to learn new techniques and get inspired.

How can I monetize my anime drawing skills?

There are many ways to monetize your anime drawing skills, such as selling your artwork, creating commissioned pieces, or starting a webcomic or manga series. You can also work in the animation industry as a character designer, storyboard artist, or animator.

What is the difference between anime and Western animation?

Anime and Western animation are two distinct styles of animation that have their own unique features. Anime is characterized by large eyes, small noses, and colorful hair, while Western animation often has more realistic proportions and features. Anime is usually associated with Japanese culture and themes, while Western animation covers a wide range of genres and subjects.

How long does it take to learn how to draw anime?

Learning how to draw anime takes time and practice. The amount of time it takes to learn will depend on your skill level, dedication, and the amount of practice you put in. Some people may learn in a few months, while others may take years to master the art of anime drawing.

Can I use anime drawings in my own work?

If you create your own anime drawings, you have the right to use them in your own work. However, if you use someone else’s anime drawing, you may be infringing on their copyright. Be sure to check the copyright laws in your country and obtain permission if necessary.

What should I do if I feel stuck or frustrated with my anime drawing?

Feeling stuck or frustrated is a common experience for artists. If you feel stuck, take a break and come back to your drawing later with fresh eyes. Look for inspiration in other art forms or in nature. Seek feedback from other artists or join a supportive community where you can share your work and get encouragement.

How can I get started with digital drawing?

To get started with digital drawing, you will need a drawing tablet or a digital pen and a software or app that supports digital drawing. There are many options available, from beginner-friendly programs to professional-grade software. Start by practicing with basic tools such as pencils and erasers, then move on to more advanced tools such as layers and brushes.

How can I promote my anime drawings online?

Promoting your anime drawings online can help you gain exposure and build a following. Start by creating a portfolio or a website where you can showcase your work. Use social media platforms such as Instagram or Twitter to share your drawings and engage with your audience. Join online communities or forums where you can connect with other artists and potential clients.


Drawing anime is a fun and rewarding hobby that can take your creativity to new heights. By following the techniques and tips in this guide, you can learn how to draw anime like a pro. Remember to practice regularly, seek feedback, and don’t be afraid to take risks and experiment with new styles and techniques. Whether you want to create your own manga, work in the animation industry, or simply enjoy drawing for fun, this guide has everything you need to get started.

So, what are you waiting for? Grab your pencils and start drawing your favorite anime characters today!


The information in this article is for educational purposes only. The author and the publisher do not assume any responsibility or liability for the use or misuse of the information presented in this article. The techniques and tips in this article are based on the author’s personal experience and research, and may not work for everyone.

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