Do you want to learn how to draw the anime and manga characters you see on popular Japanese animation movies? Before learning how to draw anime and manga, let’s explain the terms “anime” and “manga” and discuss their visual characteristics.
What is Anime?
Anime is the Japanese term for animation (Japanese and international), while in English it commonly refers to typical Japanese animation as seen in popular anime movies such as Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away.
Manga is the Japanese comics and the term refers to the comic strips published on dedicated magazines.
To the non-Japanese eye, anime and manga have many visual characteristics in common:
Anime and manga characters most notable feature is the disproportionally large eyes, which are drawn with careful detailing and often take up most of the characters’ face. The other face features are significantly smaller and their limbs are usually elongated and narrowed.
Manga Drawing Symbols
In manga drawings, visual conventions are used to describe the characters’ emotional and physical situation. For example, cross-shaped pupils illustrate loss of consciousness, a cat mouth instead of a human mouth represents a planned mischief, a bleeding nose indicates a state of excitement and so on.
The colors in manga also carry symbolic meanings: black symbolizes evil, death and sadness, white – purity, red symbolizes joy, aggression or love, yellow symbolizes wealth and courage and green is the color of both good and bad fortune in manga culture.
How to draw Manga and Anime
As you can see, manga and anime cartoons have different visual characteristics than regular cartoon pictures. To start learning how to draw manga and anime, simply look at manga magazines and watch anime movies to distinguish their characteristics: how the boys and girls look like? What clothes do they were and which weapons do they use? etc.
The next step is to choose a magna character you wish to learn how to draw and divide it to a series of simple forms. Start with the head, draw its shape and then add the facial features one by one, afterwards add the body, the clothes and the other attributes. After practicing drawing a few magna characters, you will be able to draw an entire manga comic strip.