How to Draw Japanese Manga Anime

Japanese Manga is no longer considered a pop culture. It has established a foothold in the mainstream entertainment media. You can find such evidence in media outlets such as movies, television and books. Today Japanese Manga is not lumped together in the same category such as cartoons and kid’s shows. You have American cutesy cartoons such as Tom and Jerry and then there are adventure packed, often bloody animations such as Akira. Japanese Manga can be graphic and violent. And it can be cute and non violent. If you’ve watched enough Manga and have become a true fan than maybe you’ve felt that urge in your hands to pick up a pencil and draw. If that has happened then you are not alone. Japanese Manga has excited and thrilled a new generation of young talented artist and potential Manga masters.

Japanese Manga has many different styles just like traditional paintings. Certain Manga characteristics have exaggerated physical proportions such as large heads, short legs and arms with a squat torso to bring everything together. This Manga drawing style is called “Chibi”. You can find examples of Chibi drawings from the popular animated series “Naruto”. And some are perfectly proportioned as if they were actual human beings.

Then there are the more upscale Manga animations such as the popular movie “Appleseed”. In this animation you will find the characters are drawn more realisticly with a certain Manga flair. After all if we’d want to watch actual humans we would watch a live film. Though the movie “Akira” was done through Computer Generated Imagery (CGI), the underlying details are all still filled with Manga style and essence.

Here are the physical attributes that Manga characters possess:

Hair – The hair is usually suped up like a lot of gel has been applied. One big tip about drawing hair is to shape the character’s skull first. Many first timers draw the hair without first sketching out the foundation of the skull. By working from the skull up you can have a better idea of how the hair should look and fall into place.

Eyes – The eyes are the windows of the soul. It is possible to draw the eyes to show more emotions than the face. Manga characters have larger than life eyes. You will also notice that the eyes are more animated so that emotions can be revealed. Though Manga characters are in general Asian, they do not possess Asian features.

Arms, Legs and Body – Again Manga characters can come in all shapes and sizes. If you watch the Manga series like “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure” you will see how exaggerated the character’s body frame is. Usually the action genre of Manga will have characters with outrageous muscles bulging from everywhere possible. But many times Manga character’s physical attributes belie their true powers and abilities. This gives Manga series tension and drama. Nothing is better to watch then an under dog hero defeat a much more powerful opponent.

Costume and Clothes – Some people may consider what a Manga character wears is useless detail but I strongly disagree. What a character wears defines who the character is. Much like a live film. Costumes give heroes their coolness factor. We all know most super heroes may have muscles underneath, but without a costume there is just nothing else to extend about the Manga character’s origin and personality.

Which ever types of Manga you want to draw, the best things to do is to learn from watching or reading your favorite Manga series. Try to emulate your favorite Manga artist’s characters. Those are the best places to start on your drawing journey. Practice drawing Manga and reading more is the best way to learn how to draw Japanese Manga.