10 Things You Need to Know to Be a Better Manga Artist

Manga drawing

Big eyes, exaggerated expressions and cute chibi characters are only some of the appeal of drawing anime. But before you launch into a drawing tutorial, it helps to have a few words of wisdom from a manga pro. To be a better manga artist, here are some essential, actionable tips — and some pointers on avoiding beginner mistakes.

1. Study Real Anatomy

Just like with any figure drawing, knowing a body’s anatomy is vital. You need to know how a real body is put together and how it functions — even though the shapes and proportions of manga characters are often exaggerated.

2. Find Reference Images

It’s tempting to skip this time-consuming step, but if there’s something you don’t know how to draw, go online and find a reference image. Look up poses, props, environments — your art will look so much better for it. Don’t try to draw something purely from memory, because you’ll miss important details.

3. Use Guidelines

Outline drawings / guidelines for drawing

Though some artists balk at them, guidelines are super useful. They help you quickly draw a pose, compare body shapes and sizes and avoid anatomy errors. Every professional — every professional — starts with basic shapes before drawing a character.

4. Don’t Copy

Copycat manga illustration

Studying your favorite artist shouldn’t turn into copying that artist — if you start copying as a beginner, you can easily end up mimicking the artist’s flaws. Instead, examine their art closely to figure out what parts you like, and why.

5. Be Open to Criticism

This is tough advice to follow because criticism can feel like a scolding. You don’t have to accept every critique as legit, but you do need to keep an open mind. The other person may have a valid point.

6. Be Skeptical of Praise from Family and Friends

People who love you will always say your artwork is perfect, but here’s the thing: they’re not being totally truthful. Sometimes, artists end up buying into all that praise and stop trying to improve. Always seek out people who’ll give you honest feedback and constructive criticism. It’s the only way you’ll grow as an artist!

7. Avoid Shortcuts

Don't avoid shortcuts manga illustration

If you hate drawing hands, keep practicing! It’s too easy to hide ’em or just draw your characters from the waist up. It’s better to draw terrible hands and keep improving than to give up. With practice, you’ll get better.

8. Draw Different Kinds of Characters

We all have a certain “type” of character we like to draw and it can be easy to fall back on those drawings, whether it be a chibi, a pretty girl or a pretty boy. As you practice your anime drawings, it’s important to branch out and draw all kinds of people and characters. It’ll vastly improve your drawings overall.

9. Don’t Get Discouraged

"Why am I so terrible?" Manga illustration

It’s easy to start feeling down when you see other artists who are oh-so-talented. Before you start comparing yourself to others, remember: everyone has to start somewhere. Don’t let your peers make you feel bad about your skills; let them inspire you to improve.

10. Have Fun!

Improving art skills can be frustrating, but try not to let it get to you. Drawing should be fun. Just relax, do your best, and keep up with your practice.

Discussion
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39 Responses to “10 Things You Need to Know to Be a Better Manga Artist”
  1. Angelo
    Angelo

    The tips here are true but there are artist that are better, the people that doesn’t need to sketch making solid outlines… But still, sketching still helps people to draw poses! pretty helpful tips here!

    Reply
      • amsev1960@gmail.com
        amsev1960@gmail.com

        You need to find something you love above all else. If it’s staring into space like I am doing right now, thinking about what to do next, that is okay.

        Reply
    • amsev1960@gmail.com
      amsev1960@gmail.com

      Do wish this site had a manga class. I know basics about drawing a face, but translating that into the exaggerations in manga is a step beyond 🌹🌹🌹

      Reply
  2. elysa
    elysa

    I’m so bad at drawing anime faces, that when i draw eyes it looks like a ghost, lol. And i also need a picture of a hand to draw anime hand. I just don’t know how to draw hands properly. lol (*-*)And also have any advise on how to draw clothing nicely and neatly. cause mine looks like crushed up paper.(Basically what my trash can is right now. lol)

    Reply
  3. lance rashed c. beniten
    lance rashed c. beniten

    Yep, I was doing a shortcut because I am bad at drawing fingers but still I am bad at drawing fingers after watching a couple of tutorials

    Reply
  4. Glitch
    Glitch

    Any advice on hands, either? I need all the help i can get-w- (ehhehehh…) I never get the exact heights or widths the same, either.

    Reply
    • Glitch
      Glitch

      I say ¨either¨ too much. -w- *also, sorry for …..blowing up this website with comments. ^ ^)||||*

      Reply
      • DEKU Fan
        DEKU Fan

        I have been trying to teach myself anime for about 2 years an it still looks nothing close lol heh…

        Reply
    • DabiSimp
      DabiSimp

      There is a great app for drawing anime. Just go to google play, and search up how to draw anime. Then the first app should appear and it is called “How to draw anime step by step”. Its by Smart Room Apps. I downloaded it and I have dramatically improved. From trash to ok- lol.

      Reply
  5. Glitch
    Glitch

    I really want to draw anime better! I can draw it pretty well, but I normally don’t have proper paper, (lined, usually), and I always get distracted by things like video games. I also am not great with drawing a body without taking forever. It’s like; one day, “hey, I can draw!” another day, “I wanna draw! *tries* oh, that’s awful :)” “oh, hey, i’m good at drawing today- oh, but i feel like being a bum. -_- oh, well.” I have a million stories, too, that I wanna draw, so at least i know what i’m doing. (i think) But then there’s “I only have normal pencils” -w- …Any advice?

    Reply
    • Glitch
      Glitch

      ..-w- there’s also this thing…erm…I like to come up with fan fictions (they’re really cool! Trust me, they’re not in the “questionable” category), And I really want to draw them, too!! I wanna figure out a way I can without having to get people angry. qwq

      Reply
    • DabiSimp
      DabiSimp

      You don’t have to finish a piece of art all at once. You can split it into different parts. Say you can draw the head, and then go take a break, come back later and then keep on working. You can make a lot with a normal pencil. Just look at manga. The manga isn’t colored but it has a lot of details.The darker the original color, the darker you shade. If you think ur art is awful, just remember when you just started drawing. You’ve probably improved a bunch.

      Reply
  6. Nazhan 76
    Nazhan 76

    おはよ…Hai…I want to draw a perfect Anime character…but im feel like its to hard to draw without any advice….Pleaseeee…helppp meeee

    Reply
    • JeffDaBofa
      JeffDaBofa

      Watch some tutorials, it really hepled me a lot, and I would likely recommend Mikey Mega Mega, top-notch manga artist, and I learned most of my skills from him..so yeah…go check him out, peace.

      Reply
    • Glitch
      Glitch

      You should know only what YOU WANT is the perfect you’re looking for, and what people call “perfect” doesn’t exist! 🙂 Try to get what you want, and then boom, you have your perfect.

      Reply
  7. Anime drawer
    Anime drawer

    actually, u can copy it favorite artist’s art! BUT. U have to try to change something in the drawing! U can gradually get better after you prcticed.

    Reply
  8. Samar Salvi
    Samar Salvi

    I am having a trouble in aligning the eyes and nose and the mouth…. And also drawing face shape…

    Reply
    • Anime drawer
      Anime drawer

      ok! So u see, when drawing, u need to identify what shape is needed for your anime girl/boy! First you draw a circle for the head, then, you draw one lines on both sides of the circle! After your done with that, u connect the two lines with a curving line! Remember to do that seperatley on both sides! That will be more easier!

      Reply
  9. Jamie Crawford
    Jamie Crawford

    i have a friend and she is the BEST at sketching and i just cant get my hands or eyes right

    Reply
    • iris Comstock
      iris Comstock

      Hey this is like a late comment or somth @^@ umm I just wanna say, i feel like if you keep reading articles, and watching videos / tutorials you will become a really good artist uwu goodbye.

      Reply
      • Maat Studio Artist
        Maat Studio Artist

        Hey this is like a lot later than your comment but you are tight but that’s not it to be a really good artist. Let’s just say that you have a favourite artist then I would actually recommend you to copy tgat art of his or hers not to call it your drawing but for study purposes. In that way you can gain some knowledge and analysis how this person draws in general and from that you would be able to draw on you own. It’s good to see tutorial and all that stuff but it’s not enough. People need experience by themselves so tutorial wouldn’t be a great help to everyone. So what I just mean is, it’s ok to copy but only for study purposes. And from what you have copied, you can separate it into section so you would be able to anatomy in it. Trust me I am not a good artist myself but I know that this will help and there is a lot of other ways too. If it’s too confusing what I have been telling you guys the. contact me throughout instagram: maat_studio_artist and I will try my best to help you guys. Goodbye and good luck everyone

        Reply
    • Glitch
      Glitch

      (eh-late comment/reply) You only stink at drawing because you’re not putting your all, and making your drawing perfect. By perfect, I don’t mean “OH ITS FLAWLESS” I mean perfect as in make your drawing in the way you wanna make it ^ ^

      Reply