Are you ready to get your hands into drawing anime? Here’s how to get started:
Learn the basics first
Before you get into the nitty-gritty of drawing anime characters, try to master some basic drawing skills first by following these steps:
- Start with light line drawings. Just like you would draw anything, it’s better to start with light lines to give a basic idea of what your finished product would like. This also helps you make sure that all the measurements are right and everything is in its right place which is especially beneficial for big or detailed drawings. All artists start with a sketch and then trace over them with more pronounced lines.
- Make use of construction lines. These lines help you create symmetry in your drawing and they also serve as your guide in putting the different elements together seamlessly.
- Create a concrete plan for your drawing. Most artists create a storyboard before they start drawing because it helps them create a better picture of their finished product. It’s also smart to estimate the size of your characters so you can start with the largest elements first and work your way down to the smaller details.
- Draw every little detail. Not every part of your drawing will be visible like parts of the face that will be covered by a prop or hair. But you should still draw these hidden details and just erase them later on because that allows you to see if everything is in their proper places.
- Check your drawing for mistakes. Try to go over your drawing to spot some errors that might need correcting. Some experts suggest that turning your drawing upside down gives you a fresh look at it, which also makes it easier to spot some mistakes.
Practice with some drawing exercises
Since drawing anime involves a lot of detail, you can try some drawing exercises to train your eye and improve your hand control:
- Straight and curved lines. Practice drawing horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines as well as smooth curves without moving your drawing area.
- Basic shapes. Once you get the hang of drawing lines, you can move on to basic shapes like squares, circles, triangles, ovals, and rectangles. Draw lines using only stroke and do the same with circles and ovals.
Learn how to draw anime faces
Anime characters are so detailed that it takes a lot of practice to perfect them from head to toe. But the most detailed part of any anime character is the face, so it’s fitting to start by mastering how to draw the face of your favorite anime character with these steps:
- Draw a circle. This will serve as your guide in filling out the finer details of your character’s face like the eyes and mouth.
- Outline the character’s face. From the circle, which will be the top of your character’s head, draw a line downwards equivalent to half of the circle’s length. This will be your guide for the chin. Take note that young anime characters have shorter chins while older ones have longer chins.
- Learn your proportions. Proportion is very important when you’re drawing a face so make sure that you get it right by drawing a horizontal line from the halfway point of your vertical line. This is your guideline for the eyes.
Between the line for the eyes and chin, draw a short horizontal line, which will be where the bottom of the nose should be. And between the line for the nose and chin, draw a line across the width of your character’s face then draw another short horizontal line that will be the shadow below its lower lip.
- Get into the fine details. Once you have the bigger guidelines figured out, start drawing the ears, which should go from the eye to the nose line. Work on the nose next following your guideline and then draw the eyebrows, which are just simple curved lines above the eyes. This way you can play a bit with shapes and placement to convey different emotions. Finally, the mouth line should be between the bottom of the nose line and the bottom of the lip line.
How to Master the anime eyes
Anime characters have distinctive eyes that make them different from other animated characters. There are no strict rules when it comes to drawing your character’s eyes, but here are a few tricks to help you get into the groove:
- The eyebrows should follow the shape of the upper eyelids and the distance of the eyebrows and the upper lids should be the same as the height of the eyes. The eyebrows together with the eyes will help give more life to your anime character.
- Make the eyes softer on the sides and corners while keeping the top and bottom sharp. You can play with different eye shapes to get the right emotions for your character.
- If you’re drawing a female character, add more highlights to the eyes and make the eyelashes a bit longer.
How to Get the hair and hairline right
Anime characters have different hairstyles, but it’s better to keep yours simple until you already have more experience in drawing anime. Look at photos of real hairlines to get some ideas on how it should look like. You also have creative freedom on the length and style of your character’s hair.
Since drawing every strand can be time-consuming, divide the hair into sections and outline them properly. Once you’re done with the lines, you can move to the shading depending on what hair color you like and how shiny you’d want the character’s hair to be.
The bottom line
Drawing anime is a craft that artists take years to master, so don’t be discouraged if you make mistakes or you have to practice drawing exercises over and over again. Once you learn the ropes of drawing anime characters on paper, you can already move on to more complex drawings and even try your hand at drawing from a tablet.