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How to Draw a Manga Character

Many aspiring manga artists start their journey by copying the comics and cartoons they admire. This helps them get a feel for the style and develop their skill set.

Sketch out your rough doodles with pencil. A pencil with a hard lead is ideal because it will leave precise lines that won’t show up when printed.

Character Design

When designing a character in manga you must take into consideration a variety of factors. For example, the character’s posture, fitness level, and overall style must be reflected in their visual representation.

Start by drawing a rough sketch. These are not for final drafts but rather to help you figure out the character’s features, expression, and general look. For this sketch, it’s best to use a pen and paper that is light in color so you can easily erase mistakes.

Next, draw a sphere and a cone attached to it. Then, from one-third of the way down the front of the sphere, draw a line of symmetry. This indicates where the eyes will be located. Also, remember that manga characters tend to have rounder faces than their western counterparts. So, when drawing the jawline, use curved lines instead of angled ones. This will help give the face its manga-inspired look.

Panel Layout

Manga artists use panel layout to tell a story. Each panel is a frozen moment that will connect with the other panels on the page to create an ongoing story. The panel gutter (space between panels) can be used to change the pacing of the story, with larger panels slowing the action down and smaller panels speeding it up.

Linework can also add dynamism to the panel. Concentrated lines and flashes can direct the reader’s eyes to the center of the panel, synchronizing with their eye movements and creating a sense of movement.

A well-drawn panel can be powerful in conveying emotion and setting a scene. This example from Astroid depicts a shuriken clash between two warriors, and the detail in the lines emphasizes the tension and power of the fight. It’s no wonder that this panel is a fan favorite. The same level of skill was put into this somber panel from Berserk, where Musashi visualized himself in the forest to let go.

Inking Techniques

As with penciling, inking is a crucial part of manga drawing. It’s what really brings your drawings to life, so you need to be comfortable with it and have the right tools for the job.

Use pens that offer expressive line variation, like dip pens with a fine point or traditional paint brushes that provide dynamism and flexibility. And don’t be afraid to make mistakes; it happens. Whether it’s going outside the lines or a boo-boo on an eye, don’t get discouraged by it – just learn from it!

Practice drawing your favorite characters in a style that you admire. Try to mimic their proportions, poses, and even the way they move. And when you’re done, don’t be afraid to show it off! You’ll be amazed at how much better you can draw if you put in the effort to learn from others. Just be careful not to copy the exact same thing over and over, or you’ll end up with a generic looking character.

Painting Techniques

Adding a bit of realism to your drawings is an easy way to make them more manga-like. For example, try including reflected colors in your characters’ shadows and on the edges where different colors meet. This is a cool effect that you can easily recreate in digital paint programs.

The art techniques that are employed in manga and other forms of pop culture are being embraced by mainstream arts institutions as well. Artists like Akino Kondoh have used overlapping images of ladybirds and other floral patterns to create works that transcend their genre.

Learn everything you need to know to create manga fantasy art with reference to creative painting programs such as Photoshop. Providing step-by-step instructions and screen grabs, this must-have guide explains how to progress from basic pencil and pen roughs through to first-stage line art and finished color artwork. A must-have book for manga artists who want to take their work to the next level.



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