How To Draw Manga Step By Step (Complete Guide)

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This is a complete tutorial on how to draw manga, his face, body and other elements step by step.

How To Draw Manga Faces Step By Step

Drawing the face is the most crucial point to any illustrations. The face holds the capacity for expressions, and therefore reveals the character’s personality, thoughts, and desires.

I like to think of the face as the house of the character’s soul. There is so much about an anime or manga character that you can show through the face.

For example, a scar on the face suggests that this character is battle-worn and a warrior. On the other hand, big, glistening eyes and unblemished skin implies innocence and youth.

Character attribute can be blatant or subtle. That’s up to you to have fun with and play around with.

One of the beauty of manga art is that you can use facial features, expressions, and other graphical tools to convey your character to the audience.

Remember, the manga character is a graphical representation and the personality of the character must be conveyed as such without using words.

angry manga face 273x300 1
Angry manga face

In learning how to draw manga faces, expressions communicate the ever changing emotional state of the character. Surprise, wonder, fear, anger, joy, worry, rage, distrust, and love are all emotional states revealed and highlighted by facial features.

For example, the eyebrows angled down portray anger; an upturned mouth signifies happiness.

Manga in a great example of the economical use of lines to depict emotions.

In manga, these expressions are dramatically exaggerated, but they are simplified. These simplified lines increase the clarity of the images and send a stronger signal to the viewer.

The shape of a character’s head can also be used to show age and personality.

different ages of manga characters faces
Different ages of manga characters faces

This diagram shows (from left to right) the head shape of a youth, a teen, and an adult. As you can see, the head shape changes with age.

Youthful manga characters have rounder heads and bigger eyes. As they age, the eyes become smaller and the head narrows and lengthens.

example of manga youth and old man
Example of manga youth and old man

How To Draw Manga Faces

Step 1 of how to draw manga faces: Draw a circle. This will be the head.

Next add the jaw. Make sure the jaw is symmetrical because we are looking at the face from head on.

how to draw manga faces step 1
How to draw manga faces step 1

Step 2 of how to draw manga faces is to draw a vertical line down the middle of the face. This will act as a guide for the eyes, nose, and mouth.

how to draw manga faces step 2
How to draw manga faces step 2

Step 3 is to sketch the eyes and nose.

how to draw manga faces step 3
How to draw manga faces step 3

Step 4 is to add in the details for the eyes. Don’t worry to much about what they look like at this point. You’ll learn to perfect your eye drawing as you progress.

how to draw manga faces step 4
How to draw manga faces step 4

Step 5 of how to draw manga faces is to add the eyebrows and hair. Have fun and experiment with the angle of the eyebrows. You’ll find that you can make a pretty wide range of emotions just by varying the degree of the eyebrows.

Also, notice that manga ears are generally smaller than real ears and can stick out further.

how to draw manga faces step 5
How to draw manga faces step 5

And the final step of how to draw manga faces is to fill in the hair.

Drawing Manga – Creating The Basic Structure Of Your Manga Characters

Now will cover the step step of drawing manga and that is to create the basic frame work of your manga character.

The First Step Of Drawing Manga

Our first step to drawing manga is rather simple but very important. We are going to draw super-simplified stick figures to represent your manga character.

Also Read: How To Draw Caricatures Step By Step

To do this, use only circles and lines to form your figure. Use the circles to represent the joints at the elbows, ankles, knees, hips, wrists, and shoulders. And use the straight lines for the torso, neck, arms, and legs.

Stick Figures For Drawing Manga Examples

You figure should look something like this:

Manga stick figure 131x300 1
Manga stick figure

Now, once you got that down, it’s time to spice it up a little. Draw the stick figure in a variety of poses. Here’s some ideas: standing, kicking, sitting, or anything you’d like.

Manga figure in action poses
Manga figure in action poses

This might be hard at first so feel free to copy the drawings below and use them as practice. Draw them over and over again until you get comfortable and are ready to come up with your own.

Draw as many of these as you can.

By practicing this manga drawing exercise, you not only train yourself to become good at dynamic figure drawing but you’ll also get good at keeping your figures in proportion and realistically positioned.

You are also training yourself to use depth and perspective to make your poses more dynamic. (Depth and perspective will be cover in another drawing manga lesson latter on in the series.)

Manga figure in action poses 2
Manga figure in action poses

The Proportions Of Your Stick Figures

The size of the head of your figures are very important here as it will act as a measuring tool for the rest of the body. The length of the arms, legs, and torso will be based on the size of the head.

As a general rule, the average mange person will be 7 heads tall. Where as a noble and more graceful character would be 7 and a half heads tall. Taller still are the heroic characters, who will stand at 8 heads tall.

Diagram of the proportions of manga characters 798x1024 1
Diagram of the proportions of manga characters

In manga a character’s physical attribute can vary greatly from super tall and slender to really short and stumpy. The diagram below will give you a feel of the different body types.

Diagram of the different manga body types
Diagram of the different manga body types

How To Draw A Manga Using Basic Shapes

Now will focus on filling in those stick figure drawings with simple shapes to give your manga characters more dimension.

Using Simple Shapes To Learn How To Draw A Manga

Everything around us, including our bodies are made of simple geometry shapes like cubes, cones, cylinders, and spheres. Therefore, in order to learn how to draw a manga, we must first learn how to draw these simple shapes.

3 D shapeds for drawing manga 300x295 1
3 D shapes for drawing manga

Drawing Exercise To Help You Understand 3-D Shapes

Here’s a quick drawing exercise to help you understand 3-D shapes and also shading.

First draw a rough sketch of a cube.

Next, tighten up the lines. Think about where the ground should be. Also imagine a light source and where it is located relative to the cube. (In the example below, the light source is coming from the top left, but you can put yours where ever you want.)

And finally, finish off by shading the cube accordingly. Make sure to make the area that is faces away from the light the darkest as it is receiving the least amount of light.

3 Steps of sketching a cube
3 Steps of sketching a cube

Drawing Shapes From Different Angles

Now that you understand how to draw a simple shape, let’s mix it up a little bit by drawing them from different angles.

This is very important to learning how to draw a manga because your manga characters will be in a variety of different poses. And if you want to depict them accurately, you’ll need to know how to draw the shapes from different angles.

Try drawing these objects in different positions and angles. Keep in mind the direction of the light. You will be basing your manga drawings on these shapes so by practicing them you’ll gain an accurate sense of shape, size, and volume.

3 D objects in different positions
3 D objects in different positions

Adding Shapes To Your Manga Figure Drawings

Now for the most fun part of learning how to draw a manga. It’s time to add these shapes to your manga stick figures.

Use cylinders for the arms and legs. Use spheres for the joints. And use a basic polygon for the hands and feet.

Remember, we are still in the sketching process of developing our manga character. Take it slow and step by step.

First draw the manga stick figure.

manga figure before adding in the shape
Manga figure before adding in the shape

Then add in the shapes.

manga figure with shapes added in
Manga figure with shapes added

You don’t have to shade your manga figure but I’ve done it here to show you the contour and depth of these images. Normally, shading is save for the end, during the coloring stage.

manga figure with shapes added in and shaded
Manga figure with shapes added in and shaded

And there you have it. Now you know how to draw a manga using basic geometric shapes. Look pretty good doesn’t it?

How To Draw Manga With Cloths Step By Step Tutorial

we are going to put all the figure drawing knowledge together as I take you through how to draw manga step by step. You will finally be able to draw your own complete manga character.

Step 1:

Start out by sketching your character in stick figure form. Think back to the earlier exercise where I had you create different poses using straight lines and circles.

Here is your chance to be creative. As you are designing your manga character, put him or her in whatever pose you want. Play around with it. You can even have the manga character hold swords or fly in mid-air.

Once you’ve decided on a pose for your manga drawing, sketch it out onto a new sheet of paper.

how to draw manga step by step illustration 1
Step illustration 1

Step 2:

Add dimension to your stick figure. Use the different 3D polygons like cylinders and blocks to map out a basic body structure.

add dimension to your manga character
Add dimension to your manga character

Step 3:

Now it’s time to decide what you want your character to wear. This is completely up to you and depends on what kind of character you want to create.

Are you going to create a ninja assassin with black uniform? Or a southern belle in a dress?

As a tip, I would stick to more simple clothing for now as you are still just starting out. Something the hugs the body will be easier to draw than billowing drapery.

As you become more skilled, you can make things as intricate as you want.

Once you are done with the clothing, sketch in the beginning of the hairstyle.

manga drawing with clothes
Manga drawing with clothes

Step 4:

Its time to fill in the details for the face and hair. You should also begin erasing some of the guiding pencil marks that does not fit into the drawing.

manga drawing of a female ninja
Manga drawing of a female ninja

Now it’s time to go over your sketch with ink. Take out your pen and ink over the lines.

Now you don’t want to ink every line in your drawing, only pick the ones that look the best and leave out the “mistakes” and practice strokes.

You’ll find that after you are finished going over it with ink, your drawing will suddenly look much better and polished.

The light pencil marks will fade away when contrasted by the ink and your drawing will look much sharper.

Then lastly, once the ink is completely dry, go over your drawing with an eraser and rub out all the extra pencil marks.

inked in manga drawing
Inked in manga drawing

Step 5:

This last step is optional, but if you are feeling ambitious, you can now color in your drawing.

Coloring can be tricky if you are not experienced at it. It requires some experimenting and trial and error. That’s why I recommend you make a photo copy of your original manga drawing and practice coloring on the copies.

Once you have found the color combination that you like, you can now apply it to the real thing.

manga drawing with color
Manga drawing with color

Congratulation, you’ve just created your first manga character.

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