How to Draw Anime (Beginner's Guide)


Anime is a term derived from the word "animation" and refers specifically to Japanese animation. Strictly speaking, in Japan all non-animated, comic-style drawings, such as printed comics or interactive games, are referred to as manga. Among the Japanese, manga, which arose in 1917, typically means a Japanese-style comic book. Anime, however, technically refers to animated manga (or animated cartoons) and would never be used in reference to a Japanese comic book. Outside of Japan, anime often is used incorrectly to mean any Japanese-style drawings.

Things You'll Need

  • Drawing paper
  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Draw an oval or round-shaped head in the center of the page, being sure to bring the oval or circle to a point at the bottom. The pointed chin in Japanese-style animation is representative of the receding, Oriental chin. This face shape typically is designed for the Japanese, particularly male heroes, females and children. In contrast, a wide-chinned, broad-jawed and muscular character in anime would be representative of the Caucasian and typically is reserved for a large sidekick.

  • Divide the head into thirds horizontally, then in half vertically. This graph of sorts will give you the structure you need to correctly position the eyes, nose, ears and mouth on your character. These lines can later be erased.

  • Draw very large oval eyes. The Japanese and Korean consider large eyes to be a sign of beauty, and this taste is carried directly from Japanese culture into the drawing of anime.

  • Draw lines coming out from your character's eyes, as this brings life and personality to your character. A female character in anime typically has long, curled eyelashes. Scythe blade-shaped eyebrows in anime are reserved for the story's hero. The hero's sidekick typically has large, full eyebrows. Females, on the other hand, receive dainty, curved brows. Villains, typically females, can be recognized by their eyebrows: an upward stroke rising toward their temples.

  • Draw the mouth and nose, keeping in mind that they both are de-emphasized in anime. The more serious a character is, the smaller his mouth is, and the nose is nearly nonexistent.

  • Draw the hair. This can vary from something short to something wild, since with hair, anything goes in anime.

  • Draw the body. Starting at your character's chin, draw two short, vertical lines to represent the neck, then use circles and ovals to complete the usually slender torso and limbs of the character.

  • Erase the pencil lines from step 2 and enliven your drawing with color.

Tips & Warnings

  • Practice, practice, practice!


  • Photo Credit Images
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