How to Paint Anime


Budding artists and fans of Japanese animation will find great pleasure in painting anime characters. Anime figures have a minimal, modern and stylized appearance which has attracted many admirers of this type of art. It can be daunting to begin experimenting with different styles of painting at first. But, you can become accomplished in painting anime by simply copying from pictures and practicing. Using acrylic paints is the best option to show bold colors.

Things You'll Need

  • Picture of anime character
  • Pencil
  • Canvas
  • Acrylic paints
  • Pot of water
  • Palette
  • Brushes
  • Sketch the outline of the character's head by drawing a rounded oval shape. The eyes are large and out of proportion compared to human eyes. Show this by drawing large circles, and with a large pupil instead, also represented with a circle.

  • Add the other facial features. Anime noses are minimalistic, or absent altogether. Just add a small "L" shape to note where it is positioned. Give the character narrow lips and a hollow mouth. Draw an elliptical "O" shape to position the mouth.

  • Create a jagged hairstyle on the character. Draw a simple zigzag line around the face to frame it. You can paint extra details on later.

  • Draw the body, arms and legs of the anime person. Exposed flesh is peach in color, and there is no detail in the hands. You can only see the outline of each limb, which is shaded with darker tones of peach to show the contours.

  • Dress the anime character. Female characters are sometimes depicted in uniforms, but usually both female and male characters are casual in appearance. For example, khaki combat trousers and a t-shirt can be worn. Draw the outline of these items.

  • Squeeze colors of acrylic paint onto the palette, dip the brush in the pot of water and dab it in the paint. Spread the paint lightly and add another dab of water. This loosens the paper so it is smoother and less thick.

  • Fill blocks of color first by following the pencil guidelines. Use a dark brown for the hair, and pastel tones for the clothes. Mix a peach color by mixing white, orange and yellow together for the skin tone.

  • Wait for this layer of paint to dry, then begin to add detail to the painting. Clothing is simplistic, but given dimension using shadowing. Add a dab of black paint to the colors you used for the clothing to make the shade darker, then paint shadows. Under the arms, or the inside of the arm are commonly where shadows fall, for example.

  • Use a thin brush to flesh out detail. Add a series of thin black lines curving around the head to show its roundness, and create folds or creases in clothing around the knees using gray.

  • Highlight the eyes using a dot of white paint in the corner of each black pupil. This focuses the viewer's attention onto the face, which defines the character's expression and intent.

Tips & Warnings

  • Choose complementary colors when painting the anime characters. This will give your painting uniformity.
  • Refer back and forth between the image of your anime character to mimic the shape and dimensions of the character. It will also be easier to give the anime figure the correct proportions.


  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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