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How To Draw Anime For Beginners: Simple Guide. Photo KnowInsiders

The art of drawing has been around since prehistoric times. Archaeologists still uncover different cave drawings showcasing the life of the First Men. Naturally, people have developed this way of expression and have turned it into actual art. Nowadays there are so many different ways of drawing and painting, it might be difficult for an artist to find their own style.

Despite all of that, though, one style seems to be taking over the world. Which is why, today we are going to focus specifically on how to draw anime in particular. We have prepared some step by step tutorials, as well as some drawings to get inspiration from. So, even if you are just a beginner and are wondering where to start, we believe in you.

What is anime?

How To Draw Anime For Beginners: Step-by-Step Guide
Photo Anime

Anime refers to a specific style of cartoon produced or inspired by Japanese animation. Think of it this way: all anime shows are cartoons, but not all cartoons are anime. The art style associated with anime is very unique and recognizable. You’re probably familiar with the large eyes, wild hair, long arms and limbs, and more. This exaggerated design helps the characters more easily express emotions — of which there are plenty in anime.

Also adding to the emotional feel of anime are the technical animation tricks like dramatic closeups and zooms, intense lighting, and brilliant colors. But beyond its distinctive visual look, anime has endeared itself into the hearts of fans because of its complex characters and engaging plotlines.

How Do Kids Find Anime?

Anime can be found in nearly every corner of the internet — and that’s no exaggeration. It’s embedded itself into online culture like few other things have. From full-length movies and TV shows to hashtagged posts on social media, in fan fiction, and more, there’s all kinds of content out there. Here’s a quick list of how kids often find anime and anime-related material:

Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime

These popular household subscription services have tons of old and new anime content.


Crunchyroll is basically a Netflix just for anime. It’s free with ads, but there’s also a premium option.

Torrent sites

It’s illegal to pirate shows, but it still happens, especially when content isn’t available for streaming due to country restrictions.


Here, kids can watch clips of their favorite shows and movies, fan-made videos, mashups, and more.


Tumblr is home to a ton of anime content, especially fan art and GIFs.


Popular subreddits where fans gather to talk about anime include r/anime, r/animemes (memes about anime), and countless others for particular shows and movies.


Fan art and memes are especially popular on this photo-sharing platform and can be found in a matter of seconds thanks to #anime, which has more than 156 million posts.


Anime-themed TikToks are also incredibly popular and are even used as viral sounds in non-anime videos.

Key anime features

Photo Anime
Photo Anime

1. Anime anatomy

The human body in anime is depicted in a cartoonish, instantly recognizable style. It could be said that, in order to draw it, one would need a fundamental knowledge of anatomy and add an element of exaggeration.

Anime protagonists normally have very thin proportions. They have slim bodies and incredibly long legs. The female body is drawn to exaggerate its femininity, with endless legs and tiny waists.

You cannot draw a typical anime-style character if you do not first learn drawing basics like how to depict the human body. For this, it is necessary to study the structure of the human body and anatomy in order to be able to illustrate realistic characters.

When you learn about bones, muscles, and how different parts of the body are connected to each other, you will be able to incorporate that into your art. Without this key skill, your work is likely to not look professional.

One of the best online resources where you can learn to draw online is Deviant Art. Check out this page that will help you study anatomy as it relates to art and, more specifically, anime.

2. Anime eyes

Photo GVVAT workshop
Photo GVVAT workshop

One of the most typical features of anime characters is their large eyes. They often include love-hearts, stars, spirals, and flames to reflect the character’s emotional state.

Different types of eye shapes tend to symbolize different aspects of a character’s personality. For example, rounder eyes usually mean innocence or purity, while smaller, more narrow eyes typically represent coldness or evil. This means that you should pay particular attention to it when you are drawing the eyes of your own anime characters. Remember that their eyes will have to be vivid enough to convey their feelings.

3. Anime hair

Photo Clip Studio Paint
Photo Clip Studio Paint

Typical anime hair is big. Most characters, especially important ones, have quite extravagant-looking hair: often unconventionally colored with a lot of movement between scenes. Spikes, ponytails, and ringlets are common hairdos in anime.

You should pay particular attention to hair drawing because not only does it need to look visually striking, it is also meant to express a lot through its movements. You must also seriously consider the color of a character’s hair, as different colors are used to symbolize different personality traits (read more about that below where we discuss anime coloring).

4. Basic shapes

There are quite a few basic poses that anime characters often assume. These tend to be exaggerated and dramatic. To draw realistic characters, you will have to master the art of animating them and learn drawing the shapes or poses they assume to perfection. Some commonly encountered ones are:

5. Distinguishing between anime boys and girls

Photo CBR
Photo CBR

The technique of drawing anime boys differs significantly from that of drawing anime girls. For male characters, you will have to draw a rectangular face with an almost square jaw. Females have thinner eyebrows and rounder noses and eyes compared to males.

Male and female characters also have different body proportions. Female characters are smaller, with narrow shoulders and waists while males are larger.

6. Anime coloring techniques

When it comes to the colors used, anime also has its peculiarities. Three of them are the following:

Coloring is added to the character’s eyes, particularly to the cornea, to add some depth to their face.

The hair color of a character signifies aspects of their nature and reflects their role in a story (e.g. black hair usually suggests that a character is insignificant, blonde or yellow hair may be used for white Westerners, white hair can be used for an old person and pink for the love interest of the main character).

Is Anime Related to Manga?

Think of it this way: anime is to animated cartoons as manga is to comic books. Manga is essentially the paper (or ebook) version of anime, with similar drawing styles and themes.

Manga is incredibly popular in Japan and a part of its national culture. In fact, in this year’s opening ceremonies at the Olympics in Tokyo, manga even made an appearance! The placards introducing each country’s athletes were designed in manga’s traditional speech-bubble style. Like its counterpart, manga has spread in popularity in America.

How to draw anime: Step-by-step guide

Photo Anime
Photo Anime

Step 1: Create the Basic Structure of the Face

First, you will create the general composition of the character’s face. While artists have varying preferences about how to structure an anime character’s head and face, they all start with the same basic principle: First draw a circle, and then draw a horizontal line and vertical line directly through the center of the circle.

Generally, you will draw the eyes on or just below the horizontal line and the mouth at the bottom of the circle, with the nose placed between the eyes and the mouth. The chin will extend down below the circle.

The basic anatomy of an anime face starts with a circle with a vertical line and horizontal line directly through the center.

Step 2: Add Facial Features

Now that you understand the general placement of the facial features, you can draw them in detail.


Photo skillshare
Photo skillshare

Anime characters are known for their eyes, so here’s how to draw anime girl eyes step by step for beginners. Start by sketching a curved upper eyelid, then draw a short line extending down from the outer corner of the eye. Leave the inner corner of the eye open for a softer look. Then, add a circle in the middle of the eye as the iris. Draw a smaller circle—the pupil—in the middle of the iris.

To create primary and secondary light reflections, add in one or two additional circles within the iris. When you fill in the pupil, shade the top portion darker, creating a gradient as you move down through the shape. Make sure to leave the light reflections white. Finally, add eyelashes to the top and bottom lid. Of course, there are many alternative ways to draw anime eyes, so make sure to experiment and find your unique style.

This classic style of anime eyes shows two points of reflection.

Nose and Mouth

The character’s nose and mouth will typically be much smaller and simpler than the eyes. The nose, for instance, may just be two small lines that represent the nostrils. Similarly, the mouth may be a simple curved line.

When drawing anime characters, the eyes are typically a focal point, while the nose and mouth remain simple.

Step 3: Draw the Hair

Photo skillshare
Photo skillshare

When learning to draw anime for beginners, there are a couple of options for how to draw the hair. Some artists opt to use dramatic, angular styles, while others prefer a more flowy, free-form style.

To create the flowing style in the example below, start by using quick, light-handed lines to draw bangs down to the eyes. Then, begin drawing the rest of the hair to frame the face. At the top of the head, make sure the hair extends above the initial circle you drew. In other words, the hair shouldn’t lay flat on the scalp, but have volume above the character’s head.

As you draw more characters, experiment with other types of anime hairstyles for both male and female characters.

This flowy, free-form style of hair is created with quick, light pencil strokes.

Step 4: Add the Body

Photo skillshare
Photo skillshare

Next, we’ll explore how to draw anime girl body step by step for beginners. The body anatomy starts with a few simple shapes: a rectangle for the chest, an oval for the hips, and small circles for the shoulders and leg joints.

When learning how to draw anime for beginners step by step bodies begin with a few simple shapes.

From there, fill in the shape of the upper body, connecting the rib cage down to the hips, creating a waist. Next, you will draw the legs, which should be approximately the same length as the character’s entire upper body, from the top of the head to the waist.

The legs of an anime character should be approximately as long as the top half of the character, from the top of the head to the waist.

Finally, add in the arms. A good rule of thumb is to align the elbow with the character’s waist, and then extend the rest of the arm (including the hand) to about mid-thigh.

Photo skillshare
Photo skillshare

When drawing an anime character’s body, the arms should reach approximately mid-thigh.

No matter what kind of body style you’re drawing, following these guidelines will ensure that you create proportional anatomy.

Step 5: Add Details and Ink the Drawing

Photo skillshare
Photo skillshare

At this point, you will have a full-body sketch of your anime character. Now, you can add details such as clothes and shoes. When you’re satisfied with the drawing, finalize it by going over the lines in ink. While you will mostly ink with a black pen, it can also be helpful to have a white jelly pen on hand—you can use this to add highlights, like the reflection points in the character’s eyes. You may also choose to add additional colors with colored pencils or medium of your choice.

The last step in learning how to draw anime is to finalize the drawing with black ink.

Once you learn the basics of how to draw anime characters, continue to build on that foundation. For example, learn how to draw characters in different poses and from different angles, and try experimenting with new hairstyles, clothing options, and facial expressions. With practice and persistence, you can create iconic anime art in a style that’s uniquely yours.

How to draw a cute anime girl step by step?

-Sketch the wireframe of a girl with a larger head.

-Now draw the additional lines to shape the body.

-Using the shapes, sketch the figure.

-Add all the detailing you want.

Online resources to learn anime drawing

PDF books

If you learn best by reading, then a PDF book may be the answer for you! If you are looking for the best PDF book on anime drawing, try “How to Draw Anime for Beginners”. You can download this fantastic resource online.

Anime bloggers

Anime is designed to be visually appealing, and it is a lot of fun to look at. As such, it has fans of all ages all around the world. This fascination has led to a rapid growth in numbers of people who learn how to draw anime themselves. Drawing anime is a fun hobby and there are many people sharing their experience on how to learn drawing online on their blogs.

It can be very helpful to read those blogs and learn about other people’s mistakes and practical experience. People learn best by learning from each other, and you will benefit greatly from finding out about the experience of others.

By reading blogs and following bloggers’ journeys in real-time, you can learn all sorts of things: from what techniques and what tools work best to the best secrets on how to learn to draw! An example of such a blog is Angie’s Blog. Check it out!

Personal YouTube channels

One of the most popular YouTube channels managed by an anime artist is Shinigami Arts. This channel is one of many which feature videos on how to draw specific characters, tell you how to draw male vs. female anime protagonists, and provide Dos and Don’ts videos about anime drawing for amateur artists.

Anime drawing tutorials in social networks

Did you know you can also make use of your social media networks to perfect your anime art? Three good tutorials on different social networks that are particularly useful for beginner anime artists are the following:

Following anime accounts on different social networks can be very helpful when it comes to improving your own drawings. Not only can you learn how to draw online from them, but they can also inspire you and connect you to individuals with a passion similar to yours.

Anime drawing software

You can also use special drawing software to learn to draw anime. The best free program that allows drawing in a convenient manner is offered by Clip Studio Paint and it is bound to have you drawing anime like a pro in no time! Try its simple tools which will teach you how to create unique artwork from scratch.

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