If you love manga comics, you’ve probably wanted to be a manga artist. It’s obviously a very distinct artistic style. Learning how to draw manga-style characters is a good way to start to learn how to capture manga’s unique techniques. And having manga art in your portfolio is a definite plus if you want to begin studies towards a sequential arts degree.
The Basics of Drawing Manga Characters
As in most comic book art, the devil’s in the details in mastering the manga art style. But if you don’t get the basics down, your finished character will never be right, regardless of how accurate and detailed your character becomes.
- Before You Begin – It’s important to pay attention to the differences between manga characters, real-life human anatomy and other comic book character styles. Manga characters tend to be taller, eight heads tall versus the standard 7.5 heads. And their heads are somewhat smaller in proportion to the rest of the body. Despite the differences, it’s still worthwhile to use a posable art figure to help you get the proportion right.
- Start With a Wire Frame – Using a simple, face-on standing pose, copy the posable figure. Use circles for the joints and ovals between the joints to represent the muscles. With a manga character’s slimmer build, muscles in the lower arm and lower leg don’t carry all the way down to the wrists or ankles.
- Draw the Outline – Use gradually curving, sleek lines to create the body outline of your character. Use the elements of your wireframe to guide the placement and depth of curves.
- Remove the Wireframe – Erase the wireframe guidelines from your character. Look at the overall character and adjust anything that seems out of proportion or not quite right.
With your basic figure complete, you’re ready to add details like the facial features, hair and clothing.
If you enjoyed this post, check out our recent article on four pioneering digital animation innovations from Pixar.