10 Tips to Boost Your Anime & Manga Drawing Skills
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 11 min read


  1. Practice drawing basic shapes
  2. Study the work of manga and anime artists
  3. Learn anatomy for accurate character drawings
  4. Experiment with different drawing styles
  5. Use reference images
  6. Draw regularly to improve your skills
  7. Try different mediums
  8. Focus on drawings backgrounds and settings
  9. Practice drawing emotions and expressions
  10. Seek feedback and critiques

If you're on a quest to boost your anime and manga drawing skills, you've landed in the right place. Whether you're a beginner or you've been sketching for a while, there's always room for improvement. One important aspect many artists want to master is how to improve perspective in anime/manga. So, let's dig into some practical tips that will help you take your character and scene drawings to the next level.

Practice Drawing Basic Shapes

Let's start with the basics—drawing shapes. You might think, "I've got this! Squares, circles, and triangles are child's play!" But when it comes to anime and manga, these basic shapes become the building blocks of your characters and scenes.

Here's a fun fact: If you dissect your favorite anime characters, you'll notice they're made up of basic geometric shapes. For example, Naruto's face can be broken down into circles and ovals, while his body is a combination of rectangles and triangles.

So, to improve your perspective in anime/manga, start by perfecting these shapes. Here's how:

  • Sketch circles: They're the foundation of heads and eyes. Practice drawing circles of different sizes and angles.
  • Master squares and rectangles: These shapes form the basis of the body structure and buildings. Try drawing them from various perspectives.
  • Harness the power of triangles: Triangles help you sketch sharp features like noses and spiky hair. Experiment with different types and orientations of triangles.

Remember, no one expects perfection on the first try. It's okay to make mistakes—you're here to learn and improve. The key is consistency. So, keep practicing regularly, and before you know it, you'll see how much your perspective in anime/manga has evolved.

Study the Work of Manga and Anime Artists

Now, let's go on a little artistic adventure. Think of it as a treasure hunt where you're not looking for gold but for techniques, styles, and perspectives that will improve your anime/manga drawing skills. And where's the best place to find these treasures? In the works of successful manga and anime artists, of course!

So, how can you learn from established artists without copying their style? Here are some steps:

  • Observe their work: Look at how they draw characters and scenes. Notice the little details—the curves, the lines, the shading. These subtle elements can greatly influence your understanding of perspective in anime/manga.
  • Analyze their techniques: Take a closer look at how they use different shapes, colors, and lines to portray a character or a scene. What makes their work stand out? How do they create depth and perspective?
  • Adapt what you learn: It's not about copying their style, but about adapting what you learn to your own drawings. Try to incorporate the techniques you've observed and analyzed into your own work.

Remember, every artist has their unique touch. While studying others' work, don't lose your own creativity. After all, it's your originality that will make your art stand out.

So, get ready to dive into the world of anime and manga art and discover new ways to improve your perspective. Who knows, you might even find a new favorite artist along the way!

Learn Anatomy for Accurate Character Drawings

Remember those biology classes where you thought you'd never need to know the difference between a femur and a fibula? Well, if you're serious about improving your anime and manga drawing skills, it's time to dust off those old textbooks. It sounds a bit, well, academic, but trust me, learning basic anatomy can really boost your art.

Anime and manga characters may have exaggerated features, but their bodies still follow the basic rules of human anatomy. Here's why it's important:

  • Realism: Even the most fantastical character needs some basis in reality. Knowing how real bodies move and function can help you create characters that feel more real to your audience.
  • Consistency: When you understand anatomy, you can draw your characters in different poses and perspectives while keeping their proportions consistent.
  • Depth and perspective: Understanding the structure of the human body can help you add depth and perspective to your drawings, making them much more dynamic.

Of course, you don't need to become a medical expert. But a basic understanding of human anatomy can take your drawings to a whole new level. So why not give it a try? You might be surprised at how much it helps!

Experiment with Different Drawing Styles

When you're first starting out, it's natural to try and imitate the styles of your favorite manga and anime artists. But once you've got the basics down, don't be afraid to branch out and try something new. After all, who wants to be a copycat when you can create your very own unique style?

Trying out different drawing styles can seem a bit daunting at first. However, it's a great way to find your own artistic voice and make your work stand out. More importantly, it can help you improve your perspective in anime/manga, as each style has its own approach to depth, angles, and space.

Here are a few ways to experiment with different styles:

  • Mix and Match: Combine elements from different styles to create something entirely new. You might take the big eyes of Shojo manga and mix it with the intense action scenes of Shonen anime.
  • Change Things Up: Try drawing your favorite character in a completely different style. How would Naruto look in a chibi style? Or how about drawing Sailor Moon in a dark, gritty style?
  • Go Outside Anime and Manga: Don’t limit yourself to just anime and manga. Try incorporating elements from Western comics, fine art, or even graffiti into your work.

Remember, the goal isn't to find the "best" style, but the one that best expresses your unique vision. So have fun with it, and don't be afraid to break the rules. After all, isn't that what being an artist is all about?

Use Reference Images

One of the most effective ways to improve your anime and manga drawing skills — especially when it comes to perspective — is to use reference images. These are pictures or real-life models you can look at while you're drawing to help you get the proportions and angles just right. They're sort of like your drawing GPS, guiding you along the way.

Reference images can be anything from a photo of a person or place, to a 3D model of a character or object. You can find them in books, online, or even in your own backyard. The more varied and detailed your reference images, the better.

Here's how to make the most of your reference images:

  • Study your references: Don’t just glance at your reference images. Really study them. Notice how the light hits different surfaces, how shadows form, how lines intersect and create shapes. This will help you understand how to render these elements in your own drawings.
  • Use multiple references: One image might not give you all the information you need, especially if you're trying to draw something complex like a full scene or a difficult pose. Using multiple references can give you a more complete picture.
  • Don't be a slave to your references: Remember, references are just a tool. They're there to guide you, not dictate your drawing. Feel free to deviate from them if it makes your drawing better or more interesting.

So next time you're stuck on how to draw something or how to improve perspective in anime/manga, don't guess. Grab a reference image and let it guide you to a better drawing.

Draw Regularly to Improve Your Skills

Imagine you're training to run a marathon. You wouldn't lace up your sneakers once a month, jog for a bit, and then expect to cross the finish line, right? Just like any other skill, improving your anime and manga drawing abilities requires consistent practice. And yes, that includes learning how to improve perspective in anime/manga.

But don't be scared off by the word "practice." It doesn't mean you need to spend hours hunched over a sketchpad every day. Even a little bit of drawing each day can make a big difference. It's all about making it a habit. Here are some tips to help you do just that:

  1. Set a schedule: Pencil in time for drawing in your daily routine. It could be 15 minutes in the morning, half an hour after dinner, or whatever works for you. Just make sure it's a time when you can focus and won't be easily distracted.
  2. Carry a sketchbook: You never know when inspiration will strike. Maybe it's a cool shadow cast by a tree, or a character idea that popped into your head. By having a sketchbook with you, you can capture these moments and practice drawing on the go.
  3. Challenge yourself: Try different things in your drawings. Experiment with new techniques, styles, or themes. Not only does this keep things interesting, but it also pushes you to improve. Remember, it's okay to make mistakes. That's how you learn.

Remember, practice isn't just about quantity — it’s also about quality. So, don't just mindlessly draw. Pay attention to what you're doing, reflect on what's working and what's not, and always strive to do better. Before you know it, you'll see improvement in your anime and manga drawings, and yes, even in your perspective skills.

Try Different Mediums

When it comes to art, one size does not fit all. What works for one artist may not work for another, and vice versa. The same holds true for mediums. So don't limit yourself to just one — try out different ones and see what suits you best. This can also help you learn how to improve perspective in anime/manga.

Here are some mediums you might want to give a shot:

  1. Pencils: This is where most artists start. You can choose from a variety of types, from soft lead for darker lines to hard lead for lighter ones. Pencils are great for sketching and detailing.
  2. Markers: Markers offer vibrant colors and are great for filling in large areas. You can choose between water-based and alcohol-based markers. The latter blends better but can bleed through the paper, so be sure to have a protective layer underneath.
  3. Paints: From watercolor to acrylic to oil, each type of paint brings a unique texture and feel to your artwork. Painting can be a bit more challenging, but it's worth it for the beautiful results you can achieve.
  4. Digital: With the right software, you can create just about anything on a digital canvas. Plus, you can easily correct mistakes, try out different color schemes, and more. It's a different experience from traditional drawing, but it's a valuable skill in today's digital age.

Remember, there's no right or wrong medium — it's all about what helps you express your creativity best. So don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. You might just discover a whole new way to improve your anime and manga drawing skills, including perspective.

Focus on Drawings Backgrounds and Settings

Most artists get so caught up in drawing the main characters that they forget about the background. But setting the scene is just as important for a complete, balanced composition. Plus, it gives you a chance to show off your ability to draw perspective in anime/manga.

So, how do you go about adding more depth to your backgrounds and settings? Here are a few tips:

  1. Study Real Life: Look around you. Notice how buildings, trees, and other objects appear smaller as they recede into the distance? This is called perspective. By applying this principle to your drawings, you can create a sense of depth and distance.
  2. Play with Angles: Don't just stick to one point of view. Experiment with different angles — low, high, side, bird's eye view, and so on. This not only adds interest to your drawings but also enhances perspective.
  3. Add Details: Details can make a big difference in setting the scene. Think about the time of day, the weather, the season, and other elements that can affect the setting. For example, a sunset can cast long shadows, while a rainy day can create reflections on the pavement.
  4. Use Shading: Shading can add depth and volume to your drawings. By using light and shadow effectively, you can create a three-dimensional effect on a two-dimensional surface.

Remember, the background is not just a backdrop for your characters — it's a part of the story itself. So take the time to develop it fully. Not only will this enhance your artwork, it will also improve your understanding of perspective in anime/manga.

Practice Drawing Emotions and Expressions

What makes anime and manga characters so compelling? It's their expressive faces. Whether they're shouting in anger, crying in despair, or blushing in embarrassment, these characters wear their hearts on their faces. So if you want to capture their vivid emotional life, you need to get good at drawing emotions and expressions.

Here's how you can do that:

  1. Understand the Basics: Every emotion has a corresponding facial expression. For instance, happiness often translates into a big smile, while sadness can mean downcast eyes and a downturned mouth. Start by learning these basic expressions, and then build on them.
  2. Practice, Practice, Practice: The more you draw, the better you'll get. Try drawing different emotions on the same character to see how their face changes. You can even use a mirror and study your own expressions for reference!
  3. Exaggerate for Effect: Anime and manga are known for their exaggerated expressions. Don't be afraid to go over the top with your drawings. It can add a lot of personality to your characters and make them more engaging.
  4. Think About the Eyes: In anime and manga, the eyes are often the most expressive part of the face. Pay special attention to them when you're drawing emotions. A slight change in the shape or position of the eyes can dramatically alter a character's expression.

Remember, capturing the right emotion can give your characters depth and make your readers connect with them on a deeper level. So don't skimp on those expressions — they can really bring your characters to life.

Seek Feedback and Critiques

Many of us are our own worst critics, right? We look at our artwork and only see the flaws. Even if we've improved, we may not notice because we're too close to our own work. That's why it's important to seek feedback and critiques from others. They provide a fresh perspective and can help you identify areas where you can improve. Let's talk about how to seek feedback in the most effective way:

  1. Don't Be Afraid to Ask: It might feel scary to show your work to others and ask for their opinion, especially if you're not confident in your skills. But remember, every artist started somewhere. The more feedback you get, the faster you'll improve.
  2. Be Specific About What You Want: When asking for feedback, be clear about what you want to know. Are you unsure about the perspective in your latest anime sketch? Do you want advice on how to make your manga characters more expressive? The more specific you are, the more helpful the feedback will be.
  3. Listen with an Open Mind: It's natural to feel defensive when someone critiques your work. But try to listen with an open mind. They're not attacking you; they're helping you improve.
  4. Consider the Source: Not all feedback is created equal. Consider who's giving it. A fellow artist or a teacher who understands how to improve perspective in anime/manga might provide more valuable insights than a friend who's never picked up a pencil.

Remember, constructive criticism is a gift. It allows you to see your work from a different angle and helps you grow as an artist. So, go ahead and seek those critiques. You'll be amazed at how much they can boost your anime and manga drawing skills.

If you're looking to further improve your anime and manga drawing skills, we highly recommend checking out the workshop 'A New Perspective on Perspective' by Roberto Bernal. This workshop will help you master perspective in your drawings, which is crucial for creating dynamic and engaging anime and manga illustrations.