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3 Manga Drawing Tips

Learn three manga drawing tips from art instructor Chris Hart in this Howcast video.


  • Step 1: Consider the genre of manga Concentrate on proportions that work with the genre of manga.
  • Step 2: Making mistakes is ok Don't be afraid to make mistakes. If you're not erasing, you're not creating.
  • Step 3: Customizing characters When drawing an original character, change features in steps from a template starting with face then clothes and then the pose.


I'm going to give you three tips for the aspiring Manga artists, and hopefully these hints will be helpful for you in drawing Manga. The first thing is to concentrate on the proportions that seem to work with the genre. Every sub-genre of Manga, whether it's Shonen or Shojo or Bishojo or Chibis or Kawaii, every character has its idealized proportions. Some are lanky. Some are short. Some are cute.

For instance, this is a Chibi. As we can see, the proportions are pretty exaggerated. The head is much bigger than the body. There are genres where the proportions are much more realistic. That's one thing.

Another is to make mistakes. You're allowed to make mistakes. Of course, I drew this without any mistakes, just right through--no, just joking. Professional artists make mistakes all the time. We need erasers. We erase a lot. The thing is, if you are not erasing, you're not experimenting.

Don't try to get it right, just right on the first try. Give yourself the freedom to create. Try it this way. Try it that way. You can erase everything you want. Don't worry about your drawing looking messy or smudged. Trace it over for the final drawing so you'll have a clean drawing.

The last tip is on drawing original characters. I always get comments into my website and questions how to draw an original character. Here's one technique for doing it. You can do it out of your imagination, but you can start with a character from my book or something you see in a graphic novel.

What you want to do is change it in steps. First, you might change the features, the eyes, and the hair, just a little bit. Then you will add a costume, a different costume, something different from this costume. For instance, if she's a cat girl, maybe you want to make her a schoolgirl. Give her a schoolgirl costume.

The next thing you change is the proportions. Maybe her legs are longer. Maybe her shoulders are wider. The last thing is that you give her what I call an opposite pose. That comes from personality. If she's a dramatic character, give her a silly pose. Everything in little increments to take it away and further from visually, this character. Do the eye test at the end.

Take a look at your finished new character and the original character, and make sure it looks different enough or you have to keep changing it. I hope these tips have been helpful for you, and that you can use them when drawing Manga.

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