Digital Art, How-To, iPad Apps

Anime Drawing Tips for Beginners

Many people first dip their toes into digital art with drawing anime. The iconic anime eyes, aesthetic scenery, and sci-fi adventures are just as fun to draw as they are to watch. 

Anime offers a world of creativity for beginners, but it is not unusual for newbies to be equally excited and tentative about the art style. Before you invest in digital drawing equipment, you need to learn a few basic anime drawing tips. 

The need-to-know anime basics 

Anime is a style of cartoon animation that originated in Japan. Believe it or not, anime dates as far back as 1917, when the four-minute cartoon Namakura Gatana was first released. American audiences were introduced to the art form when Speed Racer was released on TV in the 1960s. 

Namakura Gatana (1917) from Wikipedia

Anime cartoons usually have a romantic, sci-fi, or supernatural slant. Fullmetal Alchemist, Cowboy Bebop, and One Piece are a few of the most popular anime shows out there. 

Whereas other cartoons might focus on realism, impressionism, or any of the other popular drawing styles, anime is a combination of several different styles. It combines semi-realistic characters with cinematography and graphic design to create eye-catching characters and settings. 

All anime programs are cartoons, but not all cartoons are anime. Don’t worry, when you see anime, you’ll know about it. Emphasized features, including proportions, hair, and of course, over-drawn anime eyes characterize the art style.

Now that the history lesson is out of the way, we can move on to the essential anime drawing tips. 

What app should I use for anime drawing? 

MediBang Pro is an illustration app that champions anime drawing for beginners. It is currently available for iPad but is also being developed for Android tablets. It promises intuitive tools, fun filters, and all kinds of brushes. 

  • Wide range of brushes. You can customize ink, pencil, and paintbrushes to suit your needs. 
  • Work offline. MediBang Pro works offline, which means you can sketch on a bus, train, or even a plane! 
  • Filters for every mood. There is a filter for everything, including backgrounds and clothes. You can even adjust the grade of your final piece to make the colors pop. 
  • Lightweight software. This minimalist app requires only a small amount of storage space, making it ideal for older systems. 
  • Detailed blur effects. MediBang Pro has some of the most detailed blur effects we’ve ever seen! Use the sliding scale feature to experiment with the blur effect and find your perfect fit. 
  • Customizable gestures: Undo with two fingers, redo with three, one tap for MagicWand, long press for Eyedropper, and more- you can even customize the delay time for these gesture settings.
  • Intuitive settings. Personalize each brush stroke and tool with intuitive, user-friendly settings.

MediBang has been described as ‘tradigital.’ The scan and import function allows new anime artists to add artwork to the app and seamlessly transition to the digital realm. They can use line art brushes, bold colors, and stabilization tools to transform their manual drawings.  

MediBang Pro for iPad
MediBang Pro for iPad is available on the App Store

5 tips for drawing anime characters

There are plenty of advanced tutorials out there, but what about anime drawing for beginners? If you want to master this art style, you need to understand the basics of drawing an anime character. 

Draw anime eyes 

No anime drawing tips are complete without mentioning the eyes. The eyes are the centerpiece of any anime character, so it’s worth spending a bit of time perfecting your style. 

Remember, anime eyes don’t have to be realistic. Most anime eyes are comprised of two slanted lines, leaving the bottom of the eye open. This enlarges the eyes, creating the characteristic wide-eyed anime look. 

anime eyes

In the anime world, eyes tell a story. Smaller, squinted eyes are typically reserved for malicious characters, and big doe eyes are ideal for fun-loving characters. 

25 different drawings of anime eye styles

Regardless of the type of character you want to draw, you need to add highlights. Even the smallest of dots in the pupils can make a big difference, but anime characters don’t do things by halves. If you want to express big emotions, you can add stars or even hearts to the pupils. 💖

Draw an anime nose 

The good news is that you can draw an anime character’s nose with a single stroke of your stylus. Create a slanted L shape, and you’re done! 

Different drawings of anime mouth styles

Alternatively, you can draw two small horizontal lines to represent nostrils. 

Draw an anime mouth

Anime mouths are a bit more complicated. You can draw a simple line, but the angle is everything. And if you want to draw an open mouth, there are a whole new set of rules. 

different drawings of anime mouth styles

Typically, anime characters don’t have individual teeth. A simple white slab is enough to represent pearly whites. On top of that, very few anime characters have realistic lips. Some have none at all, and others (usually feminine characters) have light shading, cross-hatching, or very minimal lines that represent plump lips. 

Draw anime ears

Few anime characters have ears; most of the time, their hair covers their ears. However, if you’re determined to add ears to your anime character, a few simple lines should do the trick. 

Anime ears from Gvaat's Workshop
From Gvaat’s Workshop

As with most anime drawings, the shading makes all the difference. You can add block shading or cross-stitching to the innermost part of the ear to create a sense of depth.  

Draw anime hair 

A guide about anime drawing for beginners would be incomplete without mentioning the hair. For many anime characters, their hair is their crowning glory.  

Most of the time, anime hair is based on realistic hairstyles, but without individual strands. You can use just a few lines to give the impression of an overarching hairstyle. For example, you can represent buns with just two circles. 

Anime hair styles

Of course, drawing is never that simple. You can create everything from easy bobs to complicated hairstyles that have multiple colors, gradients, and dimensions. 

Colorful anime hair

One of our most effective anime drawing tips is to split the hair into three segments: front hair, side hair, and back hair. This method reminds artists that there needs to be dimension to the hair, and it stops the hairstyle from looking blocky and awkward. 

Draw the body 

You can read thousands of anime drawing tips, but if you don’t have a basic understanding of human anatomy, you won’t be able to create an accurate anime character.  

Remember, anime is a blend of realism and other art styles. Your characters don’t have to be anatomically perfect, but it helps. To help you draw the rest of your anime character, we’ve compiled a few tutorials.

The Best Free Anime Tutorials for Beginners 

Tutorials are great for visual learners who want step-by-step guidance. If you really want to skyrocket to success, you should take advantage of all the learning materials on the web. 

Drawing anime faces from different angles

Ever wanted to draw anime faces from different angles? Now you can! This tutorial is a whopping 30 minutes long, and it covers everything you will ever need to know about angles. 

It might seem a little bit advanced for anime drawing for beginners, but angles play a large part in creating even the simplest character. Besides, this tutorial uses MediBang, which is specifically designed for anime drawing. 

Anime body proportions – how to immediately improve 

As promised, we’ve found a tutorial that contains all the basics for drawing your anime character’s body.  It focuses on proportions, which is one of the most complicated parts of drawing anime characters. 

One of the most helpful anime drawing tips is to draw your character at six heads tall, which tends to work for all anime characters. This is in contrast to realistic cartoon characters, which are approximately eight heads tall. 

Easiest way to draw anime faces – anime face anatomy 

If you want to zone in and focus on faces, we’ve got the perfect tutorial for you! This super short, easily digestible snippet reveals great tips for drawing anime faces.

The author, Kooleen, even has advice for people who want to make their characters look younger or older. 

Perfect lineart & manga tutorial in MediBang

This video tells you everything you need to know about perfecting lineart in MediBang. Lineart is the linchpin of any good anime character, so it’s worth checking out. 

Over the course of the tutorial, you will explore 40 levels of stabilization, the different types of brushes (our favorite is the humble Pen), and lineart smoothing tools. Plus, you’ll find plenty of anime drawing tips along the way. 

Discover more MediBang tutorials  

MediBang has created a comprehensive tutorial that covers every aspect of using the app, including advice on using the interface and understanding assistance tools. Once you’ve finished reading through the tutorial, you will be ready to tackle your first piece of anime artwork on an app that supports beginners.  

Rock Paper Pencil: A Pen-On-Paper Experience for iPad

Rock Paper Pencil is the best iPad drawing accessory for artists who are looking to ditch their slippery glass screen and get a realistic pen-on-paper feel for their iPad. 

Rock Paper Pencil for iPad
Rock Paper Pencil – Draw and write on iPad like ballpoint pen on paper

This product includes a reusable, paper-feel iPad screen protector and two ballpoint Apple Pencil tips. Built with nano-texture technology, Rock Paper Pencil adds subtle friction between your screen and Pencil, giving you more control while drawing or writing.

  • NanoCling Screen Protector: Securely bond your screen protector to your iPad using static cling. Easy application, non-adhesive, removable and reusable.
  • Matte Texture: Subtle friction mimics the feel of paper (no more slippery glass!)
  • Precision Apple Pencil Tips: Smoother, more controlled strokes