How to draw manga characters

How to draw manga

You can learn how to draw manga art like Mina Petrovic's Mad Hatter with these tips

Learning how to draw manga art is no easy feat. It has a very distinct style, and sometimes it can be hard to get started without knowledge of the basic principles. Even if you read a lot of manga comics yourself, you may find it difficult to pick out the subtle differences that make each of your favourite artists unique, and therefore find it challenging to develop your own manga drawing style.

Artist Mina Petrovic, better known as Mistiqarts on YouTube, has made it simple for you, with these clear and concise tips on how to start sketching a manga character. Petrovic's tutorial channel boasts over 80,000 subscribers, and she also penned manga drawing book, Manga Crash Course – so you're in good hands.

01. Draw manga eyes

How to draw manga - eyes 1

First, get the eyes right

"Distance between the eyes is the most important part – always make enough room to fit a third eye between them," says Petrovic. "For this style, in both genders, nostril size is best to be as minimal as possible."

Click above to see her video tutorial on how to draw various styles of Manga eyes.

02. Draw sleek lines

How to draw manga - sleek lines

Sleek lines are key when drawing manga

"Line art represents half the style – with thin, smooth lines as the main visual trait," Petrovic reveals. "It is always a plus if the clothing details are as frequent and as suitable for the character." Petrovic uses a lightbox to trace her initial sketches and create bold, sleek lines.

How to draw manga - mad hatter shadow

Petrovic uses a lightbox to trace initial sketches

"Shading is also a part of the linear, and consists of smaller black shades, and big black surfaces, usually behind the character," she continues.

How to draw manga - linear textures

Linear textures feature in manga-style illustrations

"Textures are simplified, in a form of parallel lines, also a part of the line work," Petrovic says.

03. Manga colouring

How to draw manga - colouring manga skin

Getting skin colour right is tricky

"As for colouring, some areas are covered in colour only at the shaded parts, for example, light skin," Petrovic adds. "Areas with or without full colour need to have at least two shades for each colour, to mimic a 'cell shaded' look from anime."

manga hair colouring

Mimic the cell shaded look when colouring

"Leaving out white edges up front, for leather objects and clothes, is a trick to save up on colour, and get a cool effect," says Petrovic.

how to draw manga - leather boots

Leaving white areas is a neat way to add reflections to shiny, bent fabric

"By leaving out white areas in the middle of a bent fabric shape, you get a smooth, satin-like feel to it," says Petrovic.

04. Final touches to your manga art

How to draw manga - the small details

Get the small details right

"Even the smallest details are in need of careful decorating," Petrovic advises. "When doing a pattern on the clothing, make sure the pattern is following the shape of the character's body."

How to draw mange - clothing details

White outlines again add that manga touch to clothing

"And lastly, white outlines can make all the difference, by marking all the objects and parts of the character which are closest to the observer."

For more information on manga, including tips and tricks, as well as full tutorials, check out our sister title Manga Artist.

Check out more of our art posts: