Learn How To Draw Manga

Learn How To Draw Manga in The Wonderful World of Fantasy

Manga Drawing of young boy standing on blocks
Manga Drawing of Small Boy With Pen and Notepad. Getty Images

Learning How to Draw Manga in Simple Steps

Manga is one of the most widely enjoyed mediums where art and story merge into one absolute concept. 

Key Elements of Drawing Manga

On the surface, Manga seems like it’s a bunch of large-eyed people with pointy, disheveled hair and triangle noses, but Manga is so, so much more than that.

If you’re looking to learn how to draw Manga, you’re first and foremost going to need some lessons in human anatomy. Knowing how the human body works, the correct proportions of the body, and how bodies interact with things like lighting, vanishing points, and scale will all make you stand out as a Manga artist.

Sometimes people downplay the art required to draw Manga or comics because it’s not “realistic.” What those people don’t realize is that it’s an awful lot harder to draw something that suggests and skews reality without looking insane than it is to just copy what you see in front of you.

So, learn how to draw realistically, and then hone your personal style in the world of Manga by deviating from the path and creating your own characters.

Characters and Creatures of Manga

Legend and myth strongly influence the stories of Manga. Unicorns, elves, winged humans, lizard men, and spirits all make appearances in both classic and mainstream Manga.

That’s what’s so thrilling about being an artist in the land of Manga. Literally anything you dream up can be incorporated into your world. Manga is the sci-fi novel of comic books. The more fantastical, the better. Manga is about dragons and fairies; “Empresses of Light” and “Masters of Time”; Enchanted Gardens, Dwarves, Halfings, and prophecies. What a ride it is through Fantasy Land eh?!

When creating your characters, it helps first to read and copy drawings a lot of Manga to get a feel for where you want your art to head. If you have a solid artistic background to work with, the sky is the limit. (Actually, you can even go beyond the sky! You could set your Manga in space if you wanted!)

Once you have your cast of characters, it’s all about where they go and what they do. Some background in your storytelling will make you a stronger Manga artist. 

Classic Themes in Manga

Magic is a staple in the world of Manga. The elements – air, earth, water, and fire – are often personified as gods or goddesses. The natural world plays an active role in the plot. 

Plot helps shape the characters you draw, and the characters you draw help to shape the plot. A basic plot follows this scheme: exposition, inciting incident, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. 

Exposition is where you tell your audience a bit of back story to help them understand the story they’re about to read. This is where you share the news of prophecy; a curse; a blessing; a journey your hero needs to go on.

Inciting incident is the thing that spurs your protagonist to do something. It’s when they find out that they’re the only one who can break the curse; the only one who can rescue the prince; the only one who can tame the dragon.

Rising action is the moves your protagonist takes to follow through on their quest or mission. It’s them trying to navigate a haunted forest; find a magic potion that will calm the Volcano Goddess; learning how to fight with a sword so they can stand up to the evil king.<br/>
Climax is when your daring protagonist overcomes their fear of death by entering the underworld and rescuing their true love; it’s when they finally marry their soul mate despite everyone’s opposition to the union; it’s when they drink the poison so their little sister doesn’t have to. The climax is the most exciting, important moment of a story – it’s when everything comes together and clicks into place.

Falling is what comes next. Who assumes the throne now that the princess ran off with the King of the Elves? Who will make spring come now that the Nature Goddess is in mourning? What does the village do now that the dragon is friend rather than foe? The falling action ties things up.

Resolution is a final snapshot of your cast of characters. Maybe not everything is solved – maybe you want to write a sequel! – but the resolution gives closure to the adventures your characters were just on.

Familiarizing yourself with these elements will give the gorgeous characters you dream up an equally gorgeous story to travel through. In Manga, the art is only as good as the tale it tells.

If you’re thinking of creating your very own Manga, do not neglect the storyline. That’s the essence of all great visual novels, comics, and Manga. Write your story first: the art comes second to a compelling plot.

The Reinvigorated World of Comics

With franchises like DC and Marvel taking to the silver screen and expanding their already wide network of comic books, the world of Manga is also along for the ride.

People like to be entertained; they like to engage with a land of fantasy to distract them from the humdrum of day-to-day life. Comics and Manga are a silent, personal way to let your imagination go wild! That’s why it’s such a thriving market, for storytellers, readers, and artists alike.

Starting Small

The renaissance of comics and Manga is partially thanks to the giants of DC and Marvel, but it’s also courtesy of the internet.

Online comics are a growing, rich outlet for artists and storytellers, and many web comic artists have found tremendous success by putting their art out there on the web. 

Doing a Manga-inspired web comic might be exactly the way to get started in the world of drawing Manga. Doing an entire book is extremely intimidating, but a five-panel strip a week? That’s doable! 

Starting small is the best way to learn how to do anything. Just like when you start drawing Manga you need to start small by learning basic human anatomy, you can start small in creating actual Manga by doing a weekly strip and working up to a full book.

Manga has a proud tradition as both art and story, and you can participate in this world! You just need to believe in yourself and turn your imagination on!