Does anyone have any advice on how to draw better?  I want to learn ways to make things more lined up and more realistic when drawing in the manga and anime styles.

Expert Answers
epic-art-time eNotes educator| Certified Educator

First, I would suggest keeping a sketchbook and copying the work of artists you admire. 

Try using the grid technique.  Draw a series of horizontal and vertical lines in a grid formation on top of the picture you are trying to copy.  Next, on your blank paper draw the same grid.  If your paper is smaller or bigger than the one you are copying, just make sure it is proportionate.  In other words, make sure the length to width ratio is the same or at least very similar.   Then, as you start to draw, work in one grid box at a time, duplicating what you see in the same box on the picture.  You will find it is much easier to get everything to line up accurately when it is broken down into smaller parts.

Here is a website that explains the grid method in more detail with visual examples:

The first time you try the technique you should make smaller boxes in your grid.  As you get better at the technique, you can make the boxes bigger; and before you know it, you won’t need a grid at all.

When you’ve gotten good at this technique, the next step would be creating your own anime people.  I would start with faces.  Make sure to draw lightly with a pencil and use guide lines, like the cross in the middle of the face to make sure you get the eyes, nose, mouth, etc. in the right place.

zumba96 | Student

WHile a lot of people who like anime deal with giant eyes and non proportional body parts, try drawing them like you would a real person. Instead of giant eyes try normal sized eyes and if you want it to pop add mascara, eyeliner, or eyeshadow on your character. You can also find an anime in which you really like how realistic they seem and try to use that as an inspiration 

arrellbelle | Student

I think you should pick a manga/anime artist whose style you really like and try to mimic their style and add your own style at the same time. That's how I started to learn how to draw anime from the manga artist Arina Tanemura. Her style was very cutesy and that got me to draw a lot from her. As time went on, I started to draw more realistically. So you can say she helped further my art career. You just have to experiment on your own time and research what other people like to draw and tips from YouTube.

yasuwolfie | Student

Well my advice is practice practice and something your good at and start from there draw all day if you have to use references and tutorials...if your school has an art class then be part of it ask the teacher questions (I do that a lot) as for constructive critasism from an artit's or art teacher...that's all the advice I can give you~ it helps me and I hope it helps you..

gitarguy918 | Student

I know this probably won't help a lot, but I would suggest just looking up stuff on the Internet. Just search your question on Google (or whatever you use as your search engine) and/or YouTube and see what your results are. Increasingly today, you can learn how to draw, play an instrument, and even learn how to play sports just by looking at videos on YouTube or searching with a search engine. Hope I could help.

paiblauer | Student

I would advise you to learn about how to use perspective techniques to create realistic renditions of space and scale. It also helps you create a 3-dimensional feel of a picture on a flat surface. The book "Lessons in Perspective Drawing" is an elementary introduction to various perspective techniques, 1-point perspective, 2-point perspective, etcetera, and explains how to use these skills to create realistic drawings. The website mentioned below also provides an in-depth online tutorial.

maypillow7 | Student

There are a lot of ways to improve the realism of drawings anime-wise.

First off, the easiest way to improve would be imitation: study the art of someone you consider skilled in this area and take note of the style of their art. For instance, fire. A certain artist may draw their fire extremely pointed and spikey because that is what fire means to them while another may draw it with long curves ending in points that makes a more flowing art piece. imitation would be noticing which you like better and taking note of, say, the long curves.

Now, seeing as it is the easiest, imitation is also the most limited technique and can only help you grow to an extent. Another method may be to start with the base of a person or object, like a circle and some rectangles, and then add detail piece by piece, like say next would be the separation of the shirt and pants and some facial features, then some shading, then eyelashes, etc. This sort of layering technique would help you to focus on how the details of a piece relate to the big picture and will help a ton with proportions, like head to body ratio or arm length.

The best thing i'd say you could do is to observe. Try drawing the thing you're trying to make anime-style without leaving out any details, like the shape of a shadow or the number of bumps or whatever. If you can draw it well real life, or at least picture it, then anime style will be much easier as it is just a form of drawing real life without all the little details. this would be important because if you know what every little detail is, then you know which ones can be left out without the object or person losing the realistic air your drawing gives.