How to Draw Manga

Learning how to draw manga – cartoons based on Japanese-style comic books – is tons of fun.

The first anime (manga-style movies/series) I ever saw was Record of Lodoss War (OVA) – and to this day, it’s still my favorite.

Berserk actually, is a very close second. It was series like these that inspired me to try out a totally different drawing style some time ago.

Unique from ‘Western-style’ cartoons, manga characters differ (in one way) in that they are usually seen to have abnormally large shiny eyes.

A common question that often comes up is… why?

Why do manga cartoon characters have eyes that big anyway? Sure – some do have smaller eyes… but for the majority – big and shiny seems to be the way to go.

How to draw Manga

A couple reasons for this might be that larger eyes come across as more attractive and/or that manga and anime were inspired by some of the earlier Disney movies/characters.

Bambi and Betty Boop would be two good examples of this.

Still, I’m convinced manga characters have large shiny eyes because with larger eyes – it becomes easier for the artist to convey a sense of emotion in a character.

As I’m sure you’re aware – many manga characters come across as ‘cute & innocent’ – a look that’s much easier to achieve when you’re drawing bigger eyes.

Of course – learning how to draw manga isn’t just about the eyes. With this unique style comes an assortment of different ‘looks’ – ones I think would be really neat to explore in the form of simple cartoon drawing lessons.

And on that note – let’s get to it!

Select one of the manga drawing lessons from the list below to begin…

Beginner   |    Intermediate   |    Advanced


  • Baby Ohmu

    The creature that will either make or break the future of the Valley of the Wind – a baby Ohmu.


  • Radish Spirit

    Learn to draw a neat take on the Radish Spirit – one of many spirits, in the bath house of Spirited Away.

  • How to Draw Anime Hair

    Learn how to draw anime hair. Use a color and style, along with some randomness to make it unique.

  • How to Draw No Face

    Learn how to draw No Face. Use a color and style, along with some randomness to make it unique.

  • Mononoke Hime Forest Spirit

    In Princess Mononoke, the Forest Spirit transforms into this – the ‘Night Walker’ – when the sun goes down.

  • How to Draw Chibi

    Learn how to draw your very own unique chibi character – big head, little body, shiny eyes, and all!

  • Create Your Own ‘Manga-Style’ Eyes

    In this lesson, learn how to draw four different sets of manga-style eyes – both male and female versions.