4 Important Steps to Draw Your Own Manga or Anime Character

If you’re planning to develop your own manga or even your own animated series, you likely will need to draw and create at minimum one of the protagonists.

4 Important Steps to Draw Your Own Manga or Anime Character

Even if you are at ease with your drawing skills, creating a character you can sketch over and over again can be difficult. The following tutorial provides guidelines about the most crucial ways to design your own anime or manga character.


Anime ninja girl character design

Character Design vs Normal Drawing

The process of designing a character to be used in an animation or manga is different from making a sketch that you can only do once. When you draw a single time, you need to think about the way your subject will appear from one angle in that drawing. In mangas or animation, a character may require drawing many times, from different angles or views.

Two important aspects of designing manga and anime characters:

  1. The character of a manga or animation must be of the appearance of a fairly simple style (it could be difficult to draw a complicated character several times).
  2. You must consider how an anime or manga character appears from every angle (you likely will need to draw them from different angles several times).

How to Design a Manga or Anime Character Step by Step

Step 1 – Character Profile

Character profile write-up

Choose the character you want to portray and then choose the essential details you’ll have to communicate to the reader of your animation or manga. What clothing or accessories will they require to show the person they are?

If you are planning to create as a human, or at the minimum humanoid, note down the fundamental details regarding your persona like age, job, personality, and more… The design could then be based upon these elements.

Step 2 – Rough Character Sketches

Manga or anime character sketching

Make some rough sketches of your ideas. They could be taken from any angle and in any position you’d like. Draw what you think best will show off your personality. Make at the minimum a sketch of your body in full and a few close-up facial sketches.

If your character has to be large or small, you could draw them in the same way as what is an average-sized person to give you a better idea of their dimensions.

Utilize the minimum amount of information you’ll need to draw. Do not make your designs too complicated. You are able to add additional details later on if you think that your character is plain.


After you’ve finished drawing, select the sketches you like the most and then combine the sketches into a single character.

For drawing different poses see:

How to Draw Anime Poses Step by Step

For more information on how to show an individual’s personality, refer to:

  • How to Draw Anime Characters Tutorial
  • How to Draw Male Anime Characters Step by Step
  • How to Draw Anime and Manga Eyes To Show Personality

To draw various expressions, it is possible to check:

  • 12 Anime Facial Expressions Chart & Drawing Tutorial
  • 12 Anime Male Facial Expressions Chart & Drawing Tutorial
  • 16 Examples of How to Draw Chibi Anime Facial Expressions
  • How to Draw Anime Facial Expressions – Side View

To draw a sword, see:

How to Draw a Katana Step by Step

Step 3 – Developing the Character Design

Manga or anime character design

To make your design more interesting, create your character by drawing it from both sides (unless they’re exactly identical) as well as back perspectives. It is also possible to draw other perspectives if needed.

The reason for these drawings is to ensure that you are able to have an all-around appearance for your characters. Then, you can utilize these drawings as sources for creating the same character for animation or manga.

To aid in keeping the same proportions across different perspectives, it is possible to make guidelines by comparing a body part from one viewpoint and the exact body portion from an alternate view. It is important to remember that because of the perspective (see: Perspective Drawing Tutorial for Beginners and how it relates to Anime) some elements of a person’s body may not always be aligned with other parts when looking at different angles. It is evident in the example above when you look towards the foot. Because we’re looking downward on our feet in the front view, and also because they are more oriented toward the viewer, they extend slightly over the line.


For drawing tutorials in the style of anime, you can check out:

  • How to Draw an Anime School Girl in 6 Steps
  • How to Draw Anime Girl Body Step by Step Tutorial
  • How to Draw Anime Guy Body Step by Step Tutorial

Step 4 – Coloring an Anime Character

Manga or anime character design color

Manga is usually in black and white, but the color is still utilized in certain places (cover for instance).).

For coloring instructions on characters from anime, look up:

How to Color an Anime Character Step by Step

While you might think of specific colors for your character, there is one vital aspect of coloring to be conscious of.

Certain colors are better than others. These are generally complementary colors or colors that cross each other in the wheel of color (black or white can be paired with everything). You’ll often notice the use of complementary colors when you examine the colors of the most popular characters from anime. The colors do not have to be exactly the same as those in the color wheel. They may be variations of a specific color.

Manga or anime character coloring

It is also important to select colors that are suitable for the character you want to create. Colors are able to convey certain moods. For instance, blue is thought of as to be cool, and red is considered warm. For instance, if you are designing characters that use Ice magic, you’ll probably not intend to make use of lots of reds in your designs.

For a more in-depth explanation of the various color combinations, see:

Beginner Guide to Picking Colors When Drawing Anime & Manga

Bonus Tips

Create characters that match the narrative. Manga often contains characters that are fairly standard but are still excellent. Find a balance between originality and the appropriateness of your story.


For instance, if you’re working on a “Slice of Life” manga it’s best to create characters that are simple to ground. If you’re doing an action or fantasy manga you could make designs that are different.

Do not copy characters created by other artists. This means that you take the majority of the design but make minor modifications. It’s acceptable to take ideas from other designers’ work however, you must incorporate sufficient of your personal ideas.

What can you tell if you’ve copied too many times? One of the best indicators is when someone is looking at your artwork and says something like “Oh isn’t that so and so from this show?”. Particularly whenever more than one other person has told you that the same person.


The process of designing a manga or anime character could be quite a bit of work but it’s also an enjoyable experience. If you believe you have an excellent idea for a manga or anime, definitely take a look.

If you require help drawing in the manga or anime style, check out other tutorials on this website. There are plenty of references.

For creating your own manga see:

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