Manga has a very distinct art style. Of course, mangakas are encouraged to make drawings on their own. But, still, there are fundamental differentiators to manga drawings. These fundamentals are learned, trained, and developed over time.
This article will lay out the best ways to learn how to draw manga. We will suggest online courses you could take and art schools you could go to. We will also recommend art books to read and YouTube channels to subscribe to.
So get your pencils ready, and let’s get drawing!
1.) Online Courses
Formal art education is excellent, but we understand that it takes quite a bit of commitment. If you want to experience something similar, you can consider online courses.
Udemy: Manga Art School by Scott Harris
Udemy offers many manga courses that you can look through. However, the best one that we can recommend is the Manga Art School by Scott Harris. It will teach you the basics of drawing manga and characters. It also gets into 3D drawing and stylized drawings.
If you want to draw according to a specific genre, you can! There are assignments so that you can practice on your own time.
Overall, the course runs for 11 hours and has been taken by 30,000 students.
Udemy: How to Draw Manga Easily by Drew Williams
You think your character looks good, but it is all wrong on paper. Sometimes, you can have an idea in your head, but it translates differently when drawn on paper. This course focuses on bridging that gap between your imagination and skill.
It will teach you how to draw manga shapes and features correctly. It will also get into drawing characterizations and personalities and story building. It would work better for those who are already building on skill sets.
Udemy: Master Manga Studio
This course teaches how you can utilize and maximize the Manga Studio software. This would work best for modern manga artists going the digital route.
It will teach you all the tools and sub-tools and help you create multiple layers. It will also teach you personalizations and interfaces. Its videos run for 8 hours and can be watched on demand.
Skillshare: Beginner’s Guide to Master Face Drawing
Skillshare is another popular educational online platform that offers multiple online manga courses. We can recommend this the most for those wanting to learn how to draw manga in this course.
One of the essential elements in manga drawing is facial features. They are unique, and they make manga identifiable. These videos will help you how to draw face proportions and structure.
Anime Art Academy: Draw Manga Like a Pro
Anime Art Academy offers multiple courses for those who want to learn how to draw manga. This one will teach you all the basic skills to grow as a manga artist.
It gets into:
⦁ Character design
⦁ Drawing faces and bodies
⦁ Illustration techniques
⦁ Facial expressions
⦁ Body types and clothing
⦁ Background illustrations
⦁ Cell layout
⦁ Story creation
⦁ Effects and textures
It’s probably the most intensive course on this list and covers all the bases!
Domestika: Drawing Manga Characters From Scratch
Domestika offers many self-paced courses, and some of them involve manga. The platform’s bestseller is this course, taken by 27,000 people.
The subject matter will get into how you want to draw your characters. What is their primary style and profile? What is their personality, and how would you express this? What is their motivation, and how does this affect their traits?
By approaching manga in this way, you will feel like you’re drawing YOUR character. The best part is that it is available in multiple languages. This includes English, Dutch, Spanish, French, Italian, and German.
2.) Art Schools
Most of the classic, well-known mangakas went to art schools when they were starting out. This means that art schools have a good track record for producing manga artists. In this case, it should then be an option for you.
It’s important to remember that in America, there are no schools dedicated to manga art alone. This won’t be a problem since what matters is that you learn your art fundamentals.
With that said, here are some art schools in the US that we can recommend:
Parsons School of Design
Parsons School of Design is located in New York. It currently offers an undergraduate course on Illustration. Here, you will learn how to express and develop your ideas through art and illustration. You will also be allowed to explore other types of graphics, like art for graphic novels and picture books.
The school also offers internships with partners like Nickelodeon and Barnes and Noble.
Rhode Island School of Design
The Rhode Island School of Design has programs in Illustration and Drawing. There, you will be able to master the ability to draw and animate. There are subjects on character design and storyboarding and illustrating for print media.
They also have studios and resources you can practice creating manga art. These include Wacom drawing tablets, scanners, and illustrator software.
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
School of the Art Institute of Chicago is known as one of the top art schools in America. Here, you don’t have to choose a major. You can work with any art form that you want and concentrate on that as you go along.
This means that if you want to just focus on drawing and improving your manga art, you could. The school will then give you classes and internships so you can grow in this chosen career path.
They also offer summer programs you can avail of if you’re just starting out.
School of Visual Arts
The School of Visual Arts in New York offers a specialized course in cartooning. Here, you can explore how to draw comics, graphic novels, and manga. They even teach the unique style of Amerimanga, which is an East-West design hybrid.
They will also explore how you can develop plots and narratives. So, it’s not just about drawing manga. It’s about being able to create your manga as a whole. If that’s what you’re interested in, you should check this out.
Here’s an example of a student’s artwork:
Columbus College of Art and Design
The Columbus College of Art and Design has a comics and narrative practice course. Here, you will learn to develop your signature style as a manga artist. You will practice drawing panels and creating your storylines.
The school also has equipment that will help you improve your skills in drawing manga. This includes scanners, black and white printers, Cintiq monitors, and drawing tablets. Hence, you can build the foundations you need to be a mangaka.
Meanwhile, if you plan to fly to Japan to go to art school, here are some manga-specific courses:
Kyoto Seika University
Kyoto Seika University is the first ever university to have a manga department.
Notable alumni include:
⦁ Ohno Kousuke, manga artist of The Way of the Househusband
⦁ Enokiya Katumasa, manga artist of Hibi Rock
⦁ Kaneshiro Muneyuki, manga artist of As The Gods Will
Of course, they offer classes on manga art. Here, you will learn the fundamentals of manga drawing and other core skills. You will also learn how to improve your expressive techniques and plot writing.
The school is positioned to help graduates make their career debuts. Here are sample panels from a student:
Japan Animation and Manga College
The Japan Animation and Manga College offer courses for those who want to be manga artists.
There’s a Manga Creation course for those who are still developing their skills. Here, students learn how to draw people and backgrounds. They will also be taught how to use the tools needed for drawing manga.
There’s also a Manga Illustration Master Course for those who have the basics down pat. This is for those who want to take their skills to the next level.
Yoyogi Animation School
Yoyogi Animation School has produced many notable graduates.
⦁ Kyoji Asano, General Drawing Director of Attack on Titan
⦁ Masayoshi Tanaka, Character Designer of Your Name
⦁ Hidemi Yamashita, Drawing Director of Love Live! School Idol Project
The manga course runs for two years. There, you will learn to draw using both analog and digital techniques. They aim to bring out your individual technique and strengthen your drawing abilities. Graduates have gone on to work for Seishun Jump, Comiplex, and LINE Manga.
Yokohama Design College
Yokohama Design College offers a straightforward manga course. It teaches students the basics and methods for manga drawing. This digital and analog techniques and tools.
You will also be taught how to develop and publish storylines. Your work will eventually be entered into contests and submitted to publishers.
Osaka Animation College
Osaka Animation College is one of the top art colleges in Japan. Their manga course runs for three years.
In your first year, you will learn basic sketching and design work. You will also explore practical manga production and character expressions.
In your second year, you will learn advanced drawing, colors, and background sketching.
In your third year, you will learn digital illustration and design work. Then you’ll design a graduation production.
If that’s too long for you, you may also opt to take shorter courses that cover a variation of the first two years.
3.) Art Books
How to Draw Manga: Basics and Beyond! By Manga University
This book was written with beginners in mind. So, if you need to master the basics and foundational skills required for drawing manga, this is the book for you.
It contains over a thousand illustrations drawn by Japanese manga artists. These drawings then include guides so you too can do what they do.
The Beginner’s Guide to Creating Manga Art
Multiple authors and artists contributed to the making of this book. This means that you get to receive the best practices from numerous artistic minds.
This 240-page book gets into nuances such as drawing anatomy, clothing, and expressions. It will also teach you how to color using traditional and analog tools.
Mastering Manga with Mark Crilley
This book is written by the creator of Akiko. It covers a multitude of information about creating manga art and is quite intensive. It includes basic drawing techniques, manga layouts, and sketching settings.
If you want to take it a step further, it also has a section dedicated to more complex art concepts. This is great for beginners and intermediate manga artists.
Manga for the Beginner: Everything You Need to Start Drawing Manga Right Away!
By Christopher Hart
Christopher Hart has written many books on drawing manga. All of them are excellent references. This one is particularly great for those who want a step-by-step guide on where to begin.
Basically every single element you would need to draw in manga, this book lays out for you.
4.) YouTube videos
If you’re unable to invest money into the mediums above, YouTube videos can help! All you need to give is time.
Mark Crilley is the author of one of the books mentioned above. He also actively posts drawing tutorials on YouTube. His entire channel is a great resource if you want to learn how to draw manga. He even has videos on drawing manga chibi style!
Whyt Manga is an independent manga creator who does YouTube videos on how to draw manga. He has videos on the multiple ways to draw manga eyes, faces, and even clothing!
He also gets into character design, storyboarding, and background drawing.
This YouTube channel focuses on anime art, but the techniques also apply to manga. There are videos on how you can imitate the design of your characters, like Naruto or Nezuko.
But the best thing about Shinigami Arts is it shows the multiple ways you can draw manga. It explores different styles and shows you the entire process.
Now, it’s time to hear from you:
Did I miss anything?
In your experience, what’s the best way to learn how to draw manga? What method works for you?
Whatever your answer is, let’s hear it in the comments below.