Anime is a style of art that has somewhat of a bad reputation, especially among art teachers. Many of them discourage their art students from starting off with the style because it’s considered to be too “easy.” But is this actually the case? Is drawing anime actually hard?
The short answer is that anime isn’t easy to draw by any means, but it will become easier with practices. You need to have some sort of foundation, learn the different styles, basic anatomy, and other features that could make it more difficult to draw.
In this article, we will go over why people think that drawing anime is easy and what key features you need to learn before you start to draw anime.
Why People Think Anime Is Easy
Many art students have had teachers who discouraged them from drawing anime, saying that it’s too easy and too much of it is based on simplicity.
Anime is, indeed, a specific style of art that is distinguishable among others. The style particularly focuses on facial features and larger-than-life eyes. It isn’t too based on realism, and while the characters in anime do represent real people, they don’t quite look the same.
While anime is by no means the most difficult style to draw in, there are some difficult aspects to anime. Most people think that, since anime is a pretty simple style, it’s something that anyone can do.
But as with most art forms, it will take practice before becoming an expert at drawing anime.
There are some ways in which it can be argued that anime is more difficult to draw than fine art.
This is due to the fact that you’re generally going to take something and copy it when drawing fine art; however, with anime, there are some basic fundamentals that you will need to know before starting. We will get into those fundamentals in more detail in the next section.
If there are people who think that anime is too easy, we encourage them to draw anime without having any prior knowledge about art. You’ll see very quickly that it’s actually rather difficult!
Now, let’s get into some of the different things that you should know before you start to draw anime.
Fundamentals of Drawing Anime
Before you take a pencil to your paper, it’s important to know that there are different styles of anime and different techniques that you need to understand first. You don’t necessarily need to become an expert, but it is important that you understand and learn these.
Composition is how the different elements of a piece of art are arranged. Some people don’t necessarily think that composition is all that important, and by no means do you have to follow the rules exactly.
Be sure to study how lines, shapes, colors, texture, depth, space, and tone need to be emphasized in a piece of art. This is meant to help promote what you are trying to draw, its emphasis, and it can help to make your art look better.
Perspective is important to learn no matter what style of art you plan on practicing.
Even though, in anime, the emphasis is more so placed on the characters as opposed to backgrounds and landscapes, having a basic understanding of how perspective works will help you to improve your skills as an artist.
Understanding how people perceive perspective is another key element.
As you know, the purpose of drawing on a piece of paper or canvas is to make a three-dimensional object or person come alive on a two-dimensional surface. Understanding how perspective works will help you to do this in a more professional and enhanced manner.
This sounds completely dreadful, but yes, it is a must that you learn the basics of human anatomy before you start to draw anime. It’s important if you want to be able to draw realistic characters.
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to learn all the ins and outs of human anatomy- just learning the basics and everything that is on the outer body is enough. For example, you will need to learn where the nose goes on the face, how to position the eyes realistically, how to draw hands, and more.
Color theory is another area that you need to study before you start to draw any type of art. This will help you to understand the relationships between the different colors, outside of just knowing how to mix different colors. It is also important to learn how we perceive color.
Some of the different factors that color theory includes are hue, saturation, tone, value (we will get into this one more below), high key and low key, tints, shades, and color temperature. Understanding these will help you to determine your color palette for any work of art, including anime.
Light and shadow
You’ll also need to be aware of the relationship between light and shadow when drawing anime. This is what will help you to define the different objects in your work and truly make your work appear three-dimensional. It would be a good idea to start off by examining an object in front of you.
See where the light hits and how the shadows appear? That’s what you should be aiming to capture in your art. There are plenty of tutorials to help you with this and you definitely will go over this in your art classes.
In addition, you can use anime drawings for reference to see how other people captured light and shadow.
Values in art represent how light or dark a color is on a black to white scale. Many artists consider this to be even more important than color selection when it comes to drawing or painting.
It is possible for there to be two different colors that have the same value when placed on their individual color wheel.
Colors are significant to your art, but the value will help to provide more structure. Value can help you to show more depth in a piece of art.
The main goal, to make this more simple, is that if you were to make your work black and white, all the details would remain the same as they were before.
Advice for Drawing Anime
Here are our main pieces of advice that you should remember when you start to draw anime- or any style of art, for that matter.
1. Use references, but don’t copy
It’s difficult to be able to draw anything from memory. So, this is why you should always start with a reference image when you’re just getting into any new form of art. There are tons of different anime references that you will be able to find online.
Try to work with different poses, colors, structures, and people; having all of this additional practice will help you to improve the quality of your art with practice.
If you simply try to draw something from memory, there are many important details that you will likely miss. Plus, having these references to study from will make you more aware of what needs to be done.
With all of that being said, however, it’s important not to copy someone else’s work. Of course, one of the reasons for this is due to copyright integrity, but it’s also because you will end up simply copying their style and not adopting your own.
It’s important to have your own style when you start to become an artist. There are features that you can choose to adopt from the artist’s work, but if you simply copy, you also run the risk of copying any of their flaws, which will not necessarily help you to grow.
2. Keep practicing
You may have grown tired of hearing this, but it’s what will help you to become a better artist. No style of art is easy, but art isn’t that difficult if you keep practicing and making an effort to become better.
If you find that there are areas where you’re struggling when it comes to drawing anime, such as drawing hands, hair, or facial features, then make sure that you keep practicing.
It’s better to draw poorly the first few times but improve as time goes on than to just give up and never give yourself the chance to enhance your skills. With all the knowledge that you will have about anime, it’s worth practicing to become better and to enhance your skills as an artist.
3. Follow guidelines
Many artists scoff at the idea of using guidelines, saying that art is something that expresses how the artist feels and it shouldn’t have any rules. But guidelines can really help you out if you’re just starting.
Anime can be difficult to understand at first, yet following the guidelines for how to draw good anime and different tutorials could help you out as a beginner. Once you have this down to a science, then you will be able to branch out and away from the guidelines.
Drawing anime isn’t rocket science, but it’s not easy to do, either. The most important thing to do is to make sure you practice and give it your best effort. It’s worth taking some art classes so that you can understand the basics of art and implement those in your anime.
Then, you will want to use different anime drawings as references- whether you wish to choose one style or several- so that you can practice drawing and hone your skills as an anime artist.
The most important thing is to not give up. It might seem difficult to draw anime right now, but the more you practice, the easier it will be!