Manga is an extremely popular type of comic book from Japan, which is widely read and enjoyed around the world.
These cartoon characters have a very distinctive look - with large eyes, small mouths and colourful hairstyles - and they show their emotions in extremely over-exaggerated ways. These characters cry tears by the bucketload and their mouths become enormous when they laugh and smile.
Manga has inspired another popular art form - anime. Whereas manga is like a graphic novel or cartoon, anime describes the tv shows and movies that are made in the same style. This inventive Japanese art form appeals to lots of kids and teens, who love the bright, bold illustrations. If your kids want to learn how to draw these characters, then there are lots of books, tutorials and videos to follow for ideas and inspiration. We have gathered some of the best resources that make drawing manga easier, with lots of free resources to try and a list of materials to make professional looking finished artworks.
Canson Studio has a great website with tips and tricks for drawing manga. Kids learn the basics of how to draw girls and boys - as well as how to draw their expressions, and how to include them into a scene. The tips on this site are great for older children - or the more confident artist - as they are not step-by-step instructions but hints that will help kids to create their own drawings and characters.
This step-by-step tutorial is a great way to learn how to re-create a manga drawing. Follow the instructions - which are complete with illustrations and various tips and tricks - to complete your own scene, showing a girl and boy in full colour.
The Best Manga Books
Kids Draw Big Book of Everything Manga
This book is a complete 'how-to' guide for drawing all sorts of manga illustrations. Written by Christoper Hart, the book teaches all of the basics, including how to draw heads, faces and bodies in this style. The step-by-step instructions help the artist to learn to draw, and the book inspires children to get drawing thanks to the fun, colourful and humorous tone.
How to Draw Manga
Author David Antram teaches all the techniques you'll need to draw amazing people, robots, monsters and more in the manga style. The book has a highly visual approach - teaching drawing through step-by-step instructions, as well as tips on how to get the best effects from your pens, pencils, paints and crayons. All of the basic drawing techniques are covered in this book, and it is an excellent introduction to the amazing world of Japanese cartoons.
The Best Free Video Tutorials
'How to Draw a Manga Character' is a short video that explains how to draw a manga person. This free tutorial is very easy to follow and shows the process of first drawing in pencil, then going over the drawing in pen before erasing the pencil lines. A brilliant video for younger children, or those who aren't very confident artists - they can use this video as a starting point, changing and adapting the drawing as they get better at drawing.
This video explains how to draw a more complicated manga girl, which starts with a simple 'T' shape which the artist builds upon to create a beautiful finished drawing. One for more confident artists, this video is a great way to learn how to draw a female character - and the lessons can be easily adapted to create other manga characters. Sophie Chan's video also shows how to draw a girl - the tutorial has a slow pace, as well as added tips and tricks that pop up as the drawing progresses. Children and teens are sure to be delighted with the finished result - and all you need is a pencil and paper to follow along with this brilliant tutorial.
To learn how to draw a boy - Artimee's video is quick and easy to follow along with. If your young artists enjoy this one, then move on to this video by Articco, which shows how to draw a girl character in the same pose.
Love2DrawManga is a great resource for artists that want to get better at drawing these cartoons. The YouTube channel has lots of different videos to search through, with plenty of advice and tips to try. Find specific advice for drawing eyes and hands, as well as more complicated techniques, like how to draw the same character at different ages. 'Manga Anatomy Quick Tips for Beginners' is a great video tutorial for drawing the body - as lots of tutorials tend to focus on just the head and face. The channel also explains how to make your own art website, and shares tips on the best materials and software for creating artwork.
Ninja King's video tutorial 'How to Draw Manga Eyes for the Absolute Beginner' encourages the viewer to try drawing the most popular types of eyes. For those who are new to manga, this is a great beginners guide, showing which eyes to draw for different people and emotions. A brilliant exercise to try, encourage your children to complete all of the examples and then let them find ways to use them in their drawings.
The Best Manga Materials
All you really need to make amazing drawings is paper and a pencil or pen. However, for those who want to take their drawings to the next step, there are some art supplies and materials that may help. The Winsor & Newton Promarker Manga Set is perfect for this type of drawing, as each coloured pen has two tips: a broad, chisel-like tip for colouring larger areas, as well as a smaller, hard tip for fine detail. The set includes 12 shades that are ideal for both manga and anime, as well as a colourless blender.
Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen Manga Black Pens are ideal for these drawings, and Copic Ciao skin tone marker set will make it easy to bring characters to life.
Bleed-proof paper, like this pad from Windsor & Newton, is also a worthwhile investment for manga artists, particularly if they are using Promarkers or inks to colour in their drawings.
Artists that are confident working with paints and inks may enjoy trying this Manga Ink Set from Pebeo, which has 10 highly concentrated colours, which can be watered down to create the different tones that are typical in manga art.
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Kidadl provides inspiration to entertain and educate your children. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.
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