As I discussed in my blog post about drawing cartoons, drawing anime and manga draws on a variety of traditional drawing skills although those techniques are tweaked and exaggerated in cartoons, anime, and manga artwork. But it’s an extremely popular topic in art and drawing.
Take facial proportions. Drawing anime and manga faces is a huge interest to many artists. While you can learn a few very specific guidelines for one particular angle and one particular type of face, that’s going to limit you to that angle and that type of face. You want to learn how to SEE like an artist so no matter what angle, what face shape, what gender, you’ll be able to draw from your solid drawing foundation.
You can see a variety of different face shapes and genders, which is terrific. You can also see the guidelines for the proportions of each face (meaning the distances between various features). That’s good if you just want to draw these particular faces.
However, what many developing artists find is that (1) they don’t understand what the lines really mean and therefore don’t know how to place them where they need to be for individual faces, each of which is unique and requires just a bit of tweaking, and (2) how to apply these lines when faces are turned at different angles. After all, watch any anime cartoon, strip, or graphic novel, and you’ll see faces turned in all kinds of angles. How do those artists maintain the specific features and likenesses so that as the faces turn, you still know which character you’re looking at?
A great way to master these skills and establish a strong drawing foundation with facial proportions is finding a good lesson on the subject. My blog entry on guidelines for choosing quality online drawing instruction can prove useful to you at this point in your journey. An example of a solid lesson on this subject would be the seventh lesson of my “Drawing Secrets Revealed” series, Lesson 7 – Facial Proportions. In this lesson, I teach not only the basic guidelines for facial proportions (similar to the ones shown above but more thorough), but also how to apply them to faces tilted at different angles (see below). The practice activities for this lesson help you lock in those concept into your muscle memory.
My lesson on facial proportions is certainly not the only one out there on the Internet, nor is my 12-lesson drawing series the only drawing program you’ll find. However, it is chock-full of solid instruction. Make sure when you are investigating the quality of the drawing instruction out there, you consider factors such as:
how they’re teaching (video is extremely helpful, which I feel is the most valuable way to teach drawing online)
what concepts they’re covering (are they teaching you how to draw one particular thing or are they showing you how to apply what they’re teaching to many different subjects?)
how their instruction is structured (is the concept they’re teaching taught with no context or foundational skills so it might be far beyond your current skill set, or is it organized so each lesson builds on the previous ones?)
how much money and time you’re willing to invest to hone your art
Whichever method you choose, I wish you luck and encourage you to keep drawing! By the way, a great source for anime products and merchandise can be found at The Anime Collectionary – I know a lot of your hard-core anime fans will find something you like here!
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What do our customers say about “Drawing Secrets Revealed”?
"Drawing Secrets Revealed" is a college-level drawing art instruction course by professional artist, Sarah Parks. Drawing on her many years as an artist, Sarah has constructed a course that is organized and easy to grasp, with step-by-step demonstrations that build each concept on the previous concepts. With lots of practice, you can expect to see your drawing skills leapfrog forward, putting you on your way to drawing ANYTHING you see!
I loved the course! I found the videos, and especially the demonstrations invaluable because I could watch them as many times as I needed to understand how to do the drawings. Your support and critiques were fantastic and very helpful. It shows you really care about your course and students, and your encouragement helped me to continue to move forward and improve. The tools [shown in the lessons] were outstanding . . . I just wish that other instructors had introduced me to them before. You totally opened my eyes to possibilities in drawing and art . . . helped me look at the world in a very different way (especially art . . . I now go into museums and galleries with a whole new appreciation of how a drawing or painting looks and feels) -- I see light, shadow, and negative space everywhere I turn -- and even find I'm staring at people's faces (and have to be careful about that!) looking at the different features, shading, and shapes, wondering how I would draw it. . Courses like this are life changing . . . and your course has made a major positive impact on my life. . Thanks so much! . -- Rich McLafferty (one of my Artists Network University students) . This course directly targets key points that the "would be" artist has weaknesses in. This is the first time I have researched a course that deals with "grass root" fundamentals to get the novice up and going. It is the best course around. The staff are also great to work with. Well done, Sarah! – Dr. Stephen MacMahon (Sydney, Australia) . I have really enjoyed this course and your style. You do a great job of breaking down concepts so they can be understood. -- Gary Morris . I do want to say that your video demos ...helped me to better understand the process. I too am a visual person (as most visual artists are *smile*) and being able to see you actually step by step draw the face ...and hear your thoughts and reasoning behind what you were doing was huge for me. I know it will help with other figure drawings, landscapes, and whatever I want to draw as well. Thank you so much for the detailed demos! Showing two methods: graphite and charcoal pencils was so good. -- Marilyn . I think that all the information in this lesson is valuable and will help as a guide when I am working on future paintings. There is so much to absorb. I could spend a whole semester working on these issues. I find it odd that in many of my painting classes my instructors never spent time to explain in detail the way to approach the problems that arise when you are working with perspectivve. Sometimes, I wasted my time making the same mistakes. -- Renee Freed . the video's are excellent. I passed on the info to some of my fellow students. Our class goes by so fast and there are so many students it is hard to learn everything. And Sara's videos are just excellent. I am learning much more from the videos than what is required in our college course. --Mary Franz . I just have to say that of the many art classes I have had over the years this has been one of the most beneficial. I can easily see how these lessons will be useful, not only in drawing but in my paintings as well. Thank you. I look forward to taking more lessons from you in the future. -- Ruth Warren . I took this class, because I knew I needed to get better with drawing to be able to do watercolor…thinking it was just a necessity. Surprisingly, I have learned to enjoy drawing and to believe that with practice, I could be good at it. I would never have expected that an on-line class would have been the vehicle that motivated me to like drawing. Thank you for your all your help, concern and feedback…and for your encouragement. I am happy to have completed the course and a little sad to lose the connection. . I enjoyed the wonderful class and all your advice, and am happy to be on the list to get the [newsletter]. It is obvious that you put so much into all of it and that you care about the students. I feel that I have learned a lot and have more confidence and know that with practice and referring to the lessons I can get better. -- Dolores Danks . Thank you so much for your course. The teaching and encouragement was great. I appreciated being able to download and print the lesson materials. I'm sure I will refer to my binders with these lessons in weeks to come. Watching the videos were very helpful in understanding the lesson. Your encouraging critiques were always inspiring and helped me continue even when I didn't think I had done very well. I always want to do it better. You encouraged me to keep trying. I don't know what you could do to improve this course. I learned well from your teaching style, and the content was excellent, especially the way each lesson built on the previous one. Thanks again for your excellent teaching. -- Marilyn Dueck . Hi, I just wanted to tell you that I have been struggling to learn how to draw for quite some time. I love to carve and can sculpt ANYTHING. Problem is I can’t draw what I want to sculpt. Until now. I have bought tons of how to books on drawing and tried many times to put pencil to paper. NOTHING. I saw your ad in drawing mag and thought I would give it a try. I’m just getting started but already I can tell this is the proper way to teach drawing because I am finally getting it! I am far from being “good” but now I can at least draw what I want to sculpt and I can actually draw something that is recognizable. Again I just wanted to thank you and let you know what a wonderful course you have. Now that I have a understanding of how to draw I am hoping you are planning to teach something about how to use color and paint? Do you have a course on watercolors or oils? If not, I hope you will in the near future. – Ben (Ohio) . I found you on my Roku Amazon.com channel. I watched the first 2 lessons on my TV and liked them so much I ordered the 12 videos online. Also, I was having trouble finding how to access the course materials and I emailed your technical support. I received an immediate response and was absolutely thrilled because I wanted those materials at that moment. So, thanks for the wonderful support and the affordable courses. I paid more money than this for an online course through my local college and learned practically nothing. I'm looking forward to learning to draw at the ripe old age of 68. – Sandra Cortez . The most helpful info was the grid and the facial/body proportions. The mysteries of drawing have now been revealed! I feel I can now observe much more clearly and accurately and result of these techniques. For so many years I wanted to be able to pick up a pencil and draw what I see and always felt defeated before even starting. Now I feel much more confident and competent to do just that. As a teacher myself, I appreciated that this class made drawing seem so much more accessible and achievable by clear instruction, effective exercises, and lots of encouragement. – Jessica (Virginia) . Drawing at a distance squinting [was helpful, as well as] taking time to look at the subject before using the pencil. Practice, practice, practice! I believe I can achieve [being an artist] more so now than six weeks ago. I have learned more from this class than any other and I appreciate all the guidance and encouragement. Thank you! – Lois (Virginia) . As a beginner, this class has been perfect for me. I learned a number of techniques to help me to develop a drawing foundation. Despite some frustration resulting from lack of skill and experience, the class made me feel I can improve my artistic skills. I think the class was very good and [Sarah is] a terrific teacher! – Don (Virginia) . A wonderful experience! Helped developed my skills and focus on areas where I need improvement. – Jim (Virginia) . I have a better understanding of perspective and values and how to apply them to my drawing to make it more life-like, versus like a cartoon. This class has helped me realize I can improve my work and make it look nice! I think this has been a wonderful class. The instruction has been very beneficial. I would love to continue! – Bonnie (Virginia) . [Learning how to pay] attention to detail was helpful, as was shapes and shades. The teaching was complete. – Pat (Virginia) . [This course was] very helpful in terms of perspective, values, and proportions. I feel much more comfortable drawing just about anything with the tips and rules that I’ve learned. I found it all very helpful and informative. I have a coworker who would love the class! – Kevin (Virginia) . I think you are the best thing that's happened to me. All of the lessons are great and could not be better! I cannot express how much I am enjoying this class. You are the BEST! – Peggy (Virginia)
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