Tutorial Drawing the Figure Part 1 Animemanga Style

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Tutorial - Drawing the Figure Part 1 (anime/manga style) "The Basics" This is part 1 of my "Drawing the Figure" series (Anime/Manga Style) A guide on how to draw the figure.

Drawing The Figure Part 1 – The Basics

Before we start doing anything else, Let me explain some facts about this tutorial:

This tutorial aims to present “guidelines” not set “rules” on drawing the figure. You can use them if you feel it can help you draw the figure better, I compiled this based on my experience in drawing and teaching art to select the topics which I’ve observed helped those who wanted to try drawing the human figure.

Drawing a “Pose” Applies not only for bodies in motion or action, but also applies for stationary and/or figures showing limited movement (standing, posing for a picture), the pose is how a figure presents or expresses itself on paper or the camera.

This is not a “Crash Course” or a method to replace certain standards of drawing the figure such as “human anatomy”, however, it can serves as a basis on how the human figure will look like when you draw it manually on paper or digitally on the computer.

Lets Begin…

Figure 1.

You will eventually be able to draw a pose just like the image in figure 1 if not better.

I’ve chosen a character I drew and created to serve as our study figure since she represents a full body pose as well as the necessary elements for our tutorial, such as :

1. No clothes (except fins!) which can hide elements of the figure (but I used colored spots and skin patterns to serve as her clothing instead.)

2. Dynamic movement (or flow of action)

3. Simplistic body lines to express the basic shape of the figure (we don’t have to draw the figure realistically to learn drawing the posing figure.)


Proportion – is a section or part in relation to a whole unit. In our case we’ll use the head as the section which can be used to serve as a unit of measurement for the rest of the figure.

The Height of the figure’s head can be used to serve as your “ruler” or measuring tool to determine the length of the figure as a whole.

Let me show you…

Figure 2.

Using the head of the figure shown in Figure 2., we can determine that I’ve used at least 7 and ½ heads to establish the height or length of the figure.

This proportional measurement is only my preference, you can create your own based on your particular style of drawing the figure. An example would be when drawing “Super Deformed” (SD) characters or figure with large heads and small bodies.

Why do we need to understand proportion to draw the figure? Because a character drawing in proper proportion will not look like it has incorrect lengths and sizes of its body parts.


Foreshortening is the viewing effect of an object which appears showter in relation to it’s position or angle to the viewer.

Example: and arm or a pole looks shorter than its actual length when it is pointing or angled directly at your direction. (See Figure 3.)

Figure 3.


What is a stick figure drawing doing here? This is what we call the “Wireframe”.

Figure 4.

By applying what we know about Proportion and Foreshortening, we can now draw a simple wireframe to give us an idea how the figure’s pose will look like before we add the rest of the details.

I usually draw wireframe figures first to decide the final pose that I will use for my drawings.

It is also an excellent tool when planning to draw multiple figures especially if they’re trying to interact with each other on paper

Notice the foreshortened lines of the right arm and left upper leg. The wireframe will make drawing the figure an easier task because this will serve as your “skeleton” for building the rest of the body.

Even artists who draws the human body realistically sometimes use a wireframe model before drawing the actual skeleton or figure to help them draw the correct placements of body parts.


Since the figure is a 3-dimensional object. We should draw the figure with this fact in mind by simplifying each main body part into their basic 3-d shapes.

Sphere = Head, elbows and knees

Cylinder = Arms and Legs

A Flat Box = Palms

Rounded box = Torso and Pelvis

Using these shapes can help you visualize the figure as a 3-dimensional object and also help you determine how to add shadows when you learn about them in the future.

Figure 5.

Just like the cylinder in Figure 3, the right arm and the left upper leg appears shorter due to it’s angle towards the viewer, you.


Unless you’re drawing the human form realistically, there are not set rules to follow. You can simply draw the body’s final shape using your own style or sometimes even combining both realistic figure drawing methods with your own. This tutorial mainly uses an anime-type look we see a lot today to help those who want to draw in this style.

Figure 6.

For my comic illustrations, I combine both my knowledge in drawing human anatomy with my personal style of anime drawing when needed. But when drawing realistically, I strictly follow the rules of anatomy.

Note: Some artists can already draw without the aid of drawing the wireframe or body shapes because of their extensive knowledge and experience on drawing the human figure, the drawing process is already pictured clearly in their minds including the way they will look like on paper. You can also achieve this by studying about the human figure through various books available.


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