Which pencil is best for drawing anime

Overview: The basic equipment for drawing mangas

Overview: The basic equipment for drawing mangas

There are tons of options when it comes to drawing. The draftsman can draw portraits, make realistic drawings, experiment with abstract motifs or work with graphic elements. Drawing comics, especially Japanese comics, the so-called mangas, is also very popular.

An essential characteristic of mangas are the childlike figures with their big googly eyes.

But what does the draftsman actually need
if he wants to draw manga?


The basic equipment for drawing manga

Of course, it is ultimately up to the draftsman himself which materials he would like to work with. The drawing process even includes trying out different materials and experimenting with different drawing techniques. And especially at the beginning it is not necessary to spend a lot of money on special drawing equipment.

It is more important that the drawing instruments lie comfortably in the hand and that the draftsman uses them skillfully. Nevertheless, a kind of basic equipment can be listed that the draftsman should buy if he wants to draw mangas.

This basic equipment includes the following utensils:




The pencil is mainly used for sketches and preliminary drawings. Whether the draftsman uses a conventional pencil or a mechanical pencil is a matter of taste. As a rule, mangas are not drawn entirely with a pencil.

On the one hand, pencil lines blur very quickly, which is a major negative point, for example, if the pictures are colored later. On the other hand, the contrast of pencil lines is not strong enough. This makes it more difficult to scan the drawings or to copy them in a reasonable quality.



A pencil is usually used for the preliminary drawings. In contrast to the fineliner, pencil lines can be erased again if corrections are necessary. When the design is ready, the contours can be traced with a fineliner. Experienced draftsmen can of course also get started with the fineliner right away.

When choosing a pen, however, it is important that it is both lightfast and waterproof. The lightfastness ensures that the drawing does not fade. The pen must be waterproof so that the drawing can be colored without hesitation.


Pen and India ink or ink

An alternative to the fineliner is the nib. Here the draftsman is well advised to get a holder and several spring clips. With a drawing pen he can put thin, fine lines on paper and with a writing pen wider and thicker lines. Before the draftsman inserts a new spring clip, he should hold it briefly over a flame. Because feathers are usually covered with a protective layer of wax that loosens when heated.

In addition to the pen, the draftsman also needs ink or Indian ink. Here, too, it is important that the draftsman makes sure that the ink or Indian ink is lightfast and waterproof.

Japanese Mangaka also work with ink or Indian ink, but often do not draw the outlines with a pen, but with a brush. However, using the brush like a pen and drawing fine, straight and clean lines with it takes a lot of practice. He has to try out whether the draftsman likes this technique.


Watercolor or water colors and brushes

A very common method of coloring manga is the watercolor technique. The areas within the black contours are painted in using watercolors and a brush. Especially at the beginning, however, the draftsman does not need a high-quality watercolor paint box. Instead, he can use a conventional school paint box with water colors. The watercolors behave similarly to watercolors and are of sufficiently good quality, but are significantly cheaper.

To apply the colors, the draftsman needs brushes. The best thing to do here is to buy a small selection of brushes with soft hair in several thicknesses.


colored pencils

Instead of using watercolors or watercolors, the draftsman can color his manga with colored pencils. A middle ground, on the other hand, would be watercolor pencils. They can be used like colored pencils and can then be painted on with a little water and a brush.



If the draftsman only works with pencils, crayons and fineliners, he can use conventional printer paper or a simple children's coloring pad. He should use drawing paper for drawing with pen and ink or Indian ink. The rather pointed feathers do not scratch the surface of drawing paper so much, and the ink or Indian ink does not run on the drawing paper.

If the draftsman wants to color his mangas with watercolors or watercolors, he needs special watercolor paper. Watercolor paper is stronger than conventional writing or drawing paper and does not soak through as quickly.

This is why there are no unsightly waves left behind when the colors have dried. The draftsman should ideally choose a watercolor paper with a rather fine, even surface. On coarse-grained paper, outlines that have been drawn with pens or a quill can quickly look shaky. Blocks with various types of watercolor paper are available from specialist retailers. Such blocks are ideal for experimenting with. Otherwise, the draftsman shouldn't skimp on paper. Here it is worthwhile to spend a little more and treat yourself to good quality paper.


Grid foil

Professional mangaka often work with grid foil. In this country, however, grid film is only available in well-stocked specialist shops and is also very expensive. The foil is not absolutely necessary. As a hobby mangaka, the draftsman can do without it.


3 tips for drawing manga

When drawing itself, the most important thing is that the draftsman draws and practices regularly. Because drawing is less a question of talent. Rather, it can be learned just like a foreign language or a musical instrument. And over time, the artist will develop his own style that makes his manga unique. The following three tips have proven useful when practicing and drawing mangas:

  1. It is helpful if the draftsman orientates himself on mangas by professionals and looks at their drawings very carefully. Then he should alternate between drawing mangas and designing his own pictures. By drawing, he trains the techniques that he can then implement in his own pictures.
  2. The draftsman should make regular drawings of details such as hands, eyes or clothing. Here, too, he can orient himself on drawings by professionals and draw the respective details so often until he has mastered it by heart, i.e. without a template. Then the draftsman can change little things in order to bring his own note into it.
  3. If the drawing does not seem coherent, but the draftsman cannot identify the mistake, he should stand his picture upright and look at it from a distance. He can also ask someone. Even if that person isn't drawing, they may notice what's wrong. Another possibility is for the draftsman to hold his picture in front of a mirror and look at it the wrong way round. If none of this helps, the draftsman should put his picture aside for a few days. With a little time lag, the mistake will often catch his eye automatically.

More instructions, tips, advice and templates:

Subject: Overview: The basic equipment for drawing mangas

Internet media owner Ferya Gülcan
Thorsten Laumann, 42 years old, technical draftsman, Marie Koschinski, 34 years old, graphic designer, David Naue, 37 years old, media designer and private comic artist, and Ferya Gülcan, editor and operator of this website, write interesting facts, tips and instructions on the subject of drawing , Painting, art and print.

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Thorsten Laumann, 42 years old, technical draftsman, Marie Koschinski, 34 years old, graphic designer, David Naue, 37 years old, media designer and private comic artist, and Ferya Gülcan, editor and operator of this website, write interesting facts, tips and instructions on the subject of drawing , Painting, art and print. Show all contributions by editors

Posted on Author EditorsCategories Drawing News