In this post, I’m going to break down the 10 best manga drawing books on the market. These books contain lessons on everything from character designs, poses, outfits, and hairstyles to backgrounds, effects, weather, and much more.
We combed the internet for the best-reviewed and most popular manga drawing books out there and analyzed them to see which books would be the best fit for you. Since learning the genre takes years of practice, you want to start your manga drawing career on the right foot.
Let’s get started!
10 Top Manga Drawing Books for Beginners:
1. Mastering Manga With Mark Crilley
“Mastering Manga With Mark Crilley: 30 Drawing Lessons from the Creator of Akiko” is one of the best books for learning to draw manga. In the book, Crilley, a world-renowned comic creator with almost three decades of professional experience, provides lessons on poses, body proportions, dramatic spreads, and much more.
Because this book skips over most of the basics, it’s ideal for manga artists with a basic knowledge of the craft already under their belt. The book focuses on drawing manga from beginning to end, paying special attention to the layouts of pages and the flow of scenes.
“Mastering Manga” features drawing exercises to help you get a feel for the style, including look-and-copy tasks to guide your linework. Some reviewers claim this book elevated them from a stick-figure level of skill to an ability to draw detailed faces and figures.
This manga drawing book supplements Crilley’s popular YouTube videos on how to draw manga.
2. The Master Guide to Drawing Anime
The first volume of “The Master Guide to Drawing Anime: How to Draw Original Characters from Simple Templates” by Christopher Hart is another great book if you want to learn to draw anime.
In this book, Hart gives readers templates for drawing six well-known anime archetypes: preteens, schoolboys, schoolgirls, funny characters, fantastical characters, and vengeful characters. For each template, he provides examples of outfits, head types, body types, and accessories.
The book’s main focus is character design rather than layouts, backgrounds, or action.
Hart uses work from great anime artists such as Euro Pinko and Tina Francisco to demonstrate his points. A bestselling author with 7 million sales to his name, Hart is one of the most popular how-to-draw authors in the U.S.
Reviewers have praised “The Master Guide to Drawing Anime” for its clarity and step-by-step format, but some note that Hart doesn’t spend much time on hands or feet and focuses on somewhat samey body types.
3. The Manga Artist’s Workbook
Another excellent book for easy manga drawing is “The Manga Artist’s Workbook: Easy-To-Follow Lessons for Creating Your Own Characters.” Also written by Chris Hart, this book covers a wide range of manga styles and assumes the reader has some familiarity with basic character designs.
A perfect practice book, “The Manga Artist’s Workbook” features translucent pages for tracing and contains starting outlines on grid paper to help you visualize body proportions. This book comes in a spiral-bound edition to let you flip through the pages easily and leave it open on a table without creasing paper.
In addition to faces and poses, this book teaches you how to draw a variety of outfits and hairstyles.
To fit comfortably in pockets, “The Manga Artist’s Workbook” is about half the size of a standard volume. Reviewers love the book’s format and accessibility, though some feel its small size detracts from its usefulness.
4. Mastering Manga 2
“Mastering Manga 2: Level Up with Mark Crilley” is one of the best manga drawing books on the market. It boasts 30 step-by-step demonstrations on subjects ranging from poses and backgrounds to body language and proportions.
This book includes lessons on clothing, expressions, hairstyles, page composition, background depth, and environmental effects. Mark Crilley, the author, also covers a wide variety of technical challenges that manga artists face, such as complex hand poses and foliage.
Like the first volume in the “Mastering Manga” series, this one received highly positive reviews from consumers. Reviewers praised Crilley for starting with simple concepts and gradually moving toward harder ones, though some felt that the drawing tasks were too difficult for the target audience.
5. Manga for the Beginner
“Manga for the Beginner: Everything you Need to Start Drawing Right Away!” is the perfect manga for beginners book. Unlike most of Christopher Hart’s other manga books, this one emphasizes the basic techniques for drawing characters’ eyes, faces, bodies, and clothes.
In addition, “Manga for the Beginner” covers lighting, perspective, special effects, and dynamic action poses. It also teaches beginners how to draw anthros, animals, shonen characters, and shoujo characters.
Although Hart received some criticism for including overly difficult poses in this book, he got ample praise for showing comparisons of the same poses at different levels of talent.
Like the rest of Hart’s library, this book progresses from simple drawings to complex ones and features step-by-step instructions for each. It also teaches readers how to draw chibi characters
6. Pop Manga
Another great how-to-draw anime book on the market is “Pop Manga: How to Draw the Coolest, Cutest Characters, Animals, Mascots, and More” by the renowned artist Camilla d’Errico.
Richly illustrated and written in a simple style, “Pop Manga” covers subjects that many manga drawing books skip over, such as how to draw ears and wrinkles. The book also includes plenty of practical advice, including advice on how to pick art utensils and create covers.
In addition to sections on standard subjects, such as poses, anatomy, movement, and layouts, “Pop Manga” has sections on mascots, chibis, animals, and artistic collaboration. An Eisner Award nominee, d’Errico brings a deep well of experience to the book, having worked for high-profile clients such as Disney, Hasbro, Image Comics, Tokyopop, and Dark Horse Comics.
Accessible to beginners and experts alike, “Pop Manga” received positive reviews from consumers for the quality of its instruction. Readers also praised d’Errico’s mastery of perspective.
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7. “Manga for the Beginner Kawaii”
If you’re looking for anime drawing books for beginners, “Manga for the Beginner Kawaii: How to Draw the Supercute Characters of Japanese Comics” is a good option.
Unlike the other books on this list, “Manga for the Beginner Kawaii” focuses on the kawaii genre of manga. Kawaii manga include the Pokemon and Hello Kitty franchises and emphasize cuteness and simplicity.
Authored by Christopher Hart, “Manga for the Beginner Kawaii” teaches readers how to use color contrasts and clear, straightforward designs to make characters pop. The book has sections on everything from pandas, hamster boys, and tiger girls to evil dolls, skeletons, and Goths with bat wings.
This book has step-by-step instructions for drawing each character and even has tips for breaking into the manga publishing industry. Consumers have given the book positive reviews for the clarity and detail of its instruction and for the wide range of character types it includes.
8. Drawing Manga Animals, Chibis, and Other Adorable Creatures
No manga drawing collection is complete without “Drawing Manga Animals, Chibis, and Other Adorable Creatures” by J.C. Amberlyn. This book teaches you how to draw chibis and animal sidekicks, starting with their heads and faces and moving to their eyes, limbs, and body proportions.
A fun, versatile book, “Drawing Manga Animals, Chibis, and Other Adorable Creatures” boasts instructions on how to draw kappas, tengus, pandas, and a slew of other real and mythical creatures. The book also includes tips on how to create manga art on a computer.
Full of cute and colorful illustrations, this book is written in a simple style and is packed with drawing exercises to help you practice. It has sections on how to give animals expressions and realistic textures.
Consumers appreciated the book’s ample detail and abundance of information on Japanese folklore.
9. The Manga Fashion Bible
Another book by Christopher Hart, “The Manga Fashion Bible: The Go-To Guide for Drawing Stylish Outfits and Characters” is for readers who already have the basics of manga drawing under their belt. It emphasizes character design, including body types, poses, outfits, accessories, hairstyles, eye shapes, and color contrasts.
Consumers describe “The Manga Fashion Bible” as fun and addictive. The book breaks down outfits by context, such as by season and environment, and it features instructions on which utensils to use and how to set up your workspace for optimal productivity.
In addition to presenting a wide range of body types, poses, and angles, this book boasts a simple writing style and is packed with colorful illustrations to make for a fun read. Hart shows you how to lend movement and energy to any image and how to troubleshoot common problems.
10. Beginner’s Guide to Creating Manga Art
Another excellent beginners guide to drawing manga, the book “Beginner’s Guide to Creating Manga Art: Learn to Draw, Color and Design Characters” by Steven Cummings and Gonzalo Ordonez is jam-packed with tutorials on every subject in the genre, from anatomy and clothing to poses and colors.
Reviewers recommend this book for pros as well as amateurs. That’s because it teaches a wide range of manga styles, from chibi to realistic.
“Beginner’s Guide to Creating Manga Art” has splashy illustrations throughout, and it includes a brief history of manga as well as a thorough breakdown of the tradition.
Most manga drawing books focus solely on drawing, but this book shows you how to turn simple sketches into full-color paintings. Cummings and Ordonez bring impressive resumes to the table, having worked for DC Comics and other big-name publishers.
Which Book Should I Pick?
Of the best manga drawing books on the market, “Beginner’s Guide to Creating Manga Art” is the number one pick.
Many other books on this list are indispensable, especially if you want to draw chibis, animals, mascots, or cool outfits. “Beginner’s Guide to Creating Manga Art,” however, is the perfect all-around manga drawing guide for amateurs and professionals alike.
Even if you have tons of experience drawing manga, this book has helpful tips and reminders to keep you working at the highest level.
“The Manga Artist’s Workbook” is another excellent pick, providing insights on just about every manga drawing subject under the sun. Finally, “”Mastering Manga With Mark Crilley” is a must-have volume for any manga drawing collection, and you can supplement your reading with Mark Crilley’s popular YouTube videos.