Cartoon/Manga Improvements?

Forums Art Art Critique Cartoon/Manga Improvements?

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    J. Dekreel

    So I’m looking for ways to improve on my manga/cartoon drawings! Here is a sampling:







    (Most of these are Aetherlight pictures.)

    I have noticed that my heads tend to be too big, and I need to work on my three-quarter view and side view proportions. Any and all critiques and comments are welcome! Thanks! 😉

    Tagging artists, and people whom I have seen critiquing others: @christieaton  @the-fledgling-artist  @mariposa  @wordsmith  @ariella-newheart  @lady-iliara  @ethryndal

    ENFP-T. Cartoonist, "half-writer", wolfish.

    The Fledgling Artist

    @dekreel Before I begin to critique I wanna say that you are very good at adding little details, like in the cloths. (Bland clothing is something I need to work to overcome .. lol.)

    I would say the biggest thing is to keep drawing. (Not very fun advice to receive, I know.) The next biggest thing is to start referencing photos of real people. Referencing is kind of like copying btw.
    For a ‘manga’ style some of what I’m gonna say next may or may not apply, but I thought them worth mentioning anyways. Like your mouths tend to be very low on the head. Irl people have a couple of inches between their lips and the end of their chin.
    Next your eyes are just a little lower then what would read as ‘realistic’ but this one is very forgivable imo as some people do that on purpose to make their faces look more ‘innocent’ or ‘childlike’ (babies have larger foreheads) btw if you move the eyes up you will probably want to move the ears up too. The bottom of (a common) ear will line up with your nose and the top with your eyebrows. (at least that’s what people say/what I have observed irl)

    I feel like what I’ve said is confusing and unorganized sorry! If I can try to explain anything better let me know. 🙂 But yeah, the biggest thing is to keep drawing. With more practice I could see your art getting really amazing!

    "Though I'm not yet who I will be, I'm no longer who I was."

    Sarah Baran

    @dekreel I have a lot of thoughts, so buckle down. 😉

    First off, these are adorable! Love the style. You seem to have a pretty good grasp on body proportions (kudos to you—a lot of people struggle with bodies), and the costuming is great. I also love the eyes, particularly in the first pic. I think that guy has a lot of emotion in his expression.

    Seems like you’re pretty aware of the main things that need improvement—ie, head size and side-views. I don’t think the problem is that the heads are too big, but that they’re too tall. If you shorten the portion above the eyes just a bit, it will make a tremendous difference.

    Three-quarters view doesn’t seem too bad, but you’ve got the forehead sloping out instead of sloping in. That’s pretty easy to fix.

    The side-view needs a bit more work:

    • Firstly, the head is too tall, resulting in it looking extremely skinny. Shortening it just a bit, so the eyes are in the middle of the head, will help. (As a general rule, eyes should always be close to the middle of the face. Manga is a little different than the realistic stuff I’m used to, but that rule still mostly applies.)
    • The mouth is too close to the bottom of the chin.
    • The nose should have a more rounded slope…

    …like so.

    Also, I would work at smoothing out hair texture. It seems a little scratchy.

    And quick thing about shadows, which I really don’t know how else to explain other than this:

    Do you see how that works?

    Hope this helps. I’m gonna tag @Sarah-Inkdragon over here because she draws some fantastic manga and is more knowledgeable on the subject than I. 😏

    INTJ ➸ https://thesarcasticelf.wordpress.com/

    Mariposa Aristeo

    @dekreel I’ve never drawn manga and don’t know anything about it, so I’ll leave the advice giving to the other manga artists on the forum. 😉

    I think dinosaurs are cooler than dragons. 🦖

    The Fledgling Artist

    Oh, @dekreel I don’t think I mentioned (but is important I note!) I don’t actually draw manga either. *blush* I do draw in a cartoony style though so I would hope some of what I said still applies to you. (Sorry if it doesn’t).

    "Though I'm not yet who I will be, I'm no longer who I was."


    Okay I’ve been drawing manga forever and I just gotta say you are really good. If you are looking for ideas to improve i’d say the face area Like you said your heads are a bit big but that isn’t really a problem if your eyes are larger. My favourite thing about drawing manga is the eyes the more detailed and more light bubbles the better most of the time in my mind. I noticed  your hair is often very triangular which may contribute to the face perspective softer more natural hair may work better. I tend to go almost to realistic on my manga bodies so I’m not really the best to ask on that account.

    I wanted to say Woah! to the clothes on your sketches they are amazing!


    Sarah Inkdragon

    @ethrydal Thanks for the tag!


    *cracks knuckles*

    Alright. Let’s get down to business.

    First off, I like your style of manga. It’s cute, fun, and representing the fun more youth/slice-of-life/young romance style of manga, and it could also turn into a cartoon style with a few tweaks. Overall, it’s fun, versatile, and nice to look at.

    Some things I would work on are sketching. Do A LOT of sketches in pencil of random things–eyes, noses, profiles, hands, etc. This is something that will help you so much you won’t believe it.

    Second–the style you draw in has the eyes lower than other styles of manga, to show innocence and if it was anime, it would influence a more “G/PG” rating rather than a more action type or art, that indicates more of a PG/PG-13-14 rating. (Yes, I know, I’m being technical. Bear with me.) So I think if you round out the tops of your heads a little more and shorten up your forehead, you should be fine. On the one profile drawing of a girl, your eyes are a bit low, but other than that I think the other drawings look good. 😉

    Mouths–in manga/anime, the mouths are placed lower than in realistic drawings sometimes, to either make the face/nose look longer, or to simplify the drawing. Either way, I like where your mouths are, especially in the first drawing. I might suggest taking a pencil and studying lips and teeth a bit, but other than that, you look good.

    Ears–your ears are a bit off, especially on the first drawing. On a normal manga face, the top of the ear should be level with the middle of the eye. Consider:

    <p style=”text-align: left;”>As you can see, his ear is level with the middle of his eye.</p>
    Other things:

    -Consider working on your jawline. As you can see from the sketch above, his jaw slants up and then ends just a bit behind his eye. For boys, the jawline is more square and sharp. For girls, the jaw is more rounded and smooth. I draw shonen(action) style manga, but the principles of anatomy are still the same, no matter what style you draw.

    -Make your heads a bit smaller. The basic manga head in a shonen style has the same proportions as a normal human, save for the eyes and nose sometimes. For your style, which is a little different, the heads are still basically the same, but look more like this:

    Happy drawing! And if you have any more questions, feel free to tag me. 😉

    "A hard heart is no infallible protection against a soft head."

    - C. S. Lewis


    @dekreel I wanted to say that, your art is really great. I know you work hard on it, and that’s perfect.
    But I do have some other things worth mentioning, as you are asking for advice. I am not acquainted that well with manga or anime, so I won’t point out what looks like errors if that’s alright because it seems a lot of stuff is done because of art style, plus looks you’re covered there 😉 .

    The best art advice I could give anyone interested in cartoony art is.. Draw realistically!! Sounds a but frustating, doesn’t it? Not kidding. Practice, practice, practice, and practice realistically. Realism is not better than other art, but trying this consistantly will greatly improve anyones art. Once you know how something actually is, and you can do it, then GOOD! *claps* you can do it! Then you just alter it here and there for styles sake, and you fix a lot of problems that come with loving a specific stylization of art. Like you can know how to draw a cartoony nose, but once you know how to do it realistically, you can draw a thousand noses in many styles that are all just as visually “correct”

    I apologize that this is extremely rambly, I strongly think this is a worthwhile and helpful action to take but I am not that great at explaing why. If it seems like a waste of time, take it or leave it, but from personal experience I can say it is helpful.
    Whatever you do for your art, KEEP DRAWING! ^o^

    Sketching with no reference is like hiking without a map!


    Oh, I forgot to mention. When drawing realistically it is very important to use a reference, whether it be IRL or a picture. (though I prefer real-life)
    Dekreel, you are a trooper for taking so many peoples critics and opinions and I want to encourage you to not be discouraged on all the flaws you see or others see in your art

    • This reply was modified 3 years ago by Ara.

    Sketching with no reference is like hiking without a map!

    The Fledgling Artist

    @dekreel Yeah I second what Ara just said. 🙂 I hope you don’t feel too overwhelmed with all the feedback you got! Being an artist is really hard because you can constantly see thing that aren’t perfect. And it’s so easy to beat yourself up or get frustrated at yourself for not being better. The truth is the more you draw the more you will improve. It doesn’t always feel like it but that’s how it works. So be nice to yourself (please, please, please!) and keep drawing! 😀

    "Though I'm not yet who I will be, I'm no longer who I was."



    Personally when I draw manga I make the bodies almost realistic and the hair big. One thing I’ve noticed looking at your drawings is that either the bodies are to small (sorta like a base sketch) or perhaps the heads are to large. It’s fine to have large heads if you are going for more of a chibi look…


    but if that’s your goal your gonna want bigger more detailed eyes and almost no nose. The detail of your clothing is amazing! Though maybe more variety in hair shapes would be helpful. I put together a few of my drawing with comments and tips below.

    The mechanics of manga are relatively simple once you’ve studied them. I find myself leaning toward the 3/4 angle often with manga.

    Light spots in hair can be very helpful as it hl you know where to cast the shadows and adds depth to your drawings.

    Thickness is important in manga particularly in female subjects. Most manga or anime you see with have very thick triangular hair with large clumps not singular stands.

    Male subjects in anime and manga can be hard to draw without making them look feminine. The best way I have found to do this is by using a heavy hand around the eyes and brows also making the nose as sharp as possible helps. Broad shoulders and muscles in the neck add to the identity.

    The expression your character is making is every important play close attention to detail!

    The drawings below are pretty self-explanatory.



    Hope this was able to help and wasn’t just confusing. Let me know how it works out for you!




    Buddy J.


    I am honored that you tagged me… And I’m not sure how much help I will be… so I will let the other artist speak.

    Published author, reader of many books, Student in writing, and Lumenite!

    J. Dekreel

    @ethryndal  @the-fledgling-artist  @lillian-parks03  @itisastarrynight @sarah-inkdragon  Thank you guys SO much for all the advice. I’m SO sorry it took so long to get back to you.

    Well, I have gotten considerably better over the past few months, especially with the head size and general proportions. Anything else I need to know?





    ENFP-T. Cartoonist, "half-writer", wolfish.

    The Fledgling Artist

    @dekreel Hey! Your body proportion  are really good! Very appealing. I love how detailed your costumes are. Maybe this is what I said last time, But I can for sure see some improvement here! Good job! (My favorite is that last picture) 😀 If you’re looking for things to keep practicing though, while the size of your shoes/feet is very proportionate they come off as looking a little .. I dunno.. lumpy? Maybe practice drawing from some references. And then, I’m not sure if this is a problem that carries through to all your work as I only notice it in the first image, but the shoulders seem to connect to the torso a little oddly? I can’t quite put my finger on it though. It just looks odd. Again though, great job! I can improvement for sure! 😉

    "Though I'm not yet who I will be, I'm no longer who I was."


    @dekreel I can tell you have improved! Well done 🙂

    Sketching with no reference is like hiking without a map!

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