How to Draw Anime & Manga Arms Tutorial

August 11, 2022

This tutorial will show you how to draw manga- and anime-style arms. It also includes a breakdown of proportions and illustrations of arms in various positions.

 

Anime arms drawing examples

This tutorial will be about the more popular and more realistic anime arms. These are the arms for a young female character, but you can also draw arms for young male characters using the same technique (just change the body).

This tutorial doesn’t go into too much detail about drawing hands. You can find this tutorial:

  • Step by step Drawing Manga and Anime Hands
  • How to Draw an Anime Hand Holding Something

You might also like to check out the tutorial on drawing neck and collar bones.

How To Draw an Anime Neck and Shoulders

How to Draw Anime Characters Tutorial

Step by Step Drawing & Anime Arm Proportions

Anime arm proportions

It’s a good idea first to analyze the basic proportions of your arms before you begin drawing them.

These can be slightly different from person to person and style to style, but you can generally use the example above.

It is common for the distance between below the shoulder and the elbow to be the same. The elbow to the wrist is usually shorter than the elbow.

Draw anything, including arms. Start with a sketch. Then add darker lines to it.

 

It can be a bit tricky, but it is important to keep these proportions in mind when drawing arms from different positions.

Drawing Anime Arms with Different Bends

Anime arms bending drawing

The main effect of bending the arms is for the elbow to stick out more as the bend gets more severe. The elbow area tends to be slightly indented when the arm is straight.

If the arm is bent too far, there will be a “fold” to the side opposite the elbow.

Drawing Anime Arms with Different Twists

Anime arms with different twists drawing

The arm will appear wider or narrower depending on how you view it from the same perspective, but different twists of your wrist.

Anime stretched out arm open palm drawing

As a base, place your palm in front of the viewer and extend your arm out. You can then see the variations below.

Anime stretched out arm open palm up drawing

Draw the entire arm from the palm up.

Anime stretched out arm palm down drawing

Draw the arm with the palm facing downward. The wrist should be “thinner” because the viewer will be viewing it from the side.

Anime stretched out arm open drawing

The arm should be drawn with the palm facing away from the viewer. However, the “below elbow” area should not be as narrow. Draw the wrist the same way as the base.

Drawing Anime Arms in Different Positions

Remember to keep the proportions in mind when drawing anime arms in various positions, such as the ones shown below.

Drawing Flexed Anime Arms

Anime arms flexed drawing

Draw the biceps slightly, as this particular set of flexed arm muscles isn’t very muscular. The drawing can be left as is. You can add a hint to the bottom of your biceps by adding just a few lines.

 

Drawing Raised Anime Arms

Raised anime arms drawing

You can draw raised arms the same way as for the outstretched arms. You will notice a more stretched shoulder muscle.

Drawing Anime Arms to the Sides of Your Body

Anime arms to sides drawing

Draw the arms with the hands on the sides of your body, so that they look like you are standing in front of them. Draw them slightly bent at the elbows.

Drawing anime arms where parts of the arm are hidden

The technique below can be used to draw anime arms with parts hidden.

Drawing cross-ed anime arms

Anime crossed arms drawing

It’s a good idea, as in the above example, to draw crossed arms of anime like “see-through”.

Anime crossed arms see-through drawing

The ability to see through the arms allows you to determine if they are properly placed. The fingers are on the left arm, for example.

Anime crossed arms see-through sketch

It doesn’t matter if you draw every detail, like the fingers in the previous example. To estimate their size and location, you can sketch as in the previous example.

Anime crossed arms sketch

Once you are satisfied that everything looks good, simply erase any parts that were not intended to be there. Add the small details and then go back over the sketch with darker lines.

Drawing Anime Arms Behind Head

Anime arms behind head drawing

You can use the same example to draw the arms behind your head. This pose is easier to draw. You can also estimate the position of the hidden arms without having to do a detailed drawing.

Make sure there’s enough space for your hands behind the head.

Drawing Anime Arms behind the Back

Anime arms behind back drawing

You can draw or estimate the positions of hidden parts by drawing the arms behind your back.

 

Simply ensure that your arms are straight so that they meet behind your back.

Remember that your arms will be slightly bent if you are in this position.

Conclusion

Because of their flexibility, arms can be difficult to draw. Keep in mind the proportions and compare the sizes of each arm to avoid making mistakes.

You can find more drawing tips here:

Beginner Guide to Drawing Anime & Manga

You can find more information about drawing anime bodies at:

  • Step by Step Drawing Anime Poses
  • Step by step Drawing an Anime Boy Full-Body

 

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