How to Draw Anime on Krita: A Comprehensive Tutorial for Anime Enthusiasts

Pick Up Your Digital Pen and Get Ready to Create!

Are you a fan of anime and interested in creating your own characters and stories? Look no further! In this comprehensive tutorial, we will guide you through the process of drawing anime on Krita, a powerful and popular digital painting software. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced artist, this step-by-step guide will help you bring your imagination to life on the digital canvas.


If you’re new to Krita, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the software before diving into the world of anime drawing. Krita is a free and open-source digital painting tool that offers a wide range of features and tools. It is known for its powerful brush engine, customizable interface, and extensive support for various file formats. With Krita, you can create stunning artwork and illustrations that capture the essence of anime.

Before we begin, let’s address a common question that often arises among beginners:

“Can I draw anime on Krita even if I’m a beginner?”

Absolutely! Krita provides a user-friendly interface and a variety of resources that make it accessible to artists of all skill levels. With dedication and practice, you can master the art of anime drawing on Krita.

Getting Started with Krita

To embark on your anime drawing journey with Krita, follow these simple steps:

1. Download and Install Krita

The first step is to download and install Krita on your computer. Visit the official Krita website ( and navigate to the downloads page. Choose the appropriate version for your operating system and follow the installation instructions provided. Once the installation is complete, launch Krita to begin your creative journey.

2. Set up Your Workspace

Upon launching Krita, you’ll be greeted with a default workspace layout. However, Krita gives you the flexibility to customize the interface according to your preferences and workflow. Spend some time exploring the various panels, toolbars, and dockers available in Krita. Rearrange them to create a workspace that feels comfortable and intuitive for you. Customizing your workspace to match your artistic style can greatly enhance your productivity and overall drawing experience.

3. Familiarize Yourself with Brushes

Brushes are the heart and soul of your digital artwork. Krita offers an extensive collection of brushes that emulate traditional art mediums, enabling you to bring your anime characters to life with a touch of authenticity. Experiment with different brushes, such as pencil brushes for sketching, inking brushes for clean line art, and textured brushes for adding depth and texture to your artwork. Adjust the brush settings, such as size, opacity, flow, and pressure sensitivity, to achieve the desired effect. Take your time to explore the vast range of brushes available in Krita to find the ones that resonate with your artistic style.

4. Study Anatomy and Proportions

Anime characters, despite their exaggerated features and unique art style, still adhere to basic human anatomy and proportions. Understanding the fundamentals of anatomy is crucial for creating believable and appealing characters. Take the time to study human anatomy, focusing on proportions, skeletal structure, and muscular anatomy. Familiarize yourself with the proportions specific to anime characters, such as the larger eyes, smaller noses, and expressive facial features. Practice sketching basic figures and study poses to improve your understanding of gesture and movement.

5. Gather Inspiration

Inspiration can come from various sources, ranging from anime and manga to everyday life experiences. Immerse yourself in the world of anime and manga by watching popular series, reading manga, or exploring fan art communities. Pay attention to the unique characteristics and styles that define anime, such as the use of vibrant colors, dynamic poses, and expressive facial expressions. Engaging with other artists’ work can inspire you and provide valuable insights into different approaches and techniques.

6. Sketch Your Ideas

With a solid foundation of knowledge and inspiration, it’s time to bring your ideas to life on the digital canvas. Start by sketching rough outlines and basic shapes to establish the pose and proportions of your anime character. It’s essential to keep your initial sketches loose and light, allowing for easy adjustments and modifications. Krita offers a variety of brush options to facilitate the sketching process. Experiment with different brush sizes and opacities to find the one that suits your needs. Remember, the sketching phase is all about exploring different ideas and refining your concept before moving on to the next steps.

7. Refine Your Sketch

Once you’re satisfied with the overall pose and proportions of your character, it’s time to refine your sketch. Switch to a darker-colored brush and start adding more details and defining the contours of your character. Pay close attention to the facial features, clothing folds, and any accessories your character may have. Refining your sketch ensures that you have a solid foundation to work on during the later stages of the drawing process.

Tutorial: Step-by-Step Guide to Drawing Anime on Krita

Now that you’re familiar with the basics, let’s dive deeper into the process of drawing anime on Krita. Follow this step-by-step tutorial to create your own anime masterpiece:

Step 1: Rough Sketch

Start by creating a new canvas in Krita with the desired dimensions and resolution. Use a light-colored brush, such as a pencil brush, to sketch the basic outline of your character. Focus on capturing the pose and proportions accurately, paying attention to the general shapes and proportions of the head, torso, limbs, and facial features. Don’t worry about adding too many details at this stage; the rough sketch is meant to serve as a guide for the subsequent steps.

  1. Select the Pencil Brush: In the brush dock, choose the pencil brush from the available options. Adjust the brush size according to the scale of your canvas and the level of detail you want to achieve.
  2. Adjust the Brush Opacity: Lower the opacity of the pencil brush to around 30-40%. This will allow you to create light, sketchy lines that are easily editable and won’t overpower the final artwork.
  3. Block in the Basic Shapes: Begin by lightly sketching the basic shapes that make up your character. Start with simple geometric shapes for the head, torso, and limbs. Use light, loose strokes to establish the pose.
  4. Refine the Proportions: Compare the proportions of your sketch to your reference material or your mental image of the character. Make any necessary adjustments to ensure that the limbs, head, and features are in proportion to each other.
  5. Add Facial Features: Sketch the facial features, such as the eyes, nose, and mouth. Pay attention to the unique characteristics of anime, such as the large, expressive eyes. Keep the lines light and easily editable.
  6. Refine the Pose: Further refine the pose of your character by adding more details to the limbs, hands, and feet. Experiment with different poses and gestures to add personality and dynamism to your character.
  7. Step back and evaluate: Take a step back and evaluate your rough sketch. Make any necessary adjustments and modifications before moving on to the next step.

Step 2: Refine the Sketch

With the rough sketch as your guide, it’s time to refine the lines and add more details to your character. Switch to a darker-colored brush, such as an inking brush, to create cleaner and more defined lines. This step involves defining the facial features, clothing, and any accessories your character may have.

  1. Select the Inking Brush: Choose an inking brush from the brush options available in Krita. Inking brushes are designed to create clean, crisp lines suitable for outlining your sketch.
  2. Adjust the Brush Settings: Customize the brush settings to achieve the desired line thickness and smoothness. Experiment with the pressure sensitivity and stabilization options to find the configuration that suits your drawing style.
  3. Focus on the Facial Features: Start refining the facial features of your character. Define the shape and size of the eyes, the position of the nose and mouth, and other facial details. Use confident strokes to create clean lines that capture the unique characteristics of your character.
  4. Outline the Hair and Clothing: Move on to outlining the hair and the clothing of your character. Study different hair textures and styles to add a sense of volume and movement. Pay attention to the folds and creases in the clothing, using short, curved lines to indicate their presence.
  5. Add Accessories: If your character has any accessories, such as jewelry, weapons, or props, define their shape and position. Keep in mind that accessories should complement and enhance the character’s design without overpowering it.
  6. Erase Unnecessary Guidelines: Use an eraser brush to remove any unnecessary guidelines or stray sketch lines that are no longer needed. Make sure to keep the lines clean and smooth while retaining the defining features of your character.
  7. Step back and evaluate: Take a moment to step back and evaluate your refined sketch. Make any final adjustments and refinements before moving on to the next step.

Step 3: Block in Colors

With the refined sketch as your solid foundation, it’s time to add colors to your anime character. This step involves selecting and blocking in the base colors for different parts of your character, such as the skin, hair, and clothing. By blocking in the colors, you establish the overall color scheme and create a visual map for subsequent shading and highlighting.

  1. Create New Layers: Start by creating separate layers for different areas of your character, such as the skin, hair, and clothing. This allows for easy adjustment and modification of colors later on.
  2. Choose the Base Skin Color: Select a base color for the skin of your character. Use a large brush with a low opacity to quickly fill in the area with the chosen color. Don’t worry about precision at this stage; the focus is on establishing the overall color palette.
  3. Block in the Hair Color: Move on to the hair and block in the base color. Depending on the hair style and color, choose an appropriate shade and use short, overlapping strokes to fill in the area. Experiment with different brush textures and opacity settings to create the desired hair texture.
  4. Add Base Colors for Clothing and Accessories: Proceed to block in the base colors for the clothing and any accessories your character may have. Consider the material and design of the clothing, using varying brush sizes and techniques to add depth and texture.
  5. Refine Color Placement: Take the time to refine the placement and edges of your color blocks. Use smaller brushes to clean up any areas where colors may have overlapped. Pay attention to the edges and ensure a clean separation between different color regions.
  6. Step back and evaluate: Take a step back and evaluate your color choices and their overall appearance. Make any necessary adjustments and refinements to ensure that the colors harmonize and complement each other.

Step 4: Add Shadows and Highlights

With the base colors in place, it’s time to add depth and dimension to your character by incorporating shadows and highlights. Shadows create the illusion of depth, while highlights add emphasis and bring certain areas forward. This step involves selecting suitable shades and blending them seamlessly with the base colors to achieve a realistic and visually appealing result.

  1. Create New Layers for Shadows and Highlights: Begin by creating separate layers for shadows and highlights. This allows for easy adjustment and fine-tuning of the effects without affecting the base colors.
  2. Select the Shadow Color: Choose a slightly darker shade of the base color for the area you want to shade. For example, if shading the skin, select a darker skin tone. Use a brush with a low opacity to build up the shadows gradually, creating a smooth transition from the base color.
  3. Add Shadows to the Face: Start by adding shadows to the facial features. Pay attention to the placement of light sources and imagine where shadows would naturally form. Focus on areas such as the eye sockets, the underside of the nose, and the contours of the cheeks.
  4. Shade the Hair and Clothing: Move on to shading the hair and clothing. Consider the direction of light and use shorter, more controlled brush strokes to create the appearance of texture and volume. Experiment with different brush sizes and blending modes to achieve the desired effect.
  5. Add Highlights and Light Reflections: Once the shadows are in place, it’s time to add highlights and light reflections to create depth and bring certain areas forward. Select a slightly lighter shade of the base color and use gentle brush strokes to add highlights to the face, hair, and clothing. Focus on areas that catch the light, such as the bridge of the nose, the top of the cheekbones, and the folds of the clothing.
  6. Blend Colors for Smooth Transitions: To achieve a realistic appearance, blend the shadows and highlights with the base colors using brushes with low opacity and soft edges. Work gradually and patiently to achieve smooth transitions between the different color regions.
  7. Step back and evaluate: Take a step back and evaluate the interplay of shadows and highlights on your character. Make any necessary adjustments and refinements to ensure a balanced and visually appealing result.

Step 5: Refine Details and Textures

With the base colors, shadows, and highlights in place, it’s time to focus on adding intricate details and textures to your anime character. This step involves zooming in and using smaller brushes to refine the fine details such as hair strands, clothing folds, and accessory embellishments.

  1. Zoom In for Detailed Work: Zoom in on your artwork to get a closer view of the areas that require refinement. This allows for more precision and control over the brush strokes.
  2. Refine Hair Strands and Textures: Pay close attention to the hair and refine the individual strands and details. Use a smaller brush size and create flowing, organic strokes to mimic the texture and movement of hair. Experiment with different brush settings to achieve the desired effect.
  3. Add Clothing Details: Move on to the clothing and focus on adding intricate details such as folds, creases, and patterns. Observe real-life references or study manga and anime artwork to understand how clothing drapes and reacts to different movements.
  4. Pay Attention to Accessories: If your character has accessories like jewelry, weapons, or props, spend time refining the details of these elements. Use smaller brushes and precise strokes to bring out the intricate features and make them stand out.
  5. Highlight Textures with Light and Shadows: Use lighter shades tohighlight certain areas and darker shades to create depth and shadows within the details and textures. This will add dimension and realism to your character’s overall appearance.
  6. Add Facial Features: Zoom in on the face and pay attention to the details of the eyes, eyebrows, lips, and other facial features. Use small, precise brush strokes to define the shape and add depth to the eyes. Experiment with different brush sizes and opacities to capture the essence of anime-style eyes, which are often characterized by large, expressive shapes and shine highlights.
  7. Refine Clothing Details: Focus on the clothing and refine the folds, wrinkles, and textures. Study how different fabrics drape and interact with the character’s body. Use varying brush sizes and pressures to create depth and dimension within the clothing. Add highlights to the raised surfaces and shadows to the recessed areas to enhance the three-dimensional quality.
  8. Texture Tools and Brushes: Krita offers a variety of texture tools and brushes that can be used to add interesting textures to your artwork. Experiment with brushes that mimic different materials such as fur, fabric, or metal. Use these brushes sparingly and strategically to enhance specific areas of your character or background.
  9. Details on Accessories: If your character is wearing accessories, such as jewelry or accessories, take the time to add detailed features. Pay attention to the reflective properties of metals, the textures of gemstones, and the intricate designs of accessories. Use smaller brush sizes and precise strokes to capture the fine details.
  10. Finalize the Textures: Step back and evaluate the overall texture of your character. Make any necessary adjustments and refinements to ensure that the textures are cohesive and visually appealing. Remember to strike a balance between realism and stylization, as anime art often incorporates exaggerated or simplified textures to enhance the overall look.
  11. Step back and evaluate: Take a step back and evaluate the details and textures you’ve added to your character. Ensure that they enhance the overall composition and contribute to the storytelling. Make any necessary adjustments to achieve the desired result.

Step 6: Background and Effects

With your character fully rendered, it’s time to consider the background and any additional effects that can enhance the overall composition. This step involves creating a suitable environment or setting for your character, as well as adding special effects to make the artwork more dynamic and visually engaging.

  1. Create a New Layer for the Background: Start by creating a new layer below your character layers to work on the background. This allows you to make changes without affecting the character itself.
  2. Choose a Background Style: Consider the mood and story you want to convey with your artwork. Decide whether you want a simple, solid color background or a more elaborate scene. For solid color backgrounds, choose a color that complements your character and enhances the overall composition. For scenes, think about the location, lighting, and atmosphere that best suit your character.
  3. Add Depth with Perspective: If you’re creating a scene with a background, use perspective techniques to add depth and create a sense of space. Research and apply the fundamentals of linear perspective to ensure that the elements in your background are proportionally correct and visually compelling.
  4. Paint the Background: Use various brushes and techniques to paint the background. Consider the lighting conditions and the interaction between light and shadow. Use contrasting colors and textures to create visual interest and guide the viewer’s eye towards your character.
  5. Special Effects and Lighting: To make your artwork more dynamic and visually appealing, experiment with special effects and lighting techniques. Add additional layers for effects such as glowing auras, magical elements, or dynamic action lines. Use different blending modes and brush textures to create the desired effects.
  6. Step back and evaluate: Take a step back and evaluate the background and effects you’ve added to your artwork. Ensure that they enhance the overall composition and provide context or enhance the story you want to convey. Make any necessary adjustments to achieve the desired result.

Step 7: Final Touches and Export

With your character and background complete, it’s time to add final touches and prepare your artwork for sharing or printing. This step involves refining any remaining details, making any necessary adjustments, and exporting your artwork in the desired format.

  1. Zoom In for Detail Work: Zoom in on your artwork and carefully inspect it for any remaining imperfections or areas that require refinement. Use smaller brush sizes and precise strokes to address any issues and polish the overall appearance.
  2. Refine Edges and Line Art: Pay close attention to the edges and line art of your character. Make sure they are clean and free of any stray marks or rough edges. Use an eraser brush to clean up any areas that need correction.
  3. Adjust Colors and Contrast: Evaluate the overall color balance and contrast of your artwork. Make any necessary adjustments to ensure that the colors are vibrant and cohesive. Experiment with adjustment layers or filters to achieve the desired effect.
  4. Add Signature or Watermark: Consider adding a signature or watermark to your artwork to protect it and establish your identity as an artist. Create a new layer above all other layers and use a small, discreet brush to add your signature or watermark.
  5. Export Your Artwork: Once you’re satisfied with the final result, it’s time to export your artwork. Choose the appropriate file format (such as PNG or JPEG) and resolution for your intended use. Consider factors such as file size, color profile, and compression settings to ensure that your artwork looks its best when shared or printed.
  6. Save a High-Resolution Copy: In addition to the exported version, save a high-resolution copy of your artwork in Krita’s native format (.kra). This allows you to make future edits or prints without loss of quality.
  7. Share and Showcase Your Artwork: Finally, share your artwork with the world! Consider showcasing it on social media platforms, art communities, or your personal website. Engage with fellow artists, gather feedback, and continue to improve your skills and expand your artistic horizons.

Tips and Tricks for Drawing Anime on Krita

Here are some additional tips and tricks to help you improve your anime drawing skills on Krita:

  1. Experiment with Layer Modes: Krita offers various layer blending modes that can add interesting effects and depth to your artwork. Play around with these modes to see how they can enhance your drawings.
  2. Utilize Transformation Tools: Krita provides transformation tools that allow you to resize, rotate, and distort elements in your artwork. These tools can be particularly useful for adjusting proportions or creating dynamic poses.
  3. Try Different Styles: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different anime styles and techniques. Explore various line weights, coloring styles, and shading techniques to find your unique artistic voice.
  4. Join Online Communities: Engage with other artists and anime enthusiasts by joining online communities, forums, or social media groups. Share your artwork, ask for feedback, and learn from fellow artists.
  5. Practice Regularly: Just like any skill, drawing anime on Krita requires regular practice and dedication. Set aside dedicated time each day or week to hone your skills and explore new techniques.

How to Draw Anime on Krita – FAQ

1. How long does it take to learn anime drawing on Krita?

Learning anime drawing on Krita is a journey that varies for each individual. The time it takes to become proficient depends on several factors, including your level of commitment, previous experience in art, and the complexity of the styles you aim to achieve. With consistent practice and a growth mindset, you can start seeing progress in a few weeks. However, mastering the art of anime drawing may take several months or even years.

2. Can I use a mouse instead of a digital pen for anime drawing on Krita?

While it’s possible to draw anime on Krita using a mouse, it can be challenging to achieve the same level of precision and control as with a digital pen or a graphics tablet. Investing in a digital pen or tablet can greatly enhance your drawing experience and allow for more natural and fluid strokes. However, if a digital pen or tablet is not available to you, it’s still possible to create beautiful anime artwork using a mouse. Experiment with different brush settings and practice to improve your mouse control.

3. Where can I find anime drawing resources for Krita?

There are numerous online resources available for anime drawing on Krita. Websites like DeviantArt, Pinterest, and Krita Artists offer a wealth of tutorials, references, and brush packs specifically tailored for anime artists. Additionally, exploring books, attending workshops, or joining art communities can provide valuable insights and inspiration for your artwork.

4. Can I use Krita for other types of digital art?

Absolutely! While Krita is well-known for its anime drawing capabilities, it is a versatile software suitable for various forms of digital art. Whether you’re interested in creating landscapes, still life, or abstract art, Krita provides the necessary tools and features to bring your creative ideas to life. Don’t limit yourself to a single style or genre. Explore different art forms and experiment with various techniques to expand your artistic horizons.

5. Are there any shortcuts or hotkeys in Krita that can speed up my workflow?

Yes, Krita offers a wide range of shortcuts and customizable hotkeys that can significantly speed up your workflow. Familiarize yourself with commonly used shortcuts such as undo (Ctrl+Z), brush size adjustment (F5 and F6), zoom in/out (Ctrl++ and Ctrl+-), and brush opacity adjustment (1-0 keys). Customizing and memorizing these shortcuts can save you valuable time and make your drawing process more efficient.

6. Can I use Krita on my tablet or smartphone?

Krita is primarily designed for desktop operating systems such as Windows, macOS, and Linux. While there currently isn’t an official Krita app for tablets or smartphones, you may be able to run Krita on certain devices with compatible specifications using third-party software or remote desktop applications. However, keep in mind that the full functionality and performance of Krita may not be replicated on mobile devices.

7. How can I share my anime drawings created on Krita with others?

To share your anime drawings created on Krita, you can export your artwork as an image file (such as PNG or JPEG) and upload it to various platforms. Consider sharing your artwork on social media platforms, art communities, your personal website, or online portfolios. Use appropriate tags and descriptions to reach a wider audience and engage with fellow anime enthusiasts and artists.


Congratulations! You’ve reached the end of our comprehensive tutorial on how to draw anime on Krita. We hope this guide has provided you with valuable insights and techniques to enhance your anime drawing skills on the digital canvas.

Remember, becoming proficient in anime drawing requires practice, dedication, and a willingness to experiment and learn. Embrace your unique artistic style and continuously challenge yourself to improve. Engage with the vibrant online community of anime artists, seek feedback, and share your artwork to grow as an artist.

So, what are you waiting for? Grab your digital pen, launch Krita, and let your creativity soar as you bring your very own anime characters and stories to life!

Disclaimer: The information presented in this article is for educational purposes only. The author and the website are not responsible for any artwork created or actions taken based on the information provided. Create and share your artwork responsibly and respect copyright laws.

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