Ultimate Guide To Anime Art Styles

Finally we are going to talk about anime art styles! After watching a lot of anime, you reach a point where you stop and say, “Wait a minute, the art style in this anime is exactly like that other one I watched before!”.

This is completely normal since each studio and director tends to have a preferred visual handwriting . Besides that, there are anime drawing trends and tropes that become popular because they are appealing for some key reasons.

So you are interested in learning more about how to draw in anime style or wondering about some of the most common anime drawing styles out there? No problemo, today, we will take you through a number of anime art styles that the industry offers. We will give some anime viewing recommendations along the way as well.

1. Popular Anime Art Styles: MOE

In the context of anime art styles. The term has been associated with characters that have an “aura” that awakens in the viewer the duty to protect them because they are vulnerable.

Mostly characters that, despite their actual age, look much younger, and we are not talking about a part of the cast, but the entire cast of characters share the characteristic of having a calm or tender aura.

Their heads are usually slightly disproportionate to their bodies’ size, and their eyes are huge to give them that childish feeling.

MOE Anime Recommendation: K-ON

anime drawing styles guide

The vast majority of Kyoto Animations anime have MOE as their trademark style, which often makes the general public not opt for their anime because of the “cute” feel, but at the same time, that means missing out on great stories that the animation studio has to offer.


K-On became at some point the standard MOE most people recognise as work of the studio.

The story of four girls forming a music club and their day-to-day lives up to the point where they have to go their separate ways. I really sometimes can’t believe it’s over 10 years old. I highly recommend it.

2. Chibi Anime Art Style

Although it has a negative connotation when said to another person, in the context of anime and manga, it is not limited to being short in stature. This style is usually used to represent a petite version of a character as if it were a child. Generally as a humorous device in series with a more proportionate style.

In the Chibi anime art style, the head is usually noticeably larger than the body, and facial expressions have been broadly exaggerated.

But let’s be honest, the Chibi anime art style has the biggest percentage of cute anime characters and relies on this factor a lot in its style. So if you are looking to draw adorable anime characters, then this anime art style is made for you.

Chibi Anime Recommendation: Himouto Humaru-Chan

anime art styles overview

Himouto Humaru-Chan tells the story of Humaru, who on the surface looks like a perfectly popular high schooler. When she is alone at home, however, she reveals her true self. An Otaku, Gamer, lazy with all the things contrary to what she looks like.

Shapeshifting into a Chibi version of herself whenever this side of her comes out. She will try to keep this side of her hidden from the outside. It is a hilarious series that uses this art style as a fundamental part of its story-telling.

3. Realistic Anime Art Style

Here we re talking about anime art styles, where the characters are aesthetically pretty close to accurate human anatomical proportions.

There is not much more to explain, as it is quite recognisable that they are linked to plots with themes and consequences that could happen in real life.

Realistic Anime Recommendation: Monster

realistic anime art

Kensô Tenma, a renowned neurosurgeon doctor in 1986 in Dusseldorf, was preparing to operate on an influential person who arrived in critical condition. A couple of children also arrived at the hospital; the girl was in shock, and the boy was in serious condition with a gunshot wound to the head.

Debating between what was most ethical and moral, Tenma agrees to operate on the child, going against his superiors, which would cause him problems since, with the death of the previous patient, the hospital’s directors would ruin his reputation.

However, things worsen when the directors are killed in strange circumstances, and Tenma becomes the main suspect.

Monster has one of the best stories I’ve seen in an anime. It’s gripping; as the story progresses, it becomes more complex and exciting, and above all, it has a lot of mystery which makes it even more interesting. Definitely a great story with a realistic anime art style that everyone should see.

4. Cartoonish Anime Drawing Style

I couldn’t find a better way to describe this anime art style. These anime drawings remind you of the visual style of an American cartoon because of the line-art. But obviously being a sort of crossover with the anime world. They exploit this anime visual style to new levels!

Cartoonish Anime Recommendation: Kill la Kill

cartoonish anime art style

Kill la Kill, is our cartoonish anime recommendation. It is the story of a girl looking for his father’s murderer, the owner of the other half of a scissor sword that she now owns. All with the unexpected help of a talking sailor suit that gives her the powers necessary to defeat the most powerful student …the president of the student council.


One of the points that will hook you to the series is its carefully crafted, cartoonish anime art style. It is one of my favorite anime as far as visual appeal is concerned.

The characters may seem simple, but they overflow with personality, making them easily distinguishable from each other within the series’s characters. The faces and expressions that the characters make are really funny.

The colors used throughout the series are great and give it great flair. The sets are pleasing to the eye and, from time to time, purposely made still frames appear at critical moments that are great.

5. Anime Drawing Styles: Heavily Stylized Anime

Shiny and beautifully detailed, there are some very high quality anime series out there! These series tap into the visual experience and really try to stun us with some larger than life fantastical images.

In this sense, the heavily stylized anime art style goes above and beyond of what a realist anime drawing style can do. Real world experiences can be taken to another level, the power of anime!

Stylized Anime Recommendation: Violet Evergarden

best anime art style

Violet Evergarden tells us the story of a young lady who was raised as a war weapon. Now with the war finished, it has to re-insert into society. But not knowing how to be a functional person, she will work as a letter writer trying to learn from her clients’ lives.

This anime looks EXPENSIVE. The detail, the effects, everything is just beautiful. Every frame could be hanged in a frame in my house, I swear.

Kyoto Animations went the extra mile with this project and consolidated their new reputation of making extremely beautifully animated anime.

Hope you have learned a little bit more with us!
Until next time anime fans.

2 comments

  1. This is interesting, I’ve only heard of the Chibi style before.

    1. Glad you found the article useful! 🙂

Leave a Reply