Anime, Articles, Manga
Leave a comment

Get Real! The Drawing Skills: Anatomy Panel At SMASH! 2014


Drawing Skills-Anatomy-Panel-SMASH-2014-15

As a huge Anime and Manga fan (obviously), there’s something I feel like I can say without hesitation: Reality is not something fans of these particular mediums entirely enjoy, that’s why we escape into worlds filled with wonder and magic, worlds that make us believe we’re all heroes in our own lives or at least if we’re not now we will be eventually! That’s the majesty of Anime and Manga; it’s stepping into a world where reality is thrown out the window, tossed to the curb and left to wilt in the rain, where imagination runs wild and anything is possible!

Though, even in saying that, there are some instances where we’re forced to come back down to Earth and even in the world of Anime and Manga, the characters need to look realistic enough for us to believe, even just slightly, that these amazing scenarios could be possible throughout time and space. This is where the style of realistic drawing comes into play and Hilary Sandeman, the host of the informative ‘Drawing Skills: Anatomy’ panel at this year’s SMASH!, only wants to help future Mangakas and animators grasp the skill with everything they have.

Fellow writer Kane Bugeja and I hit the sidelines to absorb the information relayed at this panel in a different but effective way: Being held at the Art Stage alongside craft workshops and tables placed for con-goers to be able to sit, unwind and do a little drawing, it was a great opportunity for he and I to put her words into practice so we drew as she explained and a unspoken sense of balance was achieved.

Drawing Skills-Anatomy-Panel-SMASH-2014-01

Throughout the panel she basically explained to the audience that Anime and Manga character’s anatomy is so unrealistic that it is almost crazy. Accompanying her points were visual examples which were projected onto screens of which the whole room could see. Her nervousness were apparent as she continually apologized to the audience for slurring or messing up words to which viewers of the panel were more than happy to shoot a smile back assuring her that she’s doing a fantastic job and that they all appreciate what she has to talk about. Miss Sandeman took us through common mistakes that rookies of illustration make when starting off drawing Anime and Manga-like characters and how they can kill the bad habits of drawing before they become too much and effect overall drawing styles.

The anatomy of a character would have to be one of the most important aspects of any Anime or Manga seeing as they are the figures our attention is mostly drawn too, Miss Sandeman explains that while letting your imagination run wild is sometimes good, it is also beneficial to know exactly what it is that you’re drawing and how it would translate into reality. The final segment of the panel was filled with a live drawing by the extremely talented woman as she showed us what her drawing style was like many years ago and how it has now changed after she has worked to implement all of these tips and tricks.

It was clear that the audience was impressed by her level of talent and skill as well as how fantastically her art-making process has changed over the years. It definitely inspired me to think clearly about what it was I was drawing and I’m sure it had the same effect on the audience members who took the time away from the convention to listen and learn. Though the audience WAS small, it was clear that they were all touched by Hilary Sandeman’s words of wisdom and I’d like to think they all went away with a spring in their step and a new look on their illustration process.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Hilary Sandeman is completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts at National Art School, she combines her studies in life drawing with her passion for manga and cartooning, working in ink, watercolour, copics and digital formats. She is a published illustrator, and an active member of Sydney Comics Guild.

You can contact Miss Sandeman directly by e-mailing


Filed under: Anime, Articles, Manga


Why are you reading this? The article is over! Get out of here! Your family is worried about you, you're spending far too much time reading this and not the countless other excellent articles on the website! Please, do it for them!

Let us know your thoughts!