• Anna

Ink work - Biro pen - Ponyo Sisters from Ponyo

Ponyo movie poster


Ponyo is another brilliant creation of Studio Ghibli and also one of my favourites. I heard that Hayao Miyazaki was influenced by Disney's The Little Mermaid in creating this film; however, I didn't see this at all when I first watched Ponyo. I could be that I just didn't pick it up, but the only obvious comparison was a girl-fish from the sea loves a human boy. You can say that Hayao Miyazaki has mastered the art of obtaining the best parts of a specific influence and creating something original and wonderful from it.

There is also something mysterious and surreal about the sea for me. I've always had dreams of swimming in the sea, admiring the beautiful coral reefs and feeling anxious as I swim into the dangerous deep waters where the sharks live. The irony is that I actually don't know how to swim in real life. I can't float since I panic as soon as the water goes past my chest. So, watching sea life documentaries or Ponyo is the next best thing.

City under water with sea creatures and jelly fish. Studio Ghibli's Ponyo. GIF

Above: Sea creatures after Tsunami when water level rose.

Feature character - Ponyo's sisters

Even though Ponyo's sisters played a short role in the film, they were utterly adorable and made the magic happen in the film. The scene when Ponyo escaped from his father in search for Sosuke with the help from her sisters, was one of the best parts in the film. Without her sisters, Ponyo wouldn't have been able to escape the bubble barrier her dad put her in. There also wouldn't have been any fish waves for Ponyo to run on in search of Sosuke.

Ponyo and sisters swimming to the ocean surface from Studio Ghibli's Ponyo. GIF

Above: Ponyo and her sisters

Ponyo running over fish waves. Ponyo Sisters as fish from Studio Ghibli's Ponyo. GIF

Above: Ponyo running on her sisters who turned to fish waves to help her find Sosuke


Ponyo Sisters faces from Studio Ghibli's Ponyo. GIF

Above: Movie still of Ponyo's sisters from Ponyo

Ponyo's sisters have a very simple and cute design when looked at individually, so I wanted to draw them as a group. I thought this was a perfect movie still to use. Not only is there a lot of detail, but they are so kawaii!

The Drawing

Biro, Ballpen, Pen art of Ponyo's sisters from Studio Ghibli's Ponyo. Black and white anime drawing by Anna Legaspi Art

Above: Biro drawing on A5 paper. Anna Legaspi 2021

Tools used

  • Mechanical pencil

  • Rubber or eraser

  • Bic Cristal Original Fine pen

  • A5 sketchbook paper (170 gsm)

  • Music from my Jazz Anime by Anna Legaspi on Spotify to set the mood. I also listened to the podcast Serial Killers.


Biro, Ballpen, Pen art of Ponyo's sisters from Studio Ghibli's Ponyo. Black and white anime drawing by Anna Legaspi Art

I've used just the Bic fine pen on this piece since I needed fine strokes considering the number of heads I needed to draw on a small A5 paper. I also didn't feel the need to change pens at any point, although I do think I could've completed the drawing faster if I used a different pen in some parts.

What I like about this drawing is that I didn't have to think much about what I needed to do. Once I decided on a specific style on one sister, it was a case of replicating the same technique for the rest of them. You can say it was a therapeutic exercise.

When I was ready to draw their mouths, I decided to give all of them tongues which is different from the reference. I wanted to give the sisters more dimension and make them more interesting. After drawing for the past few weeks, I'm feeling more confident in changing and altering the reference. I'm looking forward to making my original art and I'm starting to build ideas after all the recent drawings I've made.

Up Next

For next week, I've got something anime related but from an RPG game. I'm featuring one of the familiars from the game Ni no Kuni: The Wrath of the White Witch.

Thank you for taking the time to read about my thoughts on Ponyo and I hope my art has made a positive contribution to your day. If you like what you've seen so far and want to follow my art journey, please follow my socials or subscribe to get emails when I've got a new post.

Remember, It's not about creating the best art, but creating art that makes you happy!

All the best and until next time!

Lots of love and positivity,