This work is devoted to anisotropic continuum-damage mechanics in the quasi-static, isothermal, small-strain setting. We propose a framework for anisotropic damage evolution based on the compliance tensor as primary damage variable, in the context of generalized standard models for dissipative solids. Based on the observation that the Hookean strain energy density of linear elasticity is jointly convex in the strain and the compliance tensor, we design thermodynamically consistent anisotropic damage models that satisfy Wulfinghoff’s damage-growth criterion and feature a convex free energy. The latter property permits obtaining mesh-independent results on component scale without the necessity of introducing gradients of the damage field. We introduce the concepts of stress-extraction tensors and damage-hardening functions, implicitly describing a rigorous damage-analogue of yield surfaces in elastoplasticity. These damage surfaces may be combined in a modular fashion and give rise to complex damage-degradation behavior. We discuss how to efficiently integrate Biot’s equation implicitly, and show how to design specific stress-extraction tensors and damage-hardening functions based on Puck’s anisotropic failure criteria. Last but not least we demonstrate the versatility of our proposed model and the efficiency of the integration procedure for a variety of examples of interest.