You have a great story, a bunch of characters and you want to create a manga. However, where do you start? Do you have it Left->Right or Right->Left? How should you publish it (*note: some publishers may have additional requirements/restrictions)?
The process is pretty much the same for any graphic progression such as comics.
Luckily, there are a great number of tutorials to help you on your way.
A storyboard is a panel or series of panels which detail the sequence of significant events in a planned scene, i.e. a rough sketch coupled with some words to describe the actions in the scene.
At this point you'd need to have an idea of whether you are making a left->right or right->left manga and your story has been separated into scenes and plot points you wish to use to drive your story.
Once you have figured out the rough story, it's time to get to sketching. First you need to prepare your final layouts and edges of the paper. Typically there are margins on official manga paper to emulate. These give an idea of where the cut off points are.
Sure you do not need to worry so much in a digital sense, but some manga programs will put these in case you did want to put your manga into print. You can buy pre-marked papers with the rulers in non-photo blue and there are some templates in the tutorial list to give you the guidelines.
Non-Photo Blue Why do people make their sketches in a pale blue? This is a specific shade that scanners 'ignore' when scanning in grey-scale. So you do not need to remove your sketch lines after inking. Typically the non-photo blue comes in mechanical pencil leads of various sizes and do not smudge as easily as a standard graphite pencil.
Non-photo blue Wiki Page.
Paneling tips for manga
Paneling is a part of Graphic design. O_- It's an art in itself, think of how you would do a collage and put together a puzzle, that's how paneling works.
You must understand the basic 2D design element:
movement, center of interest, value contrast, volume, size, perspective.... so on and on....
As for paneling.... there is no set way to do it, whether drawing the picture first, or draw the panel's first, or draw the panels and the pictures back and forth.... it's all upto the artist, as long as the result is satisfying to the artist. Just experiement and find the best way that suits you.
1. Panels must support your content: That's the most important thing.... if one line is going over an important character's head shot, omit that line and let the character stand out~ If one frame is more important than the other, you wish to make it a focus on the page, make that frame larger than the others, sometimes it can even overlap other panels alittle. However, being overly complicated
After you have completed your sketch you can start to ink your page. You can use multi-liners, pen and ink or complete this digitally, this is completely up to the artist's preference.
Using the correct pen is important, as different pen nibs deliver different amounts of inks, digital programs emulate this as best as it can. However try not to use a ball point pen, as the ink can smear, try a felt tip instead. A cheaper pen is Staedtler Triplus Fineliner Pens, or Sakura Pigma Micron and personal favourite Copic Multi-liners. If you are going traditional pen nib and ink, the 'staples' are G, Saji and Mapping Pens, you'll also need to buy a shaft and ink pot (Copic Ink is quite nice).
This is also the stage at which you would add all the black areas, you can purchase additional brush pens to make this easier (or use the fill tool digitally).
Made a mistake? Use white ink to cover it over and start again.
Screentoning is another art in itself. Applying the correct screentone needs to be well thought out and consistent across your manga. Choosing a flashy pattern for a character's pants or jacket may distract from the story. Digitally you can easily trial and error, traditionally you are more limited, but you can at least put the tones across your page to see how they go together.
Applying a screentone can be quite fun, it comes with a sticky side that you cut a rough area then lightly apply to the paper, then you cut off the undesired amounts (if you go through the paper with your cutter just sticky tape the back). Once you have the cut out finished, stick it down more firmly.
After you have finished the pages it is time for scanning. Make sure your scanner surface is clean, then place your page on the scanner and put a backing behind and close the lid, put an even distribution of weight on your scanner and scan it in.
Typically choose grey-scale and 300dpi could be enough, but you can make it more. If you are planning on colouring it, if the 300dpi scanned page is not big enough, scan it at 600dpi instead.
Clean your page from dust, rotate and crop where necessary. Apply proper Curves/Levels to make the darks darker and whites brighter.
You have your art and your page all ready, now you need to add your text.
Choose a font/fonts you wish to use (such as Wild Words or Webletter). Pay careful attention to the position of the words in your speech bubbles/thought bubbles and try to mix up using italics and bold when a different tone is to be applied (thoughts or yelling for example).
You have your finished pages and you are ready to publish your manga. What is the best way?
This is purely up to the artist, some approaches are to have each page as a separate deviation and the comments manually link to the first page, previous page and next page.
Another approach is to use Flash or PDF to have the entire chapter/manga in one sequential file.
A new and exciting approach is to make use of Deviant Art's Motion Book Tool details here.
Thank you for reading this article, a lot of the tutorials linked to are the first part of many so be sure to check out the rest of the artists tutorials.
A traditional artist faces a great challenge after finishing an artwork. How do they get it on their computer to upload and show the world?
There are two main options: Scan or Photograph. Both of these come with a horde of challenges and this article is to offer a starting point for the artist to experiment and find the best solution for their art.
There are a number of type of scanners, the most common domestic peripheral being the flat bed scanner. This article focuses on using a flat bed scanner and not a wand or other type of scanner.
First things, the scanning bed must be as clean as possible, clear off dust and pet hairs before attempting to use and make sure the scanner is on a stable surface for scanning. Some scanners will be sensitive to direct sunlight being on the outside, if you find that your artworks get a strange bright spot, do check that section of your scanner isn't being exposed to direct light.
If your scanning software and scanner is being flaky: Have you tried turning it off and on again? Though for more complex problems check your scanner manual and support forums.
Firstly, put the flattened artwork on the scanner, face down and you can put a backing paper/cardboard behind it, then close the lid. Put an even distribution of weight on top of the scanner, to further press it to the surface of the scanner bed. Preview in your scanning software, if the artwork is showing warps (e.g. a watercolour picture might do this), either do some flattening with text books or try extra weight on top.
Scanner SettingsNow you are going to ask what settings do you need, this does depend on your scanner of course and your software. Typically in the 'manga scanlator world' 300dpi for Grey Scale, 600dpi for Colour. Most scanning programs have a preview mode that you use to then refine your scanning zone, scan a little outside the borders of your paper, if the program does some auto adjustments, generally just leave them.
You can use any format that you prefer, experiment to find the one you like best (e.g. PNG, JPG), or some scanners will send the image straight into your graphics program if you prefer.
Cleaning and Adjustments
You'll need a graphics program for this such as Photoshop or The GIMP. When you get your scan you might find some dust and pet hairs have made a sudden appearance, use the clone tool in fine detail to remove these specks. Removing them at the large scanned level is much easier than editing on a smaller canvas. After you have cleaned your artwork, crop it to remove the edges of the paper (you may need to rotate as well). If you have multiple scans to make one artwork, stitch together at this point.
The easiest colour adjustment is the simple Brightness/Contrast filter. Play with the settings to see what each setting does, typically the scanned version needs more contrast, sometimes it will be quite grey and need brightening up.
The more complex Curves and Levels could be used for greater control and you can also adjust the right colour channels (RGB or CYMK typically) as well. If you are feeling more adventurous try Selective Colour adjustment as well.
Did you know that a lot of scanners automatically filter out non-photo blue automatically? See the technical definition here.
If you do not have a scanner, you can always use a camera to photograph your work. The most important part of taking a photo of a flat surface is lighting. Make sure your print is securely flattened to the surface you are photographing. Using thin double-sided sticky tape underneath your image would be suitable.
Watercolours should be more difficult, pre-flatten before attempting to photograph so you don't get the warping shadows. You will still need to clean and colour adjust your final photograph.
Depending on what you have available you can choose to photograph on the ground or by sitting your print upright. Below is an example of an upright rig that has been set up and the results.
The preferred image ended up being the one on the ground. The natural lighting is an early afternoon with slight clouds.
Depending on your light sources you may find it easier to photograph upright. Open your window nice and wide to get as much natural light in as you can, angle several lamps towards your artwork (or create a photography lightbox). Try as many straight angles as you can to find the best one. Here is an example set up using three specific light sources:
But I don't have a lot of lamps!
Go pick up a couple of small cheap halogen lamps, they are your best bet or get direct sunlight inside, perhaps your bathroom is a more brightly lit place.
How you can check to see if your lighting is good enough is by taking a sample picture then using the 'Thresholds' adjustment to see if you have any dark or light spots. Two examples are as follows:
A very popular way of displaying your traditional artwork is to photograph it in such a way it is obvious it is a photograph. Most common way is to include the mediums in which you used to create the artwork or perhaps your hand drawing it. There are different challenges present when using this type of presentation than the earlier photography type.
The key component of the photograph has to be your artwork and not your materials, try not to clutter your artwork with every medium you used. Take consideration of the lighting is still required, otherwise you might end up with some bad discolouration.
This is a very difficult and highly subjective form of photographing your art, the best way is to experiment with what you like best.
Thank you for reading this article. Hopefully you can experiment to find a way of presenting your art that you like best.