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
Inking and Pen Techniques
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).
PE: Adding Text to your Manga
You now have your manga ready for some text. As part of the panelling and story boarding process you have created the speech bubbles and have a rough idea of where your text is going to be placed.
At this point you may have hand drawn some SFX or will place these on with a font as well.
The main point is to keep it consistent across your manga, changing your font half way through is often seen as sloppy and unprofessional.
Types of Text
There are many types of text in any given comic or manga, such as Normal conversational text (this is your primary text), Thoughts, Scene Queues, Background Descriptions (no text bubble or rectangular blocks typically), Soft Voice/Aside, Yelling are just some of the examples.
For each of these situations have a consistent font/style choice across your manga. Some variation may be advantageous, such as modifying the lettering if th
Presentation & Useful Groups
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.
Useful Groups for more tutorials and tools
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.
Questions to the readers:
- What is your favourite part of making a manga?
- Do you have a favourite screentone or effect?
The animated gifs are from Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun.