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How to draw a Manga Page professionally and stress-free (more or less)

alibaba at 5:28AM, Feb. 16, 2008

The tools you may want to use as well as tips and advices.

(3 star average out of 12 votes)

This tutorial tries to cover tools and techniques that can make your drawing process easier and more effecient, especially if you are just starting out.

it is what i learned over time after making loads and loads of mistakes and learning from them (lol).
Keep in mind that these are only suggestions; depending on your style and your preferences, a different approach may be more useful to you, so feel free to try out everything for yourself.

OK, lets start with the tools!

1) Paper: the best paper i found is Deleter Comic Book Paper:
Its available in many formats and even with guidelines and rulers to save time for drawing panels.
Not only that, but its also of very good quality; you can erase often and the ink won't run!
The “kent” paper without rulers is especially good for artwork. both watercolors and markers look excellent on it.

2) Pencil: for the sketch, a HB-pencil is usually good enough.
But if you want to go for more professionality, you can try a Non-Photo Blue Pencil.
These pencils are colored (not just blue, they can have any color), but they can be erased like regular pencils.
The benefits of Non-Photo pencils is that they clearly stand out from the black inks. Therefore you won't miss/forget to ink lines as easily as with normal pencils, especially if you draw with strong lines.
The other advantage is that when you scan your page in Black and White, the blue will vanish, since its too light to pass the treshold (so you don't have to erase).
(NOTE: however, when you scan in Colors or Grayscale, it will be very lightly seen, which can be easily edited, though)
Lastly, Non-Photo pencils almost don't smudge.

3) Ruler: Many people (including me) don't like using rulers too much for several reasons, but it certainly is a good idea to get used to working with them; they make drawings look more accurate and also save time.
when buying one, there are a couple of things you want to have in mind:
-people who do a lot of cutting, usually prefer robust rulers made of metal.
But the more versatile ones are the see-through rulers with grid and steel edge, like this one:
it makes paneling and drawing buildings, etc. much easier and more efficient.

4) Ink: there are many kinds of different inks, but this time i'm going to limit myself on the Deleter-Inks.
These are specially made for drawing manga and therefore dry pretty quickly and are very dark.
They are numbered 1-6 and have slightly different features. Personally i prefer using 2 (glossy when dry) and 6 (matte when dry).
They also have white inks, which are amazing for corrections and special effects.

5) Inking Tools: You can basically choose between three things: fineliners , nib pens and brushes.
both have their strenghts and weaknesses, which are the following:
fineliner: they are available in all kinds of different line-widths from 0.03 to 5.00 (i think). The obvious weakness of that is that you will have to either constantly switch between different widths to achieve dynamic lines, or draw broader lines with many strokes, which is time consuming.
Their other weakness is that they have fairly weak ink, which doesn't look too great when scanned, and some fine lines can disappear if you scan in black and white (for print).
their advantages are that they are very easy to work with, you don't have to get used to them and their strokes dry instantly.

nib pens: these have to be constantly dipped in ink from a bottle. Nib pens are made of metal and “open up” depending on pressure, meaning that the more you press, the wider your line becomes. Therefore its possible to make fine and bold lines with the same nib.
However, you can only efficiently draw lines in one direction (up to down), which requires some time to get used to.
Nib pens are not as easy to use as fineliners, but their line quality is way superior and you can use all kinds of great inks with them. The lines look great when scanned even in black and white.

brushes: i have only found two kinds of useful brushes: art brushes (kolinsky, etc; VERY expensive) and synthetic brushes, which are almost just as good but affordable.
In any case, what a good brush must have is an absolutely sharp point when it is wet. If it doesn't become sharp, its crap.
The advantages of (good) brushes are that they can easily create all kinds of line widths and are quite easy to use comparedly to nib pens.
For some reason, many artists find their lines to look too “perfect”. Also, they are of course not useful for fine and accurate drawings.
You can find more information on brushes in this tutorial on watercoloring:

Personally, i like to use all of these tools for inking, just for different purposes. I recommend trying them all out.

6) Nib Pens: I have talked about their pros and cons in the previous step, but i want to get a bit deeper into them in this seperate step.
There are hundreds of different kinds of nibs, but few are suited for drawing manga. In fact, most professionals only use three kinds:
-G-Pen (can achieve both thin and very thick lines)
-Saji Pen (a bit finer than the G-Pen)
-Maru-Pen (superfine pen, can draw extremely thin lines)
These pens can all be used for different purposes. For example, most artists use the Maru-Pen to draw fine and detailed backgrounds and the G- or Saji-Pen for characters, to make them stand out from the background.
Generally the dynamic lines of the G-Pen look stronger and bolder (used more dominantly in shonen manga), while the Saji- and Maru-Pens are more delicate and beautiful (used more dominantly in shojo manga).
Tips to using dip pens:
-dip pens wear off, meaning that with time, they will draw bolder lines. A Maru-Pen can wear off so much that it will create lines as thick as a G-Pen! Therefore you should change your nib pens from time to time, or your lines will look ugly…
-dip pens often don't want to draw or suddenly start producing horrible lines. What happens in a case like this is that dust from the paper or dry ink gets caught up in it. In that case, you should wipe it off with a tissue and/or dip it in water (and wipe off again). You have to get used to constantly cleaning it if you work with a quick drying ink.
-If your pen is clean and still refuses to draw it can be that the ink is too thick. Try to dilute it with some water or use a different kind. If that still doesn't help, it can be that your nib is either damaged or you got a bad one.
-you may want to check out my tutorial on inking here:

7) Paneling:
There are a couple of things you should keep in mind with paneling: Panels look good when they are continually drawn with the same line width (you can either try a fine-liner or a rapidograph, but nib pens are usually not advisable).
You should also have a consistent system for the distances between the panels (the “gutters”). If they are random, it can easily confuse the reader (not to be underestimated).
Lastly, paneling should serve two purposes:
-the first is readability , meaning that your panels shouldn't look too chaotic. They should make the eye “flow” over the page in the order you, as the author, want it to.
-the second is a bit harder to sum up with one word, but paneling should go with the content of your art and story. It has to support what's shown inside of the panels.
You can find more info in this tutorial:

8) Scanning and Retouch: A manga page that is intended to be printed should be scanned in a resolution between 600-1200dpi, depending on the size of paper you draw and the format its to be printed on (for example, if you draw on a huge A3 paper and want it to be printed on a small A5 format, you can go with a lower resolution like 600dpi and vice versa).
A walkthrough on scanning and retouch can be found here:

And that's about it :) . Congratulations on reading this whole thing XD !



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