Process of inking, whiteout, paneling and dialogue boxes
We will explain the process of creating a manga. If you suddenly try drawing the entire manga on a manuscript, then the manga’s story can be inconclusive, and the panels can be unbalanced. Let’s learn the steps a professional manga artist and author from Japan takes to draw manga!
This course covers the process of how to make a manga including inking, whiteout, paneling and dialogue boxes
Professionals don’t just pick up a pencil and draw…
Anyone who has tried to make a manga before has probably done this. 0nce they get an idea in their head they pull out their pencil and paper and started drawing one page after another. Unfortunately, those mangas are most likely crumpled up and tossed in the dustbin.
This is one of the amateur’s biggest mistakes. Not even a professional manga artist could create a manga this way. If they did, they probably wouldn’t be able to draw the manga within the preset amount of pages. Not to mention the panel layout and story quality would be subpar.
So, the question is “How do you go about making a manga?”
For this course, we will be using the Manga Drawing Course’s original manga “The Nurse Knight W Angel” to help explain the process of how to make a manga.
Once you get a clear idea for a manga, the next thing to do is to create a synopsis or a plot.
Things you need to think about when creating a plot are:
- Who are the main characters?
- What is the theme?
- What direction do you want to take the story in?
On the right, there are two examples of plots for the Manga Drawing Course’s original manga “The Nurse Knight W Angel.” The first example is a synopsis based plot, and the second example on the bottom is an example of an event-based plot. There are various formats for creating a plot, and each manga artist has their own preference.
At this point, you are still brainstorming and what you write is for your eyes-only. So, feel free to write whatever and however you like.
2. Character Design
Once you have created the plot, it is time to move on to character design.
When designing main characters, you want to design not only physical appearance like costumes and accessories but also personality or character traits as well.
After you have designed your characters, you should draw them in various poses and expressions, both full body as well as portrait.
When you completed the basic character design, you’ll want to add some characteristics to the character such as his/ her likes and dislikes, habits or weakness. You might want to even create a backstory for the character.
One key point when designing your characters is to design your character as clear as possible.
Now, you completed the plot and the character design, it is time to move on to creating the story’s screenplay or a scenario.
When creating a scenario, you want scenes to describe what characters are doing, where they are and so forth. Think of who, what, where, when, why and how when creating a scenario.
Like writing a plot, there is no set format for how you should create a scenario. You can create a scenario however you like as long as you understand it.
For on going manga series, the scenario process may be simplified. When it comes to short stories, we recommend you to illustrate the scenes and dialogue as clearly as possible. It will make the steps afterward move more smoothly.
4. Panel Layout (Cutting a Name)
The next step after completing the scenario is panel layout. In Japanese, it’s called Neimu wo Kiru, which means cutting a name. Name refers to the storyboard of the manga.
The panel layout step in making manga is where you start paneling. Storyboards for anime (manga animation) or film are quite similar, but manga storyboards introduce two unique elements. Unlike anime and film storyboards, panels and dialogue are extremely important for making manga. The panel size and shape can vary from scene to scene as well as from artist to artist and story to story. This also goes for the dialogue. The panels and dialogue can be thought as the heart and soul of the manga. These elements may be challenging when cutting a name (panel layout) but try to have fun with it.
For the manga drawing course participants who slected the drawing critique option, we would like to check your progress at this point. For us to evaluate your progress, you must have completed the minimum requirements such as character portrait designs, scenario and a clear storyboard layout. We need to be able to understand what is happening in the manga.
Once you have submitted your panel layout, the manga instructor will provide feedback on your work as if you were a pro manga artist. Therefore, please do your best and be well prepared.
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5. Manga Manuscript Paper (Comic Paper)
You have completed your panel layout. Now, it is time to take out your pen and manga manuscript paper and start drawing manga.
In this drawing on manga manuscript paper step, you will start drawing a rough sketch with a pencil, and then you will move on to the inking process.
Manga manuscript paper comes in various sizes. B4 manga manuscript paper is most commonly used at Japanese manga publishing companies. For this manga drawing course, we will be using A4 size manga manuscript paper, which is the preferred size for self-publishers and digital manga.
Professional manga artists’ manuscripts are very clean and neat. You can tell between a professional’s and amateur’s work just by how neat their manuscripts are. So, take your time and create quality work.
Do you know that in the bookbinding process, a part of the manuscripts are cut off?
Most of the time, B4 size manuscripts are shrunk to a smaller size, and A4 manuscripts are usually cut to the B5 size. However, depending on the printing office, the cut line varies. Lets keep this in mind when creating the manga manuscript.
The orange section is the cut–off line. Because the cut-off line varies depending on the printing office, it is important to make sure to draw a little over the B5 size.
The hand written dialogue in the manga manuscript needs to be converted into print text (photocomposition). Manga publishers have an editing department to handle the photocomposition. Self-publishers can scan the manga manuscript into computer and type in, print the text and paste it on or write the dialogue by hand.
We explained the how to make a manga comic process in the following order, but Step 1 and step 2 can be interchanged.
- Character Design
- Panel Layout
- Manga Manuscript Paper
Even if this is your first time to make a manga comic, we are confident that you can complete these 6 steps of how to make manga. There is no need to feel over whelmed. Just follow the process. And, you will be able to complete your first manga.
Steps to creating a manuscript and recreating the manga
Here, we will explain all the steps outlining the process, from the beginning to the completion of the manuscript. Let’s take a look at one step at a time, based on pages 2 to 4 from the Manga Drawing course’s sample, “Nurse Warrior W Angel”!
Steps to creating a manuscript and recreating the manga
If you work page by page of a manga, it’ll take a while until you can complete all the pages. To efficiently make your manga, you want to work on one group of pages at a time. We’ve looked at the processes of drawing manga in the past curriculum, but this time, let’s group pages 2 to 4 from the sample, “Nurse Warrior W Angel,” and learn the steps to creating a manga manuscript.
The first step is making the storyboard of the manga, or the “name.” Using this as a base, let’s work on the manuscript.
1. Frames/speech bubbles (rough draft)
Use a ruler and draw the frames in pencil and decide where the speech bubbles should be.
3. Rough drafts of characters and lettering
Draw the rough draft of characters and then decide where the letterings will be drawn.
4. Inking the characters, letterings, and speech bubbles
Outline the speech bubbles, then the letterings, and finally the characters with a pen. If the letterings are behind characters, then you can ink the letterings later.
Use screentones in this step. First scratch the tones. Paste the tones starting from the background, and then the foreground.
12. Write the dialogue in pencil
Inside the speech bubbles, write out the dialogue in pencil. Now, you’re done with the manuscript.
When you’re making doujinshi, you want to set type for the dialogue to make a professional-looking manuscript.
This is the published version of the manga, after the extra white spaces are cut off.
Panel layout techniques
The most important technique in drawing manga is the panel layout technique.
It is a skill that will be crucial to creating the “names,” or the manga’s blueprint, so be familiar with the basic panel layout and master this skill!
Cut the name!
“Name” refers to the storyboard used to make films and animations. In Japan’s manga industry, we do not say “draw the name.” Instead, we say “cut the name.” The storyboard becomes the “manga’s blueprint,” so it’s important to draw it in great detail, but if you are a beginner, it may take some time. In this case, I recommend the “name of a name” strategy. Think of it as inserting a prototype of a “name” in between the script and the actual “name.” This step is only for your use, so as long as you can draw something you will understand, it’s fine. Try drawing this “name of a name” in a compact space as small as a matchbox or a post card.
At this point, you’ll want someone to check your “name.” So, draw the “name” so anyone can understand at least the characters’ faces and relationships, as if you’re showing the “name” to readers.
If you can master panel layouts, then you can master manga!
When the horizontal lines are connected on both pages, then the readers may accidentally read from the right page and then the left page, so be careful.
The figure at the A is an example of the incorrect way of reading manga. The reader is supposed to read in the following order: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 but… they can also read the panels in the order shown by the red arrows. The reader can be confused with the order.
So, let’s look at the figure at the B that was fixed to make it easier for readers to follow along.
With this, readers won’t have difficulty reading.
An important point is to shift the vertical lines of the frames!
In Japanese manga, the average number of panels on a page is six. Change the basic structures by adding onto the basic three- and the four-panel layout.