Materials and Techniques Part 1: Introduction to Comic Craft
Intro to Comic-Craft
Or, all the stuff you need to know to
make some manga
So lets make some comics!
Lets start out with the tools of the
You mean there's more than one kind?
& copy paper (20lb, 24lb, 28lb, 32lb – also in sizes of
letter, legal, a4)
& thicker papers (cardstock/presentation paper)
& manga papers (deleter, maxon, copic)
& bristol board (canson, strathmore)
& other media/illustration boards (for wet
& Graphite pencils – mechanical, wooden,
& Varying lead hardness gives you different values
Non-photo blue pencils
& nonphoto blue pencils are a favorite of comic artists
because they can be easily dropped from art
& great for working out perspective, anatomy, etc
before committing to a line with pencil or ink
& jetpens.com sells nonphoto blue (“soft blue”)
& other colors can be used – use
hue/saturation/lightness in photoshop to drop that
& tech pens: copic, pitt, micron, rapidograph
& brushes: watercolor/sable brushes are great
& brush pens: felt tip or synthetic bristle
& nib & ink (dip pens)
& fountain pens
& ruler/t-square/triangle/straight edge
& french curves
& circle and ellipse templates
& eraser (vynl, plastic, kneaded)
& adobe photoshop – considered the standard
& adobe illustrator – difficult to learn
& corel painter – better for illustration
& manga studio – offers a lot of templates,
screentones, used by many professionals
& paint tool sai – cheaper alternative, also good for
& free alternatives such as gimp, open canvas
That's a lot of stuff!
You don't need all of those things
Start simple. Find what works best for you. It isn't
the same for everyone!
Now we have stuff, so lets
make some comics!
Where do we start?
Everyone has a story to tell
& short stories are usually best to start with
& many artists do autobio comics about events that
happen to them
& gag cartoons/comic strips are also good first
& try to avoid your 2000-page epic as your first comic
Starting with a script
& a script will keep you on track with your story
& a script can be very simple such as bullet points
and actions, or very complex
& scripts are also much easier to revise than art
& thumbnails are your first draft – they help you
visualize what you want on the page without
committing too much time/effort
& thumbnails can be very simple (stick figures)
& making multiple thumbnails using different camera
angles can help you create more visually interesting
& a tight rough is usually page size
& refining what you worked out in your thumbnails
& this is the place to work on things like perspective
Pencils and inks
& some artists will make another pass at the pencils
& if you mess up, you can use white paint or a white
gel pen to “erase” mistakes.
& or photoshop.
& screen tones are often used in manga
& tones can be bought and pasted on original art, or
& other ways to make grey values include
hatching/cross hatching, dry brush, watercolor/ink
wash, and copic markers
& various techniques to make colored comics – digital
media, markers, paints, colored pencil, mixed media
& its your comic, do what makes you happy!
So what's the secret to being
an awesome comic artist?
A lot of them.
A huge variety of them.