Today we're excited to share the top 5 tips for making manga contributed by Danic Davidson & Rena Saiya, inspired by their book, Manga Art for Intermediates: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Your Own Manga Drawings! Read on for more about Lisa and her book, plus the top 5 swoony teen movie scenes!
Meet Danica Davidson & Rena Saiya!
Rena Saiya is a professional Japanese manga author living in Tokyo. She also has a background in teaching manga drawing and story development to students in Japan. She has expanded her focus abroad in recent years, making use of her strong background in the Japanese manga industry. She works on international manga projects, and utilizes her English-speaking ability to closely collaborate with her global partners.
- Gothic Lolita
- Shonen Hero
- Nekojin ("cat people")
- Victorian Man
- Female Warrior
Top 5 Tips For Making Manga
There are fans of manga all around the globe, and many of them are also interested in learning how to draw in the manga style. Two years after the release of my first book on manga, Manga Art for Beginners, I’m back with the sequel, Manga Art for Intermediates. Both books concentrate on how to draw manga character types, showing more steps than other similar books.
But with Manga Art for Intermediates I worked with professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya, and she helped bring insider information to this book. So opening pages discuss what pens professional Japanese artists like best, what software they use, what to do if you make a mistake, and other insider manga information.
Together, Rena and I have put together a list of five tips to help you improve on your manga creation. More tips can be found in Manga Art for Intermediates!
1. Use the Right Tools
If you’re just drawing for fun, you can use whatever pens or pencils you want. But if you want to draw professionally or copy the style that professional Japanese manga artists use, certain pens and pencils are prized. For instance, mechanical pencils are typically used more than wooden pencils (though you can use wooden pencils if you sharpen them well). Ball point pens are a no go – try something like a Speedball #102 instead.
2. Study Proportions of Characters
Manga characters resemble real people, but they have exaggerated characteristics, like longer legs. Eye shape is often (though not always) exaggerated, but eye shape changes depending on the type of character you’re drawing. For instance, younger, more innocent characters tend to have bigger eyes than older, more mature or villainous characters. Watch closely for proportions when you’re drawing.
3. Learn More about Storytelling
While both Manga Art for Beginners and Manga Art for Intermediates concentrate on the character drawing aspect of manga, any manga you create is going to need a good story to pull in readers. You can study storytelling by reading a lot (both manga and other types of books) and watching good anime, TV shows and movies. See what makes the characters engaging and what makes the plot work.
4. Jot Down Your Ideas
Watching various movies and animation, plus reading interesting books, is really helpful to improve a sense of storytelling. However, it's a kind of "input" and you need to do "out put" along with it. In Japan, mangaka usually create both stories and pictures and they often need to think of good ideas about stories or characters. So they always try to jot down ideas every time they think of good ones. It should not be done only when you create stories or characters. It's desirable try to think of them habitually. Many mangaka carry memo pad-like things in order for them to write the ideas down as soon as they think of them.
5: Study Paneling
You should also study paneling. It's said that the average number of panels per page is around six. So five to seven panels would be desirable in general. At most, around eight would be fine. Of course when it comes to major scenes such as a climax, the number can be lessened to create larger panels.
Manga readers tend to get tired when they see similar patterns of paneling layout over and over, but manga learners sometimes have difficulty in thinking of various patterns of the layout. To avoid it, you can sketch many layout patterns of paneling in professional manga. It improves your sense of paneling. In addition, if you see the sketches just before you work on paneling, it somehow makes it easier for you to come up with variations of paneling.