Let me ask a question. Are you a big fan of Japanese manga or animation? If so, have you fulfilled what you planned to do or are still struggling to create your own image. If so, you are not alone like I was when I first started 22 years ago. With that said, here are my 8 steps for drawing manga properly.
1. A4 Size White Paper
First, get A4 size white paper. They are easy to find in bookstores and manga bookstores. You can get picture blocks that if you can remember drawing as a kid during school days or pieces of paper packaged together.
Even though the Japanese language starts drawing on the cardboard, you don’t have to start that way because paper is available in abundance. I recommend having at least 4-5 A4 size white paper image blocks.
2. Markers, Pencils, Poster Colors and Rulers
This is another important set of tools that you need to have.
For markers, I recommend the Pilot Drawing Pen with a tip thickness of about 0.2mm. While there are other bookmarks, these are the ones I use frequently because they are always available and therefore easier to get from my local bookstore be it in town or city.
But don’t draw with a marker right away. Instead trace them after you’ve done the pencil sketch.
For pencils, I highly recommend the mercury one. Although they cost more with a separate lead supply of pencils, they are worth the price as conventional pencils and sharpeners may not always complement each other in creating quality drawings.
To add color to your drawings, get colored pencils and poster colors if you must with a filler tray, a thin, thick brush.
For rulers, get short and long. The short one is for drawing smaller objects such as swords, rifles, knives, guitars, guns and boxes while the long one is for designing ships, robots, cars and battlecruisers.
3. DVDs, Comics and Magazines
Even though they come at a cost, they are still the essential tools you need to create great stories with great images.
Unless you are a storyteller and creative artist in nature, you need a large collection of dvd manga, comics and magazines for inspiration and to create a mental mind map to remember the features, expressions, and characteristics of the most common manga characters.
Like their big eyes, colorful hair, various shapes and moods etc.
4. Create Your Story
Start by writing your story.
I don’t know about you but I usually get a collection of ideas after watching lots of manga shows and reading comics. Such as Mobile Suit Gundam, Macross, and Robotech.
I started with 1 article but as my ideas developed I created more articles which eventually formed into booklets and then books with each article as a chapter.
At this point, don’t think about drawing just yet. Just think about how to write your story and make it better from there.
5. Sketch All The Characters On Each Page
Once you have a story in place, try sketching all the characters of your story on each separate page.
At the same time refer back to your comics and graphic magazines for reference and better remember without copying. The first page should be a character standing and in normal mode while the next one should be a variety of different expressions based on their mood.
Start by drawing basic shapes such as circles and ovals for their heads and bodies before adding any further hair, face and clothes they are wearing. It must be for humans and animals.
For weapons and machines, use squares, rectangles, and triangles as starting points.
Doing all of this will take about 1-2 weeks to perfect everything based on experience and depending on the number of characters you have in your story.
6. Scan And Photocopy All Your Images
To avoid your pictures getting lost or spoiled, make multiple scans and photocopies of all your images via PC and print paper so
You don’t have to draw everything from scratch and it saves a lot of time as
7. Track And Color Your Image
Doing both of these things will take about 3-4 weeks as you will not only have to trace the pencil sketch but color your image in different light tones and shadows.
Once you are done with everything tie up all your masterpieces
Just relax for a day. Then go back to your work and see if any improvements need to be made.