How are Grayscale in Manga Made?

How are Grayscale in Manga Made?

You are wondering how manga artists make grayscale effects in manga? Manga artists use screen tones (or screentones, half tones) to make these grayscale effects. Learn more about what screen tones are and how to use them in this article.

What is a screen tone?

A screen tone is a sheet of transparent paper with a pattern printed on one side and an adhesive on the other one.

The most commonly used screen tones have patterns made of black dots. These dots can have different sizes, and the distance between the dots can vary, to provide different shades of gray.

One of the screen tones from my collection

Screen tones also come with many other kinds of patterns or textures. They range from the basic dot patterns, to gradients, lines, clouds, flowers and more intricate designs.

In addition, you can alter screen tones to create new effects by scraping and rubbing the printed face with a blade or a rubber. This can be used for instance to create a gradient, clouds or line effects from a standard sheet of screen tone.

Screentone examples

Where can I get screentones?

The most well known screen tone providers are DELETER and Letraset. You can easily find screen tones on Amazon for instance.

If you work digitally, then many drawing software contain screen tone brushes and patterns. You have for instance MediBang Paint, Krita, Clip Studio Paint or Photoshop…

And if you are interested, you can download some screen tone images from my download page.

How is screentone applied?

The application of a screentone requires some specific care.

First, the manga artists has to cut a piece of screentone slightly big enough to fill the desired area. Then he/she will apply the screentone on the paper using pressure. And finally the artist will trim the screentone to size.

Note also that some screentones can be applied like tape.

The image describes how to apply screentone on a drawing.
Screentone application to fill a shape

Why did manga artists use screentone?

The reason manga artists use screentone instead of using plain shades of gray is principally to reduce printing costs.

The screentone patterns are pure black and white, with a set density. The publisher therefore doesn’t need to post-process the drawing (halftoning…) before printing it. And the printing consumes less ink or powder.

I hope this answered your question.

Do not hesitate to comment if you need more information. And do not hesitate to like and share.

See you!


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