What Are The Steps of Making a Manga?
Making a manga goes through a set of predefined steps covering both writing and drawing activities. They help you refining your idea to write a plot outline, and then a script. After that, they guide you in the design and drawing of your pages. First a mockup of the manga pages is being made, before you sketch, ink and either shade or colour them.
Let’s see the list of these steps into more details.
Steps of writing a manga story
Making a manga will generally start with some writing. It will begin with a base idea that will be refined and detailed in several steps:
Getting an idea (アイデア出し – AIDEA dashi) – Finding an idea for the story of your manga is the really beginning. In can be a single word or a few sources of inspiration that you want to build your story from.
The plot (プロット – PUROTTO) – Defining a plot is the next stage in defining your manga. It will be a quick summary of your story, introducing key characters and key achievements. It shall give a simple view of your story from the beginning to the end.
The outline (だいたい – daitai) – The outline will then, based on your plot, identify the different steps of your story from the beginning to the end. It can follow a storytelling structure to ensure a good progression of your story and characters.
The character design (キャラクターデザイン – KYARAKUTĀ DEZAIN) – In the story building phase, the manga scenarist will define the main historical, psychological and physical aspects of the characters.
The world building (世界観作り – sekaikan tsukuri) – The world building consists in defining or identifying the key elements of the world of your story. This can be its history, climate, populations, physics… It just needs to be defined to the extent that makes your story work and coherent.
The scenario (シナリオ – SHINARIO) or script (脚本 – kyakuhon) – The scenario, or script, is the final stage before starting the drawing of the pages. It is a page by page description of the story, with settings, characters, actions and dialogues. For a series it will be performed chapter by chapter. And it will be build in one go for short stories.
Steps of drawing manga pages
Along the process of writing, the manga artist can also work on the design of his characters:
The character design (キャラクターデザイン – KYARAKUTĀ DEZAIN) – It the drawing phase, the manga artist will design the look of the characters for the story. The objective is to make sure the characters provide the expected image to the readers and fit the story.
And before starting to draw the page, mockups are made to make sure everything will fit and provide best effect:
The mockup (ネーム – NĒMU) – The mockup is a rough draft of a manga or manga page. First, the objective is to make sure that the story fits in the desired number of pages. Then, it is also here that mangaka work on the layout of their panels for optimal effect.
And once the script is ready, comes the time of drawing the pages:
The rough sketch (下絵 – shita e or 下描き – shita gaki) – The rough sketch is then the first step in the realisation of a manga page. It is a detailed pencil sketch, based on the page mockup, that will later be inked.
The inking (ペン入れ – PEN ire) – The inking is then the first step toward the final version of a page. This steps is basically drawing over the rough pencil sketch with an ink pen.
The shading can be performed using different techniques:
- Black fills (ベタ入れ – BETA ire) – The mangaka will fill the black areas of the drawing using black ink, paint or markers.
- Hatching (ハッチング – HACCHINGU) – Hatching consists in creating shades or patterns through use of parallel or crossing strokes. It can therefore be used to create various shades and texture patterns.
- Screen toning (トーン – TŌN) – A screen tone is a pre-made pattern, most of the times made of dots. Mangaka apply it on inked drawings to add grey shades and textures to black and white pages.
The colouring (カラー – KARĀ) – This is the stage where the manga artist will colour the page if it needs to be in colours. Artists can use different media to colour their pages: alcohol markers, watercolours, colour pencils or digitally.
The lettering (セリフ入れ – SERIFU ire) – Finally, the lettering consist in adding the final text for the dialogues and descriptions.
Summary and advices
As you can see, there are many steps in making a manga. But when you look at them, you will quickly see that these steps are intuitive, and progressive. They move progressively from the original manga idea to a detailed story, and from that detailed story to fully inked and coloured or shaded pages.
You might think that going through all these steps is boring and useless. You might be willing to draw your pages and publish your manga directly.
This might be possible if you are not working under the pressure of some deadlines, and if you have all the time you need to deliver your pages.
But I would advise to follow them if you have deadlines, or if you want to avoid deception and quitting.
Going through the writing stage will first ensure that you have content for your story. And then it will ensure that this content is well constructed and coherent. This will avoid you having to add new unrelated elements to make your manga last, or seeing that nobody follows your manga.
And going through the chapter and page mockups will allow you to plan in advance for your content. It will avoid you having to pack things at the end of your pages or chapters because it doesn’t fit. Or worse having to redraw pages because you forgot something.
Thank you for reading this article. Do not hesitate to ask questions or post comments. And do not hesitate to share this page.