aren't mangas and comics the same thing just different styles of art?
Art style does not define manga.
There are some tendencies to use certain visual and story tropes and techniques more/less frequently in Japanese comics than elsewhere, but those things do not define manga and can be found in non-manga comics too (including many which are not borrowing from manga).
I'm considering just sketching out basic shapes and making the final lines in black just to skip the dull, tedious steps that go with "This is good, let's trace it all over again."
If you see inking as tracing, I think that explains your disdain for it. Inking should be like colouring, an entirely new addition to the drawing instead of simply being a more visible or cleaner version of what's already there.
The process you're describing is quite similar to what I did with my digital inks when I was a beginner, it saved a lot of time compared to pencilling and then inking. If that's your goal, go for it! I stopped because having pencils made it easier to focus on making my inking better.
Another thing you could consider is pencilling as you normally do, but then erasing any extra bits. If you're working digitally, this can be quite efficient, and give very good-looking lines that detain the feel of a sketch but are as clean as inks. This technique works particularly well with a softer, more pencil- or paintbrush- like brush.
I consider coloring as sort of... fill-in-the-blanks tracing. sweatdrop One of these days I'll figure out how to just go straight-up black and white...
But yeah! That's sort of how I'm going to try it.
Oh wow, then I really don't know what sort of analogy to provide.
I just checked our the comic in your signature, and... well, it shows that you're not getting much benefit out of colouring and inking because you don't seem to have a sense of purpose with them. I think if you take the time to learn more about them, you can.
If you're interested, here are some articles that might be of use: A little of verything Establishing mood with colour Inking (most important is the part where she talks about where to put thick and thin lines)
I've been trying for the longest time to use color for themes (like in Power Rush, character themes, each character has certain colors tying to certain elements). But it apparently isn't working? And greyscale is a pain in the a** when I always want to limit myself but hate resorting to thatching and s**t.
And as for lines... I'm aware of thin and thick lines. But it's hard to control my goddamn hand, and... ugh. I'm more of a storyteller than an artist. I only draw because I can't trust anybody else to get it done, or even in the way that I want it done, and I don't want to burden anyone else with my s**t, even though I'm just burdening myself with my own s**t.
hmm, although you can argue manga has very clear panels id say you could also note the same about western comics.
it really depends on the artist.
id be weary of how big you make the gutters(the space inbetween panels) as to me its thick enough that I notice the border outlines more than the picture that would go in there. my observation of manga vs western was always that the borders were more open and not just squares. but using all sorts of different shapes ...but maybe that's only the ones ive read.
my advice on that is, know what youre going for, but don't get caught up in just the panels. itll take a lot more than good panel layout to keep the reader interested.
as for the characters, try doing a front back and birds eye view of them and breaking down what theyre wearing and how it hangs. then get more complicated with the positions. as the others have said,d raw them enough that they are second nature to you. most of that will be just having to draw them over and over.