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Which is easier to sketch a comic on? Tradition or Digital?

Traditional! GO PENCILS! 0.66666666666667 66.7% [ 12 ]
Digital! Ctrl+Z forever! 0.33333333333333 33.3% [ 6 ]
Total Votes:[ 18 ]
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Mr Buckingham's avatar

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So I have begun drawing a comic but I have some major problems, specifically with Manga Studio EX 4.

What is your process for the initial sketch? I have problems making the page as proportionate as possible.
First I tried the traditional approach, drew a whole page and then scanned it onto the program. But it was seriously out of proportion because I used printer paper(i don't have the money for A4 paper). Then I tried sketching it out on the program but its terribly impossible to draw my characters to proportion-many have told me I'm much better on paper than pencil, and I feel its true. I


tl;dr I've tried different ways to get this onto my computer for toning and all that bs. I'm going to try drawing giant panels on one page and then editing them onto my computer and see how that works.
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ForgettenPencil
So I have begun drawing a comic but I have some major problems, specifically with Manga Studio EX 4.

What is your process for the initial sketch? I have problems making the page as proportionate as possible.
First I tried the traditional approach, drew a whole page and then scanned it onto the program. But it was seriously out of proportion because I used printer paper(i don't have the money for A4 paper). Then I tried sketching it out on the program but its terribly impossible to draw my characters to proportion-many have told me I'm much better on paper than pencil, and I feel its true. I


tl;dr I've tried different ways to get this onto my computer for toning and all that bs. I'm going to try drawing giant panels on one page and then editing them onto my computer and see how that works.


What do you mean by "it was seriously out of proportion because I used printer paper"? You can adjust the size of the imported image in Manga Studio as well as the size of the pages IN Manga Studio. ._.

Although doing panel by panel IS a possibility, it is harder to do. You have to take extreme care that your panels fit nicely together. When doing a page you can usually feel whether there is a nice flow and whether one used a good way to guide the readers eye. But I do not see that happening with the panel by panel approach.
NekuNinja95's avatar

Nimble Rogue

Personally I like a combo (using a scanner to import my graphite sketches). I suppose if I had to pick one it would be digi, but only if I had a tablet (which I don't yet cat_xd ).

As to your problem, I would really suggest using thumbnails to figure out the flow of the comic before actually adding any kind of details. This >>click here<< is a good example of what a thumbnail should look like. When your satisfied with your layout, then you should move on to details. Details could be done either digital or traditional, and the same goes for shading. It's all personal preference really, but most pros use this method; it is the one with which I have had the most success as well.
NekuNinja95's avatar

Nimble Rogue

and um, you may need to get a ruler and mark out the right ratio for a manga on your printer paper. I don't know what a manga's ratio is, but printer paper is (8 1/2" * 11" wink which means 8:11 ratio. find out what the dimensions of your manga are (there's no real standard, so you'll either have to find out what it already is in Manga Studio, or like Ayane said you will have to change the size of your digital paper in Manga Studio (I dunno how) hope I could help, but I have a feeling that I just don't know enough about it to really help.
Actually, the standard for manga is 5x7.5 (in the U.S.). If you're doing black and white, the dpi should be 600, and color is 300. If you want to make it bigger you can, (i.e. if you want to print it on a bigger book than the volume size) but make sure to keep the ratio.

You also have to take the bleed into account. If you're ever printing this, you need to extend your file beyond the confines of the page and draw in that area, too, (if applicable) so you don't get white space on the edges when the printer cuts the paper, as they aren't always precise.

As for sketching, I personally went all digital. It just takes out the hassle of figuring out the ratio and whatnot on sketchbook or printer paper.

Now, as long as you can ink digitally... if you want to keep the sketch traditional, what you can do is print a box (no fill, just a thin stroke) on your printer paper that has the right ratio. Print 20 of them, and voila! You can draw in the confines of that box and keep your page in proportion. Once you're done with the sketch, you scan it in and finish it up.
Mr Buckingham's avatar

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Kokoro_Densetsu
Actually, the standard for manga is 5x7.5 (in the U.S.). If you're doing black and white, the dpi should be 600, and color is 300. If you want to make it bigger you can, (i.e. if you want to print it on a bigger book than the volume size) but make sure to keep the ratio.

You also have to take the bleed into account. If you're ever printing this, you need to extend your file beyond the confines of the page and draw in that area, too, (if applicable) so you don't get white space on the edges when the printer cuts the paper, as they aren't always precise.

As for sketching, I personally went all digital. It just takes out the hassle of figuring out the ratio and whatnot on sketchbook or printer paper.

Now, as long as you can ink digitally... if you want to keep the sketch traditional, what you can do is print a box (no fill, just a thin stroke) on your printer paper that has the right ratio. Print 20 of them, and voila! You can draw in the confines of that box and keep your page in proportion. Once you're done with the sketch, you scan it in and finish it up.


Oh my god that idea is amazing, how come I didn't think of this before?
ForgettenPencil

Oh my god that idea is amazing, how come I didn't think of this before?


Hahaha, I know the feeling! My classmate was actually doing that and I had the same reaction. Good luck, hope it helps!
raKnight's avatar

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Kokoro_Densetsu
Actually, the standard for manga is 5x7.5 (in the U.S.). If you're doing black and white, the dpi should be 600, and color is 300. If you want to make it bigger you can, (i.e. if you want to print it on a bigger book than the volume size) but make sure to keep the ratio.

You also have to take the bleed into account. If you're ever printing this, you need to extend your file beyond the confines of the page and draw in that area, too, (if applicable) so you don't get white space on the edges when the printer cuts the paper, as they aren't always precise.

As for sketching, I personally went all digital. It just takes out the hassle of figuring out the ratio and whatnot on sketchbook or printer paper.

Now, as long as you can ink digitally... if you want to keep the sketch traditional, what you can do is print a box (no fill, just a thin stroke) on your printer paper that has the right ratio. Print 20 of them, and voila! You can draw in the confines of that box and keep your page in proportion. Once you're done with the sketch, you scan it in and finish it up.


The 5" x 7.5" size is the printing size(counting the bleed trim). The original pages are not drawn at that size, but rather scaled down. Even working digitally, I'd still work at full size and then reduce down for printing. At any rate, it allows for better detail and looser lines. The manga paper I have next to me is B4(13.9" x 9.8" wink , but I usually go for the American standard with 11" x 17" Bristol, since I prefer working larger. 10" x 15" is pretty standard for non-bleed comics, but there are many ratios that are used in the non-mainstream, and some artists even work up to 24" in width, and the scale of Bernie Wrightson's work is probably still used (especially by French artists), though unnecessary with how the industry works.

ForgettenPencil, since you mentioned doing one panel at a time, I'd suggest thumbnailing out your story loosely (you should be doing this anyway), and keeping note of the general size of your panels. Jim Mahfood works like that sometimes, creating his panels as individual Gouache paintings. It's definitely a much more time-consuming approach, but it works for him. Doing the individual panels could be a good working method for you, but it'd be even more important for you to know your page flow when doing so.
Mr Buckingham's avatar

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Thanks so much for the replies. Looking through Lulu, the publishing site I'm using they don't have the proper manga size but I found one pretty close to it.

Do you guys know of any publishing service that has manga size book options?
Quote:
The 5" x 7.5" size is the printing size(counting the bleed trim). The original pages are not drawn at that size, but rather scaled down. Even working digitally, I'd still work at full size and then reduce down for printing. At any rate, it allows for better detail and looser lines. The manga paper I have next to me is B4(13.9" x 9.8" , but I usually go for the American standard with 11" x 17" Bristol, since I prefer working larger. 10" x 15" is pretty standard for non-bleed comics, but there are many ratios that are used in the non-mainstream, and some artists even work up to 24" in width, and the scale of Bernie Wrightson's work is probably still used (especially by French artists), though unnecessary with how the industry works.

ForgettenPencil, since you mentioned doing one panel at a time, I'd suggest thumbnailing out your story loosely (you should be doing this anyway), and keeping note of the general size of your panels. Jim Mahfood works like that sometimes, creating his panels as individual Gouache paintings. It's definitely a much more time-consuming approach, but it works for him. Doing the individual panels could be a good working method for you, but it'd be even more important for you to know your page flow when doing so.


Actually I found out a way how to thumbnail. I took a normal piece of printing paper, folded it into 4 parts, so now I can see two pages at a time.. and draw another set of two. quite useful!
Kyousouka's avatar

Shadowy Phantom

ForgettenPencil
Thanks so much for the replies. Looking through Lulu, the publishing site I'm using they don't have the proper manga size but I found one pretty close to it.

Do you guys know of any publishing service that has manga size book options?

Any printing service worth their salt will allow you to do custom sizes, many of them even offer that option at no extra charge, the pricing is usually the same as the closest larger standard size (for example, if you want a 5x7.5 book, it might be priced the same as a 6x9 book).

By the way, 5x7.5 is the standard size for manga printed in the US, but it actually requires cropping or matting the original artwork slightly, since it has different proportions from the Japanese sizes (1:1.5 instead of 1:1.414). So, if you're going for authenticity (whatever that means to you), that's not the best size to use. But if you want your books to look at home with your target audience's manga collections, then it's perfect. Whatever size you pick, make sure you've got a good reason for using it.
Mr Buckingham's avatar

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I have done some looking around and apparently Amazon's CreateSpace offers customized trimming on your books. So far it seems a lot better than Lulu. I had so many issues just because my book was a manga book. If it was a different format it could have been a breeze.
Kyousouka's avatar

Shadowy Phantom

ForgettenPencil
I have done some looking around and apparently Amazon's CreateSpace offers customized trimming on your books. So far it seems a lot better than Lulu. I had so many issues just because my book was a manga book. If it was a different format it could have been a breeze.

I'm curious, what other issues have you encountered? When I printed my comics (which were also a non-standard size), the only issues I ran into was that most POD printers (Lulu included) have mediocre printing quality, an issue that's universal to anyone trying to print any kind of comic, regardless of format.

Have you considered comic-specific printing services? Some of them have an online store component if you need that, but most do not.
Mr Buckingham's avatar

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yes, i googled up printing services for manga and comic books and all I got was Lulu -.-
Ebihime's avatar

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ForgettenPencil
yes, i googled up printing services for manga and comic books and all I got was Lulu -.-


A comic printing site that was suggested to me was kablam printing, if that helps.
Even if it doesn't, it at least had some helpful information, like page measurements they use.
their manga template
Kyousouka's avatar

Shadowy Phantom

It's hard to find printers via googling because they tend to be small and poorly advertised, you're better off searching for maintained lists of recommendations than directly for printers.

I'm lazy so you'll have to google for the links, but here are some names:

Ka-Blam and ComiXpress are two POD services that also have a store frontend you can sell your comics through. Their quality is on par with other POD services, that is to say, not perfect, but passable for most things.

This is a mix of small-run digital printers AND large-run offset printers from my bookmarks, some of these came recommended for quality, some of these I know nothing about, so DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH:
Patterson Printing (offset, B&W/single-ink spot colour only, but they do colour covers.)
Active Media Printing (offset)
Indigo Ink (digital)
Lightning Source (digital)
ReadyComics (digital)
RA Comics Direct (digital)
Transcontinental (offset, these guys are great if you need a large run of colour comics)

If you don't know what large/small run, offset printing, digital printing, etc mean, you should learn these things (and much more) before you start preparing your comic for print.

Note that these are all non-POD printers, meaning you'll have to order runs of the books, and sell them yourself, or work with a distribution service (unlikely).

Also, most printers do not specialize in comics, because they're too small a niche to keep a company afloat. These are, however, some printers that will have a special team dedicated to comics, sometimes as a different company, but working the same physical printers as the non-comics team. When that's the case, you tend to get better communication and results when trying to print comics. The two comics-specific names I listed above are in that situation, I believe.


Hey regulars, didn't we have an entire thread of printing and publishing terminology and printers at some point? If anyone has the link, please share it with the OP.

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