15 secrets to help you get better at manga
Veteran of the UK manga scene Sonia Leong gives key advice to artists wanting to draw and paint authentic-looking manga…
Sonia Leong gives key advice to artists wanting to draw authentic-looking manga.
While the style and finish of manga is relatively minimalist in comparison to other types of comics, this apparent simplicity is deceptive. Every line is a choice made by the artist. The thinking is never use ten strokes to depict something if just a single, well-placed one would suffice.
This principle of concentrating on what’s needed to relate a story permeates throughout manga creation. Every panel is an exercise in choice: size, zoom, camera angle, speech bubble positioning, and type of background. Every page works as a whole to control the reader’s experience, particularly in pacing.
Production is geared towards minimising costs to maximise number of pages, so most manga is in cheap black and white. This has led to the development of specialist techniques to add depth and understanding and to enhance both action and emotion. Stretching limbs, blurry lines and irregular panels add dynamism. Extreme close-ups, abstract backgrounds and symbolism add intensity and atmosphere. We’re not afraid to steer away from realism if it helps to convey meaning more effectively. It’s not just about how you draw the characters, it’s how you tell the story.