Manga Drawing Process: Draft

This is the very first step of creating a manga or comic, the very first element that determine the direction of your work. A draft serves as a guideline or outline for the manga artist in the manga creation process. It involve the creation of your story, the plot, character design, layout planning etc. There are no exact sequence in this stage though, everything is flexible and even changeable in the future, so just do whatever you feel like doing in whatever sequence that seems suitable for you.

Choosing Theme:
First off, choosing a theme for your manga - what is the genre of your manga? Is it a ghost story? or sci-fi/action tale? is it suppose to be humorous? What is the message you're trying to convey? What do you wish to bring to your readers? What moral value you have in mind? Or is it solely for the sake of exciting, fun reading experience?

Plot (Story Flow/Main Events):
Planning out the plot (story flow or main events) of your manga is important to serve as a wire frame for your work, this is to ensure that you don't run out of your theme and drag your story into another dimension. You can carefully decide and select the events that you want to include in your manga, making your work more organized. But of course, you can always add in new ideas or turning points into your manga in later stage.

A plot can be simply written out in point form, keep the sentence short and comprehensible for you (duh~). For an example, let's look at a story, say Little Red Riding Hood, the plot can be written out as such:
  • Little Red Riding Hood is visiting her grandmother who's living in another village
  • She's courted by a wolf along the way
  • The wolf ran and reached the grandma's house before Little Red Riding Hood
  • The wolf ate the old lady, he put on her dress and lying on the bed, waiting for Little Red Riding Hood's arrival
  • Little Red Riding Hood arrived and was being tricked by the wolf
  • Wolf ready to eat Little Red Riding Hood, a woodcutter passed by and rushed in for rescue
  • The end

Character Design:
Now you have your story, you have your plot, then what is a manga without the characters? Well, some artists created their characters before the story and vice versa, it doesn't matter though.
So, what kind of character you want for you manga? Think of the characteristic, the age, the behavior. Write them out on a piece of paper then create a character base on the list.

A character creation sample

Panel Sketch:
Might not be important for some but this sure helps me a lot.
This process helps you to sort out the number of frames or panels you want to distribute in a page of your manga, how you want to place your panels, the size of your frames so on and forth. It is good for keeping track on important panels, discarding the unnecessary one and keep the story within the page limit provided.



  1. It's been awhile since I developed concept art for my favorite characters (from a series novels I've read). I've never tried to "copy" anyones style but also make my own signature to my designs.

    Can you add generals on signature for your work. Do you make it "your own" by drawing different? Everyone is wanting to create manga but no two authors or artist draw them exactly alike.

  2. Here's a simple thing you can try:
    1. Find a photo of a person
    2. Draw the person base on the photo

    REMEMBER, this is NOT still life drawing!
    Your aim is to draw that person in ANIME STYLE yet retained some similarity to that person (such as clothe style, hair style, facial expression)

    3. Keep practicing with other photos until you see a standard pattern in your drawings.
    4. Try design a random character

    Hope this little exercise helps! ;)

  3. interesting but i dont count most of this as my draft first i do the plot then the char profiles then i do storyboard THEN i do the draft. and when i storyboard i actually sketch out the chars so its like a draft that is never inked

  4. Thank you so much for explaining your process. It was very helpful and the most useful tutorial I've found on the Net so far. You explained everything clearly and also thank you for the visual examples!