Manga Drawing Process: Sketching

Now that you're done planning out your story and the panels, time to put the plan into work, yes, it's time to draw manga.

First up, we'll start with sketch. I'd suggest new artists to put in effort and take your time in this procedure, keep your work clean and tidy to ease up your inking and erasing procedure later. Below is a sample of a sketch in progress, I've darken the lines so that you can have better view of the manga drawing process.

I start it off by setting up the borderlines, there are two borderlines in manga usually, the inner frame is where all your drawings and dialogues should end, especially dialogues, try not to go beyond this border.
But let's say you have some awesome image of your hero slicing up the villain monster that you want to show, what you can do is to extend your drawings and ONLY YOUR DRAWINGS to the outer frame. Nothing goes beyond this borderline because that is the bleed that your printing house will need.

What I do next, is setting up the frames for my manga. In this example I set up 3 frames. And please, draw your lines with rulers, we're mangaka, not the illustrator artists and yes, we used rulers!
Roughly sketch out the conversation bubbles and allocate your characters or backgrounds to where you want to show them.
Now sketch your manga.
Job's done!


  1. Could you suggest a certain kind/size of paper?

  2. A4 paper will do, some prefer A3 size if you want more detailed drawing.

    paper type i'd suggest 100gsm paper for better ink absorbtion. But if you're not using manga pen (dip pen), then 80gsm or even 70gsm paper will do.

  3. what are the measurements for the borderlines???

  4. For the margin using A4 paper:
    Outer Borderlines = 182 x 257mm
    Inner Borderlines = 150 x 220mm

    if you find this scale is too small for you to draw, Shonen Jump also suggested following margin:
    180 x 270mm (no inner or outer borderlines)

  5. thx this really helps

  6. haha sorry about the last comment i realize now that we use different terminology

  7. Aaaah!!! So SweEt !! Thanks soo much!!! XD Now i'll try to do those !!!!! thank!

  8. I have a question....In panelling, when do you use a diagonal panel? straight panels? =) thanks.

    1. It's really depends on the flow of ur story n the feeling that u want to put in it.

      To be honest, there is no "right" and "wrong" ways of panelling, but remember, if ur panelling affected the readers' reading experience, then u will really wan to think of a better flow.

      As a rule of thumb, for non-chinese/Japanese comics, keep ur panelling flow from left to right, up to down.

  9. i'm a noob is a dip pen like a calligraphy pen?