Mangaka's Tools

What is drawing manga without the tools?
The following shows a list of items for drawing manga/comic:
(along with some explanation, just in case you didn't even know what a pencil is ^^)

1. Pencil and eraser

This is what you'll use for creating drafts and sketching. Some might argue if using pencil or mechanical pencil is more accurate but the fact is - it doesn't matter, use whatever that suits you best as long as you draw comfortably with it and the sketches are clear enough for inking and easy enough for erasing.
Choosing erasers should be a little more specific, you ought to choose soft erasers that can easily erase your pencil works while keeping the paper clean. You DON'T want something that'll ruin your manga.

Some argues pencil is more appropriate, but mechanical pencil works just fine for me.

2. Rulers and templates

You'll need a long ruler for straight lines drawing and some templates for drawing curves and conversation bubbles in your manga. A bendable ruler can be a useful tool since you can bend it into any shapes that you desire. But keep in mind that bendable rulers are not suitable for drawing small circle lines; you'll still need a template for this job.



bendable ruler

3. Compass

A compass is a useful tool for drawing full circles in your manga, though it's not used most of the time but you'll find it handy having it around. So just keep one at your side.

4. Light box

A very crucial tool for drawing manga, light box is used for tracing purposes, and there are a lot of time where you can't determine the angle or the amount of content to be placed inside a block or a panel, so a solution is to draw out the entire image without bounding box on another piece of blank paper, then using the light box to adjust the image into preferable angle in your panel, then trace it into your manga sketch.

5. Dip pens and/or fine point pens

This is for inking purposes. The difference is that the dip pen gives you more control over the weight of your strokes, fine point pen however, enable you to draw smooth, fine lines without and difference in the stroke's weight. You can draw lines with different weights with a fine point pen by repeatedly drawing on the area that you wish to put more weight into it, and you'll need to have a set of fine point pens with different point values if you planned to draw your manga/comic solely using fine point pen.

I uses five fine point pens for my manga, a 0.7 size pen for thick lines and borders drawing, a 0.3 pen also for thick lines, a 0.2 pen for medium lines, and two 0.1 pens for fine lines.

6. Ink

You'll find it useful to prepare both black and white ink no matter you're using ink pen or not. It is useful for making special effects such as blood splashing effects, waves and so on. The white ink is also important for correction purposes, to ink out unwanted lines that you find in your manga.

7. Brushes

If you want to use your ink you'll need to have a brush, now make sense?

The brushes are mainly for special effects such as spilling bloods, water flows etc. Now I'm thinking of using it to draw hair for my manga characters.

8. Papers

A4 size paper for normal drawing, but some publisher prefers their mangaka to use B4 size paper, reason is that you can draw more in your manga and you can put in more details as well. But the bad thing is that it is more time consuming, since you're drawing more and on larger scale.
Normally, A4 size will do just fine!

9. Graphic tablet

This is for PC usage, for screentoning and colouring my manga using software tool. The one I'm using is a WACOM tablet, the cheapest one I can find in my area.

Now we're done with the tools, let's take a look at the manga creation process!


  1. hey whats up dude..
    i'm a aspiring manga creator...
    can u give me some tips..
    more than this explanations
    that u have posted in here...
    can u make some videos of making
    a awsome manga?..using all of the
    materials that u have said in this the brushes, which is for
    putting up a special effects...and those
    pens..for thick lines and border lines...
    plss e-mail me for ur reply..,here we can chat
    if u like...thanks..!

  2. hey man so if you have the graphic tablet do you not need photo shop? i wanna make a manga and i want this tool. and also do you ink ur scanned drawn picture on paper with the graphic tablet? do you basicly just draw with pencil, scan and edit with the tablet? or whats the process? i really wanna know.


  3. Yes! you'll need the Photoshop program.
    The drawing process, well i think it's different from person to person. What i do usually is this:
    1. sketch with pencil on paper.
    2. ink with pen.
    3. then scan into computer.
    4. open with photoshop and do my screentone, special effects and text edit from there.
    5. once done, save the file, print it out - jobs done!

    hope this'll help~


  4. This is a great blog! By trade, I'm a traditionalist in my art work but I use my computer too.

    I reciently gained a lot of interest in this and plan to get the inks to practice. I wonder if I can expect more on this topic.

    Thank you so much "senpai"!

  5. i'm trying to get things in order and put up more updates on this blog
    but that'll take some time... hehe

    i've found new interest in inking using dip pen, it's really cool so i'm thinking of writing an article about it!
    but... that'll take some time... unfortunately


    1. uhmm just one question, i'm a student so ... can i ask you if all those items combined how much will it cost ? , just so you know i'm a student so i need to earn for some things and do i really need a graphic tablet? is it necessary?

    2. If you plan to do everything in traditional matter then no, you don't need a tablet, BUT, it's still good to invest in one.
      The cost for everything, let's see... wait, you're Malaysian? Or studying in Malaysia? Cuz the price may differ in different countries.

  6. is there a graphic tablet that allows you to directly draw to a computer,, like a stylus and tablet thingy?

  7. well... i think any graphic tablets allow you to do that, the key lies in your skills in changing the brush shapes and sizes.

    Oh, and photoshop and coral panter allows better flexibility in your brush customization.

  8. hey you said to use a dip pen. Is it a fountain pen or other pen?

  9. Yes it's a fountain pen actually but the proper term to use is call the comic pen. At least that's what they call it in Malaysia.

  10. Uh, sir Im just wondering,How much is the cheapest tablet..I really want to draw with that kind of tool. Im also a beginner(17years Old)

  11. okay, the prices in Malaysia (my country) is about RM300 - RM500.
    In U.S. cheapest price that i know of is about USD69.

    Or you can visit the Wacom Tablet official website, select your country region and check for the prices yourself :)
    Below is the Wacom website:

  12. Thanks for the information there sir. I might as well buy one.

  13. Where did you get the templates? Because I can't find them anywhere in my city. Did you buy yours online? As well as the light box

  14. I'm an aspiring mangaka, and I'm just beginning (I'm 16). Any tips on screentoning?
    Thanks so much for this information by the way. It's very helpful. :)

  15. (like which version of photoshop should I use and such?)

    1. Tips on screentone, use computer (Photoshop software, any version would do). It's time saving, save resources, easy to use and it has "Undo" button! =D

      You can download the screen patterns from the internet, or you can create your own screen tone patterns, whichever works well for you! =)

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  17. how much would all this cost.

  18. how much... well... if you want to do the drawings the traditional way... about RM80 you should get everything you need.
    If you want the Wacom tablet then that's another story all together, both has its pros and cons though

  19. well I waned to know how much all that suff costs because im doingmy fresh gradeuaton prodject and one of the qestions was how much
    would it cost for the material to start your future occupation

    1. Okay, the traditional drawing materials cost about RM80, which includes the pencil, eraser, inking pens, rulers, templates and compass.

      The Wacom tablet however, will add in another large sum of cost, which range around RM800-RM2000.

  20. Hey Wilson Sir, your tutorials really helped me.I have started learning Manga work earlier . Please post more Tutorials.

  21. Wilson Sir are you writing story and working on a Manga for get published or you are just doing Manga work as your own interest .

    1. Hello Takahiro,and thank you for dropping by, glad it helps you with your work!

      To return to your question, when this blog was created i was a freelancer trying to get my work published. Now however, i am a full-time comic artist, working in Gempakstarz (a comic magazine and publisher in Malaysia)

      I'm going to try to upload more tutorials and posts however, but unfortunately i don't quite have the time to do so. But i'll let you know when there are new posts, if you're still interested in drawing comics by then. :)

  22. Have you sleep well since you've became a full-time manga artist?

    1. It's not as bad as you think it is, really. It might be what happen in Japan but not here in Malaysia.

  23. Hi...
    May I ask, where can I buy nib pen in Malaysia...
    Also the screentone... I try to search online, but the online store that I can get is the international one, not the local one...

    1. Kinokuniya~ otherwise there's a comic artist selling here in Malaysia, but unfortunately i don't have his contact~

  24. Hi there!

    What is the model of the tablet you are currently using? And what is the ideal size?


    1. hahaha~ erm... the tablet i'm using is an antique, so let's not talk about that thing alright? ^^"

      The ideal size~~~ the bigger the better~ honestly, i'm not a tablet savvy guy so i'm not too sure actually~ sorry bout that~

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    1. Guess you've found out i'm Wilson not Peach yeah? XDD
      Don't worry bout it, my pen name is also Wilson, sometimes i go along with my surname Wilson Lew.
      I try to come out with my own comic once every month but it is too exhausting with my current level.
      My work involved X-venture series though~ if you heard about that =D

  26. I am a middle school student in America I am considering studying abroad in college and I have just started manga is a pen tablet absolutely necessary for someone of my level

    1. It's entirely up to you friend~ ;D

      but i'm serious, it's entirely up to you whether you want to draw your comics on PC or by hand-method or hybrid.

      So the question is, how would you like to draw your comic? ;)

  27. Nice post Wilson :3 and I would like to add a bit of info on this topic since me and my friends have our own blog where we show manga made by us. For all of you wondering if the drawing tablet is absolutely necessary let me tell you that is not, but as Wilson said it is pretty useful and if you can invest in one it would be a good idea to do so. But doing the whole work digitally, even if it take less time is, in my opinion at least, is not of the same quality level as something sketched and inking and then worked the details in computer owo!

    1. i wish there's a "like" button here but alas there's none~ so...



  28. I want to ask some questions.. When i want to use the speech bubble in my comics, should i draw the speech bubbles on the comic or use the computer?

  29. Where can I get a dip pen? I am also a mangaka and I use fine tip pens. But I need a dip pen. Where can I get one

    1. Hi Pratik,

      first off, where're you from? If you're from Malaysia or Singapore, i'd recommend Art Friend, you can check them out in this link:

      not sure if they provide online purchase, but you can go to their store provided in their link, in Malaysia you can visit their store in Midvalley Megamall or The Curve shopping center.

      But me, i buy it directly from Japan~ since i have friends who visit Japan regularly, and i also visit Japan~ sometimes~ ha~

  30. Hiya! Thanks so much for your whole blog, it's really informative. I'm doing my research project/assignment on manga, and the manga creation process. Would you mind if used some of the information from your blog? And, do you have any recommendations for any other websites to look at for the creation of manga?

    1. No problem~ just remember to credit me, if that's not too much to ask for~ ;)
      as for suggestions for creation of manga.... well, there're a lot about drawing manga, but actual creation of manga...
      pro level manga creation - none, it's a professional trade, not many people are willing to share~
      ammature level... just google search~ XDD

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  32. I need some help here...
    How to published our anime manga
    Into a manga web...
    Dream..i wanna to become
    A mangaka