So you got a story all written down, characters all drawn
and fleshed out, done a few penciling- now what? Now is
the best part. Making your final product! A manga all your
own! The final hurdle!
Well, listen closely, and pay attention. I'll be showing
you two ways to put your own manga together and some tips
Either types has their advantages and disadvantages:
Type 1: Mini-Comic
-Least expensive of the two.
-Easiest to make.
-Materials to make the manga are at your home right now.
-Nine pages total.
-Page size is very small (4.25" x 5.5").
-Can't do too much details in manga due to small page size.
-Most suited for short manga stories.
-Good starting point for a beginning manga-ka (manga artist).
Type 2: Ashcan/Comic Book
-Most expensive of the two.
-Need about $100, more or less, to purchase materials at
an office store.
-Materials should last you for several years- investment
well worth it if used properly.
-A bit trickier to make but once you get the hang of it,
it'll be no problem.
-80 pages total possible.
-Ashcan (5" x 8") or regular sized comic (8" x 11") can
-You can make a fairly detailed comic.
-Most versatile of the two types:
1. Can make full-blown manga story in one comic (80 pages
baby!) or create parts like regular comic books.
2. Can create short stories, series, or whatever your little
-Almost as good as the real thing.
Before we move on, there are some things you should think
about before deciding which type to make.
1. What is your skill level?
If you are a beginner in making mangas, I would greatly
recommend that you start off with a mini-comic. Doesn't
matter if you have the money to buy the materials for Type
2! This will get your feet wet, make you become familiar
with the comic book process, and start you off slowly instead
of rushing head-long into something like an idiot. It's
better to do something small and great than something big
and sloppy. Once you've familiarized yourself with the mini-comic,
then move on to the ashcan or comic book.
2. Which one fits your schedule?
I know most of you are probably hankering to make a great
big saga but most of you probably would never even finish
it. Think about it: Is it better to make one whole, huge,
world that will take several months.. maybe a couple of
years to make (or even type the story out for that matter)..
OR to make short stories that you can dish out every couple
The second person will leave you in the dust before you've
even started making that gigantic story you're making. Also,
I know everyone of us has some kind of social life- heck,
we can't all be pumping out manga's day and night.. leave
that to when you're a professional- so start small and work
up to that great big story. Unless you have no social life
as it is so go for it!
You've gone through the questions, now weigh your options
carefully. Once you've made your decision read on!
Type 1: Mini-Comic
1. Take one sheet of paper (8.5" x 11")
2. Fold it in half
3. Fold it in half again
4. Mark the pages (lightly!) with pencil. Specify cover,
page 1, page 2, etc.
*Don't forget that it's front and back!
5. Open up paper and cut the paper in half through the shortest
6. Staple at the binds to hold papers together.
*Remember to have the cover faced upwards!
1 page for the cover, 7-8 pages for manga depending on whether
you'd like to put credits/contact info or something else
in the back or after the cover.
If you like, you can add more pages into the mini-comic
for a longer story.
Type 2: Ashcan or Comic Book
Up to 20 sheets of paper (Regular or Legal size)
Long Reach Stapler
Decide format: Ashcan or Comic Book?
Ashcan = Use regular 8.5" x 11" paper
Comic Book = Use legal size 11" x 16" paper
Paper will be folded in half. For example,
Ashcan = 8.5" x 11" -> 5.5" x 8"
Comic Book = 11" x 16" -> 8" x 11"
2. Decide on how many pages your comic will be. This can
usually be ascertained through story/plot breakdown. To
give you some idea of how many sheets of paper will become:
Sheets Of Paper
c) Readable Pages
d) Cover Page Amount*
40 76 4
*Front and back
Regular manga comics are around 24-28 pages long for one
Ashcan's are around 8 pages more or less.
3. Fold all or just the cover in half
4. Unfold and staple papers (cover side up!) all together.
If you're having trouble getting it to the center, don't
worry about it. If you want, you can practice on other pieces
of paper before doing the real thing. Also, you can mark
the center line if you need a guideline.
5. Fold all the papers together. If you need to, flatten
them with a heavy book... or two.
Before we get to the cutting, please read the following:
-Quality of paper trimmer differs with brand and type.
There is the wood or plastic type which comes with a handle
or rotary type cutter. For better results, get the handle.
Whether the wood or plastic differs in any way, I don't
know, but I personally like the wood. If you prefer safety,
get the rotary paper trimmer but the results won't be
as good as the handle. Also, you will have to replace
the rotary blades so it stays sharp. The handle paper
trimmer is self-sharpening.
-If you'll be getting the handle type paper trimmer, please
use caution when using it as specified in your instruction
manual. Use parental supervision if necessary.
-I recommend you practice with scrap paper first before
doing the following steps.
-For another alternative besides the paper trimmers (handle
or rolling), you may use a scissor. It may be more cost
effective & safer but paper trimmers cut straighter
lines and are generally faster- especially as the number
of pages increase in your manga- than scissors.
*For the best results, make sure you hold the papers securely!
It may shift as you cut it and damage your work if held
loosely. Personally, I put my weight down onto the paper,
my palm on top of the comic.
*Do not stop at any time while cutting or the edge of
the paper will have a bump or worse.
6. Align the paper over the edge that you would like to
7. Hold secure, and cut in one stroke.
8. If you made a guideline before, make sure you erase it.
9. If the papers still bends upwards a bit, keep it flattened
with a heavy object. The more the pages, the more chance
you will have to do this.
One professional ashcan or comic book as you can get!
If you want to go a little further, try working with special
paper specific to inkjet printers, different weights of
paper, colored paper, and anything you can think of.
You've just finished reading the how-to's
and you're all pumped up to make your own manga but before
you start, read the following for some alternatives, suggestions,
1. Multiple copies
If you'd like to make multiple copies of your work, save
your original piece- don't staple it together! Instead,
use it to photocopy more issues with a Xerox- make sure
it's double sided!- so the quality doesn't erode with each
Drop by your local office store (Staples, Office Max, Kinko's,
etc) to have it photocopied OR buy your own photocopier
if you can afford one.
A note on photocopiers: there are copiers for the home but
they usually don't come with a double-sided option (at least
I haven't found one yet..). To go around this, just put
the one-sided page already copied into the paper tray and
photocopy the other side onto it. Just make sure to test
it out before you do this! The direction it prints out might
not be the right way. Wouldn't want that now, would you?
Speaking of that, you can use a laser or inkjet printer
to print out black and white, one-sided copies. Then use
the aforementioned method above.
Also, if you've done color (particularly the cover), use
the inkjet printer. If you have one of those color laser
printers- good for you!
So far, these are the going rate for comics (last I checked
Mini-comics: $0.25 (usually 8 pages)
Ashcan: Free (bundled as a promotional item with something
Comics: $2.50 - $4.99 +/- (depends on number of pages in
Note: These prices are for the American market. Prices may
differ in another country.
Exercise restraint on prices! If you want to sell your work
and get your name out there, keep your prices to a minimum.
Buyers usually don't bother with a no-name artist so be
3. Business to Business (B2B)
One way of keeping costs down is to set up a network with
a. Work out a deal with others such as advertising on each
others comics for a broader audience target.
If you're going to do this, I suggest only advertising on
comics that you, yourself like, and/or is something related
to the genre of your manga. For example, if you put an ad
for your hard-core, battle-ridden, action-packed, manga
at the back of a bishoujo (pretty girl) romance manga, that
won't attract that many new readers. Unless you've got a
romance going on in your story in between all that fighting
but you'll be stretching it a bit.
b. Another is to work with other writer's/artists, etc.
to compile one big manga magazine or fanzine kind of like
Animerica Extra. This way, costs will be distributed among
all participating parties.
If you actually have the time and money to run a booth at
a convention, this is a great opportunity to show your work!
But don't expect to sell a lot at a convention. You'll be
competing with a lot of people- many who will have more
experience, popularity, etc. than you. Expect to reduce
your price (for example, 3 issues for $2.00.. maybe even
less) If you can, try to give away freebies as much as you
can. People like free things.. don't you? And people at
conventions usually expect rock bottom prices, free promos,
and other goodies.
If you can set up a booth with other's like you, all the
better! Try to sell something else as well besides your
original manga's- sell prints of your artwork, and other
things you can think of.
5. Give give give!
If you're not charging for your work, try passing it along
to whomever you know- friends, family, internet buddies-
or don't know- random people at an anime con.
If you're passing it to people you don't know, be polite
about it and don't hound someone- if they don't want it,
they don't want it.
Don't go berserk with this one by going to the mall and
suddenly passing out your manga cuz more likely than not,
it'll just get thrown away. Instead, go somewhere like an
anime convention where it'll be treated at least more respectfully.
Heck, if you can, do a project on manga's at school and
pass it along there.. you never know, someone in your class
may like it and maybe become a fan of your work. Heck, my
professors were quite interested in what I was doing in
regards to my comics. :)
If you're giving your work for free, you can set up some
kind of funding program where people donate money so you
can keep bringing out more manga's for free. Most people,
I've noticed, use Paypal.
This is a good way to offset your costs in making the manga's,
and if your get enough funds you can probably do other projects
like making T-shirts.
Be honest about funding- don't spend donated money on other
things... in other words, don't be a jerk! You'll get a
bad wrap and it's not good to get a reputation as a <insert
expletive of your choosing here>. Besides that, these
people will be your future customers and if other manga-ka's
get wind of your bad rep, they'll most likely avoid you
Besides donations, you can try for selling other products
- you know: t-shirts, stickers, prints, posters, etc. It
would be best for you to research the prices of how much
it'll take to make these items. Some costs more up-front
7. Getting Exposure
One of the best ways to get a bit more name-recognition
is to build yourself a web site! There are quite a number
of free web site hosts you can sign up to but they usually
have a downside - ads. All free hosting sites lay out a
bevy of ads on the sites, some more than others. Best advice:
If you're willing to, you can shelve out some money, look
around for a web hosting site, and get your own domain name!
If you do this though, make sure you have some kind of steady
income to at least pay for the yearly hosting fee and domain
registration. Check out rydia.net,
if you're considering.
Here is a list of other resources you should check out if you
wish to self-publish:
Printing Comics - How to work with a printing press company
OnlineComics.net - Online comics directory
Lulu - Print-on-demand your comic books
Cafepress - Print-on-demand your comic books or graphic novels
Articles for Writers and Publishers