Tone Basics
By Rio

Most of you will probably think there is only one type of tones. The one used in manga where it's ready-made and all you have to do is cut and paste it onto the comic- well, you're wrong. You can actually make your own "tones". Let's get a closer look at them...

Type 1: Ready-Made Tone
These tones are the ones used a lot in Japan but hardly used in American and European comics. These are ready made tones you can buy in packs and use on your comic by cutting and pasting it on. These are called Letratone's, Zipatone's, or just plain screen tones which come either cut and paste or transfer version.

Doing this saves time but it'll cost a pretty penny to buy all those screen tones. There are all types of tone's out there and they usually come in a pack such as a Basics pack, Shoujo pack, Bishouojo pack, etc. In somes cases, you can even buy them individually. You'll have more variety if you buy them from Japanese Letraset distributors or an American based company that imports like ComicTones.

So far, ComicTones is the only company that I am aware of that sells Letrasets at the US. As for any others abroad, I don't know but look around the internet, ask around, and you'll probbaly get wind of some others.

Type 2: Make Your Own "Tone"
There are two types in this part, one you can draw yourself and the other you make digitalized:

A. This one really has more to do with controlling your work more. This allows you to set your own mood and other effects than the standard ready-made tones.

There are different styles of tones you can make yourself: flat hatching, directional hatching, flatcross-hatching, directional cross-hatching, loose stippling, and tight stippling. There are others you can make yourself but those are the ones with names to them.

This type of toning takes time, patience, and precision. It'll save you some money from buying the screen tones though.

B. There is also the tone that you can make yourself in the computer. From what I've seen, it looks exactly like the Letratone's except digitalized. 

This is a cheaper alternative to buying the tones but it's preferably more suited for digital comics... unless you have a printer that has a high print rate (dpi and all the other amenities) so you can publish your digitalized work. Nonetheless, try it out and see what you can come up with.

Check out our guest tutorials Screentone Depot by Ashura where she gives some free digital tones and a few tips on digitally toning your artwork. You can also check out our Digital Toning tutorial.