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Manga: Preparing your material

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You have come up with a script and your main characters… now you need to start drawing your panels! Pencils, eraser, pens, ink… You have everything ready! But did you remember to draw your margins?

1. Drawing panel margins

You can get special manga paper with already drawn margins, but if you are using traditional A3 or A4 sheets, you need to draw them yourself.


Step 1: create a template.

  • Attach your sheet of paper to the table with adhesive tape to keep it from moving.
  • If you are using an A3 format, draw a vertical line to divide the sheet of paper into two equal-size pages, that is, 21 cm wide.
  • Next, draw your first vertical margin 3 cm from the left edge of the sheet of paper, and another one 3 cm from the center line. Do the same thing on the right hand page.
  • Draw the horizontal margins, located 3.6 cm from the top and bottom edges of the sheet of paper.


Step 2: add margins to all the sheets.

  • Set your template on the sheet of paper so it is perfectly superimposed.
  • Fasten them together with adhesive tape.
  • Use the point of a compass to perforate the template and the sheet of paper to create markers. Then remove the template.
  • Align your ruler with the markers to draw the vertical margins then the horizontal one with a rapidograph.

That little extra

Start by drawing the margins with a blue pencil. In case of error, they are easy to erase and do not show when printing. Then go over them with a rapidograph.

Trick of the trade: a ruling pen

Less expensive than a rapidograph, a ruling pen draws margins just as well. A little adjustment screw will allow you to adjust the nib and thus the width of the line. Dip it in ink. Hold the ruling pen perfectly vertically, against the ruler, when drawing the line.

2. And don't forget to…

  • Sharpen your pencils right.
  • Make sure your pens are not dirty or damaged and your markers have enough ink.
  • Place your essentials near your working area: eraser, ruler, compass, paper towel, cellophane tape…
  • Wash your hands! If they are dirty or greasy, they will leave prints that will show when printing.