View Full Version : Making a comic/manga - part 1, creating a character

06-08-2006, 12:53 PM
get ready to read!!! I suppose some people have trouble making a comic book so what IIIIII plan to do is try to show u how I do it, maybe it'll help!

this tutorial will be serperated into 3 parts:

-creating a character
-creating a comic/manga
-editing/inking/screentoning/getting it out there

(note:you can skip the following part if you want, its just a history of my work)

i begin! By introducing myself. Hi:wave:. I started doing comics a looonng time ago. My first experience with creating a comic was in grade 7 when me and my buddy watched anime all day and decided to do a comic called Houtek (which is how i found this site 'cause i needed to learn to draw anime). There were no actual pages so i dont count that as my first manga. My first one was called Boobs (ill leave that to your imagination) which was probably done around grade 7 or 8. i was a perverted kid and continued with other comics like that until i got to a serious one whcih didnt have a name but the story was all thought out. I havent yet quit on it, but i havent worked on it for quite sometime. I've worked with many other people on this board in the fight club sections and we've made countless fights. Another serious manga i was doing is called Honey, which you can check out in my sig. Its not close to being done but ive stopped working on it for the moment. I dont consider myself a verteran of comics cause im still not really that good at drawing them, but i still have enough experience on how to create one.

Creating a character

The truth is, what makes a good character in anything is something you wouldn't expect, a trait that totally seems to go against his or her personality. Your character has to defy his own archetype to stand out. If she's an uptight city girl--go crazy! Make her love kitesurfing. Make the hot-headed hero an awesome violinist. Make a villian who likes watermelon. Make two people who are totally different become best friends. I think what I love in comics is when every character, not just the protagonist, is full of life and interesting. You have a comic packed with flavor that's totally unique.
But that takes a lot of time, too.

It's the first thing you need after you have your story (I'm assuming you have a story). The first thing you need to figure out is what kind of a personality does your character have. Is he/she one of those crazy anime types, or is it a serious character type, or maybe a little of both! One thing is for sure, if you have a personality for yoru character DONT change it half way into the comic. I dunno about you but i cant stand when im reading a manga and the character does something that makes me think "whaaat? he wouldnt do that!" your character needs to be consistant through the entire series, unless of coarse they go through a life changing event which allows the reader to understand the character. You may want to think of the characters past and what kind of experiences they have gone through, just like in a novel, especially if its a serious comic. If its a comedy dont worry too much about rounding off a character cause the main focus is on making the reader laugh. Try and get into the characters thoughts! what is the character thinking? how would the character react to certain situations?

anyway, once u get the characters thoughts and personality done you can start working on how u want the character to look!

creating characters isnt a walk in the park! you gotta know how they look and they cant change! your style cant even change! they gotta look the exact same in every frame of every page. i know first hand this can be tricky! But lucky for you i have come up with a method of keeping them look the same.
First! what does your character look like? is he a scruffy guy, or a cute girl? make sure the style that you use accentuates the characters looks. If you want to draw a cute character then draw big eyes! or if its a evil character draw those sleek eyes. What I reccommend to do is look at pictures or comics tat have the same style you have and take notes! I've learned a lot from that and noticed things I didnt notice before.
Second! draw the character! as many times as nessicary(sp?)(here (http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a285/sparda09/7e980ba3.jpg) is an example of some sketches i did to figure out how to draw my characters). While drawing try and come up with a method to drawing this character. i will show you what I mean:

Introducing Sarah from heat wave 2006:
this is the exact way i draw Sarah everytime. this is the method i use to make sure shes the same everytime (or at least most of the time). If youve read the comic youll notice at the beginning she looks sloppy and not really alike in each frame. this is because I just started drawing and making it up as i went along. I did some research ont he drawing style i wanted and went to a site called www.aroms.com . this site has roms and stuff but also has those big boobed ecchi girl pictures with the big eyes. i knew this was pretty much how my comic was so I copied a few of the pictures and saw things i didnt notice by just looking at it.

Back on topic, personally i dont start off with a 'skeleton'for this comic. I thought this might help my drawing. So the very first thing i draw is the eyes. i draw a line up on a slant, then a big line down with a slight curve to angle off at the bottom for a bit of the bottom eye lid.

*note* these images are a bit big cause im too lazy to edit them all*
step1 (http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a285/sparda09/d2e91bfe.jpg)

i then draw a line for the bottom of the eye lid and draw curve upward where i started the drawing.
step2 (http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a285/sparda09/826d94f9.jpg)

then i draw a line up, perpendicular to the angle on the top eye lid, and i go a bit further then make another curved line down and use a sharp angle to connect to the bottom of the other line.
step3 (http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a285/sparda09/b3444513.jpg)

i then draw in the eye which is usually just an oval and some hatching. for this comic i found out that i dont like how it looks when the pupils are too big, these little things you should look out for so you like how it looks and dont need to change it through out the comic. after that I draw the three eye lashes Sarah has. She will always have only three eye lashes on the top and none at the bottom eye lid. the other character however has two lines for eye lashes on the bottom and three lines at the top. I always draw the second eyelash on the corner that i made on the eye. youll know what i mean when u see it.
step4 (http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a285/sparda09/868dc231.jpg)

after thats done i fill in the eyelash, then draw a little line above the eye which is the part where your eye lid goes in when your eyes are wide open. then i draw a line for the eye brow and continue on with the nose.the nose can be troublesome to place. There are ways you can place the nose to your advantage though. place the nose high up and it will give the effect the character is looking up, or the camera is low, and vise versa for when the nose is low. draw the nose in the center and it will look like the character is facing you.
step5 (http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a285/sparda09/5c065eea.jpg)

then i draw the mouth and the other eye and continue on with the head shape. personally i find this to be the hardest part. especially for girls because they have no distinct head shape in my drawings which can be trouble some. when drawing males the head shape can easily be distinctive over another because you can add in thick chins or cheeks without the character looking bad. so first thing i do is draw the side of the head and attamept to draw down to the chin. i almost always use my eraser over and over to get the exact line right because even if the line is slightly off it can still make it looks bad. if i dont get the shape i draw in the ear to help out the chin position and where it ends. i then start from the top of the chin (where the ear is) to the bottom, then draw the line i previously tried to draw down to meet the chin. i usually take this time to look over what i have so far to see if i can see any mistakes. in this picture already i spotted a mistake with the eyes. my original pupil was too big compared to the other eye so i shrunk it down instread of enlarging the other one because i felt it looked better. i also re arranged it to make the eyes look as if theyre looking at the same thing. i think noticed i had forgot another of my characters distinct differences from the others which is the lines under her eyes. im not sure what these are but i always assumed they were red cheeks in animes, so thats what they are if anyone asks.
step6 (http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a285/sparda09/5cf391e2.jpg)
step7 (http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a285/sparda09/3d49e6ff.jpg)

i then finish off the head with another distinct thing this character has which is the hair. i start by drawing a line down and a line up for one peice of hair, the another one on the other side.
step8 (http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a285/sparda09/3db1672a.jpg)

--- \/ Continued below \/ ---

06-08-2006, 01:15 PM
then i draw two more on each side and draw a line down a little past the ears and begin on the top or the head. she has messy hair through out the entire comic so i try to make it show. as i draw the top i make a flipy/curly thing then i draw down the side of her hair and make sure to draw more flipy things near the ears. i finish the hair and its done! the full process doesnt take more than a minute or 2.
step9 (http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a285/sparda09/9fff07fa.jpg)

so there is an example of the method i use to draw Sarah in my comic. its good to come up with something like this because it cuts down the time you spend to draw it and it helps the character look the same in each frame you do.

read below to see Gold Tangerines help on the technical part of creating a character

06-09-2006, 07:53 PM
Since I was quoted I suppose I can add something here about the 'technical' part of making good characters. This is what I've learned so far.

Start simple
It seems limiting at first, but it’s really a great way to learn. I always say start with gag comics—my first, and we’re talking seven-year-old drawn, comic was about a fish whose species was driven to near-extinction due to its great taste and human poaching. And I still have ideas for it. The truth is, small stories can be as complex as epics, and you can always move onto a bigger frame when you’re more confident. When you lack ideas for the big-time manga project, jot down little gags. Gags can also fit the little thoughts you haveduring the day and current trends--did anybody read the one with Garfield dancing with an Ipod? I loved it.

Surprise the reader:
See the quote. Give your characters something different, something people won’t expect. It’s not rocket science. Looking at me, you’d never guess I was green belt in Tae Kwon Do. You wouldn’t. Bullies might love watercolors, gangsters to play the piano, government agents might have hacker kids. Mix it up.

Share the coolness:
Newbies have a tendency to give everything (you know; the cool car, the dog, the awesome skills, the hot girlfriend, the best clothing, the apartment, the motorcycle…) to their protagonist just to make him or her overwhelmingly cool. The other characters are so boring they fade into the background, and the whole story is wrapped up in what the main character thinks and does. Don’t do this.
Sharing juicy backstories, props, special abilities, etc. between your characters not only makes them interesting and vital, it adds realism and makes the overall work more interesting.

You probably don’t have to worry about dialogue yet, but just keep in mind that it’s one of the most important aspects of character and relationship design. Once you’ve read enough books and had enough conversations, you’ll automatically prune clichés (“Take this!”, “I’ve been expeeeecting you…”) from your stories.
It’s not just what someone says; it’s how they say it, what they do as they say it, and what they mean. I suggest reading some great classics—no, not Henry James or that crap, but yeah, Sherlock Holmes. What’s amazing about the way Sir Arthur Conan Doyle tells his stories isn’t just the suspense he can create or Holmes’s character, it’s how the dialogue delivers—it actually puts you on Baker Street in a room smelling of tobacco with a tap on the door and a man who can tell everything from your habits to your intelligence by the hat you wear.
The best way in comics is to try to make your characters talk the way you generally hear people do it. Don’t borrow dialogue from movies; those people aren’t real. Go for natural instead of dramatic, because—and this is a great trick—natural dialogue is more dramatic.

Good characters are demanding. They want jobs, pets, skills, fears, hobbies, tragic histories, favorite foods, lifestyles. Don’t get hung up on it all. Keep thinking about them and make notes. Give them traits that contrast with each other, histories that show something in common between them. Go at it little by little and eventually you’ll reach a point where you just know your characters. The best ones, actually, come from people you know or knew. Trust me.
Sometimes I feel like I know my characters so well, they’d step off the paper and walk around if I could draw them well enough. Which would be awesome because one is super rich and I need a tablet.

Be patient
Making something good isn’t easy, nor is it fast or glamorous right away. But it’s like you can either pour boiling water into Cup Noodle and wait 3 minutes, or you can soak the ramen, thaw the shrimp, mince and fry the tofu, chop the broccoli and mushrooms, add the ginger and soy sauce, cook it in miso broth and set the table with your heirloom 15th-century Korean porcelain. It’s about a story that tastes pre-flavored and stale, or one with a bold, deep satisfaction in it that eventually becomes your own special recipe.

06-10-2006, 02:47 PM
I saw them just fine. ^_^

This is helpful, thanks!

But I have oooone question:

Is it better to start off with the face or head first?

06-11-2006, 09:20 AM
well you can do it your way, i used to start with the head first, so you should probably do that.
im gonna start working on the next part on monday or some time next week...

06-11-2006, 01:48 PM
Ay, forgot the important thing. Yeah, it's obvious, but you should still think a lot about giving your characters goals, ambitions, or dreams. Rule 3 applies to this too, your protagonist isn't the only one ("I wanna be a POKEMON MASTA!"), One Piece is a fine example, because even the bad guys have dreams and all of the Straw Hat Crew have a different reason for breaking out onto the high seas. If a character has no dreams or ambitions, make finding a goal her goal.
Or make his goal to avoid doing anything at all in life. It's virtually impossible to operate without a goal, whether it is conscious or not.

06-11-2006, 02:51 PM
But I can't even cook that well. XD

Thanks for the information though. It helps a lot. ;)

king of bandits
06-11-2006, 04:03 PM
i think i should have my friend read this and it helped me alot to

06-17-2006, 04:53 PM
crap i forgot about this... im gonna scan this page im working on now and make a tutorial outta it

06-18-2006, 01:51 PM
when is part two going to come?

06-18-2006, 02:08 PM
Accepting preorders. $19,99 plus shipping and handling, no money order or COD. Allow six to eight weeks for delivery.

06-24-2006, 10:30 AM
well, i have everything to do it with, i just need to type it out.... ill have more free time now since exam times are over and i finished the painting on my schools wall sooo today or tommorrow depending if i can get on my computer