Frames and some tips for beginners (and not only)

January 5, 2011

Hi there~

Today, I want to write about frames and some more or less important things about drawing own comics (aka ‘mangas’ ). On some forums/gallery sites, i noticed that some people who are trying to make their first(or not) comic, are showing random samples and asking for the opinions or some criticism. I noticed that many of them are making some basic mistakes, so i will try to use my own experience to bring closer some things which will help you to make your comic more neat etc.

People who are more advanced in drawing comics probably know these things, but maybe you will find some helpful stuff here too ❤

-Let’s start from the paper/page. First of all there should be a margins. (i noticed that not everyone know that they are likeable 😄 )

It will helps you to keep your page neat, and if you’re going to print your comic, it will be helpful to avoid cut out important things like bubbles with text etc.

1,5centimetres on from the each side (for A4 paper size) is good enough.

Also well drew frames are making the comic ‘good to look’. Personally i prefer to make tight spaces between frames horizontally, and more wider vertically, like here:

And here there is some examples from my comic ‘Meago Saga’ vol.2 and ‘The Reids’. I used a lot of frames per page in the first one, in opposite to ‘The Reids’ where i’m making bigger frames, also i don’t know why i prefer to make them more wide 😄

And here are some examples from some other mangas. (you also see that the frames don’t need to be separated. It’s all author’s preferences)


So now, what’s in frames? Your comic of course. But composition is very important to make the comic good to read/look and… hard :C

My personal method is trying to imagine that the story i’m trying to draw is anime, and i’m making screenshots. Also making  storyboards in the separated  notebook or something is very helpful.

Try to keep a variety in the frames, to not make it boring and to not tire the reader. Try to capture main important things, but don’t affraid to add more elements, which will make the frame more attractive, and won’t let to confuse.

For example:

Here is a part of page i posted above. There is Agi jumping from the roof. I could make a frame with only him while landing, but where he is landing and with who is he talking, so i made his landing in one frame with Mina, and some building behind them, where the action is.

Also i’ve added some dust around him and some short ‘dynamic strokes’ on the character, to capture that he’s landing right now when Mina is sitting on the grass 😄

Well made speech bubbles are also very important.

The good font for it is for example AnimeAce (which i’m using in ‘The Reids’).

There is also a lot of good free comic fonts in the internet.

When you write a text in the bubble, make the center text, use capital/readable letters, try to make some free space around it, to make it more visible, and easier to catch/read for the reader. It will helps in reading the comic more fluently.

note: You can use small/italic letters for example if the character is singing, or cast a spell etc.

Other thing which is pain in the ass for me, are the long conversations between characters. I’ve had few moments of it in my comics. The conversation last 3-4 pages sometimes XD; Try to not make them too  monotonous. Use various angles, poses, frames of characters. You can also capture only a part of place where the characters are, with the speech bubble in the frame.

Some examples:

Don’t affraid to use more (or much more) space on the page to capture most important situation/thing on the page. It makes good effect 8D

For big places I’m using two-pages picture. I don’t make them so often, cause i’m drawing  big places rarely (cause i’m too lazy, and cause it needs to check hundereds of times that left page is left, and right is right 😄 ). This is an example of one of these pages:

Here is another one (one of my favourite, lol ) where Mina is hitted by ball, and rush into  the room through the window. It’s the most detailed and dynamic part of the page, so i used more than half of space of the page for it. It also intensify the effect.

And there are two more examples with the Grand Mother. Her hair are very long and thy’re floating all the time, so I’m capturing it by using a lot of space on the page:

Now some other, random tips:

Don’t be affraid to use ruller. Not only for the backgrounds C:

If you’re not using too much screentones, or have pretty detailed background, it’s good to leave a little of empty space between character and background – just like you’re using white outline function in photoshop. It will make the character more visible, and it won’t dissapear somewhere in the background.

note: you can make the background by thiner pen/liner than the lines on  the first plane.

To make dynamic scenes more dynamic-look, or capture quick movements, you can use for examples shadows made from lines.  Also you can make it with the black/dark areas in the scene. Also use some old, good dynamic lines C:

okay, that’s all for today i think 😄 If you have any more questions, don’t hesistate to ask ❤


5 Responses to “Frames and some tips for beginners (and not only)”

  1. juliomlc Says:

    Thank You!! very helpfull, I’m doing a one shot of my full story first, just to give an idea, I’m doing it in standar paper -.-, and I’m gonna finish it that way but for the real deal I’ll follow all your advices, I’ll show you my work when it’s done, think about ending february or early march, but all can change because I’m working alone and also have to study and keep my job ^_^ I’m sure you understand that :P, well c ya round and sorry for babbling ^_^ Thank You again.

  2. tsugiki Says:

    Thank you very much Meago. 🙂 I like that you used pictures (and lots of them) to help drive your point across. This will be very helpful when I actually start writing a comic. ^__^

  3. This is a very helpful post & blog. Thanks so much for sharing your process and tips with us.

  4. Chii Says:

    I don’t know why I noticed this only half a year after you wrote it… xDD
    Anyway, I realised once again that you are really great at structuring panels! *.* That’s one reason why your stories are so easy to read.
    May I ask, if you have any recommendations for books or tutorials about drawing comics/mangas (that are not concerned with drawing techniques, but structuring the story etc.)?
    Maybe you can write a journal entry about that, or write it here, if you have any tips ^__^

  5. Peach Says:

    This was super helpful, thank you! 🙂 Just wondering, do you use a ruler to help you make backgrounds? I’m so bad at backgrounds in comics and I really need help…

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