How to Start & Make a Manga Comic

manga styled lady samurai image by Anastasia Serdyukova from

Things You'll Need

  • Scratch paper
  • Indian ink
  • Drawing utensils
  • Digital graphics tablet/program

Japanese manga, literally translated as “comic,” is a stylized art unto itself, with doe-eyed heroines, spiky-haired heroes and plenty of magic-meets-technology action. Sometimes called “anime,” manga is ever popular not only in the East but also in the Western world, lining book and comic store shelves. Creating your own manga comics is not unlike creating any other comic, graphic novel or prose fiction; your imagination is the limit, and--like any of those other books--it’s about story.

Jot down ideas for the story of your manga comic; in keeping with the traditional “rules” of storytelling, remember your story must have a beginning, middle and end. Each of these elements contain sub-elements: the beginning introduces your characters and the dilemma they face. The middle contains the climax, or conflict, of the story. The end must resolve the conflict between good versus evil.

Sketch ideas for your characters. Generally, most stories feature the main character(s) of the story, the hero or heroines and, of course, the villain(s). Manga specifically has male characters be thin and muscular (as opposed to the bulky, muscular frames of western superheroes), while the heroines are typically “cute,” young and rather impish.

Write the script for your story using paper and pen or a word document program. The script will help serve as a guideline for your story. Although there’s no one accepted script template, add in descriptions of each panel to be featured on each page in your comic, including any character dialogues, monologues, thought balloons, sound effects and captions.

Draw your comic on paper or digitally with the graphics tablet. Follow the progression of your story according to your script, creating the basic artwork first. Add in caption and speech balloons placement by marking their location inside the panels.

Ink your art with black Indian ink or with the graphics tablet to create visual interest to the reader. Write or type in dialogue according to the speech balloon placement markings, then color each panel digitally or use any medium you wish, such as paint or colored pencils.


  • Read several manga comics to ensure your story isn't plagiarizing someone else's idea; this is especially important if you're planning on submitting your comic to a publisher.