VIZ Media reaches the next stage in the development of its VIZ Originals imprint. Aspiring artists and writers are invited to apply for portfolio reviews taking place at some of North America’s biggest pop culture shows. The VIZ Originals imprint will develop innovative, English-language creator-owned graphic novel content for a global market, and is committed […]
The Black Nerds Expo on Thursday, February 28 from 10:00AM to 2:00PM at MiraCosta College (1 Barnard Drive, Oceanside, CA 92056) is a space for attendees to explore and celebrate black comics, books, art, video games, and pop culture. This event is open to everyone! Register at http://blacknerdsexpo.eventbrite.com for free!
Here is what the expo will offer:
-Meet people in the art, video game, and comic book industries
-Make new, local friends who like black pop culture
-Participate in opportunity drawings for active attendees
-Take Instagram-worthy photos at the photo booth
-Day-of point card to collect comics-related stickers and prizes
-Learn about upcoming projects and releases information in anime, manga, video games, media, and pop culture
How much is it to attend the Black Nerds Expo?
It’s free! Just make sure to either pre-register or register on-site for entry.
Why is there a need for a black nerds event?
Could you name at least three black superheroes outside of Black Panther, Storm from the X-men, or Luke Cage? Could you name at least three black authors without searching on Google? Could you name at least one black artist outside of comics? Events such as the Black Nerds Expo is to make aware the existence of black pop culture that isn’t usually shown or celebrated in mainstream media.
If I’m a vendor, artist, or would like to table for the Black Nerds Expo, how can I make that happen?
It’s free! We don’t want tabling or exhibiting fees to be a barrier for exhibiting. Please contact Jd Banks at email@example.com as soon as possible since space is limited.
If I can’t be there personally but I or my business would like to contribute, how do I do that?
Send any promotional materials (i.e. flyers, postcards, business cards, posters) to the following address by Thursday, February 14, 2019 to give them time to arrive:
ATTN: Jd Banks, Student Equity (MC: #10C)
1 Barnard Drive
Oceanside, CA 92056
Is it possible to sponsor something for this event?
Sure! We would like to do an opportunity drawing for attendees, so any swag items such as T-shirts, hats, buttons, wrist bands, DVDs, posters, cups, or figurines relating to black pop culture would be appreciated. In return, the Black Nerds Expo will cross-promote your brand on social media and other marketing materials. Please email Jd Banks at firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
Are you providing any stipends or paying any fees for vendors, artists, or representatives to participate in the Black Nerds Expo?
No. Participants will only be provided a table, refreshments, and day-of logistical support.
What sort of things would be great to bring as a vendor, artist, or representative to the Black Nerds Expo?
If you are a comics vendor, comics and graphic novels concentrating on black superheroes such as Black Panther, Storm, Luke Cage, Black Lightning, Green Lantern, March, Miles Morales Spider-Man, Ironheart, Batwing, Cyborg, Mister Terrific, Vixen, Nubia, Rocket, XS, Tattooed Man, Afro Samurai, and more would be great. Find a list of black superheroes at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_black_superheroes. Books from Toni Morrison, Ben Okri, Karyn Parsons, John Lewis, Alice Walker, Octavia Butler, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Michelle Obama and other black authors would also be great. Artwork can be fan-created artwork of current black superheroes and/or original artwork with black and African-American attendees in mind.
Just as in writing, backgrounds are important for every manga. It anchors the characters and settings in a specific time and space. Without them, readers have only dialogue to follow the story.
Drawing from scratch
Creating a background from scratch may be time consuming, but it is one of the most fulfilling parts of drawing. Once you’re done, you sigh and yell, “I did it!” The best way to create a background from scratch is to take a picture of the locations or buildings you want to use and draw it from that picture.
The reason why I don’t prefer drawing at the location is because many factors change as you’re looking between your drawing and the actual place. The sun and clouds move, shifting the shadows around, and people hover over your shoulder with indignant questions, peeling your gaze from your focal point. A picture will stay whatever you want that picture to be.
Turning out a picture
With a picture of a location, you can also create unique backgrounds. Ai Yazawa turns images into shadows with almost pixelated points.
Notice the background in Ai Yazawa’s Paradise Kiss and NaNa. It’s her trademark. (From Pinterest)
You can also turn pictures Into vectors in Adobe Illustrator or Manga Pro. To vectorize an image in Illustrator, select to “Trace”.
Using stock pictures
If drawing or vectorizing pictures are too much, you can buy Deleter background booklets or get free stock manga backgrounds on DeviantArt or Pinterest.
Deleter and Manga University both have books with backgrounds you can print onto adhesive sheets and apply like screentones or digitally place them in your manga using layers. They’re good for hard-to-find pictures such as Japanese classrooms, common streets, and convenience stores. The books aren’t free. They price anywhere from $2.50 to $12.00 online.
If you want to be a well-rounded artist, my advice is to learn how to do perspective drawings. Even if you plan on becoming a traditional artist (drawing, painting, sculpting), learning perspective will only be a tool.
When you first started drawing manga, did you grab a few sheets from the printer stack? I know I did. Tsk, and a tsk. We didn’t know better then, but now we do. The type of paper you use to create your manga and comics makes a difference in line quality, erasings, and marker bleeds. Manga paper is nothing more than comic book or manuscript paper that’s thicker and more absorbent than regular printer paper. They can be expensive, but here’s a list from online retailers who’ll give you a deal.
Want to try your hand at competing with your manga? Try one of the contests below!
Silent Manga Audition (usually around the end of March) – This annual contest gives out the top prizes including $5,000 for the grand prize winner and recognition by current manga creators in Japan. As the title says “silent”, this manga has one definite rule: there should be no dialogue in your manga.
SacAnime Manga Contest (Deadline: Summer 2015) – While SacAnime is an anime convention held in Sacramento each year, they also hold a manga contest with cash prizes.
Submit an anime-styled T-shirt design between November 23 and December 14, 2015 for a chance at $1000!
Threadless (Deadline: December 14, 2015) – Threadless, one of the top interactive T-shirt retailers, has an anime-themed T-shirt contest. If you win, you can get up to $1000 prize money. For those who submit but don’t win the contest can still get their designs sold on Threadless alongside $7 store credit.
After writing about some classes for aspiring manga creators (Manga Courses for Aspiring Manga Creators), I got some emails about communities for aspiring manga creators. Here are a few communities to explore.
Manga Raiders (http://www.mangaraiders.com/): This forum-based community gives manga artists and writers a positive atmosphere to share their work “without having to face unnecessarily rude and disrespectful criticism on their work”.
Manga Workshop (http://mangaworkshop.net/): This forum website is for amateur manga writers and artists. It provides a directory of artists and collaborations.
DeviantArt (http://www.deviantart.com): If you’re not already on DeviantArt with your work, get on it! This is one of the hottest spots to share your art, get feedback from fellow artists, and find resources.
Skillshare (http://www.skillshare.com): Want to see what other artists are learning? Take an online class or watch tutorial videos to perfect your art.
We Make Manga (http://www.wemakemanga.com/home): Take manga classes offered through University of Southern California and add in the internet and a group of artists, and you’ve got yourself a community of manga creators! Read useful and relevant articles and interviews, and look at the original art by students.
If there are any online communities I have missed, please comment below!
Deals and Savings for Manga Artists (Updated 12/19/2016)
It’s hard getting cheap supplies for making your art. Besides the “Manga Pens” article I posted, some artists can check back here to find some deals I’ve found on the internet. (If you find any deals, let me know in the comments section or tweet me at [ at ] jeridel on Twitter.)
Japanese manga artists have it good. They can walk to the nearest bookstore and buy any line of pens all suited for creating manga. Artists outside of Japan, however, have a challenge in getting manga-purposed supplies, especially cheap inking pens.
Right now, pens by Too are cornering the inked market. They make Copic-brand supplies, from nibs to colored liners. In Japan, a set of 9 regular Copic multiliner pens are around 1795 yen or $18 while Western online shops sell them for more than $20. Copic drawing pens with nibs and Copic Ciao color brush pens are 250 yen or $2.50 each, half the cost of what Western stores sell.
So where do you get these pens and how much do they cost? Here’s a list of online stores selling pens for manga artists and ship internationally. (Prices may vary.)
This online manga university also sells manga tools, including Tachikawa All-in-One Manga Pen ($9.99 for 1) and the Ultimate Manga Pen Set ($24.99 for Tachikawa and Nikko nibs and nib holders). To calculate your country’s postage, enter your location after adding the item(s) to your cart.
For UK artists, there are 2 shops that will ship to you at a cheap rate.
What better way to find Japanese pens and pen holders than by going to a calligraphy specialty store. This shop has everything calligraphy related, including art pens. They carry Kuretake Zig Cartoonist Mangaka Pens (£1.55 for 1, £4.75 for 3), Kuretake Manga Pen Holders (£5.05 for 1), and Kurecolor Fine and Brush for Manga (£2.45 for 1), including the VAT at 20 percent. Scribblers has international shipping.
For even cheaper supplies, don’t forget to sign up for the shops’ club cards or mailing lists.
Dick Blick offers a 10 percent discount if you have a Dick Blick Preferred Card.
Jerry’s Artarama has various discounts when you’ve signed up for their Online Email Club.
Blue Line Pro has a yearly membership for their Club Blue Artist Discount Club that drops prices by 15 percent. This membership isn’t free—it costs $14.99 per year.
Akadot’s Retail Membership is $15 per year to get a 5 percent discount on your purchases. After $1000 of purchases, they’ll give you a $20 gift card.
When I first started drawing manga, I used to buy the Sakura Pigma and Pigma Micron pens at Michael’s (they sell them at full retail price). I didn’t have a car or much money. It was when I started going to conventions that I saw there were many different pens out there, and I quickly realized that pens from Sakura Pigma and Faber-Castell were stealing my money. Both brands don’t give you enough ink (that’s why they’re so lightweight), the nibs break or split in half after a few uses, and the line quality is really bad. Right now, I’m using Copic, Tachikawa, and Mitsubishi pens. They give me a good amount of ink and the nib replacements are cheap and easy to find. They do cost more than Sakura Pigma and Faber-Castell pens, but they’re also higher quality.
When I was 13, I wanted to be a manga creator. Between college and Japan, I forgot that dream. After reading Jamie Lynn Lano’s The Princess of Tennis, that 15-year-old dream cried out and I realized why: Lano never forgot her dream and became a manga assistant for Takeshi Konomi’s The Prince of Tennis, or TeniPuri by some fans.
Lano’s journey starts with already living in Japan for 4 years as an English teacher before applying to Konomi’s call for manga assistants. Throughout the book, Lano not only talks about how manga is made (it’s less technical than I thought) but also the ups and downs of being a 6-foot-1 foreign woman in Japan.
The Princess of Tennis is an easy and fun read. Lano keeps the tone light and friendly, and when she turns to darker themes–the invisible red tape for foreigners, real Japanese customs, and women’s 1950’s role in Japanese culture–Lano always remembers that this true story is a happy one, minus the tinted glasses.
While Lano makes her book accessible for all readers, The Princess of Tennis best fits otaku and aspiring manga creators and editors. She uses Japanese words and emoticons that anyone can find in a manga. For readers outside of the manga-reading audience, this book comes off as a borderline Young Adult novel or fanfiction, especially when the grammatical errors are considered. Because Lano’s voice and amiable nature is consistent, readers can forgive the missing words, incorrect punctuation marks, and passive sentences.
As with many books about Japan, The Princess of Tennis uses many Japanese words. Some might find it charming, but I believe that if a book is for the English-reading community, it should stay in English. I wouldn’t say, “Konomi Teacher”. Even “Mr. Konomi” is passable. Still, I’d just omit the word. In the West, using someone’s last name is also a sign of respect. Untranslated Japanese words with simple English meanings–“ohayo” (“Good morning”), “hajimemashite” (“Nice to meet you”), and “ganbare” (“Good luck” or “Do your best”)–are still in the book. I think I removed every romanized word with corrector ink just to polish the text.
Aside from the mistakes, The Princess of Tennis was entertaining and inspirational for me. Remember my dream of becoming a manga creator? Maybe my TeniPuri call is waiting for me to answer.
How to Bam is aimed at people wanting to become manga creators from the West. So far, they’re just free videos and information.
The World Manga Academy has free seminars and classes for those interested in learning or teaching the art of manga creation. Their interactive website keeps up with your classes and learning history the same way an online school does.
The Center for Cartoon Studies, also known as Cartoon Studios, offers Vermont-based workshops and classes, but for their free how-to guide for doing comics, download it or read it on Issuu here. You can also earn a Masters of Fine Arts in Cartooning.
CourseHorse, an online hub for various classes in Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago, has several listings for manga and cartooning classes. The prices include more than one class most of the time, but each class fills up fast. Find listings in Los Angeles, New York, or Chicago.
Limited or Fee-based Courses
U.S.-Japan Creative Artists Exchange Fellowships are federal grants for artists to exchange culture and experiences with Japanese counterparts. Deadline to apply is February 1, 2018. To learn more about the program, visit http://www.jusfc.gov/creative-artists-programs.
Similar to Manga University, Cotty Kilbanks (cartoonist/artist for Rocko’s Modern Life and Iron Man) on Craftsy has a home study manga course called Drawing Anime Style through HD videos for a set price. This course is for people who consider themselves intermediate level in 2D drawing. For more information, please click here.
CG Master Academy is a specialty online art academy that offers classes for character designs, digital painting, figure drawing, and perspective drawing. Classes are offered all four seasons, and the prices for each one is usually $699. If you plan on doing mostly digital art, this academy is suited for you. Go to http://2d.cgmasteracademy.com/ for more information.
SAW, or the Sequential Artists Workshop, is a Florida community of artists trying to improve their abilities through classes and workshops. They offer year-long art programs, weekly workshops, and online classes at random times of the year. To check their calendar, visit http://sequentialartistsworkshop.org/wordpress/. On Saturdays from January 12th to February 16th, 2016, SAW will offer a Teen Comics and Manga Class at their location in Gainesville, Florida (SE 5th Ave at Main St, behind Citizen’s Co-op).
Mad About Manga! is a manga course run by Malcolm Matheson. This course costs $97 to participate. For more information, please go to http://madaboutmanga.com/.
For those online and interested in traditional comic book creations, check out the Comics Workbook (http://comicsworkbook.tumblr.com/about). Not only do they offer lessons on sequential art, but they have a magazine as well.
Activity Hero offers San Francisco kids and teens art classes, including manga classes such as this Wednesday Cartooning and Manga Class for $325 (January 20th – March 16th, 2016). To enroll, check it out here.
Kudan Institute of Japanese Language and Culture offers a 1-month and 3-month program for learning how to make manga as well as learning Japanese. The cost is really high (over $1500 for the 1-month program), but it has a very realistic setting for aspiring manga creators for its short term. To look at the prices and course offerings (don’t mind the broken English), please go to http://www.kudan-japanese-school.com/en/manga_course.php . This site is great if you need Japanese fonts as well, which are hard to find for free and that work with your Japanese language settings. Update 12/8/2015 http://www.best-language-schools.com/pdf/1414685115778.pdf
If you ever drop by or live in Nakano, there is a small manga school that’s run by an artist named Chika. Though there may be a language barrier, as Chika isn’t fluent in English, many of her students say she’s a good teacher who works through the obstacle. 3 days costs 12,624 yen. Check it out at https://www.govoyagin.com/activities/learn-how-to-draw-japanese-manga/1375.
Another manga school in Nakano is the Manga School Nakano with Nao Yazawa’s How to Draw Manga Course in English. It is a free course for foreigners living in Nakano. See the schedule at http://www.nakanomangaschool.jp/english.html.
The Yokohama Design College has a 1- to 2-year program for manga with the goal for students to become cartoonists, assistants, and character designers. See their information in English here: (for manga) http://www.ydcjpn.ac.jp/eng/pro/manga.
The Center for Study Abroad has an Animated Cartoon Drawing and Conversation Course under Japanese Manga and Language in Tokyo. This course is offered throughout the year in either 1-month-long courses (around $1345) or 3-month-long courses (around $3545). The prices don’t include housing (around $250-$350 per week), but academic credit is available, so if you’re looking to fulfill your Study Abroad credits, this might help. Though 2015-2016 info: http://www.centerforstudyabroad.com/japanese-manga-language-tokyo/.
Courses around the World
For Indonesian residents, there’s the Dr. Vee Mangaka Club hosted by Dr. Vivian Wijaya (first professional Indonesian manga creator published in Shonen Sunday). For the calendar of events, please go to http://www.drveemangakaclub.com/.
Another Indonesian-based manga school is the Machiko Manga School run by, you guessed it, Machiko-sensei. This school has been recognized by the Ministry of Education and Culture of Indonesia. This school also uses equipment and supplies directly imported from Japan. For more information, go to http://machikomangaschool.tumblr.com/en.
“Where do you get screen tones if you’re outside of Japan?”
If you want to make manga the traditional way by cutting screentones and applying them directly to your drawings, you can find some online, but they’ll be a bit pricey. It’s better to go to a Japanese district if you’re near one and find a bookstore. Otherwise, you can go online and order them.
If you’re more of a digital artist, you can use a computer program to make the screentones. The most common programs are Clip Studio Paint ($49.99) and Photoshop ($699). (If you go to an anime convention, you might see a booth selling Manga Studio with discounted versions available. If you don’t have this program and you’re on a time crunch, just download the trial versions.) You can also download free screentone packs from other artists like the Screentone Society on Deviant Art, Ashura’s Screentone Depot, OrneryJen’s screentone page, Psychobob’s screentones (password: psychobob), Shounen Ai Go’s screentones (old), or Jason Tucker’s “Screentones” page. The only bad side to using purely digital screentones in manga is that sometimes the tone looks too digital, too clean. Some ways to get around that is to scan a few physical screentones and use them when the manga looks off after toning.
Here’s a video on how to do digital screentoning on Photoshop (new and old versions of Photoshop are applicable):
If you want the best of both worlds–the traditional way of making manga with the digital ease–you can print screentones on transparent paper and apply them to the physical manga. You can also scan the physical screentone to your computer, define a block of it as a pattern in Photoshop, and use it (Edit>Fill>Pattern) after selecting the area you want toned.
If you’re skilled with a pen, you can also use carefully planned hatchbacking and pointillism, but it won’t look so professional (just more artsy).
One thing I like about living in Japan: I can read Japanese manga technique books for free. The book I picked up from the school library was Tokyo Institute of Animators’s 思いいどおりのキャラが描けるテクニックBOOK, or Character Technique Book (literally “techniques so that one can draw the expected character”).
Character Technique Book is a 単行本, or tankoubon, meaning “special volume” usually from a series of lectures.
This book’s best aspect: showing how to draw people, weapons, animals, and places from the preliminary sketches to the finished product. Even how to color pictures (digitally and traditionally) is outlined. For all emerging comic artists (and those who can read Japanese), I would recommend this book.
There are also other technique books like this such as Cool Male Characters Technique Book (loose translation of カッコいい男のキャラの描けるテクニックBOOK) and Cute Girl Characters Technique Book (loose translation of かわいい女のキャラの描けるBOOK).
Character Technique Book is available for 1050 yen on Japan’s Amazon website. You can also find this book as How to Draw Manga Character Background Technique Book on Amazon.com for $33.18.