Manga and Anime: Taking It Line By Line
Welcome manga and anime lovers, comic book freaks, story
writers, Japanese culture fanatics, and just plain seekers of
creating something truly wonderful. Thanks for attending this
class in order to learn how to draw your own manga. For those
who don’t know, manga and anime are basically Japanese comic
books and cartoons such as Dragonball, Sailor Moon, Digimon,
Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pokemon, Inuyasha, Bleach, Naruto, and several
others you might know and love. The stories and plots of each
may have inspired you in some way and you have probably
wished that you could place those ideas on paper and make them
into something that you want others to see. Well with this class
that I put together now you can. This class is meant to be fun
and interesting, to make connections with others, get to know
them trough their own drawing styles and story lines, and to gain
a sense of accomplishment for making something that you can
feel good about. Now that the intro is out of the way, let’s get
the ball rolling.
The Basics: You’ll Need Them So Pay Attention:
A lot of people think that a manga is just a bunch of drawings
and dialogue put together to make something cool. Well, they’re
wrong. It takes hard work, time, effort, ambition, creativity, and
motivation. Plus, having a great story helps too. You need these
basics in order to have a good story that everyone can
understand and enjoy.
1. Your story needs to make sense. You probably have a bunch
of different ideas that you just want to jot down and use. That’s
a main and very common problem that people have when
creating a story because it always results in a big mess that no
one understands. You have to make sure that the ideas and story
line can fit together and flow into one another so that the story
has some sort of depth and sense to it.
2. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices. Whether it’s a
character that you really like but can’t find a good background
story for or an idea you enjoy but can’t fit into your story, then
you probably need to get rid of the entire idea or character all
together. It may be hard but it’s between the choice of having a
story that people can completely understand and like due to you
having to give up a few things or getting what you want all the
time and not letting others understand it at all.
3. Your story needs to be a hundred percent original. The story
needs to come from you personally and have ideas that are
completely fresh and new. Don’t go copying other animes and
mangas completely just because you feel that you can’t come up
with anything that everyone is going to love. Also keep in mind
that like regular reading books that while some stories belong in
the same category, no two stories are exactly the same due to
each person’s own views and ideas for the subject they’re
4. It doesn’t hurt to have any influences. You can’t copy other
people’s work but some of your own ideas can come from
inspiration that you gained from other works that you have
either seen or heard of. So make sure you look at other works by
other people and figure out how they did their own styles.
Basically, do your research.
5. Don’t go fixing your work just to satisfy other people. This is
your own work and if they don’t like the way you do it but you
yourself is satisfied with the job you’ve done and there are other
people who like your story and appreciate all the work that you
put into it, then don’t change a single thing.
6. You don’t have to fix your work completely but it never hurts
to get a few opinions. Show your work to different people
especially those who belong in the same audience that your
manga is directed towards and explain it to them so that they can
share their opinions with you. If they give you an idea you
haven’t thought of and is really good then take their advice and
use it to your advantage.
7. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you have so many
ideas that you’re going to panic and it feels like your head is
about to explode, relax, take a deep breath, and then take a break
from your work. It helps to relax from your work once in a while
so that you feel refreshed enough that you’ll be motivated to
continue working on your story.
8. Here’s the most important basic of them all. Just have fun!
People tend to get really stressed and they think too much to try
and make their manga “perfect” to the point where they forget
why they wanted to make their manga in the first place. You
need to remember that making the story and placing the
characters in certain situations is something that should be
enjoyable and always make sure to come up with some very
creative ways to give your manga a sense of humor somewhere
in the story so that others can see the fun in your story as well.
No Drawing Style Is Alike:
One of the most important things that you need to keep in mind
when you’re creating your manga is that no drawing style is ever
the same for everyone. It doesn’t hurt to try and practice by
drawing other’s works but just don’t expect them to look exactly
the same. The end result all depends on how you see the
characters and what feels right to you when you’re drawing
them. Take a look at these pictures of Sailor Moon for example:
Notice how even though she’s the exact same character she’s
always been, she’s drawn in so many different ways. In some of
these pictures she has a childish and baby faced appearance
while in others she looks more mature and sophisticated like a
real teenager. Each picture has slight differences such as the way
her hair is drawn with some pictures having a more realistic feel
to her hair style and hair color while others are a little more out
of place with less detail. It’s these small differences in each one
that makes them all unique in their own right.
The Age Issue:
Manga isn’t just for kids and teens. Some mangas have a
tendency to be adult oriented and very mature. If you have a
certain age category set for your story, you need to know exactly
which age group belongs in each category. These are the five
main age categories that you need to choose from:
-Shonen: Typically directed towards young boys from 8 to 18,
most of these stories are all about action and adventure. Most
common examples are the Dragonball series, Bleach, and
Naruto. Characters in this category are typically styled as
muscular or well built men and stereotypically curvy women.
-Shoujo: Mostly directed to young girls from 8 to 18, these
stories typically major in fantasy and romance. Famous animes
and mangas in this category include Sailor Moon, Cardcaptors,
and Fruits Basket. Most characters of a shoujo series, including
the men, all have a sort of physical beauty to them, feminine
features, and very few unattractive characters show up in a
series from this specific category.
-Josei: Direct towards women 18 and up, these are the more
adult equivalent to shoujo comics.
-Seinen: Directed to men 18 and up, the stories here are a more
adult form of shonen manga.
-Kodomo: These stories are mostly directed to little kids, no
matter what gender, with shows and stories like Hamtaro where
the characters and stories teach lessons and morals to teach little
kids life lessons.
Pick A Genre, Any Genre:
This is another very important matter. It says that whatever story
you may have always falls under a certain type or genre like a
book or T.V. show. Choose a genre that interests you the most
because if you just pick a random one, you have the motivation
to go through with what you’ve chosen because you won’t be
able to see the point in finishing a story that you don’t like
which is exactly how people will feel if they read that work.
These are the more common genres as well as some of the most
Here are some other categories that might interest you but also
need a little bit of explanation.
-Slice of Life: This category deals with life as it is, from school
to young love and friendships to family matters, it’s all about
-School Life: Mostly deals more with the character’s life at
school rather than they’re life entirely
-Magical Girl: The title says it all. This deals with young girls:
from girls in elementary school to college girls who have special
powers and abilities they received due to circumstances that they
most likely couldn’t control
-Historical: Stories that mostly take place in another time such
as Ancient Egypt or Medieval times and also makes mentions to
significant events that were happening during those times
-Mecha: Five words for you… Big, giant, super strong robots or
maybe I should just say robots in general
-Shonen-Ai: Meaning “boy love” it shows the emotional side to
a gay relationship and how the actual love behind the
-Shoujo- Ai: Meaning “girl love” it has to do with the emotional
side of a lesbian relationship just like how shonen-ai deals with
the emotional side of a gay relationship
-Yaoi: Deals with gay relationships as well but focus on the
physical side more than the emotional
-Yuri: Shows the more physical side of a lesbian relationship as
yaoi deals more with the physical side of a gay relationship
-One-Shots: Stories that are only one chapter long and rarely
ever last longer than one chapter
-Ecchi: Deals with men and boys always flirting or touching
women in ways that are much less than good intentioned
-Gender Bender: This subject deals with the member of one sex
cross dressing or somehow becoming a member of the opposite
sex and how they deal with other members of the sex they’ve
-Parody: A great work making fun of another great work. That’s
this subject in a nutshell
-Harem: This subject most often has to do with a single man
being surrounded by particularly attractive women who all want
some sort of relationship with him or sometimes the girls are
just a group of friends who stay close with each other while
dealing with their own love lives together.
-Reverse Harem: This is like a harem manga but instead is a
group of attractive men who all want some sort of relationship
with a girl or group of girls
There are multiple other categories that you can find but these
are some of the more popular and common ones that you can
find which you can use as well as mix and match categories to
make a truly amazing story.
Characters: Without Them You Have Nothing- Part 1:
Characters are an essential part of your story. You can never
truly have a good story if you don’t have any good characters.
The bases for your characters need to include these four
1. They need a name.
2. They need to have a background story.
3. They need to have a personality.
4. No matter what type of comic your writing, your characters
all have to have relationships whether their romantic, familial, or
These are the basics for making your character. We’ll continue
with this subject later so that you can keep the other lessons
you’ve been taught in mind.
Where and When Did This Happen? : Finding a Setting for Your
Story- Part 1:
All stories need to have some sort of setting. Whether it’s during
World War II in Germany or on some unknown planet at the
edge of the Milky Way, your story needs to be somewhere and
during some sort of time frame. Your setting can be as realistic
or as wild as you want just so long as it can fit with the rest of
story and the characters you’ve created. We’ll be dealing more
with settings later along with learning more about creating
Thank for attending this first class in order to learn how to create
your own manga and anime. Since today we’ve only covered the
basics on getting started with the whole process, next time we’ll
work more with the characters and settings for your story. Until
then your assignment for next time is to come up with a few
story ideas using what you’ve learned from this first class. Until
next time, good luck!