I'll introduce some techniques of "name"-creating. "Name" is the second stage of manga-drawing and requires various techniques.


How to create a "name"


created by stapling B5 sized copy papers
created by stapling B5 sized copy papers


A "name" is manga which is roughly drawn on thin paper according to the plot of the manga story and character charts you created. The "name" is different from the original meaning. "Name" has become jargon in the Japanese manga industry though I don't know the circumstances of it.


"Names" are not merely rough sketches before working on drawing pictures on special thick paper for manga in earnest. It's a very important process to convert the plot into manga. The charm of the content is created through the plots of manga stories, character charts, "names". If a name is boring, it's almost impossible to make it interesting at the picture-drawing stage. Good capability of drawing "name" is required to create attractive manga.


There are three ways to convert the plots of manga stories into "names". First, let's prepare thin white paper like B 5 sized copy paper and mechanical or regular pencils.


Method 1 : The first method is to convert the plot into name directly. While reading the plot, you draw "names" on the paper with considering the characters' words in the speech balloons, the layout of frames, and the composition of pictures.


Method 2 : The second method is to convert the plot into more detailed texts like scripts, and then, convert them into "names".


Method 3: The third method is to convert the plot into "mini-sized names", first. You can decide the size of the mini-name. I usually divide B4-sized paper into eight panels and regard each panel as one page of a "name". After finishing the mini-name, you can draw names on B 5 sized paper while referring to the mini-sized ones.

                      Please click the picture to enlarge it.


Compared with method 1, method 2 or 3 might seem complicated, however, method 1 can be difficult especially for beginners, so, sometimes it is faster to use method 2 or 3. All methods are used by professionals, therefore, you can decide which one is to your taste.



It's said that the average number of panels per page is around 6, so, from five to seven would be desirable in general. When it comes to a highlight scene such as a climax, the number can be less to create larger panels. Compared with old manga, it has been reduced recently, therefore, it would be eight at most.

Readers of manga tend to get tired when similar patterns of layout continue, however, manga learners sometimes have difficulty in thinking of various patterns of the layout.

To avoid it, you can sketch many layout patterns of professional manga. There might not be ones which just suit your need , but, if you see the sketches before you work on "names", it somehow makes it easier for you to come up with variations.




It's also important to take care of compositions of pictures in every double-spread page in "names". All picture compositions in every panel in one double-spread page should be different from each other. If similar compositions continue, readers tend to lose interest.

If you are a beginner, it might be difficult to do so. Then, you can avoid similar compositions to some extent by only using "long shot" and "close shot".


In addition, you can use professional manga as reference, too. Please sketch as many rough compositions of professional manga pictures as possible. Before you begin to draw a "name", you can take a look at them as references. It would stimulate your sense of composition.


In case you are going to make your work public in some ways, you shouldn't draw pictures using exactly the same compositions of professional manga pictures since it can cause problems. You can only use them to get the hints of compositions.




There are several ways to express a scene change. You should make readers notice scene changes certainly using one of them or combinations of them.


Method 1: Widen the room between the two panels where a scene change occurs.


Method 2:  Place one panel in which there is no picture where a scene change occurs.


Method 3: Place one comparably large panel in which a background is drawn where a scene change occurs.


Method 4: Place one comparably large panel in which a background and words which would explain that the scene has changed to (F)a new one such as " Three days later, at her house" where a scene change occurs.


Method 5: Use some close-up items to show a scene change. For example, if you want to express the place of the scene has changed from a classroom to a coffee shop, you can begin the new scene with a picture of close-up coffee cup, and it should be followed by a long-shot of inside the coffee shop.


You can also use some of the techniques together.


some examples of scene changes
some examples of scene changes


Manga learners tend to use too many pages or panels for the contents of their story. In other words, they need to acquire a shortening technique.


The easiest way is to check two panels in a side-by-side position whether their contents can be combined into one and expressed in one panel. Sometimes even the contents of three or four panels can be re-created into one panel.


Depending on the situation, even the whole scene consists of two or three pages can be converted into one or two panels.


However some learners have a tendency to draw very short "names" which abbreviate things too much. Mostly their "names" lack enough explanations, so, the whole situation of the story is not understandable.

I recommend you to notice which type you belong to and try not to be so.


Please click the picture to enlarge it.

examples of name-shortening
examples of name-shortening


How did you like it?


To tell the truth, there are many amateur manga artists who can draw pictures like professionals. However, there is a grate difference of ability in creating characters' personalities, plots of stories and "names".

So, if you really want to be a professional, you need to train these abilities.


Even in Japan, you can seldom find manga-drawing books which deal with techniques related to these important things.

I have much more information about manga-drawing, so,I really hope to publish my manga-drawing book overseas!