Intro & Thumbnail




Hello everyone, I'm Primula, a manga assistant.


The topic of backgrounds is very dear to me because I always wanted to draw backgrounds that look like the ones from my favorite comics, and cityscapes are my personal favourite, but unfortunately I wasn't able to find specific help when I was a beginner, so, knowing that backgrounds are a difficult subject for many people, I decided I would make a tutorial.


Backgrounds are essential in manga and comics in general to determine the place where the scene is happening, or to mark a transition to another scene. It's important to have a big, detailed background on the first page of your comic, so that the readers can be absorbed by the atmosphere of your story.


This tutorial will walk you through:


  • Thumbnail

  • Setting perspective ruler

  • Using reference to create a new scenery from scratch

  • Drafting

  • Inking

  • Finishes




  • This tutorial may not be suited for complete beginners. However I think it can still help you in your learning journey.


  • This tutorial won't teach you how to trace or extract backgrounds from photos or 3D. I'm giving out tips on how to make your own backgrounds from scratch. However background extraction is still a popular way to make background art, so I might consider doing a tutorial about that in the future.


Let's start!



1- Please open Clip Studio and go to File> New and select Comic. Commercial manga work is usually executed on a B4 size manuscript document, while A4 is more commonly used for Doujinshi.


I am going for B4 size for this tutorial. Click OK.

Optional: numerate your page in the "File Name" space at the top of the window. I'm calling this file "Page001".


2- Now that I have my page, I decide that this is the first page of an hypothetical manga.

This means I will need to draw a big panel for my establishing shot.


Convert the already existing raster layer to a vector layer. Above, choose "Monochrome" as the expression color.


Pick the Figure Tool (U) and select Straight Line. I usually set the size to 12-14 px.


I draw a line to delimit the drawing space of my page, because in a Japanese commercial manuscript, the binding side of the first page in a manga volume is on the right, and if I draw in the space beyond that line, the drawing won't be readable in the finished product.

So draw this line on the left side if you are drawing for an occidental serialization.


You can see that I don't care about being precise, this is because I'm going to erase the eccess with the Vector eraser.

Simply by clicking on the excess lines, it will erase them without you having to go over it like with the normal eraser tool . This is a very powerful tool to draw backgrounds because it saves time in the inking process.


Bear in mind that Vector eraser works like this only in Vector layers.


Now you have a panel!


(I don't use the panel tool much because I work faster with this method, but you can do the same with the panel tool.)


3 - We can start drawing the thumbnail.

A thumbnail simply has to be indicative of what shapes you want to position in the panel, and the general development of the composition.


The neat sketch will be drawn in the drafting phase, so don't worry too much about what you're doing right now.




Create a new folder (Name it Panel1) and a new layer inside it (here it doesn't matter if it's vector or not). Name it Thumbnail.


So let's say I want to place my first scene in an urban cityscape. I choose an angle for my composition and draw volumes from my memory.




New Official Articles