In depth webcomic tutorial! From draft to polished.

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A webtoon is a vertical scrolling comic or a “web comic.” Every platform has different upload dimensions for their pages so please be aware of what your limitations are for when you plan out your layouts.

For this tutorial we will be using Line Webtoons and going forward it will be referred to as Webtoons.

*This tutorial is based on the assumption you have an account with your chosen webcomic hosting site. For information on how to upload your webcomic please look at their official tutorials.
i.e. Webtoons, Taptastic.

GLOSSARY TERMS

Webtoons: the website/hosting service of Line Webtoons
CSP: Clip Studio Paint program
Working file/size: the file you DRAW on- your EDIT-ABLE canvas
Canvas/working file: the drawing surface of your file (interchangeable)
Upload file/size: the file you upload to the site- the FINISHED file
Pages: each file that can be uploaded to a vertical web comic hosting site
Panels: a traditional 'panel' of a comic
Vector panels: the tool CSP uses to create vector line panels in a layer folder format
Book format: a traditional comic book layout
Vertical format: a scrolling comic layout

HOW DO WE LAY OUT A VERTICAL COMIC?

Since we are working in a visual media and want to showoff beautiful artwork, we have to change our thinking from the typical 'book format' and think about laying out panels in an impactful way for a scrolling, vertical format. We handle this by thinking in terms of 'PAGES.'

Webtoons uploads in 'pages' that are 800x1280 in size. This means that you need multiple 'pages' to make one long vertical update.

LEAD THE EYE VERTICALLY

When laying out your art, keep in mind how it's going to look while scrolling. Your final upload will be 2.67x4.27 inches per 'page.' We are talking SMALL. If you want the impact of a full page illustration like in a book format, you need to have the art take up two or more 'pages.' The longer you make your reader scroll, the more suspense you build.

This is because your forcing their eye to travel around the page. This technique is called 'Leading the Eye' which is how you create flow and read-ability. With a vertical format you have to lead the eye a bit differently but the concept is the same. For more impact make your reader scroll longer for a minimum of 'two 'pages' and lead the eye DOWN the pages.


Example of a Book Format
The numbers are where your eye naturally lands and is lead to around the artwork.

Example of a Vertical Format

LAYOUT YOUR PANELS THOUGHTFULLY

With a vertical format you will be limited on how you can layout your panels per page. Remember- you have less than 3 inches (800px) wide per page. Even so, there really is no limit on how you can set up your comic pages.

NOTE: “Panels Per Page” - When laying out my panels I like to keep to one or two panels per 'page' because when it resizes to mobile it can get very small. Webtoons allows for the file resize to 320x512px so they get very small.

ALTERNATING PANELS
Alternating panels in size and length creates depth to the page and makes the panels part of the artwork and lead the eye.

BOX PANELS
Keeping your artwork bound inside the same size panel keeps your comic feeling uniform, crisp and clean.

ILLUSTRATION PANELS
Panels of art on top of a single illustration can make your comic feel more immersive and like a singular canvas. Note: while this is a really cool and beautiful way to do it, remember it can get overdone very quickly. I suggest using this type of panel layout for very important scenes.

WHAT SIZE SHOULD YOUR WORKING FILE BE?

GLOSSARY –
Working file/size - the file you DRAW on - your EDIT-ABLE canvas
Upload file/size - the file you upload to the site - the FINISHED file
Canvas - drawing space for the artwork


BEST PRACTICE
If you are drawing at 800px you have a working file of less than three inches. If ever you need to make that finished art larger you will end up with art that looks like a censored bar. Not cute. Best practice is to upscale your file. I like to have a working file three times (x3) the size of the final upload file. That way I have plenty of pixels to mess around with if I want to turn any panel into a print.

Example of 300dpi versus 72dpi on images:

UPLOAD SIZE
Your final upload page needs to 800x1280 so we multiply that by 3 which gives us a working canvas of 2400x3840.

Upload file size page:
800x1280

Working file (x3) size page:
2400x3840

Its gonna look like this when scaled down upload size (the large picture is the working file (2400x3840) and the small one is the upload size (800x1280))

WORKING FILE SIZE

For a working file I like to have five pages in length. This allows me to send it to my colorist in manageable file sizes but also keeps me from scrolling forever down the canvas. I use the working file size length of 3840 and times that by five which equals 19200 (3840 x 5 = 19200). The exact size the working file end up being is 2400x19200 which will resize to 800x6400 for uploading.

Here is the final 'page' breakdown:
Don't be intimidated by the following numbers. It's addition maths. We got this.

BATCHING YOUR PAGES

I work in batches of five (5) pages until I'm done with the chapter. This includes all logos and social medias, chapter titles, and ending credits. One page works fine for that information but I've seen up to five pages being used to thank patrons and assistants. Its up to you. The canvas is your world and you get to create it how you like.

Example of “pages” and sketching out the art and panel layout:

HOW DOES RESIZING TEXT FOR MOBILE WORK?

Your pages will be 800x1280 and perfectly legible on PC. But when it resizes to mobile we run into problems with text read-ability. This is because when a picture is resized it looses pixels in order to fit it all in its new 'frame size.' Think of it like you're having to cut away extra paper to make it fit in frame.

Example of 300dpi versus 72dpi (Both are on a canvas size of 3.21x0.82 inches:

If you are applying text on your working file you should use at least 35pt font. This may change depending on your font choice. I suggest checking it yourself on a text upload on the comic host site to make sure you can read the fonts you chose. If you are adding text on the upload file size, you can use anywhere from 8pt to 15pt font. In the following examples you can see how the text shrinks with the resizing of the page for mobile.

I have found that adding speech bubbles, text, and sound effects on an upload canvas size of 800x1280 is Best Practice because you can see exactly how large the text will be.

WHAT WORKFLOW SHOULD I START WITH?

The follow is the steps I use to draw my comic. Through much trial and error (hours and hours) I have found something that works well for me. These are tips for you to use and adapt as you get more comfortable creating your webcomic.


BEST PRACTICE
File templates are helpful and saves you time. Essentially it populates folders and layers for each new file you create. You can learn how to make your own by going to HELP and in the instruction manual (F1) and search for “Register Layer as Template Material”
OR
Watch my video tutorial. I go over it in depth.

MY FILE TEMPLATE
This is my template with all the folders and layers I use on a daily basis for drawing the comic.

MY WORKFLOW

Blank Canvas → Sketching → Lineart → Color → Effects → Resize Canvas to Upload Size → Panels → Speech Bubbles → Text → Sound FXs → Splice Pages

I draw all my sketches in the 'SKETCHES' folder. All my line art (inks) go into the 'LINEART' folder. I draw on a vector* layer named LINEART for my line art inks. Depending on what works better for those pages, I may make a new COLOR folder or just do it all in the LINEART folder.

*NOTE: It is very important you do line art on vector layers! It helps with coloring and resizing. CSP has great tutorials on vector and raster layers. Please look at them if you're not sure about how to use them. Here is a great turtorial:

https://tips.clip-studio.com/en-us/articles/1255

NOTE: You will not be able to use the fill bucket on a vector layer. Only a raster layer allows for coloring. You can find more information about using the Fill Tool here:

https://tips.clip-studio.com/en-us/articles/1263

RESIZE THE WORKING FILE

Blank Canvas → Sketching → Lineart → Color → Effects → RESIZE CANVAS TO UPLOAD SIZE → Panels → Speech Bubbles → Text → Sound FXs → Splice Pages

I resize the entire working file to the upload size of 800x6400.
NOTE: I do NOT flatten the image. Everything remains on separate layers/folders.

To do this you go EDIT → CHANGE IMAGE RESOLUTION → Change the resolution FIRST to 300 → change width to 800 → height to auto adjust to 6400. Your canvas will resize to 800x6400 300dpi.

I go into detail in my video tutorial. Please watch Part 2!

PANELS

Blank Canvas → Sketching → Lineart → Color → Effects → Resize Canvas to Upload Size → PANELS → Speech Bubbles → Text → Sound FXs → Splice Pages

A quick breakdown of how panels work in CSP:
They are folders which act as mask on all artwork inside the folder
They are vector lines
Each panel is its own layer folder

Every time you make a new panel it creates a layer that doubles as a folder and anything you draw from then on out will automatically go right into that panel. I haven't figured out how to stop that from happening but I don't like this feature. This is why I draw my vector panels last. Keep in mind that vector lines for the panels act as a mask.

Using the panel tool, draw your panels the size you need. Make sure to select ADD TO SELECTED FOLDER if you don't want to create a new layer with each panel.

When you're done, drop your drawing layers into the PANEL FOLDER and it will automatically mask any art outside of the panel lines.

Anything above the panel layer will not be cropped by the panel. I use this for artwork I want to sit outside the panel box.

CUSTOM SPEECH BUBBLES

Blank Canvas → Sketching → Lineart → Color → Effects → Resize Canvas to Upload Size → Panels → SPEECH BUBLES → TEXT → Sound FXs → Splice Pages

Time to add your text. I do custom speech bubbles to help tell characters apart. Speech bubbles are also vector lines but will fill in automatically with a background color. This makes it simple to add bubbles without having to go back and fill in each one.

BALLOON TOOL → select line color and fill color → place balloon → add balloon tail

Use the OPERATION tool (it looks like a 3D square with a mouse over it) to select the bubble.

OPPERATION TOOL → Select bubble → Select brush shape → Select the line type you want.

It will look like this! You can mess with the Layer Property to add glows or other special options. Have fun! Note: For a more organic look, you can hand draw the speech bubbles OR you can adjust the vector points in the bubble to change the shape.

ADDING TEXT
For more information on how to add text to your speech bubbles check out this tutorial:

https://tips.clip-studio.com/en-us/articles/835

SPLICING YOUR CHAPTER INTO PAGES

Blank Canvas → Sketching → Lineart → Color → Effects → Resize Canvas to Upload Size → Panels → SPEECH BUBLES → TEXT → Sound FXs → SPLICE PAGES

CSP cannot handle a file longer than 30,000px so you cannot use an infinite canvas. This is why we have worked in batches so our lives will be easier. To get your working file into upload files of 800x1280 you need to slice them. CSP doesn't have this as a built in feature so you will need another program. I use GIMP because it's a free option although Photoshop has this feature as well.

Open GIMP and select File → Open as Layers → Find your upload file → Open.

Now You will create your GUIDES for splicing the pages.

Go to Image → Guide → New Guide → A box will appear → Make sure you've change the orientation of your guide to HORIZONTAL and enter the pixel you want to page to slice at. For the first page it will be 1280, next is 2560, then 3840, and last is 5120.

BRING IN THE OTHER UPLOAD FILES
Once you have all your guides in place you can bring in your other upload files. File → Open as Layers → Find your upload file → Open.
NOTE: when you slice your files you have to have only that layer visible and the layer selected or it will not register the layer.

To slice go to Filters → Web → Slice → A box will open → Change settings to your preferences → OK → Files will splice into 800x1280 pages.

Settings explanations:
Path for HTML export: Name of folder you want to save your pages in.

File name for export: I leave as slice because I won't use this setting.

Image name prefix: What you want each file to be called. I keep the prefix “slice” or change it to “page” and add a number for each batch so they save in numerical order. This helps with the upload process. Example: slice2, slice3, excreta.

Image format: JPEG only

Separate image folder: No. You want all of them to save to the same folder.

Folder for image export: Doesn't seem to make a difference. I name it EP_(insert number). i.e. EP_2

Space between table elements: 0 (don't change this or you will have spaces between your files once uploaded to the website.)

Last two options are not needed so don't change the settings.

If you don't want to use this method you can use an online site that will do the work for you. This is called Croppy and explained in Kyorin's tutorial.
Here's the link:

https://tips.clip-studio.com/en-us/articles/2864

DONE! Now you can upload your pages to the website host!

I hope this explained the essential parts about making your own webtoon. Please let me know if I need to explain anything else or make the explanations clearer. Watch the tutorial video as well since it may help seeing me do it in real time.

If you would like to watch the tutorial, click on the video below!

https://youtu.be/m95DRIHo3j4

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