Hello, Raul Trevino here, creator of LIVE FOREVER and MAGIC SODA POP for Webtoon. And today, I’ll share with you some tips about creating your comic as a Webtoon with Clip Studio Paint.
What are you going to learn?
Have you ever thought, what do people use to read comics nowadays? According to statistics and the emergence of new digital platforms, comics are frequently read on mobile devices because they can be read anytime and almost anywhere.
Thanks to the tools provided by Clip Studio Paint, in this tutorial, you will learn:
How to create your comic for mobile devices, aka Webtoons
How to take advantage of this format so that your reader’s experience is satisfactory
1. Script: Another Way to Write Comics
After several tutorials and writing courses, I concluded that there’s a great way for me to write comics that fulfills my needs: prose.
So what I usually do is a very general prose script and some dialogue. I mix the traditional way to write comics scripts and prose. Still, I typically build my character's conversations when I do my storyboards. This is when I see my characters act freely, and one situation leads to another. So write the story the best way it works for you. Sample of my script here:
So as an author, I ended up writing using prose and storyboards since I’m the one who does everything.
Don't have a script yet?
If you don’t have a script yet, I’ll leave you two ideas that may spark your imagination.
I suggest the following: Start with one of the scenes that I will share below and let your imagination run wild. Note: picture the sequence vertically.
Option 1. A parachutist falling immediately falls into a tree and is trapped. You can draw it in multiple shots and angles throughout the sequence. So while we can see it falling, we see the difficulties it has in opening its parachute, the surroundings, and other details.
Option 2. A hunter is following the footprints of a beast, draw them going down along the scrolling direction. You can come up with some close-ups of the hunter's face, weapon, and other details while following the trail.
There's plenty of room for being creative here because we can play with infinite concepts.
These are some examples of my sketches and my final drawings. (More samples in the video).
Layout: Size & Specifications for a Webtoon
You are going to create the workspace to start drawing your comic. Go to File > New (Step 1).
The document size is 1600px wide x 30000px high at 400 dpi (dpi does not matter too much, but it’s practical if you want to print it one day). But make sure the unit of measure is set to Pixels. And save these settings in your presets (step 2 above).
You can find more information and resources on Webtoons from their site:
But why a 1600px x 30000px workspace?
The quality of your line art is better while drawing.
You can print your comic in the future by formatting it to a print file.
1600 is a multiple of 800, so you can quickly reduce it later for publication on the web.
Something important to consider: From 16,000 pixels, you can go up to 50,000 pixels but no more. Just imagine this is your comic page, but you can stretch it down a bit longer if you need to add more panels, and you create as many files as well. For example, in the file named “Comic-01.clip”, you drew ten panels, but you need to draw more because the episode demands it. Ok, then you create another file name “Comic-02.clip” and so on. Create as many files as you need. If an episode has forty panels, you will have four Clip Studio files. Make sense?
2. Sketch: The Uglier The Better
First, let’s talk about versatile sequences.
The disadvantage of the Webtoon format is that we cannot use double-page spread or horizontally elongated shots as used in traditional comics. But we can use vertical shots, which is where the fun and innovative part comes to life.
More samples of elements that scroll downwards: Snow falling, pipes, characters going downstairs, objects falling, characters diving, etc. Feel free to use these situations or create a scene based on them.
NOTE: If you decided to dedicate this kind of design and compositions to your vertical sequences, it might be challenging to format your web-comic to the printer version. But my determination is to provide a better experience on mobiles and later figure out how to format it for the print version. I use not to care about the print version while creating since it will frustrate me and block my ideas.
Bonus Fact: Webtoon suggests 30 panels per chapter as a standard (the more, the better. It will help your readership, but don't push yourself too hard). Create at least ten chapters before you begin publishing your comic so that you have a buffer and the opportunity to attend to something unforeseen.
Now, let's talk about sketching.
When I was starting to make my comics, I believed that my sketches needed to be beautiful. Over time I discovered that the uglier and faster I made them, I could work better and materialize my ideas more effectively. So try to draw your sequences with loose strokes that express the general idea you are going for. Have fun in this process because it’s usually the backbone of your comic. If you enjoy telling your story, then readers will enjoy it too.
This is how my storyboards look when I finish working on them. It’s enough information for my editor to let me know if I’m on the right track or if some changes have to be made.
Don't forget to activate the Layer Color function when sketching. I sketch using this layer, and then I choose the pencil tool. I set the layer as a draft, and I change the layer color so I can see clearly that this is my sketch layer.
Also, don't forget to assign this layer as the Set as a Draft Layer option because this means when you save your image for the web, the sketch layer won't be visible. Although you can always disable the sketch layer, having it set to "Set as a Draft" layer helps improve workflow by allowing you to anticipate errors.
Just don't forget to disable the Draft option when exporting your file for publishing. (See below).
Then in the window, Sub Tool Figure/Frame select Rectangle Frame to start organizing your panels, and then you can start drawing inside them.
The font size for web and mobile devices is 14 pt (on a canvas of 1,600 px wide), but not all fonts are the same because some are bigger than others, please be careful. Try to read your comic on your phone before publishing it to ensure you are using a readable font.
Now, select the Text Tool and make sure you are selecting only this tool. If you assign any settings while the text box is selected, these settings will only apply to that specific text box, and you don't want that. What you want is to assign the tool settings for everything you will do in the future, so you don't have to assign them every time. I hope this makes sense. (See below).
The great thing about "Layer Color"
If you make your comics using flat colors, the Layer Color function will save you plenty of time. Especially if you use materials from Clip Studio Paint, or if you buy tools from Clip Studio Assets. (Example below).
Usually, the brushes and other materials that you buy or download for free from Clip Studio Assets come filled with white, which is great for our workflow! It let you color way faster.
3. My Process: From Sketch to Color
I’m going to share the process of one of my drawings. It's when Alaina, the main character of Magic Soda Pop, is diving.
Once you have grabbed some references from the net, (be careful not to infringe any copyright) then you can open them in the Sub View Window.
For better workflow, I advise you to use this Sub View Window and open your reference material or color palettes there. What I usually do is plan out a color palette for a group of scenes.
You can also explore your other references in this same window by clicking on the left and right arrows at the bottom.
As I mentioned above, I sketch on a layer using the pencil tool with the layer color mode applied. Then, I set the layer as a draft so that I can see my sketch layer clearly.
Sometimes I create an extra layer if I want to polish my sketch, but usually, I don’t do this, I just start the inking phase.
I create another layer for inking and use the G-pen tool.
Then, I create another layer for colors and use the fill tool for the coloring process.
One of the features that I love about this tool is the Close Gap option. Let’s say your line art isn’t completely closed, like this one below:
If this option is not activated, the fill will spill out and go all over your canvas.
But if it’s activated and set to its maximum, you’ll find this option awesome:
So use this option in case your line art needs it.
So once you finish drawing and coloring your comic, you can export it with some FREE resources made by Webtoon that I shared above. Also, you can download a kit I created for you as well:
Finding Your Own Style: Thoughts to Reflect
How I came up with this style for my Webtoon?
Over the years, I've been trying to find a style that I feel comfortable with. One that resonates with me and shows my audience what I like and what I think they would enjoy seeing. Since photography and movies are artistic expressions that I love, I've been studying color and composition by analyzing those disciplines. I've added specific elements from those creative fields into my comics. For example:
- Cinematographic shots. These allow me to express myself artistically, and they can also awaken the reader’s emotions through compelling scenes. Emotional intensity can be powerful if you can handle it well, but it takes time and practice. The way you choose your scenes dictates the way your readers will interact with them. How do you want your audience to feel watching a scene? Disoriented? Trapped? Detached? Hidden? Etc.
- Light and color are other elements that I borrow from movies. The way you create a mood through light, shadow, and colors can also be emotionally powerful. So films are an excellent school to learn this kind of technique. What’s the most important element you want to pop in a scene. Ask yourself this, and it will lead you in the right direction.
Creating a personal style requires creativity and a mix of elements found elsewhere. You then combine them in ways that no one else would have thought.
Also, my core personality is simplistic and practical. I'm obsessed with looking at the essence of all things. And that personality is reflected in my work. It comes naturally, and I don't force it. So one piece of advice that I can give you is: let it flow and follow what resonates with you. Don't try to emulate already validated styles; that's boring and poisonous to the industry. It may be stressful as well by failing to copy the style of someone else. The world doesn't need another me; the world needs the real YOU. Explore techniques and apply what makes you feel like YOU. What I shared in this tutorial are just techniques; you can use them but in your own style.
So, who are you as an artist? Finding this out is your responsibility and part of building your own style.
So I encourage you to look for other sources of inspiration outside your field to nourish your work and enrich your style, and the most important: to find who you really are.
Have fun and keep creating so we can make this world a better place.