Ask Boichi about Manga 3 – Page size for manga?


What page size for manga art?

Hi and thanks again to Boichi-sensei and his collaborators for allowing us to ask our questions.

Here’s mine: Can we ink on A3 sized sheets if we have issues inking on small sizes? Do japanese editors accept them or will it be needed to pass them through a computer to reduce their size?

Also what reference do you use to draw… beautiful, uh… beautiful butts? And finally, why in your works we never see women fighting as intensely as in the last fight of Asimov, God of War, against his comrade? THANKS

– Pierre Evina

Dear Pierre, I hope you’re well and thank you for your questions.

I’ve read your questions and it seems like you are planing to submit your works to Japanese manga publishers!! I’d like to give you my support! Keep it up!

There are some manga publishers who welcome foreigners mangakas’ works in Japan, but you’ll still need to go over many obstacles. I hope you can handle these.

Firstly, you must follow the page size asked by the publisher. You can find the size they want to receive from their contests’ rules.

Most sizes are similar but there are still some differences that each publishers can ask for. But I can assure you that A3 is not the one they want.

They may be surprised by this huge sized sheet of paper but most editors will think “hm, this guy doesn’t know about manga at all…”

So here, I’d like to show you the manga page size that most publishers like to see.

page size rule

JUMP SQUARE contest’s page size rule

This is the Sueisha’s JUMP SQUARE contest’s page size rule. You can see the page size is in “mm”. 

page size rule

Tetsuya Chiba manga award content’s page size rule

And this is Kodansha’s Tetsuya Chiba manga award content’s page size rule.

As you can see they asked for a similar size in their manga contest submission.

However, I think nowadays manga editors don’t care much about the manga page size anymore.

Because most mangaka, aspiring mangaka and Dojin-mangaka use “manga art boards”.

These are a little more expensive than ordinary paper. You can find them in stores where they sell manga and comic drawing tools. They are printed with a light blue size line and the paper quality is good for inking.

Personally, I recommend you the manga art boards and custom papers. Especially if you want to submit your manga for in contests in Japan. 

If you prefer to send your work as a digital file, then please go the publisher homesites and see what they ask of you.

I remember that in the past they liked to see print copies instead of digital files, but some editors like to see digital files as well.

But this is only my thought, so do not worry about it too much!!!

Secondly, you need to see the publisher’s infos from their site when they open submission seasons or manga contest.

I would like to give you one advice about the manga contest in Japan.

In Korea, I’ve seen a lot of foreigner mangakas who challenged Japanese manga contest. 

Many of the contestants I’ve seen in Korea had never read the manga magazines where they wanted to serialize their work.

Most manga artists who send their works to publishers have that serious problem where they don’t even read the magazines they’re submitting to.

They’ll just submit their works for reasons like “I like Kodansha because they are huge company. They’ll pay us a lot.” or “Oh, My friend will send his works on Young Magazine. So I will do that too.” These are not good ideas.

It’s good to challenge as many publishers and their magazines as you can but that method stays very poor.

From my experience, if you truly want to show your works to Japanese editors and be a pro mangaka in Japan then you need to do something first. That is you have to take a good look at the manga magazines first.

Read the various magazines, pick the one you like most and think about what you can do.

Do my manga arts and my arts skills match with the magazine I like? Can I work on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly pace? Can my art style fit shonen or seinen manga? Stuffs like that 

Unlike in the past, you can find various Japanese manga magazines and titles in different ways. Internet and the publisher homesites for example.

Personally, I think the best way is to visit Japan and buy some magazines from the bookstores but it can get very expensive.

Anyway, you have to chose the magazine that your favorite manga is or was serialized in. And think about you’re able to do.

Choosing a manga magazine is choosing a partner to share your life with. It’s the first step to become a pro mangaka.

Once you’ve chosen the manga magazine you’d like to work with, it’s time to start to study their editorial line.

Find and read the winners of past contests from previous years. They are great examples to study.

They are very talented and passionate artists. Foreigners like us need to do more than them.

They have been growing with manga in Japan as Japanese. But us, as foreigners, we have to study more and learn from manga what they really are.

First!! Start by knowing the manga magazines you like! The best is to love the magazine you want to work with.

Then if possible, search the trends of those manga magazines from the past to now.

Finally, read the winners’ titles. Study them!!!

You need to see what, when and how they won these past contests. Of course not all are good but editors and readers picked them because they liked their works.

Even if you don’t get a prize in the contest, don’t worry too much. If editors see you’re talented then they will call you.

They will guide you, teach you, support you and show you the way.

And if you get a prize and personal contact with editor, it is not the end. Only the beginning.

Indeed, if you can draw well you’ll become a wanted mangaka among manga publishers!! I will support you!

You need to translate your work to Japanese, find ways to get in touch with the editors and be ready to talk when they contact you.

The best way to do this is by speaking Japanese yourself, but I don’t recommended it. Mangaka need to draw manga, not to speak Japanese. I think every foreigner mangakas need a pro translator and interpreter to help him. 

There are many obstacles waiting for you in this industry, but nothing is more difficult than entering Japanese manga magazine in place of a Japanese manga artist.

To tell you my personal thoughts, I think Japanese manga circles need translation, management and agent systems for foreigner manga artists. It’d great to have someone taking care of those things for you, isn’t it?

Translating your resume and your manga at an affordable price, and then contact the editors and publishers for you. Of course helping you with many informations about Japanese manga circles as well.

I think this system is a must for foreigners manga artists aiming to work in Japan like you. It’d also be helpful for Japanese manga circles, manga in itself and comic industry in your home country as well.

I hope that such system will be there to help you and contribute to the development of manga circles around the world. If someone dreams to be a mangaka, his or her dreams must be respected and they deserve to be supported. Somebody should be there to help them.

I hope someday this system will be built for foreigners manga artists like you.

Oh, and that last question! What reference do I use the most to draw?

Of course, it’s the noble philosophy!!!!

Not butts!!! Not even close!! Trust me!!!

It is hard to believe but trust me!!

Even I don’t trust myself… but trust me…(…)…

And as for <Terra Formars Asimov> in volume 2.

I’d love to keep on drawing these characters in their world and it was very fun job to draw them (their butts), but as life goes, they have to keep going on.

They’ve left my hands now, and walk their own roads.

And I have a new challenges to do.

Same to you, Pierre Evina. The future waiting for us is unknown and mysterious but that is why we have to keep on walking!

Let’s cheer each other on our own mystery future!! 

– Boichi

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