Ask Boichi about Manga 6 – About backgrounds


About backgrounds

Hi Boichi-sensei, I’d like to know how you proceed for your pages’ background, especially those in Sun-Ken Rock?

– Nassreddine Chattou

Dear Nassreddine Chattou,
Nice to meet you and thanks for this interesting question.

There are many ways to create background for manga.
And those backgrounds are a very difficult and complicated job that faces Japanese mangaka.

Through Background work for manga, you can see many complex meanings and realities evolving manga trends and market.
But before telling you about these, I would like to answer your question on how I work on backgrounds for Sun-Ken Rock.

So I checked my computer’s archives where I put my past works.
What I’m going to focus on now is the background from Sun-Ken Rock chapter 109.

Firstly I layout everything in the page and finish the character’s inking.

Sun-Ken Rock chapter 109 background layout and character inkingAfter I’m done with my task, I then pass it to my assistant in charge of drawing backgrounds.

Before he starts to work, I tell him which details I need for the background and, if necessary, I tell him to research and find more informations for those background details.

Sun-Ken Rock chapter 109 background inking

He then scans it once he’s done with the background inking work.

I believe that background scenes are a very important tool for readers to understand the creator’s message and through which they can feel what he has to tell.

That’s why it’s a very important job for backgrounds to deliver those messages to the readers.

Sun-Ken Rock chapter 109 screentones

After scanning is done, he starts to apply screentones to it.

Sun-Ken Rock chapter 109 snow

It was winter at the time in Sun-Ken Rock, so it needed some snow effect.

Sun-Ken Rock chapter 109 snow bis

Adding more snow effect.

You have to keep improving the effect until the level of details is achieved but you need to keep the inking lines in mind too.

Sun-Ken Rock chapter 109 final compositionAdding the finished background composition to the original page and retouching it a bit for the final work.

Sun-Ken Rock chapter 109 final page

Sun-Ken Rock chapter 109 final page

This is the finished work before being sent to the publisher.

I mentioned it before but manga’s backgrounds are a very difficult job for mangaka and assistants.

It also asks of you to understand the creative process of manga, drawing skills, scene editing, layout, storytelling, etc…
If you also have high concentration and sense of understanding of the story, they will help you to draw better background for manga.

They are what you need in the real field.

If a mangaka imagines a great layout and scene but his or her assistants cannot follow their mangaka’s skills, then the work can’t be done.

Therefore, in order to obtain the desired result, assistants also need those abilities and concentration.
I know it’s very hard; even for me it is.

Drawing good backgrounds does not only requires drawing skills.
It does but you also need to learn other things, focus and understand what manga title you are working on.

When drawing your work alone, you might think that having many staff members helping on a single manga title would makes it easier than working alone but you are totally wrong. It is still very complicated.

It’s very hard to imagine, to give an important work to someone you don’t know, spending time and money to teach them skills.
It comes with many failures and frustrations.

Of course, if you just need to fill the space of a scene, you just need minimum assistants and some pictures.
But even that is also not so easy.

Everything is about a works of art and what men do.
Drawing Background for manga is an eternal problem for mangaka.
You don’t know how much I really want to give up. But I cannot.

For better manga, for our readers, we, mangaka never give up and keep drawing again and again.
With pain and suffering and… spending money… (sob)
That is how we do and live.

– Boichi

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