Doujinshi Printing World: How to Become a MANGAKA and Create Your Own Manga
Marina Vasilyeva, Client Manager in Multi-Programming Solutions • 8 min read
The popularity of Japanese comics has reached worldwide, and manga printing on demand sites continues to conquer the US market. If you are an inspiring artist or have a stunning story to tell millions of readers, you may be interested in the details of self-publishing. In this article, we’ll discuss the main factors to consider while printing your comics, including size, paper, ink, and other crucial moments. Keep reading our guide to learn how to become a mangaka and create your own manga online store.
Table of Contents
Features of custom manga printing
Regardless of the plot, a visually appealing cover, vibrant colors, and sturdy paper drive customers to buy your doujinshi art book or manga. Printing is a crucial step in comics production that requires attention to detail, special formatting, and dedicated software. Let’s consider the main factors that impact a successful comic artwork.
Manga printing paper
Publishers may choose one of the available paper stocks depending on the goals they want to achieve: high-quality and durable artwork or cost-effective production. Paper is one of the primary keys in manga creation. It significantly impacts the custom manga printing effect and readers' experience. Your doujinshi may have a professional touch instead of poor amateurish.
While choosing a paper stock, consider its type and weight. Uncoated paper is preferable if you print black-and-white manga because it can grant higher quality and results. If your doujinshi represents a colorful mix of pictures, the coated type will be a better decision.
The thing is, the coated paper doesn’t absorb inks, keeping colors vibrant and deep. Additionally, it is more resistant to moisture and dirt, which keeps the print on demand manga last longer. As opposed, uncoated paper doesn’t have a special layer above the fiber. Its surface is rough and absorbent, which can make the image duller.
Considering the weight of the paper, you should choose the one that will withstand multiple years of reading without spoiling. Usually, interior pages are printed on 80-157 gsm sheets, while 200-300 gsm is better for book covering.
Learn tips to ensure your anime manga prints may become high-quality, detailed artwork. Choose a CMYK color mode instead of RNG to transfer your images accurately. This approach is valid for both black-and-white and picturesque pages. Convert your text into outlines and select 100% black because it is cheaper to print than the CMYK one. Reserve 3 mm of free space for each side of your page. If you cut the final copies incorrectly, your manga will have 4 white edges.
When deciding on the size of your manga, think of how much space you need on each page to tell your story without quality and visual attractiveness loss. Big formats aren’t always the best decision. Sometimes, small sizes are more convenient for readers. Moreover, it is cheaper and more sustainable in terms of resource consumption.
Two types of sizes are commonly used by manga printing companies: A5 (148 x 210 mm) and B5 (176 x 250 mm). A5 is recommended when you plan to publish around 48-100 pages. If your book exceeds 100 sheets, consider the B5 format to keep your work impactful.
The size standard for doujinshi differs from one country to another. Thus, 170 x 260 mm is used in the USA, while 157 x 240 mm is a common choice for manga printing services in the UK.
Regardless of what paper manga is printed on, the process of its creation may include such stages as adding a protective coating. This approach helps improve the final product's interior view and durability. Gloss lamination is one of the most widely used types of surface finishing in printing comics on demand. Along with its protective characteristics, it allows to achieve shiny effects with a clear detailing. Still, gloss layers have a significant disadvantage. Fingertips may be visible on manga pages, which can be inappropriate and messy for frequently handled books.
In such cases, it’s recommended to apply matte finishing. Such lamination will perfectly suit mangas with complex drawings and abundant text. Moreover, it helps to save your comics from dirt and damage in everyday use.
Manga surface diversity also includes spot UV, which can highlight the most important parts of your page and keep other information matte. This method creates an eye-catching effect. You may also add luxury to the finished cover by adding an extra-dimensional look (embossing) to specific areas of the page. The described methods require additional equipment, which directly influences the printing costs for doujinshi but also results in a visually appealing product.
When you finish publishing your manga story, it’s time to create a ready-to-use book by binding all the pages together. There are three options a doujinshi printing company may apply, depending on the number of pages in its artwork:
- Perfect bound. It is one of the most popular ways to stick sheets together, which includes gluing pages along their spine. Perfect bounding is economical, flexible regarding size choice and page counts, and provides a professional look for your book. It holds up to 500-800 pages together, depending on the weight.
- Saddle stitching. The least expensive method in making manga, which suites only for magazines up to 32-48 pages. Pages are sticking together with two staples along the center fold.
- Hardcover or case binding requires more time and effort, as each book is cut and sewn individually. If your doujinshi has up to 20-1000 sheets, consider this type of cover the most robust one.
When we’ve defined the vital materials and adjustments for the manga printing process, there’s one more thing left to know - the best method for its production. You’ll find more details in the next chapter.
Choose offset printing for your manga
If you only take the first steps in creating custom manga and decide to print several copies of your book for proofreading or limited sales, you may use digital printing. This method doesn’t require a special plate, saving you costs and time. But if we are talking about large volumes (over 500 copies), doujinshi printing services should consider offsetting. This technique is one of the best for transferring colorful images on paper. The process uses metal templates for each color, including black, cyan, yellow, and magenta, to paint pictures on rubber rollers and later - on the paper stock. Here are several more reasons why offset printers may work best for you:
- High-quality illustrations. The operator can control the amount of ink on all four plates, avoiding contrast issues and reducing materials waste.
- Fast turnaround at a lower cost. Publishers need to spend some time on the initial setups, but previous preparations can increase the speed of printing high manga volumes. Moreover, the more duplicates you produce, the cheaper the price for each piece will be.
- Suitable for any surfaces and shapes. The rubber blanket is flexible enough to adjust to any type of paper. Also, offset doujinshi printing can be provided for wood, fabric, plastic, or canvas. The same method may also be used for advertising your manga on complementary products.
Tips and tricks for printing mangas
While printing manga pictures for the first time may be a bit confusing, we’ve gathered useful information on the process settings. It will help you avoid some common publishing mistakes and launch your business as quickly as possible.
Set up the appropriate format for your manga to avoid spoiling the paper while printing. Many publishers use Clip Studio to print personal doujinshi, and the app has fantastic features that make visually attractive comics. You adjust the paper size, cropping, resolution, and other parameters at this stage.
You should know that your manga is not directly published on the appropriate paper size. The laser cuts it automatically at the next step as if you were doing it manually when printing on dark transfer paper. So you have to set up a trim edge, which varies between 2-5 mm, with a resolution of 300-600 dpi for colorful mangas and 600-1200 dpi for monochrome ones. Also, pay attention to the screen frequency. Its value shouldn’t exceed 60-80 to avoid the Moire effect.
How to print manga relying on four frames on each side of the page? Blue is a working space that is included only in the program and isn’t sent to the print. Dark red represents crop boundaries. Light red - the final size of the manga. All the content inside of this frame will be published on the paper. The green frame shows where your text and pictures are safe. It’s not recommended to go out of green to avoid losing valuable information during the trimming.
Preparation for printing
When your manga is ready, you may export it to the printer. Choose a single page or the entire volume. Set up the format .tiff if you print manga online in black and white. The file will have only 1.2 - 2.4 MB, but you won’t lose quality. Choose "Duplex (Threshold)" or "Automatically Detect Appropriate Color Depth" and “Prefer quality” for grids. Now you have a perfect file for publishing. Still, some printers may require PDF format to access your book. Unfortunately, Clip Studio doesn’t support it, but you can convert manga in Adobe Indesign.
Along with interior manga sheets, you can also adjust settings for printing the book cover. Just choose the Cover page in Clip Studio Paint EX, set up the resolution and CMYK color, paper size (including the spine), and bleed width. If you don’t know exactly the actual width of the spine in the end, you may change it afterward in Clip Studio Paint → "View" → "Crop marks / Standard border settings" → "Gap."
Get to know Podza
You don’t necessarily have to publish a manga edition on your own. Instead, plenty of on-demand book printing services like Blirb or Print Ninja may finish the task for you. All you have to do is generate traffic to the website, take orders, and redirect them to the fulfillment center.
- Sell your unique manga to the final customers through multiple channel sales on e-commerce platforms and marketplaces, including Shopify, Woocommerce, eBay, Etsy, and Amazon.
- Connect other online stores and organize B2B wholesales to avoid the accumulation of out-of-print mangas.
- Print comics on demand, receiving unique orders from other artwork creators.
All you have to do is launch an online shop, download an MPS tool from the Shopify app store, and choose a suitable subscription plan.
Podza will help you streamline order fulfillment, create your own customer base, connect affiliates, organize smooth shipping, generate artwork, and process financial operations in one place.
Do you want to develop a POD business but would prefer something other than customized t-shirts and cups? Take a closer look at print on demand comics fulfillment services. The Manga industry is boosting, so it’s worth considering this niche as a source of stable and continuously growing profit source.
Create an exciting story and design yourself, or hire a professional artist and learn how to publish high-quality manga. Follow our tips to make your artwork look professional and visually appealing. You have an excellent chance to organize successful sales with the Podza app and become a real Mangaka.