The Differences Between Drawing Styles Between Manga And Western Comics Will Blow You Away!


Over the course of the semester thus far, I’ve been paying most of my attention to how the art of comics differs from other styles. Primarily, because I like to doodle, and comic panels generally don’t take up too much space, but also to analyze how the depth of each panel is conveyed. As is often discussed, comic panels are can act like windows, either into an open world or into a confined space, like a room. With such little real estate, how do artists translate this depth to the audience? I’ll primarily focus on manga and DC Comics for comparison of eastern and western techniques, but what I’ve found revolves mostly around patterns and line weights (known as inking). In manga, generally more uniform line weights are used, with block shading, rather than hashing, used to add another layer of depth. For example, this panel from the Shadow Link manga. Shadow Link Manga It’s also important to note here the extravagant hair and the important role it plays in manga, as described more in depth here. Another aspect of manga to take note of, visible in the image above, is the patterned background. This technique creates an almost abyssal atmosphere to images of its ilk, but focuses the audience on the foreground character. While this style conveys intense emotions, it lacks much detail. Contrasting the manga style of emotion before detail is the DC Comics composition of images below. DC Comics Shading Here you can see the the enormous difference between levels of detail, styles of shading, and variety of line weights. As seen in each character, a technique known as cross hatching, in addition to block shading to create varied levels of depth. Another technique employed in western comics is the variety of line weights. For example, taking a glance at the Superman image above, particularly in the neck area, you will notice a hierarchy of line weights, with heavier lines indicating more prominent features. Another level of detail here is in the image of Aquaman–his necklace and the sheen of his belt and armor. By noticing these different approaches to drawing comic art, particularly shading techniques, and utilizing them in your own work, I’m sure it will be much easier to maximize the space used in each panel, as is typical in western comics, or to take a more minimalist approach, as in manga. The important common aspect of both styles is the utilization of block shading, which adds enough depth to images to keep them from appearing flat, and unappealing.