Professional tools to help you draw manga like a pro! Part 2

Let’s continue with our list of tools that our lecturers from Anime Art Academy listed as must-have items for drawing manga by hand! There are some tools that you might not see often outside of Japan, so we’ll go through what each item is, and how it’s used.

Last time, we went through the absolute essentials here: Professional tools to help you draw manga like a pro! Part 1

So today, let’s look at some useful tools that may not be essential, but will certainly make your work easier!

Useful Tools


If you’re a fan of manga, you’ve most likely heard of screentones! These can really help in putting in the finishing touches to a manga, and making the work look authentic and professional.

Screentones are sheets of adhesive paper that come in a range of different greyscale tones and patterns. The sheets are cut to size and stuck on to the scene wherever you want to use it. Examples of areas you might want to use screentones are backgrounds, shading, effects and clothing patterns. They even come in designs for trees, sky, and buildings, so they can make your job a lot easier!

Now that digital art is becoming more popular, there are lots of bundles and packs of digital screentones available too, so both digital and analogue artists can enjoy this tool.

Screen tones make for a more professional finish

Tone knife

Also known as a “designer knife”, these tools are used to cut the screen tone into the correct shape and size for use. Of course you can use a regular craft knife, but the pen-like shape of these knives make them much more comfortable and accurate to use.

It’s easy to change the blade too!

Brush pen

These brush style pens are very useful for filling in areas like the character’s hair. Because of the soft brush shape, we can adjust the pressure to either fill in large areas, or very small ones using just the fine tip of the brush.

Some artists also choose to use oil-based marker pens like sharpies for this job!

Circle and curve stencils

Known as a “French curve” these curve tools are super useful when drawing manga. A protractor will make a hole in your work, so most times these kind of tools are much more practical. They are useful not only for drawing in background effects like action lines, but also for drawing in accurate round speech bubbles and thought bubbles.

It can be hard to get used to using these – especially in a way that doesn’t smudge the pencil or ink, but with enough practice they can be invaluable!

Feather Duster

After drawing over the pencil lines with their final pen lines, manga-ka will need to brush away all of the little bits of rubber from the eraser. Of course it’s fine to do this by hand too, but you run the risk of smudging your work or getting oil from your hand on your work. Using a feather duster like this will let you feel like a pro manga-ka!

That brings us to the end of our rundown of useful manga tools. We’ve covered the basics here, as well some more specialised items – but all should be really fun and useful to use in your work! Of course there are many more out there, so feel free to do your own research and find more tools to use.

And don’t forget to put your new knowledge to good use at our online school, Anime Art Academy!

Anime Art Academy is on Discord! Come and join our community!

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