Self Print Manga: A Beginner’s Guide to Creating Your Own Comic

What is Self-Print Manga?

Self-Print Manga

If you’re a fan of manga, then you’ve probably heard of self-print manga. This is when the artist creates and publishes their own manga without the help of a traditional publishing company. Self-print manga has become more popular in recent years, partly because of the accessibility of online platforms and the lower barriers to entry for aspiring artists. This means that more creators can now share their work with the world without needing to sign with a publisher.

Self-print manga can come in different forms, depending on the artist’s preferences and budget. Some artists may sell their manga as physical copies, while others may opt for digital versions. Self-print manga is often printed in small batches and sold at small comic festivals or conventions. These events provide creators with the opportunity to meet their readers in person, network with other artists, and gain exposure.

Creating self-print manga involves a lot of work and dedication. The artist is responsible for everything from the story and characters to the artwork and printing. This can be challenging, but it allows the creator to have full control over their work and their brand. Self-print manga can also be a stepping stone for artists who aspire to become professional manga creators.

Thanks to the rise of social media platforms, self-print manga creators can now reach a wider audience than ever before. Artists can use Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook to promote their work and build a fanbase. This means that self-print manga can be a great way to get noticed by publishers, as well as to earn money through sales and commissions.

Overall, self-print manga is a great way for artists to showcase their talent and creativity, while also building a following of loyal readers. It is an exciting and growing field in the world of manga, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for self-print artists.

History of Self-Print Manga

manga history

Self-print manga has a long and fascinating history that dates back to the 1980s. In Japan, it all started with doujinshi, which are self-published fan works. These doujinshi were typically created by fans of popular manga series who wanted to create their own stories and share them with others. The popularity of doujinshi led to the creation of self-print manga, which quickly became a popular medium for aspiring manga artists.

In the early days of self-print manga, artists would create their own manga and then print them in small batches using photocopiers. These copies were then sold at local comic book conventions or through mail order. While the quality of these self-printed manga could be lower than professionally printed manga, they allowed artists to reach a wider audience and develop a following on their own.

As the popularity of self-print manga grew, so too did the demand for better printing techniques. Artists began using computers and desktop publishing software to create higher-quality prints. This allowed them to print more copies and sell them in more places, including online.

One of the most significant developments in self-print manga was the rise of online publishing platforms. Websites like Pixiv, Comic Market, and DLsite became popular places for artists to share their work and sell their self-print manga. These platforms allowed artists to reach a much wider audience than ever before and connect with fans from around the world.

Today, self-print manga continues to be a popular medium for aspiring manga artists. While many artists still use traditional printing techniques, others have embraced digital publishing and use platforms like ComiXology to distribute their work. Self-print manga has come a long way since its humble beginnings in the 1980s, but it remains an integral part of the manga landscape today.

Writing and Planning Your Self-Print Manga

Planning Manga

Before you start drawing your manga, it’s important to come up with a story and plan out the plot and characters. Decide on a genre and target audience, then create a plot outline and character profiles. Make sure to include character designs with unique features to make them visually interesting.

When writing the script, focus on creating a cohesive and engaging story. Determine the pacing of the plot and the length of the story. Keep in mind that manga is usually read from right to left, so dialogue and panel placement should be planned accordingly.

It’s useful to create a storyboard or rough sketches of the panels to make sure the story flows well. This will also help you with the drafting and lining process when creating your final artwork

Drawing and Creating Your Self-Print Manga

Drawing Manga

When drawing your manga, consider the visual layout. Use a ruler and panels to make sure everything is proportional and well-organized. Keep in mind that your manga needs to be readable and visually appealing.

Create detailed character designs and adjust them according to the story plot. Add in character expressions, backgrounds, and sound effects to make the panels more interesting and alive.

When drafting your manga, use light pencil strokes and keep your lines clean and bold. You can use pens, markers, or digital tools for ligning and inking. Make sure to have a basic understanding of perspectives and anatomy for more dynamic and realistic drawings.

Adding toning and shading to your artwork will create depth and atmosphere. For traditional manga, use screentones and markers. For digital manga, use layers and brushes to create a wide range of effects.

Printing and Distributing Your Self-Print Manga

Printing Manga

Once you have finished your manga, it’s time to print and distribute. There are different options like online POD (print-on-demand) services, local printers, or even printing out your own comics with a high-quality printer.

Choose a printing option that suits your budget and quantity needs. Keep in mind that some printers require specific file formats, resolution, and sizes. Always check with your printer before finalizing and submitting your files.

To distribute your self-print manga, you can participate in conventions and expos to connect with readers and fans. You can also sell on online shops and marketplaces like Etsy, Amazon, or your own website.

Make sure to promote your manga on social media channels and online communities to drive more sales and visibility. Create eye-catching posters and flyers to attract potential readers and fans. Consider creating an online portfolio or website to showcase your work and updates.

Congratulations! You have successfully created and distributed your self-print manga. Keep exploring and improving your skills, creativity, and storytelling to make more exciting and captivating manga.

Benefits of Self-Print Manga

Benefits of Self-Print Manga

Self-print manga is a great way for artists to showcase their creativity and passion for manga. It is a process where artists produce their own manga by self-publishing it either in print or digital form. The benefits of self-print manga go beyond having complete creative control over the work. Below are four key benefits of self-print manga for artists.

1. Creative Control over Work

Creative Control over Work in Self-Print Manga

Self-print manga allows artists to have complete creative control over their work. They can create a story that is unique without worrying about meeting the demands of a publisher. Artists can decide on the art style, plot, characters, and dialogue without restrictions. It gives them the freedom to experiment and take risks with their work. They also get to retain the rights to their manga and decide on its publication whenever they want.

2. Greater Profitability

Greater Profitability in Self-Print Manga

Self-print manga can be a lucrative business for artists. With self-publishing, there are no middlemen involved, and artists get to keep most of the profits from their work. They also have control over the price of their manga, which can be adjusted to meet the market demand. Artists can make a considerable amount of money from self-print manga if they have a solid fan base and strategically market their work.

3. Exposure and Recognition

Exposure and Recognition in Self-Print Manga

Self-print manga can also be an excellent platform for artists to gain exposure and recognition. Through digital platforms such as social media, websites, and blogs, artists can showcase their work to a large audience. With self-promotion and networking, artists may gain followers and fans who enjoy their work and can offer word of mouth referrals. Recognition can lead to opportunities such as exhibiting in galleries, collaborations, or even attracting a publisher’s attention.

4. Training Ground for Manga Artists

Training Ground for Manga Artists with Self-Print Manga

Self-print manga can serve as an excellent training ground for aspiring manga artists who want to pursue a career in the manga industry. It allows artists to hone their skills and develop a portfolio of work that can showcase their abilities to potential publishers. Creating self-print manga allows aspiring artists to practice and learn about the entire manga production process, from character creation to page layouts to printing and distribution. By producing their own manga, they can learn and refine their skills without the pressure of publisher deadlines.

In conclusion, self-print manga offers artists complete creative control, greater profitability, exposure and recognition, and training opportunities for aspiring mangaka. It is a fantastic platform for artists who are passionate about manga and want to showcase their work to the world.

Challenges of Self-Print Manga

Self-Print Manga

Self-print manga refers to creating and publishing manga independently, without the involvement of a traditional publisher. While self-publishing has become more accessible with digital tools and platforms, it still presents unique challenges for creators. Here are some of the challenges faced by those who choose to self-print manga:

1. High costs of production

One of the biggest challenges of self-print manga is the high cost of production. Manga is a highly visual medium, and artists must ensure that their work looks professional and reflects their unique style. This requires high-quality materials, such as paper, inks, and digital software, which can be very expensive. Additionally, printing and shipping costs can also add up, especially for smaller print runs.

2. Time-consuming process

Self-printing manga is a time-consuming process that requires a lot of work and dedication. Artists not only have to create compelling stories and characters but also have to handle all aspects of production, including formatting, editing, and packaging. This can be a significant time investment that takes away from creating new content or pursuing other interests.

3. Limited reach without a pre-existing audience

Another challenge of self-print manga is the difficulty of expanding their reach without a pre-existing audience. Traditional publishers have established connections with distributors, booksellers, and other industry players, making it easier for them to get their books on shelves and in front of readers. Self-publishers do not have these connections, and must work hard to build their own audience through social media, events, and other marketing strategies.

4. Finding the right distribution channels

Distribution can also be a challenge for self-print manga creators. While digital platforms, such as ComiXology and Kindle, offer new opportunities for artists to reach readers, they can also be crowded and difficult to navigate. On the other hand, traditional print distribution channels may be more reliable but are often inaccessible to independent creators without established industry connections.

5. Lack of resources and support

Perhaps the most significant challenge faced by self-print manga creators is the lack of resources and support available to them. Without access to the professional editing, marketing, and design resources that traditional publishers provide, independent creators must take on these responsibilities themselves or find alternative solutions. This can be a daunting task, as many artists lack the necessary skills or resources to produce high-quality work consistently.

Despite these challenges, self-print manga can be a rewarding creative pursuit for those willing to put in the work. With persistence, dedication, and the right resources, independent creators can produce high-quality manga that resonates with readers and builds a loyal fanbase.


ONE One Punch Man

ONE self-published his webcomic “One Punch Man” on his personal website in 2009. The story follows a superhero named Saitama, who is able to defeat any opponent with just one punch. The webcomic quickly gained popularity, and ONE eventually teamed up with illustrator Yusuke Murata to create a remastered version of the manga.

“One Punch Man” has become a global hit, with an anime adaptation and merchandise available worldwide.

Hiro Mashima

Hiro Mashima Fairy Tail

Hiro Mashima self-published his debut manga “Rave” in 1999. However, it was his series “Fairy Tail” that brought him international success. After being rejected by multiple publishers, Mashima decided to self-publish “Fairy Tail” in the magazine Weekly Shonen Magazine.

The story follows a young mage named Natsu and his adventures with the wizard guild Fairy Tail. “Fairy Tail” has since been adapted into an anime and inspired numerous spin-off manga and merchandise.

Kohei Horikoshi

Kohei Horikoshi Boku no Hero Academia

Kohei Horikoshi first self-published his one-shot manga “Oumagadoki Zoo” in 2010. He later started serializing his manga “Boku no Hero Academia” in the magazine Weekly Shonen Jump. The story focuses on a boy named Izuku Midoriya who dreams of becoming a hero, despite not having any superpowers.

“Boku no Hero Academia” has become a popular manga and anime series, with a strong fan following. In addition to the series, Horikoshi has also released spin-off manga and light novels for “Boku no Hero Academia.”

Jun Mochizuki

Jun Mochizuki Pandora Hearts

Jun Mochizuki self-published her debut manga “Crimson-Shell” in 2005. She later began serializing “Pandora Hearts” in the magazine Monthly G Fantasy. The story revolves around a young man named Oz Vessalius, who is thought to be the heir to a powerful family but is banished to a prison called the Abyss.

“Pandora Hearts” became a successful manga and later anime series, and inspired a light novel and drama CDs. Mochizuki has since continued to release new manga works, including “Vanitas no Carte.”

Inio Asano

Inio Asano Manga

Inio Asano self-published his debut manga “Subarashii Sekai” in 2002 before going on to publish his series “Solanin” in the magazine Weekly Young Sunday. “Solanin” tells the story of a group of young adults trying to find their place in the world, and was highly praised for its realistic portrayal of youth.

Asano has since become a critically acclaimed manga artist, known for his introspective and often dark stories. His works include “Umibe no Onnanoko” and “Nijigahara Holograph.”

Tite Kubo

Tite Kubo Bleach

Tite Kubo self-published his debut manga “Zombiepowder” in 1999 before going on to publish his hit series “Bleach” in the magazine Weekly Shonen Jump. The story follows a teenage boy named Ichigo Kurosaki, who gains the ability to see ghosts and becomes a Soul Reaper, tasked with protecting the living world from evil spirits.

“Bleach” became a highly popular manga and anime series, with merchandise and games released worldwide. Kubo has since worked on other manga projects, including “Burn the Witch.”

The Advantages of Self-Print Manga

Advantages of Self-Print Manga

In recent years, self-print manga has been gaining popularity among amateur and established manga artists alike. With the rise of digital publishing platforms, aspiring artists have even more possibilities to showcase their work to a wider audience. In this article, we will explore the advantages of self-print manga and discuss how it may shape the future of the industry.

One of the main advantages of self-print manga is the freedom and control it offers. With self-publishing, artists have complete creative control over their work and can choose the format, style, and content they want to showcase. This means that they can experiment with different visual and narrative approaches without worrying about the demands of a publisher or editor.

Another advantage of self-print manga is that it allows artists to reach a wider audience and build their fanbase. With the internet and social media, artists can share their work with readers from all over the world without the need for a traditional publisher. This can help them gain recognition and cultivate a loyal following of fans who are eager to see more of their work.

In addition, self-print manga can be a more financially viable option for artists, as they can cut out the middlemen and keep a larger percentage of the profits. With traditional publishing, artists usually receive a small percentage of the revenue generated by their work, as the majority of the money goes to the publisher and distributor. Self-publishing allows artists to keep a larger share of the sales and earn a sustainable income from their work.

Self-print manga also offers the opportunity to create unique and personalized editions of their work. Unlike traditional publishing, where the physical book is mass-produced in the same format and design, self-print manga allows artists to customize the cover, size, printing method, and other features of their comic. This can help their manga stand out from the crowd and create a more memorable reading experience for their audience.

Furthermore, self-print manga can be an excellent way for artists to get feedback and improve their skills. With self-publishing, artists can receive instant feedback from their readers and adjust their work according to their preferences. This can help them identify their strengths and weaknesses as a creator and improve their craft over time.

Finally, self-print manga offers more opportunities for collaboration and networking. With the growing popularity of conventions and events dedicated to manga and anime, self-publishing artists can meet other creators, fans, and industry professionals and form partnerships, collaborations, and friendships. This can lead to new projects, commissions, and opportunities in the future.

In conclusion, the future of self-print manga is bright and promising. Aspiring artists have more tools, resources, and platforms than ever before to showcase their work and reach a wider audience. With the advantages of creative freedom, financial sustainability, audience building, personalization, feedback, and networking, self-print manga is a viable and exciting option for anyone who wants to express their creativity and passion for manga.