Faculty of manga Comic Art Course

Comic Art Course

Learning manga in the most professional of environments

Today anyone can create manga and publish them as comic zines or online. But to entertain readers and really move them, and to be able to continue to make the manga you love, you need to be a professional.

Having a long history of manga education, SEIKA has remained committed to its objective of fostering manga professionals ever since founding the course. To serve this purpose, a lot of effort goes into training in drawing and composition. The course provides practical modules to cultivate techniques in expressing emotion and drawing background, and the ability to come up with stories that can move readers and engage their interest, including extensive practice in creating storyboards based on different themes. Students also have the opportunity to work as assistants to manga artists during the summer vacation, and our faculty members are themselves leading manga artists. As professionals who have overcome fierce competition to achieve great success, they draw on their wealth of experiences in the field when teaching.

With five to ten graduates or students per year going on to make their professional debut in manga magazines, SEIKA has been attracting wide attention from the industry in recent years. Learn manga in the most professional of environments, creating work that will move people.

Four years in the Comic Art Course

  • 1st Year

    What are the skills necessary for turning professional?

    Four years of aspiring towards a professional career as a manga artist starts with understanding the elements that constitute manga. Students become familiar with manga materials including pen, Indian ink, and manuscript paper, while learning techniques in how to draw lines to represent action and movement. Sketching practice equips students with an in-depth knowledge of human anatomy, muscle structure, and perspective, and is indispensable for cultivating foundational drawing ability.

    In addition to strong drawing skills, the question of how to present your manga to the readers constitutes another important aspect. While creating single panel manga and Yon-koma (four-cell) comic strips, students learn about panel layout and how to balance black and white directly from supervisors.

    And to make appealing manga, students also need the ability to come up with stories. Some classes focus on understanding history and studying classic manga work, while classes on story-making analyze the structure of scripts, and others examine what makes manga interesting manga from the editor’s perspective. Students build up the foundations for conceiving ideas for manga.

    At the end of their first year, students create eight-page short stories. All students’ works are then collected together into one volume, as proof of the foundational abilities they have gained during the year.

    1st year
    1st Year Goals
    Understanding the elements that constitute manga, cultivating skills in using pens and drawing, and obtaining the ability to conceive of ideas and observe.
  • 2nd Year

    The techniques for holding readers’ attention from beginning to end

    In this year students start producing comic art on a full-scale basis. Based on given themes (e.g. “first errands,” “a story of two people fighting and making up”), students create storyboards of 8-16-page manga stories within a limited time frame. This training teaches students how to make a story that holds readers’ attention from beginning to end, as well as panel layout. While building the storyboard production, the course provides students with know-how on story composition, conceptualization, and schedule management. Multiple faculty members directly check completed storyboards. Getting professional advice from different perspectives, students create work with an awareness of the eyes of the reader.

    Another class focuses on color manga techniques. Using different painting materials, including color ink, color pencil, and acrylic paint, students attain a sense of color and necessary skills. As more manga artists use computers to draw manga and release their work online today, upcoming artists have to acquire digital techniques. There are optional classes on digital scripting and web production.

    Completing a 16-24-page manga for their end-of-the-year work, and learning to master larger-scale work, students now begin to feel that they are on track towards becoming a professional.

    2nd year
    2nd Year Goals
    Creating appealing stories and acquiring techniques in color manga. Obtaining the digital skills necessary for professionals.
  • 3rd Year

    Building up your own individual style

    To move even further towards being professional manga artists, students select multiple seminar-style classes, intensively learning the skills they need to strengthen the know-how necessary for their future after graduation. Different types of seminar classes focus on adapting films into manga, collaborating to make one story through a series of discussions, and creating manga based on gathered materials. Receiving instructions directly from their teachers, who are professional manga artists and editors, students obtain skills, technique, and philosophy to build up their original work.

    Students undergo training working as an assistant during the summer vacation. Working at studios where manga artists are producing serial magazine publications or “one-off” manga, students engage in actual manga production as assistants. This is an opportunity to test out their knowledge and technique obtained until now in class at an actual professional production site. Furthermore, being in a serious working environment allows students to experience the series of processes in which artists must build up work within a set time frame.

    3rd year
    3rd Year Goals
    Cultivating knowledge and technique to create an original manga work. Acquiring practical abilities by learning from professionals.
  • 4th Year

    For their graduation project, students pen their debut manga

    Based on the various learning and experiences they acquired over the four years, students now commerce their final manga work. The graduation projects students create through a series of meetings with supervisors at the initial level of ideation are very diverse, including love stories and sci-fi, and some of the manga even exceed 50 pages. Entering award competitions for upcoming artists, and submitting their work to publishing houses, it is not rare for students to then make their debut as professional manga artists. Your graduation project might just be your publishing debut.

    In addition to exhibiting graduation projects at the Kyoto International Manga Museum, each seminar–style class also publishes collections of the graduation projects. Students take the initiative in preparing the exhibition and editing the publication, getting to grips with the task of releasing manga through united efforts.

    Four years in the Comic Art Course means not only obtaining the skills for drawing manga, but also meeting fellow artists and rivals, who you can continue to compete with even after graduation.

    4th year
    4th Year Goals
    Investing everything they have from technique to philosophy and experience, students complete manga work to realize their dreams.

Career paths after graduating from the Comic Art Course

The Comic Art Course is the fast track to becoming a manga artist. There are more than a few students who even make their publishing debut while at SEIKA. Students learn the ability to compose a story that captures the reader’s attention while simultaneously cultivating drawing ability from faculty members who are themselves professional manga artists. To complete comic art, you have to have abilities that are comprehensive. By undertaking every step necessary for completing a manga, from the planning to the gathering of materials, making the story, and finally drawing the work, students acquire abilities that are applicable not only in the manga industry, but also in wider society.

Career choices

  • Professional manga artist
  • Assistant manga artist
  • Working in the video game and entertainment industries
  • Art educator

Other career options

  • Character designer
  • Manga Editor
  • Event manager
  • TV and adverting production
  • Illustrator
  • Advertising producer etc.