Knowing Why to Use Tones

Technically, you don't have to use tones if you don't want to. Many independent comics and manga artists rely solely on their inking skills to convey exactly what they want on the page.

That said, tones are a great way to add just a little bit (or a lot) extra to your work. Much like the pencil and the pen, tones are a tool to help you shape the vision you want. Sure, it's a great way to add some color to clothes and hair, but there are other ways you can use tones to your advantage:

f* Character emotion: In many instances of manga, you can use the background of a panel to set up more than just location. Often you'll see patterns or other types of tones used to help convey a wide range of emotions within a character or group. Figure 11-3 has an example of background tones used to emphasize emotion, e* Ambient mood: Much like character emotion, the use of tones can help set up the mood of a scene. You can do this by various means, including lighting effects and heavy use of shadow for dark and heavy scenes. (See Figure 11-4.)

W Environmental boost: Tones can be an effective means to add some dimension to a scene and help the reader become more immersed in the story. (See Figure 11-5.) This can be something as simple as adding a sky with clouds to a beach scene, a subtle white tone on a set of buildings, or light tone on a group or people to help delineate distance relative to a character.

Figure 11-3:

You can use tone patterns to convey a wide range of character emotions.

Figure 11-3:

You can use tone patterns to convey a wide range of character emotions.

Figure 11-4;

Adding tones to a panel can change the meaning and mood of a panel.

Artwork courtesy Teyon Alexander (character © Merge Comicsl

Figure 11-4;

Adding tones to a panel can change the meaning and mood of a panel.

Figure 11-5:

Tones can also help define the environment.

Artwork courtesy Teyon Alexander (character © Merge Comicsl e* Directing the reader: This is a subtle effect that the reader might not be consciously aware of. Tones can be a great way to help define where the reader should focus his attention, as shown in Figure 11-6. For example, you can cover ancillary characters in a simple tone so that all the reader's focus is on the one or two characters that matter to the scene.

These are just a few examples of what you can do with tones; I'm sure you can come up with plenty of other ideas. The point is, while tones probably aren't necessary for your story, it certainly doesn't hurt to use them, either.

Figure 11-6:

They can even help direct the reader's attention in a scene.

Figure 11-6:

They can even help direct the reader's attention in a scene.

Freehand Sketching An Introduction

Freehand Sketching An Introduction

Learn to sketch by working through these quick, simple lessons. This Learn to Sketch course will help you learn to draw what you see and develop your skills.

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