The Ultimate Mangaka Starter Pack III: Show the world!


Ben here! Welcome back to The Ultimate Mangaka Starter Pack! Part 3: Show the world! If you haven’t checked out Part 1: Pencils and Inking or Part 2: Colours and Screen tones, go give them a read for how to create your manga. Today we’re focusing taking your work from page to screen and beyond!


Canon CanoScan LiDE 220 Compact Scanner (£64.99) UKUS

Epson Perfection V550 Photo Scanner (£177.17) UKUS

Epson Perfection V550 Photo Scanner

It looks like a robot dinosaur from the 80s…in the best way!


Before we go anywhere we’ll need a scanner. These beasts can be pricy but you can find a respectable one for under £100. Scanners can get as pricey as £2000+ but for your purposes a Canon CanoScan LiDE 220 Compact Scanner will be perfect (and extremely convenient) if you’re working in A4. Any bigger and the Epson Perfection V550 Photo Scanner is generally better for larger images. Thanks to the included stitching software even A2 scans are a possibility!


Lettering Software

  • Clip Studio Paint Pro
    • Physical (£49.96) UKUS
    • Digital (£37.19) UKUS
  • Photoshop CC (£99.99) UKUS
  • Krita (Free!) Download

Both scanners come with software that should be when it comes to adjusting your scanned images. But what if you want to go further? Last week I mentioned the possibility of digital colours and screen tones. And that’s not to mention the addition of speech balloons and lettering. It’s generally a bad idea to stick with hand lettering. No matter how nice your handwriting is, your likely to get tired of doing it all manually.

That’s where Clip Studio Paint Pro comes in! Previously known as Manga Studio, this software was built from the ground up for exactly our purposes and it’s not even overly expensive!

You’ve also got the option of programs like Photoshop or Krita (a free Photoshop equivalent) that aren’t dedicated comic applications but they’ll more than do the trick.

If you opt for Photoshop you’ll have the option of paying £9.98 a month or going back to an older version and paying for it upfront*.

Personally, I scan my pencils in and take care of inks, colours and letters digitally on my gorgeous drawing tablet PC in Photoshop. But that’s just me. Try a few different options and see what works best for you.


You’re a Mangaka!

Congratulations! Now you’re ready to join the ranks of Hiro Mashima (Fairy Tail), Sui Ishida (Tokyo Ghoul) and Hajime Isayama (Attack on Titan)!

*Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a previous version that I could say for sure wasn’t pirated so I can’t in all good conscience provide a link. I don’t want any of you good folks getting scammed, after all!

My History as an Artist Part 3: Going Pro!


Welcome back to the story of me!

The Ascent of Ben 3/3

The Ascent of Ben 3/3

We’re almost up-to-date so check out Part 1: Childhood and Part 2: Going Digital! and let’s press on! Because it’s time to start earning a living!

“Real” jobs

I’ve done a few “real” jobs in my life and I’ve got to say, not a fan. I spent a few years in retail, first at a trainer shop (fired) and a stationary shop (quit) and for someone who’s not overly outgoing, I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I’m also a fan of not being cripplingly poor, so it was time to move on.


I would daydream of finding pennies in the sofa…

Over the next couple of years, I spent a few months at a charity then about a year being damn year suicidal in an office job.

But somewhere in amongst all that I discovered online freelancing.

The Birth of a Freelancer

I’d been coasting for years, finishing my degree then dragging myself from one job to another just trying to make ends meet. I desperately didn’t want to suffer the indignity of moving back with my mum. It would’ve felt like a failure. And heaven knows my partner at the time didn’t want that either.


Insert obligatory lance pun

But that’s what happened.

Then, one fateful afternoon I was sitting on the sofa watching some inane crap on TV when the show gave way to adverts…and one advert caught my eye.

I’d never considered freelancing before. It just hadn’t occurred to me. I’d done a bit of design work over on RedBubble but nothing really took off so, as usual, I lost my resolve and gave up. But this was different. This was a way to find people who wanted to pay me to do stuff! And after dozens of hours of sending off proposals I got my first job: A poster for a punk music event.

The brief was simple but fun. A cool punk-looking dinosaur trashing a city with some spaces for event details.

Punk Poster with Space

It was a pretty badass way to kick things off if I say so myself.


The client was thrilled with the final image and I earned my first £10 freelancing.

I was on top of the world.

The Death of a Freelancer


As some of you may know, the minimum wage for someone aged 21-25 in the UK is £7.05. A recent job took me over 200 hours and worked out at less than £1 an hour. So, uh…not great.

“But why did you take that job?” I hear you ask! And rightly so! But I was desperate.

In my short time on websites like People per Hour, UpWork, Fivr etc. I’ve learned one thing:

Prices are a race to the bottom.

To be competitive you’d better live in India or you’d better learn to photosynthesise cos you ain’t gonna be eating human food for a long time.


I’m still using a few of these sites, but these days I’m moving away from them. Into face-to-face work that gets real results. No waiting a month between responses from clients and having my earnings held hostage until someone has the time to check their email.

Nothing against them, people are busy. But it’s not a sustainable model on my end.

So if you’ve got stuff you want done then click here to hire me or just check out some testimonials. Otherwise…

Next Time!

Stick around because next week we’ll be breaking down what goes into the Ultimate Mangaka Starter Pack! You won’t want to miss it!

For more on what I’m up to now checkout the My Work page. Or if you want to know more about my current setup and recommended resources take a look at the Resources page.