Article by Ichibo Harada @HEW
Cool Doji Danshi is a comedy manga about a group of unique boys who are at the same time very cool... and very ditzy! It's being serialized on GanGan pixiv, which has recently welcomed its 5th anniversary. The series owes its popularity to the funny, yet relatable misfortunes that its characters stumble on, like handing their wallet to the convenience store cashier instead of the goods they're about to buy. The first four volumes of the smash-hit manga sold over 500,000 copies!
One of the strong assets of Cool Doji Danshi is that it comes in full color. What coloring techniques should you use to give your work an organic look? We interviewed the author, Kokone Nata, to find out.
The current format is perfect to tell a story
── In Cool Doji Danshi, there are so many episodes that anyone who's even the least bit socially awkward can surely relate to: like standing right in front of a regular door thinking it's automatic, or ordering an iced coffee before adding, without thinking, "hot, please." How do you come up with all these situations?
── Are you a little scatterbrained yourself?
── Your comic was serialized after you posted it on Twitter, right?
── When hearing what your manga is about, most people may picture a series of short relatable gags, but what's wonderful about Cool Doji Danshi is that it comes with a story where the characters change and grow.
Just one day, 19 colored pages
── Why did you decide to publish your manga in full color?
── It sounds like a pretty time-consuming job for a "remnant"!
── What does your work schedule look like?
── Do you have any techniques to speed up the coloring process?
How to make the most out of solid colors with no shadows
── What are those rules?
── You must have gone through a lot of trial and error in the early stages.
── When it comes to using solid colors with no shadows, the littlest mistake can make your work look careless or tacky. How do you make your comics look so pretty?
── Still, learning to draw lines that express one's individuality sounds like a hard task...
How to prevent a full-color work from looking messy
── When I read full-color manga, my eyes sometimes get a little tired halfway through, but I was able to read through Cool Doji Danshi without issues. What techniques do you use?
── When using full color, there's no limit to the number of hues you can use if you also count backgrounds and accessories. Do you have any rules for creating a sense of cohesion?
── Interesting! That's how you prevent your works from looking messy. Do you also have a set number of colors to use per page spread?
── Do you color panel by panel or do you use a different method?
── Do you have trouble deciding what clothes the characters are going to wear?
── Speaking on which, Souma is a design student and the more fashion-conscious of the bunch. Picking the right clothes for him must be especially hard!
── If he was a color, he'd be an accent color.
── What do you use as a reference when you draw male characters' clothes?
"Good taste always follows action." Why outputs matter
── You've also worked on several black and white manga, such as Sensei mo Net Sedai and Hyakunichikan!! Which do you enjoy more, black and white or full color?
── What were some memorable reactions when you published your manga in full color?
── A nice surprise indeed. The illustrated spread at the beginning of the manga offers a slightly different atmosphere than the main story.
── The cover, like the manga pages, has a simple, single-color background.
I tried to make the cover look like the manga pages on the inside so that people who get a glimpse of the tankobon in the bookstore will recognize my work from Twitter or pixiv.
── After working on a full-color series for so long, what do you think helped you develop a good color sensibility?
── Lastly, do you have a message for our readers?