I work in Clip Studio Paint and love it. So, if you have that program or are thinking of getting it, this “Basics” section is for you. Or maybe you’re a fan of art and the process so you will find this interesting as well.

This is a brief overview of what I do to set up pages, handle layers, and brush settings. As I post I will cover these sorts of things again in greater or new details plus  lots of new tips. So stay tuned and keep coming back to follow the progression of Freaks & Gods page-by-page, panel-by-panel.

Page layout

The first time creating a new page you’ll find this dialog box. I changed the “canvas size” to custom and made it as close to an 11×17 as possible. I also change the file name at the top right away and click OK.

This is what a blank page will look like. It has two layers: Layer 1 and Paper. But let’s say you need pages set up the same way every time. and you don’t want to have to change the setting at the beginning of every new page. Well, no problem. Make templates!

With a new page opened I placed a comic page guide I received from a publisher friend into the canvas. From the ruler (A), I clicked and dragged guide lines from the top and side to make the “safe” area. I try keeping all dialog and important art within those lines.


Now it’s time to register this as a template. Edit–>Register Material–>Template


This dialog box will open up. I named this “Test page” but you should name it whatever you like. Choose Manga material–>Framing template for the location and click OK.


When you create a new page, click the Template box and a new dialog box opens. I scrolled until I found Test page. Choose it, rename the file and click OK.


Every time you create a new page choose that template for consistency throughout.

“But what if I want to have the same first page for every issue or the same cover?” Good question.

Here we have a blank cover for my series Freaks & Gods. I’ve got the title banner, the publisher logo, and an added design element down the left hand side.

I did all this is Clip Studio Paint. You can even see I have pre-made empty layers ready to go. This way I waste no time making them for everything cover (or page).

So, I registered this as a template. It’s great knowing that every cover will be the same and I won’t have to worry about element placement.


I’ve made a few templates which help me keep a consistent look from issue to issue. Of course this will work with whatever size your project may be. I worked for Joe Books a few years back. They published Disney Princess comic strips. I created a page template that met with their specific standards.


Layer Properties

The layer settings are important so you get the best quality of work you can.

I like to keep my ink layers set to “Monochrome”; this gives you a line with a crisp edge. If it’s black or white there are no values in between. This is also where I change ink layer colors to create ‘Color holds’ (A).

That means on this type of layer there will never be fuzzy edges. You may want a different look, which is fine, but for me and comic inking this setting yields the best result.



A color layer is set to “Color” in the Layer Property tab (dialog box). Seems simple. This will allow for blending of colors and shades.


Brush settings

I will cover brush settings frequently throughout all my postings. But I pretty much use the “Brush” tool under Pens that came with the program. I found it pretty close to using an actually brush like I did back in the day inking print comics. I have made a few adjustments over time to suit my personal tastes. I did change the “Brush stroke” settings under Correction in the Sub Tool Details.


There are many brushes that would continue to leave lines even after I released the stroke. It felt like the brush was still “drawing” after I had an old car idling after you’ve turned off the engine.

I found “Brush stroke” controls that. So I have it set to “0” now.

– Chris Dreier

Freaks & Gods
Danger Tours
Clay’s Way