Hey guys! To make it easier for you to take part in SILENT MANGA AUDITION, we have compiled a step-by-step guide on how to make an entry. We hope this will help you guys feel more comfortable about the process! OK, let’s get started!

Please Note we have also collected our articles that will help any contestants, here :


1. What is SMA?


SILENT MANGA AUDITION is an international Manga award, for the purpose of finding future manga artists. It is held by established manga veterans, such as Nobuhiko Horie (ex chief editor of many famous manga magazines, including Weekly Shonen JUMP) and Tetsuo Hara (artist of “Fist of the North Star”), and more. SILENT MANGA AUDITION has grown to be the become one of the biggest and most successful manga competitions in the world. For this manga award, there is only one ultimate rule.


Use the power of your artwork to tell the story, with NO dialogue. We do not intend our event to be a technical challenge to conform to a set of rules. SILENT MANGA AUDITION is about you, the artist, and the ways you demonstrate your potential, and the future of Manga as a medium. If you want to show us something, most of the time it’s good with us, unless otherwise specifically forbidden. One other thing goes without saying: No copying! Be yourself and only send original manga to us please 😉 When in doubt, refer to the previous award winners of SMA01-03 and Comic ZENON manga audition for great examples of what we valued highly in our event.

[Specific requirements and advice from the committee]

The following are not requirements, but guidelines we strongly recommend, to bring maximum comfort and enjoyment to the readers. Unless you have a strong reason to divert, it’s best to keep to these standards.

• Page Count We STRONGLY recommend everyone to keep the story short, around 10 pages or even less. It’s the quality that counts, not the quantity! One past SMA winner who only drew a 5 page story, made a pro debut on Comic-ZENON.

Shorter works also have an added bonus of being more likely to be printed in our magazine! If you have the passion, draw several short stories, rather than one long piece. That will also be a better practice for you to sharpen your skills!

• Story Content Also please note that STORY itself is not assesed as part of the judging process. The story can be something very simple. No need for a complex storyline.

What’s assessed is the EFFECTIVENESS of the manga, to tell the story. A short, simple story that’s well told will score higher than a long, complex story that’s badly told. We don’t mean every page should be crammed with details. What we are saying is “Use the right amount of information, just enough to create a good silent manga”.

• Delicate Themes If you’d like to draw a “delicate theme”, the only guideline we have is that “if you don’t feel good about showing your manga to your parents, you may want to have re-think”.

Word of advice on choosing a theme. DO NOT try to draw something that is unrelated to you. Telling a story is a challenging task in itself, telling a story that you yourself don’t really understand, will make it harder. Work on the draft storyboard (Manga NAME), till you are sure the story makes sense to you, as well as everyone who reads it.

Please note SMAC! web magazine reserves the right to withdraw entries from public display at any moment.

Many of the judges put the actual judging process like this : “it’s the Message that is important. It’s about how you make the reader feel involved, with a short, limited number of pages.” I hope you keep that in mind. The story and contents of the manga is absolutely up to you. There is no limitations to what you can draw, as long as it’s your own, original creation.  


Drawing manga is such a deep topic that it is outside the scope of this tutorial. Here, we’ll focus on topics specific to the SILENT MANGA AUDITION. Before going further, please remember we have an ongoing video series on YouTube, that teaches you basics of manga creation. Told by the Chairman and Deputy chief themselves, do check out “Japanese Manga 101 with Mocchi and Taiyo” series video for further tutorials : JAPANESE MANGA 101 – WITH MOCCHI & TAIYO

[ Drawing rules and recommendations ]

There is only one rule in SMA : [ “NO DIALOGUE!” ]

  We sometimes say “No Words” to simplify the concept, but there are exceptions where words can be used, to great effect may I add. Put simply, “Words” are mostly okay, but “Sentences” are bad. What that means is that one must not need to “READ” sentences, to understand the message of the story. Let us show you examples:   [ Example 1 – Box with “Once upon a time this and that and so on … ” ] That’s cheating! If you can’t express something with your drawings only, you are most likely trying to draw something that is not fit for silent manga. SIlent manga is NOT just ordinary manga with dialogues deleted. It shouldn’t need any explanations in words because every part of story is told via characters actions and acting. Try to think of a theme where you can demonstrate your skills in visual story telling.   [ Example 2 – Speech balloon with “!?” ] Exclamations and other punctuation marks are OKAY, but always keep in mind that those marks are there to ENHANCE your expression of emotions, not a substitute. Many artists draw those expressive marks near characters faces, often without speech balloons. Be creative and see what works for you!   [ Example 3 – SIGNS : Parking / Flower Shop / Restaurants ] These words, or signs are also OKAY with us, provided they are very common and universally understood. There is not a clear guideline but if it’s something you are likely to see on the street everyday, that should be okay. Again, try to use these words as enhancement to your drawing, not a substitute for one. eg. If you’re drawing a unique cuisine that people outside your culture may not understand, be creative and try to make it visually understandable, like adding food related icons to the signs, etc.   [ Example 4 – Onomatopoeia ] Drawn letters that represent sound. These WE LOVE! They are absolutely GOOD with us. Most comic forms outside Japan, usually  just use set typeface, may be slightly deformed, for sound effects. In most Japanese manga, sound effects are usually drawn in by the original artist, in unique style that somehow tells the tone of the sound. Use of SFX is welcome and actually encouraged, and can be in ANY LANGUAGE as long as it’s drawn in a way that is understandable to the reader. This is not a requirement but if there is a chance to “Draw sounds”, be creative and try it!  

[ Draw to Fit ]

In the previous rounds, the rules were a bit vague. We have a new viewer from 2015, so we need you to prepare the data accordingly. First, remember manga is ALWAYS enjoyed as a “double page spread”. Even in this age of smartphones, understanding and utilizing the power of “spread pairs” and knowing how to keep the reader wanting to turn the page is massively important, even with pages that don’t have an image going across them. From 2015, all images must be uploaded as “1 page per image file”, meaning double page spreads must be separated into 2 images. See the example below :
Let’s take a look at the pages of Hara senseis’ “Ikusa No Ko”. Most of the times, manga start from the left page. Also, when you upload your manga, make sure to divide double page spreads into 2 pages, like this!
To make “pagenation” easier and less confusing, we now seriously recommend that everyone starts from a Single page, that goes on the left of the spread pair.  Little tip here: always utilize the first page as the beginning of your manga story, not just a big smiley face or a portrait with title. Magazine Pages are at a premium, the less pages there are, more the chance you have of being published in a magazine. You really don’t want to waste any space!  

[ Black and white / Colored Images ]

While we welcome images in color, please note if your manga is printed, it will most likely be in black and white, and should be made in a way it makes sense, without the color. ( be careful with that “red pill / blue pill” plot! )  

[ Paper Size / Image Dimensions ]

When drawing with pen and paper, most manga publications use the Japan spec “B4” size for a single page. But that does not mean you can’t use other size papers. We welcome any and all paper or drawing styles. Always draw with things you can find easily! You will definitely be needing lots of sheets to draw on. However, for creating compilation volumes of manga from SMA, it’s best if all works are created to be as compatible as possible. To help you draw in our preferred dimensions, we have prepared a page guide in PDF format, downloadable from our website. We have printed it out here. Let us go over it with actual examples.
We have a the original in pdf style. Go download it 😉
 Please note, in the video we have printed this spread pair to fit an A3 size paper. Shrunk to about 80% of the original dimension. As long as you keep the width : height ratio unchanged, you can use any size of paper, by shrinking or enlarging the template. When drawing a spread pair, draw each page on a separate piece of paper. For TACHIKIRI, drawings that goes right up to the bleeding line (cut-off line). It’s best learnt from the pros than us describing it in words.   In Ikusa no Ko, Tachikiri is used in full force! Like this is the scene where the main character appears for the first time. Whereas in Arte, Tachikiri is used only mildly, to enhance the effect of the room where the girl is, the emptiness and being lonely, in this scene. Please note that while both works utilize the available space wisely to tell the story, but the dialogues and important parts of the face like the eyes and mouth all stay clear of the 20mm outer margin. It really is better to watch and learn from the manga pros than us explaining it in words. For the actual numbers and figures, download our guides PDF. http://www.manga-audition.com/ZMA-MangaPaperGuide.pdf We also have a video explaining the basics of a manga page, so check that out for more details! Once you draw your manga, please scan it in, to the image dimensions specified in the following sections.  

[ Drawing Digitally ]

Many people use apps such as Clip Studio, Comic Studio, GIMP, Adobe Photoshop, Indesign… in their creation. Just as we welcome any drawing utensils, any and all digital drawing tools are welcome in SMA. Please remember, NOT to use any copyrighted materials as part of your creation. Pre-set tools like brushes and screen tones are welcome, but preset photos or drawings of people and backgrounds are forbidden by the submission agreement, as their use may infringe on somebody else’s copyrights. Technically speaking, the ONLY exception is photos you’ve taken yourself, provided that you have ways to prove that you have taken them yourself. However straight use of “Photos” without artistic re-interpretation is strongly discouraged, and probably will not be worth the effort. Many digital manga creation tools may have pre-set artboard sizes appropriate for Manga production. If your app has a preset option that is close enough to ours, you are welcome to use it. [ TEXT information to go with your Manga ] Done with your manga creation? Then the next step is to write-up  the following. You will be asked to enter a form containing these forms. TITLE: Your manga’s title FAVORITE PART OF MANGA: Describe the best part of your manga COMMENT: Anything else you’d like to say to the readers. IS THIS A TEAM EFFORT: Check this box if your manga was made by a team of people. CREDIT: If your work is a team effort, please write the team name and the members of the team in this section.  


[ File Names ]

Okay, now you have the files ready, make sure the files are NAMED appropriately, with 2 digits for page numbers, for works that are MORE than 10 pages long. Make the file name short-ish, just enough to distinguish it from other files, with a shortened version of your name and work title. A GOOD example looks like this : taiyo_ilovebikes_p01.jpg taiyo_ilovebikes_p02.jpg taiyo_ilovebikes_p03.jpg taiyo_ilovebikes_p04.jpg taiyo_ilovebikes_p05.jpg taiyo_ilovebikes_p06.jpg taiyo_ilovebikes_p07.jpg taiyo_ilovebikes_p08.jpg taiyo_ilovebikes_p09.jpg taiyo_ilovebikes_p10.jpg taiyo_ilovebikes_p11.jpg taiyo_ilovebikes_p12.jpg Whereas BAD example looks like this : taiyo_ilovebikes_p1.jpg taiyo_ilovebikes_p2.jpg taiyo_ilovebikes_p3.jpg taiyo_ilovebikes_p4.jpg taiyo_ilovebikes_p5.jpg taiyo_ilovebikes_p6.jpg taiyo_ilovebikes_p7.jpg taiyo_ilovebikes_p8.jpg taiyo_ilovebikes_p9.jpg taiyo_ilovebikes_p10.jpg taiyo_ilovebikes_p11.jpg taiyo_ilovebikes_p12.jpg See the “Single Digit” page count? ( p1, p2, instead of p01, p02 ) There are many computer systems around the world, and your computer may be smarter than the others, and display files in the correct, intended order. But in reality, there are MANY computer systems, which see the file order as: taiyo_ilovebikes_p1.jpg taiyo_ilovebikes_p10.jpg taiyo_ilovebikes_p11.jpg taiyo_ilovebikes_p12.jpg taiyo_ilovebikes_p2.jpg taiyo_ilovebikes_p3.jpg taiyo_ilovebikes_p4.jpg taiyo_ilovebikes_p5.jpg taiyo_ilovebikes_p6.jpg taiyo_ilovebikes_p7.jpg taiyo_ilovebikes_p8.jpg taiyo_ilovebikes_p9.jpg Not very good! It’s a good practice to always name your files with a minimum of two digits for the page count. If you don’t, your reader may be forced to skip to the end, right after the page one! Also, even though our system can handle filenames in pretty much all languages, there is always a risk of things going wrong. Stick to using Latin alphanumerals only, for naming your files (a word of wisdom from the world of IT!) We do not allow “Corrections” to entries already sent to us. You may be eager to send it to us ASAP after completion, but it always pays to calm down, relax and stay collected at all times, especially when you’ve finished your piece! Have enough time to read through it again, and make amends where required. Time management is key here! Once you have everything ready, be prepared to add entry details, as you will be asked later in the process. Here is a list of information you will need to provide for submitting a work to us. The list is also on our website. fill them in as required.

[ Pixel dimensions, Data size, and format ]

The upload limit is : “6000 x 6000 pixels, 5MB” That is the maximum pixel dimension and file size our uploader will accept: Please note when uploading multiple images, make sure every file fits above criteria. If some files are too big, and the rest are within limit, it will result in an incomplete upload with pages missing. If you have tools like photoshop or GIMP, open the image to see the actual pixel dimension of the file. If the pixel dimension exceeds 6000, you will need to lower the output resolution. Once the result for each round is announced, your image will go straight to the web after simple format conversion and size adjustments. Keep that in mind, and crop and trim as required for the readers pleasure!    

4. FAQ

Congratulations! Now that we’ve gone through the whole process, let’s look at some frequently asked questions! If you have any questions, or if you want to send us a message, please use that comment section to contact us for questions specific to your entry. -Which timezone is the deadline based on? The deadline will be based on your local time zone, so do take enough time to give the best of yourself! -What’s “Waiting for verification?” After you have uploaded your work, the system will show a message that your work is “Waiting for verification”. This means the editorial team has not checked your upload yet. It may take weeks, or less as we near the deadline. In the meantime you can preview your entry from your user dashboard. Please make sure all the pages are in good shape and in the correct order! -I can’t see my thumbnail, even though I uploaded it. The system will not display thumbnails files in the dashboard. As long as all the other files are in place, your thumbnail should be safe with us. We are looking into updating that in future. If you have not uploaded your thumbnail, we will use the 1st page on the world map. -Can I show my submitted manga on other websites? You are forbidden from displaying your work elsewhere, except for the exemption clause specified in the agreements, but that’s a bit of legal jargon so let’s put that in simpler terms here 🙂 It’s GOOD and RECOMMENDED to share your work-in-progress on SNS and such, provided following conditions are met.
  1. The purpose is “to share the creation process”, and NOT the manga itself, even though it may contain part of the manga.
  2. In a photo, you can only show 2 pages or less of your work at one time, not being more than 50% of the area of the photo.
  3. As manga image files, you can only display “one half of a page or less” at a time. It should not be in higher resolution than you have sent to us.
Either way, your work should not be displayed for the purpose of making others read the contents of your manga, or any other form that may be considered “Published” directly or indirectly. This is a legal requirement that is outside of our control, so please take care to avoid any disappointment. (For us to protect and develop your works, the manga must be deemed “Published in Japan first”, to be protected by the international copyright treaties.) Once the result is announced and the entries become public, all the entries are deemed “published in Japan first”. Award winners may have a different arrangement with us but for everyone else, you are free to post your entry anywhere else. We only ask that you show your entry was created for the SILENT MANGA AUDITION, with our URL www.manga-audition.com FOR ALL OTHER QUESTIONS, our FAQ section is very broad and we may already have answered your question! Please do take a good look there. Of course, we are always open to questions and suggestions. The fastest way to catch us, is via SNS like Facebook and Twitter. Thank you for watching, and see you online! We are all waiting for your entries. BYE BYE!