How To Color Manga Panels Without Photoshop?

Manga Panels

One of the best ways to upgrade your designing skills or create interesting artworks is knowing how to color manga panels. Manga are basically the anime version of comic books, which feature all of your favorite anime characters as well as lesser known characters that are not shown much in anime, but are present in manga. These books tend to have astonishing art and the drawings are really well-detailed. If you learn how to color manga, you can learn a lot about coloring sketch and editing in general. However, we will also show you how to color manga without Photoshop, so that you can have fun coloring without worrying about the complexities of photo editing.

How to Color Manga in Photoshop

Naturally, if you are someone experienced with editing and designing, Photoshop would most likely be your preferred software application to color manga. Though highly complicated to use, Photoshop offers a lot of features and ways of coloring sketch. Luckily, there is a really good video guide that you can find here detailing pretty much all the steps on how to color manga by using Photoshop.

The gist of it is that you will first need to find a manga image file and open it in Photoshop. After that you will need to make use of certain selection tools to select parts of the anime character. For instance, if you have a portrait of an anime character, such as Ichigo as shown in the video, you will have to select his outer and inner hair. Once done, color each of them and move on to the face. Keep repeating the process and follow the video. You will have your drawing in a short amount of time.

How to Color Manga without Photoshop-Best 5 Manga Coloring Apps Review

1. Petalica Paint

Price: This online software is completely free to use and requires no downloads or account creations whatsoever.

Similar to how you can convert photo to line drawing with automatic AI editing tools like VanceAI, Petalica Paint provides automatic sketching and coloring of manga as well. When using this tool, you no longer have to worry about editing panels yourself. Instead, you merely have to upload images or panels and have them processed through the automatic app. Not to mention that the AI in this tool is trained well enough with anime styled images, hence you can expect decent results. You can go to the website and click on the Upload option to open your own sketch. Otherwise, you can also colorize the sample images given by the app itself to see how it works.

Petalica Paint


  • Automatic tool.
  • Free to use.
  • Easy to use.


  • Results can vary in quality.
  • The website can be buggy.
  • Can add more features.

2. Adobe Photoshop

Price: You can start off with a free trial of the software that lasts for 7 days. As for the paid version, the monthly edition costs $31.49 and yearly edition costs $20.99 per month.

As mentioned before, Photoshop is definitely a top choice if you are someone who is well-versed with image editing and designing or if you are looking to create more than just colorful mangas. With Photoshop, you will probably never have any limitations since it is designed with that level of sophistication. You can simply follow the video guide to know how to color manga and search online for more. However, you definitely need a pretty good system to run Photoshop smoothly, since it has a tendency to crash and take up high amounts of memory.

Adobe Photoshop


  • Premium app.
  • All kinds of features.
  • Consistent updates.


  • Difficult to use.
  • Performance issues.
  • A bit expensive.

3. Sketchbook

Price: The sketchbook is a comprehensive drawing software that costs around $14 for a one-time purchase and is available on multiple platforms.

Similar to Photoshop, you can not only color manga panels with this tool, but you can also create the panels themselves by using this tool. Meant to be used as a complement to a drawing pad, this software app will provide you with all the artistic tools such as brushes, colors, scales and ellipses, and more to enable you to create any kind of art.



  • Great features.
  • Excellent app design.
  • Intuitive UI.


  • Can get expensive if you don’t have a tab already.
  • Takes time to learn the app and drawing.
  • No automatic coloring.

4. Krita

Price: Krita can be downloaded and used for absolutely free. Moreover, it is also an open source program that is available on multiple platforms.

Krita is a highly recognized application that is designed to give every artist a chance to display their talent without slowing them down with expensive app purchases. The website also reveals an active community that you can be part of through famous websites such as Facebook, Reddit, Instagram, and more. As for the app itself, it is a highly sophisticated one which offers all kinds of artistic features to color manga and more.



  • Free to use.
  • Amazing community.
  • Good app design.


  • Need to learn the app.
  • No automatic coloring.
  • Can crash on some occasions.

5. Clip Studio Paint

Price: This software offers a free trial of 3 or 6 months, depending on the device you are using. When it comes to the paid versions, the Pro edition costs $49.99 and the Ex edition costs $219.

This software is recommended for artists who do serious work with their characters and would also get involved with animations. This software enables you to deal with character art, vectors, illustrations, and animations as well. Not to mention that you can add manga or comic bubbles for dialogues as well. Essentially, you can create, animate, and color manga panels with this software.

Clip Studio


  • Sophisticated software.
  • Huge free trials.
  • Excellent UI.


  • No automatic coloring.
  • Difficult to use.
  • A few performance issues.


Coloring manga panels is certainly achievable. In fact, there are many ways to go about it. If you want quick but good results, the best applications would be VanceAI, Petalica Paint, or any other AI based automatic image processors. When you want to be involved in the entire creative process, then Photoshop and Clip Studio Paint are ideal as they offer all kinds of features. With these tools, you will be able to create manga art and color them. As for Krita and Sketchbook, they are the best if you want to focus on coloring and drawing only, as they are specifically designed for that. Plus, Krita is absolutely free to use.

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