This question triggered my curiosity for this question. Why most of manga are black and white? Is this because of more cost if they add colors to it?

  • 4
    We posted a video about this on our Facebook page a while ago.
    – JNat
    Commented Jul 3, 2013 at 11:36
  • I've noticed webcomics (manga/manhwa) tend to be in color. (Often made via photoshop etc). Possible evidence for it being a tradition/cost(production & distribution) reason.
    – Jet Blue
    Commented Apr 20, 2014 at 16:48

4 Answers 4


There can be different reasons for that, let's try to imagine some of them.

  • Lower cost. This is obvious (just compare the prices for black ink cartridges and color cartridges for your printer to see the difference). Also, consider that the lower cost of production causes lower prices for the end product - so the readers will be more eager to buy manga.

  • Faster production. Unlike comics in the US, for example, which usually comes out on a monthly basis, a lot of manga comes out weekly. Coloring would take additional time and make it harder to release new chapters in time.

  • Manga artists usually don't have a lot of staff to help them, and sometimes even work alone. Thus, they don't have enough time (and, not rarely, enough skill) to color their works well, because:

    • Coloring is completely different from line art. Not all people that can draw good line art can color well, and vice versa. If you talk about comics, there are usually at least two artists making them: one artist that draws line art, and another artist that is responsible for coloring (this artist is called a colorist). Believe me, coloring is hard. And of course, that person also needs to be paid :P
  • It also somehow raises the interest of manga fans in watching anime (which is in color), but I doubt this is really a valuable reason, so think of it as of an interesting observation.

  • 3
    One other thing worthy of mention (and which is mentioned in the video JNat posted on the OP): It's just part of the medium now, almost a tradition; it's just something that makes manga, well, manga.
    – Cattua
    Commented Jul 3, 2013 at 15:35
  • Colored manga is so much better than uncolored. If you've ever read a color chapter of a manga that's normally black and white, the difference is striking Commented Jul 3, 2013 at 16:45
  • 1
    I wonder about why most of manhwa are colored yet manga are mono in mostly Commented Apr 21, 2014 at 19:20
  • @NaingLinAung That's like asking why American comics are colored, yet manga are usually black and white. Manhwa is not even Japanese, it's Korean. Presumably, it's the nation's specific comic/cartoon culture that leads to that difference.
    – Jun Kang
    Commented Dec 26, 2018 at 20:31

As an artist, I can say that coloring with high quality really requires a LOT of time and effort even for anime art styles. It is nothing like a coloring book, because you really have to make it perfect or near-perfect for a public audience, and you also have to do shading and highlights (for most styles). So, coloring is generally reserved for finer drawings like the the cover image.

Also, for manga that is to be published in a physical form, it's more expensive to make full-colored pages, so colored pages are usually reserved for art books (which are expensive like $30-$100 range partially for that reason), or for a few special pages in the beginning of a manga (rarely).


Making manga is a lot of work. It takes several hours to make 1 page of manga according to one of my friends. So just imagine how long would it take to make the entire manga just in black and white. And also, the manga artists have lots of manga to make within certain deadlines and they are paid to make manga the best within that deadline. They literally don't have time to color their work.


Because traditionally images were drawn

Ink, especially in different colors, were not widely available or affordable.
As mentioned before the time needed for coloring was an important factor as well.

Why are webtoons colored? Because it takes hours instead of weeks or months to color pictures with photoshop instead of a brush.

  • can't they do digital coloring for manga? I believe the line art is digitized at some point in the workflow to allow for printing
    – beppe9000
    Commented Jan 29, 2018 at 19:42

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