IC Screen Tones are specially printed transparent stickers that are used for adding patterns and shading to comics. Using IC Screen Tones can save you a lot of tedious crosshatching and background drawing; they also ensure that your work reproduces faithfully when scanning or photocopying. They also serve a narrative purpose by setting the mood of a scene.

IC Screen Tone sheets consist of a flexible transparent backing, the printed texture and a wax adhesive layer. The sheet is applied to the paper, adhesive down, then cut to shape. It can be lifted and repositioned as many times as necessary until it is made permanent by rubbing it with the Burnishing tool.

While still being commonly used in Japan, screentones are making a comeback in the U.S. with artists who want to use a more hands-on, traditional style for making their work. Not just for comics, IC Screen Tones are also perfect for mixed media, crafts and many other applications.

We carry over 200 of the most popular tones in our store. From clouds and trees to shades and stripes, you can easily find the pattern you need to complete your artwork. Each tone is transparent; you can layer, mix and match to achieve the desired effect.

Screen Tones Types

Basic Grays







How To Apply Screen Tones

Here is a step-by-step explanation of how to apply screen tones to your work:

  1. Finish your page. You don't have to ink them, but it makes it easier to reproduce on a copier. Either way, once you put down the tones, you won't be able to edit the artwork - so make sure it's as finished as it’s going to get. When creating your page, use a good quality paper (like IC Manga Paper); lighter weight papers will not hold up when are cutting out the screentone. Tip: Plan out your entire page before laying down any screentones.
  2. Choose a tone. Place the sheet of tone over your artwork in the area you want to fill. The semi-transparent backing paper allows you to see your drawing as you line up the section of tone you want to use.
  3. Use the IC Progear Cutter to cut out the screentone slightly larger than the area you want to fill. By using a fresh blade and cutting lightly, you'll be able to cut through the tone without cutting through the backing sheet.
  4. Remove the cut piece of tone from the backing sheet using the tip of your blade. Be careful not to handle the tone with your fingers, as oil from your skin will cause the adhesive to lose its tackiness.
  5. Put the main tone sheet aside and line up your cut piece with your drawing. Lightly lay it on the page in the correct position. At this point, you'll be able to move it around to make sure it's perfect. Once you have it lined up, press firmly with your fingers to set it in place, so it doesn't move as you cut it.
  6. Starting with the edges, begin trimming the excess tone using your cutter. Use a ruler along the panel borders to make sure your cut is straight. Tip: Trimming off small sections makes it easier to remove fine details, but trimming off larger sections will make it easier to reuse later.
  7. Working in a methodical manner, begin cutting out the screentone. Start on one corner of the tone sheet and work your way around in one direction until you cut the entire piece out that you are going to remove.
  8. When cutting, try to move your arm, not your hand. This will give you a smoother, more accurate cut than if you keep your arm in one place and try to rotate your hand or the knife as you move through the cut. While you may not have an issue with smaller cuts, it's best to develop a solid technique for all your cuts.
  9. As you cut, use the back of your thumbnail to smooth out the edge of the screentone that will be left on the panel. This will affix it tighter to the paper and make it easier to remove the cut tone.
  10. As you work your way around your cutout, periodically use the tip of the cutter to lift up the screentone you will be removing. This keeps it loose and makes it easier to remove without splitting. It is especially helpful if you are cutting out a lot of small details, like hair.
  11. Continue to cut carefully your way around the figure until you have it completely cut out. Then use the cutter blade to lift gently the cutout piece from your work. Tip: Be very careful in areas where two angled cuts meet, such as the tip of the hair spikes. If the cuts do not join up solidly, the screentone sheet may split as you try to separate it.
  12. Once the screentone is completely cut out and in the perfect place, use the burnishing tool to press it to the page. Start in the center of the piece and work your way close to the edge. This fixes the screentone into place well enough for you to trim the small overhangs while leaving the excess loose enough for you to remove easily.
  13. Save any large cutout pieces by placing them back onto the tone backing paper. Even scraps as small as 1/4 inch can be useful, so save as much as you can.
  14. IC Copy Film is a clear film which you can print on to make your own custom screentones. Find patterns online, or make your own with graphics software! You can also draw on them with dipping pens and IC Comic Premium Black Type 3 Ink.
  15. For the final touches, you can use your IC Progear Razor Knife to scrape off the dots and add a highlight effect.

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