What the Heck is a “Circle Cut”?!

13 Jan

In my long history of browsing Japanese art sites, it never occurred to me to figure out what exactly those little black and white rectangular banners are that you often see posted are for. I figured they had something to do with self-advertising, but I was never completely sure of their purpose. I decided to look through a few on Pixiv and noticed they all shared the same tag of サークルカット (or “circle cut”). “Circle” refers to the doujinshi circle and “cut”, I assume, refers to it being a clipping or cut-out.

Aoi Nanase's C77 Circle Cut

With a little bit of Googling I discovered that circle cuts are used for advertising oneself and one’s doujinshi circle in the catalog for Comic Market. When an artist applies to sell doujinshi or other goods at Comiket, they must also submit a black and white or greyscale circle cut as a sort of banner ad. These are arranged in alphabetical order by circle name and are side by side in rows. A full page of circle cuts is pretty fun to look at!

There’s a few different templates for making circle cuts. The most common one has a small blank “checkbox” in the upper left and to the right of it a box to put your circle name. The large portion below is where you put a piece of artwork and some text announcing your new doujinshi to be sold at the convention, or simply the URL of your website. Circle cuts need to be in black and white or greyscale for printing in the catalog. Many artists design them in Photoshop but some also draw them by hand. The hand-drawn ones often look amateurish, but they have a certain charm to them. This is the typical circle cut template:

Comic Market Template

Exciting, huh? You can acquire this, along with various other circle cut templates here. Then you can use this guide to create your own, even if it is just for fun. ;)

After I figured out what a circle cut was, I went on a hunt for some that I felt were particularly lovely. Here are a few examples!

Coffee Kizoku's c77 Circle Cut

Coffee Kizoku (Royal Mountain) had one of my favorites. I am completely biased towards it because I love coffee, but I think it’s a really adorable image. Make sure you check it out full size!

Chimaroni?'s c77 Circle Cut

Chimaroni?‘s bold image of Horo on this circle cut certainly stood out to me right away! Again, I am biased because Horo is one of my favorite characters, but I think this circle cut is fantastic because it really catches your eye. (That’s exactly what you want when you’re advertising yourself, after all!)

Chisato Naruse's COMITIA90 Circle Cut

Screentones work well for circle cuts due to the black and white limitation, as you will see here in Chisato Naruse‘s advertisement for COMITIA90. You’ll notice that this particular cut is of different dimensions than one made for a Comic Market catalog.

A Full Color Circle Cut by Sayori

Artists will often post full color circle cuts on their websites. This one is by Sayori of NEKO WORKs. Don’t you wish the Comiket Catalog could be printed in full color? It’d be like a tiny artbook!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this somewhat trivial entry on the world of circle cuts. If you’d like to see thousands of circle cuts “in action”, do a Google search for a Comiket CD ROM catalog, as there’s plenty of torrents and direct downloads of them to go around. It’s fun to look at, even if you can’t actually attend a Comic Market in person.

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One Response to “What the Heck is a “Circle Cut”?!”

  1. BNelsey February 28, 2012 at 3:52 am #

    dat reimu

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