Mangaka ( Japanese 漫画家 ), or Manga-ka , are professional manga artists who work for a manga publishing house . The term is made up of the word manga for Japanese comics and the ending -ka ( 家 ) in the sense of "maker" or "creator". Most mangaka not only draw their stories, but also write the accompanying text. In Japan, mangaka are a separate professional group.
Authors who do not draw are called (Manga) Gensaku-sha ( [漫画] 原作者 ).
Manga artist in Japan
There are several ways to become a professional mangaka in Japan. Young draftsmen often take part in one of the drawing competitions that are regularly advertised by manga publishers, with publications in professional magazines and temporary contracts awaiting the winners. Sometimes you don't even have to win such competitions: Drawers who, for example, write bad stories but have an outstanding drawing style, are also given a chance.
Sending presentation folders with self-drawn material to a publisher is seldom successful, as every Japanese manga publisher receives thousands of applications per month.
The self-publishing of self-drawn fan manga ( dōjinshi ) is very popular . Numerous professional mangaka have started out as dōjinshi draftsmen, and in Japan this has since developed into their own manga subculture: At regular dōjinshi fairs, amateur draftsmen present their latest works, which are either self-invented or based on well-known commercial series. The largest dōjinshi fair in Japan (and at the same time the largest comic book event in the world) is the comic market ( Comiket ) in Tokyo, which takes place twice a year and has around 50,000 exhibitors and over 600,000 visitors. Many manga publishers send “scouts” to such fairs in search of new talent.
If a draftsman has been accepted by a manga publisher, he goes through several levels of a defined hierarchy. At first he starts as an assistant in a team of artists who works for a well-known mangaka (the fewest successful manga series come from individual artists ). The most common "beginner jobs" are designing and drawing picture backgrounds and inserting grids into the pictures. With increasing experience, sufficient talent and a reliable way of working, a draftsman takes on more and more important tasks within the team, at the same time there is also the chance of independent, smaller manga projects. For most artists, however, it doesn't go any further: Only a few make the leap to well-known and famous mangaka with their own long-running manga series and their own teams.
German manga-style artist
With the release of the series Dragonball from 1997 and Sailor Moon from 1998, the actual manga boom began in German-speaking countries. Since then, more and more young people have been striving to get a contract as a draftsman or author by a publisher.
In contrast to Japan, there is no set training path for draftsmen in Germany: Instead of being able to work as an assistant in a successful team first as in Japan and thus systematically learn the technical and artistic basics, talented German draftsmen are usually immediately entrusted with their own projects . However, due to a lack of experience, many cannot cope with the necessity of a fixed daily workload and deadline pressure in the publishing industry. Many works are therefore canceled after a short time or do not even get published.
The German manga-style artists who have been publishing for a long time include, for example, Christina Plaka , Judith Park ( Sondermann Prize Winner 2005), Olga Andriyenko , Melanie Schober , David Füleki , Anike Hage , Inga Steinmetz , Martina Peters and Robert Labs . In the meantime, German manga-style illustrators sometimes work with authors, for example Dorota Grabarczyk , Michael Waaler, Anne Delseit , André Linke and Nicole Klementz, and occasionally use assistants.
A number of regional and national manga drawing competitions are held in Germany every year, one of the largest being the “Mangatalente” competition at the Leipzig Book Fair . The works of the winners will be published, and some of the artists will also have the chance of further professional productions.