☆ anime/manga,  ☆ being a mangaka

How to be a Mangaka, part 1: Getting Started!

I think you’ve all waited long enough! Let’s get started!! Want to know how to become a manga artist? Then, READ ON my friends!

“MANGA IS WHAT I WANT TO DO IN LIFE!”

If you see a picture like the above and have that thought, or if you are just curious about what goes into making a manga, then this is a post series for you!

This is me (and my cat, Sansa)
My name is Jamie Lynn Lano. I’m American, but I worked for the wildly successful mangaka Konomi Takeshi on his Shin Tennis no Oujisama manga for a year and a half.  I had a wild ride, learned a lot, and had experiences in pretty much every aspect of making a manga, from character creation and writing good stories, to all of the details that go into a finished piece– research, photography, creating objects and worlds, down to techniques for doing inking and using screentones.

I’ve been writing about my experiences there for a while now, and you can read them here if you’re interested!

Now I am working on becoming a mangaka of my own, and I am constantly asked the same question:

“How can I  become a mangaka?”

Well, I am not yet a mangaka (I’ve just been an assistant mangaka), but everything that Konomi-sensei and the staff at JUMP taught me, I want to help pass on to you, to help create a generation of foreign mangaka!! 

Manga culture is my favorite thing about Japan. I can’t get most of the foods that I love, and women are still treated as a lower species here, but manga is different! Women and men, young and old, EVERYONE reads manga and there is a manga for everyone! Young and old, all types of people create manga, too! I want to help create a culture like that all over the world. Where everyone reads comics, and there is a comic for everyone! To do that, I think that we need “manga” artists all over the world. 🙂

So if you have any friends who are intersted in learning about the manga production process, send them here! I’ll teach you everything that I know about how it’s done in the birthplace of manga, here in Japan! Once I get my own manga published in Japan, I want to use that experience and credibility to spread the process around the world!!

And without further ado, let’s start with introducing the first, and most common way, that an artist becomes a full-fledged mangaka:

Well, in manga, there is really only one way to go when an artist wants to make a debut as a mangaka. That is:

Draw a manga and take it in to a publisher! It sounds pretty simple, and submitting a manga is simple! (Drawing isn’t, though! As you will see.)

Now, just a moment. Is it really that easy?

Sure! A manga publisher will accept and give you advice on your manga. All you have to do is look in the magazine that you want to get published in, and find their phone number. You call and make an appointment with an editor. Anyone can do this, regardless of experience. Seriously, it’s that easy!! Editors want to help raise successful and bestselling artists, so they will look at a manga that you bring in and give you advice. Only a tiny amount of what is submitted to a magazine by amateurs ever sees print, though. That’s where the catch is.

You can always submit, but they’re only going to print the stories that they want to.

99% of mangaka get their start this way. Rumiko Takahashi (Ranma 1/2, Inu Yasha, Urusei Yatsura) got her start this way. My ex-boss Takeshi Konomi (Prince of Tennis, COOL) also did. Almost every manga artist that you’ve ever heard of did!

Pretty much all manga magazines take submissions. You can mail them in, or take them in personally by making an appointment. Any person can make an appointment. It doesn’t matter how old you are, your gender, your experience, or even what country you are from.  All they are interested in is,

“Can you make a manga that will sell?”

Magazines are constantly on the look for new talent. The submission guidelines are different for every magazine, and some magazines will take in your manga and give you feedback alone, urging you to bring or send in more work, until you’ve come up with something pro-level.

Most magazines, though, run “contests,” of a sort. There are some specialized contests with big prizes, like Shueisha’s Silver Tiara competition, but most of them are ongoing. Basically, all of the submissions for that magazines are collected monthly or quarterly, and the best submissions are given monetary prizes and advice, and their name printed in the magazine. When you are deemed good enough, then your story will get a contract for printing, and voila! You’ve made your debut! From there, you are assigned a continuous editor, and they will work with you to make a story suitable for serialization or more stand-alone stories.

I’ve already written about one really famous competition, the one for Shonen JUMP! You can read about the Shonen JUMP Treasure competition here: http://www.jamieism.com/213/japan/manga-competitions-shonen-jump-treasure

Pretty much anything you write will have to be in Japanese , but there is a contest put on by Morning magazine specifically for artists outside of Japan: http://morningmanga.com/micc/rule_e.html

This is also something that I just found out about from Chii, but Comic Zenon is sponsoring a “silent manga” competition! It’s specifically for people who can’t speak Japanese, so it might be a really good opportunity! You can check it out here: http://www.manga-audition.com/en/

The main rule is that: if you are good, you can become a mangaka! If you can write and draw a good manga, the submission process is simple and straightforward.

Of course, making that good manga is another story.

By the way, there are other ways to become a mangaka, like self-publishing your own manga (called doujinshi), and then being recruited by a publisher (I’ll write a post detailing how to do this one day). Some artists, like CLAMP (Magic Knights Rayearth, Chobits, XXX Holic) got started this way. And some artists, like Watashiya Kaoru (Kodomo no Jikan), even keep making doujinshi after they are publishing professional manga.

Some other artists are approached with opportunities while they work as a mangaka’s assistant. Noda Shigeru (Dr. Kenji Morohashi, Kakesen) made his debut that way, as an editor liked his drawing and offered him the chance to pair with an established writer. Or, alternatively you could be an author recruited to write (but not draw) a manga based on the success of your novels, like Kazuma Kamachi (To aru Kagaku no Railgun), or a celebrity asked for a collaboration, like Shokotan (Noko no Koi).

But those are exceptions to the rule.
99% of mangaka become a manga artists by bringing in or sending their comics to comic magazines. 🙂

Those are Japanese comic magazines on the right. They’re what mangaka are aiming to get their work into.

That’s what you should aim for too, if you want to become a mangaka!

To learn about the process, keep checking back here soon!! I will help talk you through the materials, the creation process, and tips and tricks!!

See you soon, I hope!! And please pass this post on to all of your friends, and leave as many comments as you can! Comments let me know what you like, and spur me to keep writing! (This post took 5 hours to write!)

 ヾ(*´∪`*)♪

(20,803 geeks have read this)

Hi! This is Jamie Lynn Lano! I am a Washington State (USA) native who: ☆ Holds a Bachelors of the Arts in Media Arts & Animation from AiPx. ☆ Worked as an assistant mangaka in Japan for Konomi Takeshi on The Prince of Tennis. ☆ Was an essay columnist for Asahi Weekly from 2008-2013. ☆ Was the star of Asahi Pop'n Press on Asahi TV (Japan) from 2009-2013 ☆ Was a write for Metropolis magazine in 2010. ☆ Has kept a blog foreeeeeeeeever! First and Current blogs.

255 Comments

  • Michael Z

    Thanks so much for writing this! I’ll be sure to check out your other posts. Just reading this I ended up opening another 5 or 6 tabs – so much interesting and useful info! I love the idea of a generation of foreign manga artists. I’ve always had ideas but have finally started to seriously consider drawing out my stories.

    Quick question which might be answered as I go through your posts… is there a standard paper size/dimension for the actual artwork that publisher’s prefer? (I used to worry if I drew everything out on 8×11 1-inch margins they’d say sorry we can’t use this it’s completely useless)
    Thanks again!
    MZ

  • meth

    hi <3
    i want to ask you if i could send my manga in japanese to japanese company without being in japan
    like can i work in my country and i don't want to self publish

  • Kanashimi Hana

    Um, hello jamie san! I am a 15 years old girl who likes to draw. Being a mangaka also is my dream. I’m not a japanese but I know english and I’m still learning japanese language ( I just have to learn kanji) .what you say up there really inspiring me as I stary reading it I can’ t stop until i’m finish reading it . I just feel that I can’t do it. But its as if you give me a pair of wings to move on. So..thank you thank you soo muuuuch!. Arigatou!

  • Arghavan

    Hi , im arghavan and from iran
    I like to be a mangaka but i don’t know what should i do exactly!
    because in our country there is a few people to know anime and manga
    and we haven’t any school for animations
    thank for your nice page

    • Dan

      hi arghavan im iranian too(female) i want to be a mangaka too but i do not have any drawing skills can we be in touch? can i have ur telegram username?

  • Jeffrey

    Hello there Jamie Lynn Lano

    I been drawing for most of my life, along with most if not all of the artwork I do are manga, I want to working for a manga illustrating company like Yen Press, or Viz Media for example but really don’t where to start. I’m currently attending college right now and I used to be a art major in college, but changed it decided that art would be a hobby but now looking back at it I’m not having any fun with college nor liking it anymore since how I started it. I’m planning to stop going to college to pursue my dream of working for a manga publisher.
    Though I’m not sure where to start does some publishers require to have some sort of college degree when it comes to being a manga publisher, also does having no talent in writing hinder my chances of working for a manga publisher? I’m good at artwork but no so good at writing.

  • Shoker

    Hi..
    I like reading manga and I will like to make some story and I will be happy my story will be published in to manga. What should I do?

    • Torii

      It has no specific age at all. As Jamie had mentioned earlier, manga publisher accepts works as along as it will sell.

  • Kayode Adesanya

    To fury, Blue excalibur focuses on a world in which a special race of warriors called excaliburs have become the main ruling force in the world. They’re kinda like a cross between knights and wizards. Amidst all this is a boy named leo del-rey who is known as the titular blue Excalibur who is destined to lead humanity to victory in an event called the second divine conflict. The manga is mostly about him and his adventures with his friends and will also explore the excalibur universe.

  • Conor

    Hi my name is Conor I want to be a mangaka so bad , I am 15 and I am looking for anyone to hell me draw manga , I have great stories but no writing skills! Please help and thanks! Means so much to me!!

    • Fury

      Jamie first of all I want to thank u for inspiring me to come up with my manga and I want to ask u some questions

      1)what is the best paper to start with is it (A4orA2)

      2) must you put real places in the manga

      3) what materials shud I start with
      Thank u for your blog bye

    • Katie

      Hi Conor! My names Katie, and I’m 16. I’m looking into be a mangaka in the future….. I’m a good drawer and a very good writer if you need any help.

      • Kayode Adesanya

        To fury, Blue excalibur focuses on a world in which a special race of warriors called excaliburs have become the main ruling force in the world. They’re kinda like a cross between knights and wizards. Amidst all this is a boy named leo del-rey who is known as the titular blue Excalibur who is destined to lead humanity to victory in an event called the second divine conflict. The manga is mostly about him and his adventures with his friends and will also explore the excalibur universe.

  • Lizzy

    Konichiwa [ Hello ], this is Lizzy.
    I’m very interested in to be mangaka as my own dream job. I want to share the understand of the important between Heaven and Earth to bring vision of the meaningful part to people because I have been through hard life with troublesome kids at middle school [though, I’m a 8th grader. Well sure I’m also going to high school in next year]. I really hope for anyone who wanted to be Mangaka need to be careful, actually. It’s not easy how the life and times go through my minds. I didn’t have choice to pick the publishable company like Shonen Jump or Jump Square. Be careful and skillful if you are….if you give up the manga work by during something stress in all time but keep in minds pretend it’s you were at middle school or something place made you busy. But make sure you know what your doing OK so I like see how you going through with hope ignore the rude people and kept your mind focus on the class. So please ask your teacher for help- thank you. For the mangaka beginners and students. Please keep busy, I want you to be respectful and inspiration. I hope i’m ready to become the successful mangaka my own fantasy/sci fic manga series base on between biblical reference and my favorite books: Game of Thrones. Thank you all and I hope you get great time you have!

  • kailash singh khatri

    HEllo, i am not a japanese so its pretty obvious the i dont know japanese also. I really want to become mangaka. But I only know English. I want to become popular like Tite Kubo and also like his series Bleach. I already finished my first manga. can i become popular like him.

    • Lizzy-chan

      If you work hard well …yes but you better know work as mangaka can be tough time and to be successful. So be inspiration and Busy. Well, I’m not Japanese but as the mangaka make sure get the art supplies and test your skills and keep in time wisely. OK! It’s dosen’t matter what race or look you are! I hope you understand what I meant. ☺

  • Krystal

    Hi! Ever since I first started reading manga I knew that’s what I wanted to do when I’m older (I’m 13 now, still a long way to go). I love to draw and really want to improve so I can make my own manga! The problem is that I suck at drawing but I have so many ideas! Also, I live in England and can’t speak any Japanese!

    • Malii

      HIi ^^ .
      My name is Madalina you can call me Malii ^^
      I’m also an otaku and i want so bad to be an mangaka ..
      My drawing is pretty good ..
      But i don’t know how to start it .. i don’t have the story .. i have so many ideas as you but not for the story :]] for the characters ..
      with the story i’m a bit .. how can i put it… bad :]]
      well.. to explain it more clearly .. i have so much soties .. but i get bored quick so i abandon it … i have like …. 18 stories that i started to write but none of them is finished ..
      so..
      i would really do like to collaborate or talk to you about this if you’re interested ^^
      Thank you ^^
      #Malii

      • Rei

        Lol same with so many stories I say pick one and try to develope it further than the rest (keep thinking on what you want to happen and what your favorite things to happen in manga are) and put those in. Make sure to make a mc that suits your tastes then draw it ! Also it is good to take breaks sometimes because you’ll get burnt out quicker if you don’t just do something that will freshen your thoughts and mind/view on the manga

  • Animelover mewmew

    Hi im 12 yrs old going on 13 and im thinking of becoming a manga artist firstly I wanna thank you for the advicd secondly how do ypu send your manga to japan and is japanese hard I only know a few phrases neko kawaii arigato konichiwa ohio

  • Joseph Nkumah

    Hi Jamie, My name is Joseph Nkumah and i live in Nigeria. I would love to be a great mangaka but i am a beginner in drawing. Please what is the fastest way to learn how to draw manga? is it by learning the basic techniques of drawing first or just going straight to drawing the manga itself and practicing it? and also how long will it take to be a great mangaka for a beginner
    Sorry for so much questions
    Please some advice.

    • Junekiri

      you can start off by watching tutorials or like me you can start by drawing things around you or try to draw charcaters rom your favorite anime or show.
      as long as you keep drawing your skill will get better and better

  • Akira Yuki

    hey, im still in highschooler and want to become mangaka…my school didnt have art class cuz my parents are stricts in study,i have basic of drawing a character n i have my own characters–
    well the thing is i dont know how a manga works,i mean the background,screentone and the colum as such,… but i do want to create a manga on my own for the first time,
    -which I should choose? tradisional or computer?? where did i can buy japanese manga tools???
    -im not japanese so Im a bit worry,how do the background work in a manga? I dont even go to japanese so I dont know what are your place looks like
    __HELP ME QwQ__

  • Skkl Alalal

    Umm im not very good at drawing but i have many storys in my maind and i dont know what to do if i want to be mangaka should i be artist ? And can i just start like this or i should practice my drawing i relly have many storys and all of them are different and amazing what should i do ?

    • Junekiri

      you can learn how to draw but you an also find someone who can draw and ask them if they would like to draw your story like in bakuman

    • Yuu

      ahh… i really search about Someone who is fluent in writing a story , My drawing is Good , i have basic of drawing characters , I REALLY NEED SOMEONE TO HELP ME with my manga .
      should i read a lot of books and stories to get knowledge …

  • Marie

    Hi! Jamie-sensei, I’m Marie from the Philippines, who dreams how to be a mangaka(a japanese mangaka). My question is how can i pass some drafts even when I’m from another country, I just can’t go to japan for some financial reasons.. but other than that I can read and write japanese

  • Rani

    I know English but don’t know japanese.I am into animes and mangas very much. I want to become a mangaka…my mum doesn’t really approve of me becoming or rather learning japanese (I am 11 btway) but i want to make mangas. Should I make manga’s in English perhaps then publish it or maybe i could hire a translater….argh! I am so confused….I need some advise

  • Tommy

    Hi, I want to be a mangaka. I stink at drawing but I’m a good writer, I was wondering if I needed to be good at both things to get published, another thing I wanted to ask is if I could make a team that would help me with the drawing and other things.

  • Clint E.

    hello I want to be a mangaka, and I want to send my work to “Shueisha”, but I’m too far from Japan. How could I send it?

  • Sufaira Kiyani

    Hi my name is Fatima, and I really wanna become a mangaka. My first question is that before taking manga to a publisher do you have to do the cutting and pasting and all that? My second question is that can I send you my manga drawing to get your comment, please?

  • Fatima Kiyank

    Hi, my name is Sufaira and i just love drawing manga. I have drawn a lot of scripts. But I don’t know how to do the cleaning and the rest of the things, are those required to submit to a publisher? Also can you check my mans drawings and give me your comment, please?

  • tashi gyeltshen

    Hey there!
    I am really thankful for your informations above. The question is say one of my work got published by a company. After I am done with it and if I m going to write another manga, does it have to go through the same process like sending it to a company or will the company readily accept it?
    The next problem is do I need to use some software for putting in the dialogue in speech bubbled?

    and finally since I am a foreigner can’t I send my work in English without being translated? If not then why?

  • Maira

    Well I’m not really good with words so this might be a little confusing.
    First, I would really like to thank you for posting this information it has really encouraged me to follow whatever dreams I have, especially the one I have of becoming a mangaka in japan. Could I send you some of my character design drawings so you could critique them for me? Do you know how popular a manga has to be to be made into an anime? Is it possible for a non-native mangaka to get their manga made into an anime? if you were to use a drawing program which one would you use? Do you know which mangakas in japan are currently looking for assistants? How exactly does one become a mangaka’s assistant?
    Sorry for bombarding you with so many awkwardly worded questions.

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      Sure! My email is jamie@jamieism.com
      Manga doesn’t automatically get an anime if it’s popular. It depends on if an anime company wants to make an offer or not, and whether that offer is accepted. It’s totally possible for a non-native mangaka if they are good enough. I use photoshop, illustrator, Manga Studio, and Indesign when I’m doing artwork. Sorry, I don’t know who is looking for assistants.. you’re free to check for yourself, though!

  • Erin R. S.

    Okay, idk if this is an odd question or not. But how do you do backgrounds in general…? Are there screen tones, do you take an actual photo and edit it on the computer, or get someone else to do so? Because I have been working on a manga I want to create. I have already developed the characters, a basic plot, and some dialogue, but backgrounds just give me the hardest time out of anything

    • Kojima Komiko

      There are no screentones on backgrounds you have to make it by yourself either by practice or by not making that much backgrounds. For example as you might see in a few manga’s sometimes they just leave the background blank on purpose. Another way is by getting someone to do it, like someone you know who knows how to do it good or by getting an assistant but an assistant cost you like 100 dollars a day.

  • Nina

    Hi, you really inspired me and becoming a mangaka has always been my dream no matter what, I have a few questions though,1) what would I have to study in university?
    2)how would I learn to create manga, like the pages set-up and how it should be drawn and everything before giving it to a company?
    3)is it best to start off as an assistant first so you can learn?
    4)should I have a part time job just in case I don’t make enough money?
    5)say a company accepted your manga, so u can officialy make manga now with an editor and how long would it take for a manga to get published?
    Thankyou, I hope you answer.
    I’m only having trouble in how to draw the same character again and again. I was planning in studying anatomy in uni and I like anatomy, and study whatever else I need to become a mangaka.

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      1) You don’t have to go to University just to learn how to draw. You can learn on your own! Though if you want to go, try studying some kind of art. Comic book art, if you can find a course on it.
      2) You can study manga that you like and try to emulate that. After some time, you’ll eventually start to form your own personal style.
      3) If you want to, yes, but it’s not necessary.
      4) That is up to you.
      5) That would depend on the company.

      Good luck!

      • Kingkazama97

        any aspiring artist looking to trade designs? I’m going for a more subtle/hyper real kind of look, but surrealism being as common a theme in anime as it is it’d help if I had something to grab that extra audience. Would also help me to design out of my comfort zone for once. My designs will start to lose the very thematic diversity I pride my story and its world on, if I keep designing before learning.

  • lihui

    Hello! thank you for writing this blog. it helps me gain new knowledge on how to do a manga. the only thing i am worried is i wouldn’t have enough time. I know a manga is hard to draw (as have problems drawing myself) thus i need to find artists that would be willing to work with me as nobody that is close to me are very good at drawing. but it is just that idk how.
    how long does it take to draw a manga? i really do love to draw out a manga of my own. As a person living in SIngapore where people are competitive in academical areas, i am afraid this may take too much time for myself to do. Help me senpaiiii:(

  • Tine

    Hi!
    I have just found your story here.
    I’m an manga artist myself but more liek a selftought artist that tries continueing freelancer in my country.

    I’m currently thinkign of going back to japan but applying for a job in Tokyo in the manga section. I would love to grow into that since it’s still one of my dreams to achieve, but my biggest question is, how can i enter the manga section? Like you mentioned in your story, you need to show your manga to one of the companies, right?

    I have, for example, finished one doujinshi, so a fanmade book of yugioh with my own story and characters. Am i able to show something like that to a company in any way? Even through mail by any chance?

    Thank you so much for your time reading!

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      You could definitely mail that to a company! It needs to be translated into Japanese if it hasn’t already, but doujinshi artists are taken very seriously by manga companies. 🙂

    • Amspnx spider

      Hello, thank you for that inspiring and interesting blog that you wrote and i have questions for you….thanks for your time!:)
      Q1:How can i have a studio if i want to be a mangaka in japan and i have nothing but myself if i get there…..how can i get started with that?
      I know its hard but i am really passionate of becoming a mangaka…

        • Anonymous

          Hi!..

          I’m just a senior high student and I don’t know a lot things about this world of ours but is getting a working visa hard ?? If it is hard is there another way to work as a mangaka in Japan without getting a working visa or is it possible that if I mail my work to a company is there a chance that they will be the ones that take care of my working visa?
          I
          That’s all for now and I appreciate your time by answering our questions

  • MjovPT

    Hey, i´ve just finished read your post and it´s realy intersting.
    I´ve got one question that is if you can become an mangaka without learning japanese, because i´m afraid that i migth be learning japanese for nothing. I just wanna do the first time in like full english to see where it goes and then i migth start learning japanese.
    I think that you can speak properly japanese so im gona ask you.
    Is it an dificult language to learn form the 0?

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      It depends on if you have learned a second language before. Some of my friends took to it really easily, other people (like me) haven’t had as easy of a time. If you study hard, I’m sure that eventually it will pay off, though!

  • Myles

    Hello, I’m Myles.
    Okay, so I have been into anime and manga from the age of 3 or 4 (I’m 14 right now). I really want to be a mangaka more than anything in the world, and I really want to make this manga that I’ve already pretty much sketched out on like regular old printer paper (which is crinkled and in some parts a little stained). I’ve always loved manga and have always kind of wanted to be a mangaka but I’ve never really taken it seriously until now, and I see people all over the web like, heeey I just sent my manga to an editor and I’m just like ack I have so many questions!! So like, I basically don’t really know the process of making a manga (I feel like such a poser *-*). Do you have to like get a tablet like a Wacom Bamboo tablet for digital art, or is there some fancy app or program you have to download? Do you even have to do it digitally? Cause I’ve just been drawing on sketchbooks and printer paper, pretty much whatever I can get my hands on. I’m like so confused. Please help.

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      Comic artists and mangakas use alllllll sorts of tools. Standard tools for mangaka that do traditional manga are special manga paper, ink, dip pens, and screen tones. You should read the next part of this series, where I talk about the specific tools that I use. But there are other comic artists that do digital work with a tablet, or use computer paper, bristol board, in pens, or even pencil! It’s really up to you. 🙂

  • Natalie

    Hi, I’m Natalie.
    I really want to become a mangaka, and I have my story down and I’m typing it currently, but I can’t seem to draw it out the way I want to. I have the way I want to draw it in my head, I just can’t put it down on paper. Would I be able to send in the written manuscript? Also, would I even be able to become a mangaka if all I have is the written draft? I’m sorry, I’m only like 14, and I was wondering if you have any tips on how I could get better at drawing manga. Sorry to bother you, I’ve been stressing over it a lot recently and hoping that I wouldn’t have to give up on my manga. I hope you see this message, I hope you’d be able to help. ^ ^

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      Hi Natalie,

      You definitely need to send in the completed story with the art. It doesn’t matter if it is bad– they will give you advice on how to improve.

      Other than that, in order to improve just practice a lot!

  • raquel

    hello, i have my manga written out start to end,and even a full drawn page for each character.i do however have trouble drawing certain movements and positions for the characters.i dont have a manga studio for my laptop so im kind of confused as to where to even start?would a character drawn out even be looked at or considered?

  • Bethania

    Hi ! I am foreign too, but not american even when I live
    her, in america. I would like to ask you some questions :
    *is the salary to be a mangaka assistance good??
    * Do I need to go to a manga university to become mangaka assistance a/o manga artist??
    *Is the salary of a manga artist good??
    I really like drawing manga but I would like to be sure to take that carrier and to know if the salary is good or not. please answer me these questions !! >.< it's really important for me

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      1) It depends on who hires you and how much work you do. The standard rate is 1000 yen/day.
      2) Nope!
      3) It’s very low, but you can get good royalties if your manga is popular and sells a lot of books.

  • Amelia

    Hey Jamie!

    I might have missed this somewhere or probably read something wrong like I always do XD, but lets say this:

    If I send in a one-shot to a magazine, fully translated and everything, and lets say everything does go well and I am offered to be published,etc (I wish!!!!). Will I have to move to Japan to continue to work on my career there? It will be fine to stay in America right? As much as I would love to live there, with family situations its not really that simple to pack everything up right away and move, Im sure you understand. I just wanted to know if it was a requirement by that point for them or anything like that, because I dont know if it would mess with deadlines specifically or anything. Im currently a senior in high school and Iv been working on manga for quite a few years although I myself can see I need a lot more work, but Iv known for a very long time that this would be the path I would be going towards and thankfully my parents are supportive! I just know how hard it would be for them if I were to suddenly pack up and leave them, and taking them along would be very very difficult.

    Also I was just curious, while I will most probably take the route of submitting my work to a magazine in japan, I was also just curious about the doujinshi method. Its basically published yourself yes? So would it be possible as someone out of Japan to get in contact with a company to publish it there or would I have to go to a convention or anything like that?

    I do have more one question that I am slightly confused on and havent really seen anything on online (Although I am probably looking in the wrong places), what are more of the legal things involved if I were to get published by a company? Are there certain restrictions, anything thats extremely important to remember?

    I apologize for the long post, hopefully everything I wrote makes sense. Im the type of person who sometimes tries to plan everything out so that I can go into things easily in the future, but that doesnt really work out in big life changing situations and I start to panic just thinking about it. I, and Im more than sure everyone here, really appreciate that you took this position to be our mentor and guide us and show us that something like this that we all dream is really possible and not a fantasy like a lot of people would want us to believe. Thank you so much!

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      Most doujinshi publishing is done online, so as long as they accept a payment method that you can take, it should be okay. You would probably need a Japanese address, though, to send it to.

      The legal things would have to be worked out between you and the publisher, sinceI’m sure it would vary.

  • Sleepy Kitty

    Im probably younger than most of the people on here, but I really wanna become a Mangaka someday, so Im learning Japanese ’cause I live in America.
    Im a pretty good artist for my age, and I can write stories.
    Im a big dreamer, and I wish to become a famous mangaka someday, world renowned for my awesome manga series!
    So, do you have any tips for a younger american trying to becoem a mangaka?

  • Prathamesh Chavan

    I am from India and I am working on a script for manga with my friend the problem is that no one of us can draw even a single thing I need an artist who is from India specifically from Mumbai as I live there so my question to you Jamie is that can you help me with an artist in Mumbai? If you can please let me know~regards

  • sergi

    how can you submit a manga in Japanese magazine company without knowing any Japanese???

    tank you very much. I am really worried

  • Filip Coric

    Hi, Jamie

    Thanks for this inspirational and helpful blog. I’d like to ask something. You said that your Japanese wasn’t that great when you first arrived in Japan, what level of Japanese is necessary to be allowed to work there? Is N4 or N3 enough?

    Drawing and making story doesn’t bother me as much as learning the language does. I plan to visit Japan (regarding the manga career) in about 2021. So I wonder if I have time to master it.

      • Filip Coric

        Aha, I see. Thank you very much. I guess I’ll take another ten years to completely master the language before I decide to work in Japan.
        Again, Thanks for the reply. Really helpful : )

        Cheers!

  • nate

    Lano-san, what is the process in becoming a mangaka? is it really hard?
    You see… I like making stories and I make it into a comic but I can’t draw 3D things and still life. All I can do is draw 2D images.
    Is that possible that a person can become a mangaka even if he/she couldn’t draw 3D?
    I am just wondering, can someone of my kind could become a mangaka?
    Thank you 🙂

  • Jonnelin

    Hi Jamie!

    First, I’d like to say the I love your blog and I am really glad that I found it! Like you, I am also aspiring to become a mangaka. Do you know if it is possible to become a mangaka while living in the US if I submit my work in Japanese? I want to create manga as a side-job along with a full time career in the US as well.

  • Yuuki Rito

    Hi!
    Thanks for posting this, Jamie-senpai. Really appreciate it. It’s the exact info that I need, and I want to know one thing. What if you’re not a japanese but you want to give your manga to a manga editor? I’m a filipino, and I find it difficult to send my work. Please, help me. I would gladly accept any advice, and thanks for replying if you have read this.

  • Bellaardila52

    Great blog. I can’t draw manga but I have already written 3 novels. I am interested to making manga because I like reading it. Please keep writing for the tips, :3

  • Daniel Ravits

    I have one question i am currently trying to learn art and i am not sure what to be learning first i was told by many artists not to just jump into manga but study life drawing at first so i have been drawing a lot of gestures but thats that. I dont know what to do now, what should i be learning? Id love it if i were given a time line to follow.

    also is there any way i could get into contact with pro mangaka? id love to ask them questions.

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      You could try looking up some mangaka on Twitter or Facebook. Some of them may be really willing to talk to you. 🙂

      There really isn’t a timeline. Manga involves a lot of skill, but also perserverance and luck. If you feel that you’re ready, try drawing a full comic, and see what happens!

  • koveka

    Dear ms.lano
    im a 14 year old dude in high school and wat to be a pro mangaka for the sake of making kids and teens across the world by using my manga, like the manga made me happy:-)!!!
    i gt lots of questions like can i still a mangaka even though im black? and how many hours of practice a day do i need to be pro mangaka(or make my manga art look pro-level?) and how do i avoid getting distracted and breaking while practicing(drawing)?
    thanx for being an awesome mangaka and thanx for your time:-)
    sincerly koveka (and yes thats my real name…. and if you asked its pronounced ko-ve-ka)

  • Nick Hughes

    Hi Jamie, Nick here I am eighteen, and very good at writing; been told ever since grade four my writing skills were university even novelist level. However, my drawing is pretty average if not decent; I need an artist who could take my concepts and story, and turn them into reality i.e. Tsugumi Ohba, and Takeshi Obata. I have plans for a unique shonen, and would like to get published; even if it took becoming fluent in Japanese, and moving to Japan. Any assistance, advice as of the best course of action would be greatly appreciated.

    Email: theninjassassin97@gmail.com

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      Hi Nick,

      In your case, if you are attached to a publishing house or your have a publicist, I would ask them if they can hook you up with an artist. Otherwise, you can look around online to see if there is anybody interested in teaming up with you. Maybe on Deviantart? You could also hire somebody to do it for you. I’m sure that there are a lot of artists out there looking for paying work. 🙂

  • Kunami

    Hey, i have this amazing story in mind and i realy want to make it famous, the problem is i can’t draw, and i dont know how to look for artists in devianart or any other place, so i would like to know if theres a place where i can post a bit of my story and if someone likes it and wants to draw it than good.
    Another thing is if i go to japan, knowing the language and culture, and if i go to jump or any other magazine and show only my story written, if they like it could they find me an artist or i have to find one myself?

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      Maybe you can try publishing it in a place like Wattpad, and note that if anyone is interested, you’d be up for collaborating on a manga!

      If you go to Japan without a publishing history of novels, I don’t think that they would find you an artist. You would need to already be teamed with someone.

  • Anu

    Hi Jamie,

    Really great points. Really helpful!!Thanks! (^ _ ^)/

    I want to publish my own manga too and it has been a really long time since I wanted to do this. I am 24 now and it was nearly 10 years ago since I watched my first anime (Cardcaptor Sakura) and started drawing girls (^_^;). I still draw occasionally but since I am working now, I am not sure if I can make the transition (⌣_⌣”) and wondering whether it is too late. 。゚(゚∩´﹏`∩゚)゚。

    But really great site Jamie!! 🙂 I’ve just started exploring.(ノ´ヮ´)ノ*:・゚✧

  • evydraws

    I remember reading some of your earlier blog posts (about your experience as an assistant!) and I’m so happy I was able to find your blog again!

    It’s so rare to see foreigners succeed in Japan, with the competition being so fierce, so it’s really impressive to read your story – and I hope everything goes well~ ^_^
    I’ve only been published in Germany/Switzerland and would never even dream of trying my luck in Japan, so kudos to you! Also, thanks for pointing out the Silent Manga Audition, I actually participated there this year and think it’s a great opportunity for non-japanese speakers!

  • Ayman Achak

    thanks a lot but could you put some manga for beginners i can draw and imagine a story but i don t know how i start to write a manga of me and could you put some manga magazine please every tim i dream to be a mangaka

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      It just takes practice. If you’re really stuck, you can find a manga that you like and sort of use it to help you write your own story. Study how they divide up the panels to tell a story (the pacing), and how they choose to tackle certain scenes. Practice as much as you can!

  • mistic

    hi, i spent a while reading everything you have on this page,and yes i really, really want to become a managaka. but the only thing is that i live in a very small country, and a very tiny group of us knows that there is manga. the country i live in is a place named Belize by guatemala and mexico its just a small piece of land lol. but i want to intruduce manga to everyone but i dont know how to start. im very good with my drawing skills, and my composition so says my art instructor and my english teacher. but i have high hope it will make it in a japanese magazine.i just need a help how to start.

  • Nikki

    Hello, I’m an aspiring Mangaka from the US who dreams of moving to Japan and become a famous mangaka. One problem, even though I only speak and write in English (for now still learning basics), will it be hard for me to submit it in English? Will there be a translator or will I have to try with my poorly still learning japanese writing. The language I soon hope to speak and write fluently in, but I may have trouble when I first move.

    Your story was very inspirational I find very small amounts of people who support being a mangaka based on the pay and the type of job. I agree with you that Manga should be spread with everyone! because the culture is beautiful, the art is incredible, and I’m a major Otaku! Could it be possible to publish manga in the US? I already created many stories I would really like to share with the world. 😀

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      There are lots of different ways to get published. If you really want to work in Japan, you can hire your own translator to translate the manga that you want to send in, and to translate any messages from the publisher to you.

      For the US, there are lots of outlets nowadays!! You can self-publish and take it to conventions to sell, or pitch the stories and example to established publishers like Image, Marvel, Viz, and Sparkler!

  • Joshua

    I’m 16 and a I live in the U.S I’ve been looking for things that I am interested in doing as a living. I’ve spent a lot time looking around at what most of the people I know have told me to look in to, but none of these things have interested me. Only recently I have been looking into becoming a mangaka and reading your post just started to make my heart race. I do have a couple of questions though. Is it hard to become a mangaka’s assistant? When you started out trying to become a mangaka did you have problems with money?

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      Hi Joshua,

      I was already working in another job when I got the job as a manga assistant, so I didn’t have much of a problem with money. You just do what you have to to make ends meet, you know?

  • Henry

    Um hi jamie.,um i’m from africa and i’m really aspiring to be a mangaka but the provisions for here in my country for mangaka’s is not available. Um I specialize in the drawing aspect of manga and I have a team that im gonna be working with but my drawings are a little drab, I can only draw d front view of d face partially and still working on the rest but I love drawing .Though i’ve not started thinking about publishing but I still want to focus on mastering the drawing and travelling out of the country is not an option for me the so my question is what kind of advice can I get for a person with my kind of situation. And I love your work by the way: thanks for the inspiration. Please check out my issue

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      My advice is to keep on practicing! The materials aren’t important. All that you need is a pencil, paper, and something to draw! If you can take a life drawing class, that would be good. Also see if you can get friends to pose for you, or draw from photographs. You can also study how people move in real life. I like to sit on a bench and watch people walk by.

  • Melanie

    Hello!

    This story of yours is really amazing! Its helps alot, and it is giving me a good idea about what you need to do and be able to do so you can become a Mangaka. For me it started weird. I never knew what manga/ anime was when i was younger, just one day i was just scrolling on the internet for a new picture for my background (How interesting right?), and then i saw one picture with this beautiful cute girl in it, from then i kept looking and looking untill I figured out what the name was of that art. Ever since I started to learn how to draw manga characters and everything that is a part of a manga. Even bought many books wich I still use alot. Never fona give up on that dream 😉

    Thank you very much for your story, it only gives me more reason to not stop drawing!

  • gyadu

    Hey my name is gyadu
    i really wanted to became a mangaka and wanna publice my manga in serial too
    my question i ve storyline of a wizard and theres already a wizard story ie.#fairytail will they accept my story
    m good at drawing but need a little bit imptovement 🙂

  • Najiko

    Your story is amazing, I was surprised and excited about how easy it is to become a mangaka. Thank you for you inspiration!

  • Najiko

    Hello I’am a 16 year old who is interested in becoming a mangaka. Sadly, I do not speak japanese, but I think my drawings look somewhat nice (maybe). So I would like to hear some advice if possible, on how to get started, what do I need, how can I submit my manga although I do not live in Japan, and other few things.

  • Hannah Julia

    Hello! I am absolutely amazed by your story… it is so inspirational. It uplifted me when I started to lose all hope in becoming a manga artist… if I may ask, where did you start in the very beginning? When did you decide that you wanted to be a manga artist? And, one other thing… I never read the Prince of Tennis but I always saw the ads in the backs of other Jump books I have read, and… well… are you the one that used some kind of black magic sorcery to create the most amazingly well-drawn tennis rackets I have ever seen in my whole life? Do you know who did??!!

    Thank you very much for your post. You are amazing and everything I aspire to be! 🙂 This has helped me very much!!

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      Hi Hannah!

      Thanks for the sweet words! I mostly write about this because I want to inspire other people to find and live their passion. 🙂

      I don’t know when I really decided that I wanted to be a manga artist. For me, it was probably more like I had a lot of friends encouraging me to try, and finally I got off of my butt and decided to give it a shot.

      Haha, the tennis rackets are actually an interesting story! They’re all hand-drawn! But because it takes a lot of time to draw a racket, we kept copies of rackets in the studio in all sorts of angles, and then photocopied them when we needed them for a panel. Most of the time this worked, but sometimes we needed to draw one in ourselves. For example, in the first story of Shin Tenipuri, we didn’t have a racket big enough for one scene, so I had to draw it in by hand. But it wasn’t too hard– I just referenced the old drawings, and drew it larger with a bit more detail!

  • Kai

    I think that what you’re doing to help other get into manga is great ^_^

    I am 15 and live in the US. I have many good ideas for stories along with some of supplies like nibs, paper, tone and ink/white out, but dont have any of the manga programs or touch pads. My art is not the greatest and I don’t speak Japanese. Is there any advice that you have that could help me get started?

    • jenni

      Hi um Jenni. I like to draw. What would be the necessary supplies to become an manga artist.im still deciding if I should be one or be q medical technician. I’m still deciding.but it would be nice to have some tips to help guide me.

  • Sophea

    Hey there~ Uhmm what are the necessary materials to start a comic? Like do u need it to be digital or print each page from the original piece by paper?

  • Liam Dineen

    Hi Jamie
    I really want to be a mangaka but im only good at drawing. so I was wondering if could team up with a friend and publish it together? plus, will it have to be in Japanese ( im good at story writing but I wouldn’t count on it)

  • K

    Q1.How do you organise the script(not drawing yet)? Hump.(dialog/actions etc.) Mine is kinda little scattered. Same goes to other little detail (world/Character) on how to arrange them well? Because im kinda confuse here! When i was about to start writing and forget little detail.i lurk into my files! Or in another words is to make it simple for me to review my Manga Detail to start a part.Ps.when i thinking too much. I end up sleeping and keep delaying .Hope you read this :3

  • Mera Princess

    Hi Jamie Lyn!

    Greetings to you. 🙂 You just don’t know how happy I am when I’ve come across with your post. Thank you for posting such information. To be honest, I was already in the verge of giving up my dreams to become a comic writer until today. I kind of suck when it comes to drawing/sketching but thanks to my younger bro, he has given me hopes as he is very good at sketching/drawing. The only problem I have is how and where to submit our work. I thought all along that Jumps in Japan only accept works from someone who lives in Japan or a Japanese citizen. But this post, just inspire me more to fulfill my dreams.

  • sky

    Hi Jamie, that’s an awesome explaination and I have a few questions

    1) if the story writer and artist got approve to get publish, do they have to go to Japan or continue to send in their manga by online?

    2) as a story writer, must I hand in a name instead of a script?

    3) do they need any certification in order to apply into their company? (O/A levels, IGCSE, etc)

    4) what is the minimum of pages per chap?

    5) why some mangas publish their chapter weekly and some monthly?

    Im looking forward for your answers(sorry if I asked too much) my email is meikatorin@gmail.com

  • Nicholas Philip

    Dear Jamie Lynn Lano,

    My name is Nicholas Philip and it has always been a dream of mine to become a mangaka. I really want to know more and I have a ton of questions to ask you regarding your work. Could I ask you over email? I wanted to make sure it was okay with you before I started to ask you millions of questions.

    Thanks!

    Sincerely Nick Philip

  • Anurup Chakraborty

    Hello Jamie Lynn Lano,

    My name is Anurup. I am from India. I want to be mangaka, but I did not know how to become one until I read your post. Can you please tell me how can I submit my manga to the publishers from India. yes, that’s my problem. I can not afford to go to japan right now.
    And from India, how can I know that they published my work and interested working with me? as I said before, currently going to japan is not possible for me. But If I got a job there (like becoming a mangaka in a magazine) then I can move there.
    And can you tell me how much salary would I get if I become a mangaka. I know it will depend on the magazine, but still I want to have a pressumption of my would be salary. hi hi 🙂
    Please give reply. You can mail me your reply or post me on my facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/anc.arts)

    Advance thank you:) 🙂

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      A good starting salary for a manga is 10,000 yen per page. There are some who are paid less, some a little bit more. From that, you have to provide all of the pay for assistants if you have any, so in the beginning, it’s possible to actually lose money.

      If you read my post about the Treasure contest, it’ll show you one place to enter. There are many more, and they’re open to people around the world.

  • Maya Nilasa

    Hi! im from India and too bad there are’nt any manga available here, ivealwas wanted to create manga and anime but i just cant being in india also im not motivated or supported by any one so i need a great help or advice about what i can do. This post gave me a great releif though So ARIGATHO!

  • Jason Maiti

    Hey, I am Jace. I am a 17 year old and aspire to become a manga artist. However I don’t have any clue how to, since I live in India and there are no one to guide me. So, I have no clue how to learn to manga art and get my work published.

    • chris

      I would say as a fellow anime and manga lover is to use your internet resources for help. You could watch techniques on youtube or practice copying manga pages, learning the strokes and making your own style which is also important. You want an origanality to your work and when you proceed to draw enjoy it and immense it with emotion which i personally look for in a manga. Hope this helps if you practice im sure youll create an anime style that you or maybe others will like. C:

  • Alyssa

    Becoming a mangaka would be a dream come true thing is: I can’t draw so illustrating my own manga isnout of the question. I know the most probable thing is that I would have to find an artist to collaborate with in order to try and become a mangaka. But…is the process in becoming a mangaka as a writer more difficult then it would be those who can draw AND write?

    • chris

      I think i understand how you feel i was at that point where i felt like i wasnt so good a drawing manga but the thing is anyone can draw as good as a professional you jus need to practice though if you decide not to draw but collaborate with an artist your writing style must be in sync with the art style you collaborate with. In regards to the importance of either jus drawing the art or writing is that without a good story plots and characters there is really not a good point in reading the manga even if it has good art. Though it is good to have a really unique artist to the story their art is used to ephasize what is occuring in the story , the art pulls you to the words or the meaning in which you want to potray. I hope i have given some help and i believe you shouldnt worry about which one gets more attion the story writer or the artist? No without either one being good you cant create sn amazing manga. C:

  • Blindfire13sis .

    I REALLLYYYYYYYYY want to be a mangaka,buttttttt i just CAN’T.
    List of reasons:
    1-Don’t have the money for it.
    2-I live in the U.S.A.
    3-I have to take care of my mother(She has alot of heath problems)
    4-I have a speech problem.(Can’t say the S sound and my name)
    5-and i’m only 12 years old
    I was born in a small town witch people call,”The hood”.The real name is Upper Darby,PA.When my mother left my father,I was happy because i hate my father.We moved to Ridley,PA and i learned that my art skills and writing skills were very different from other kids.I wanted to do something with it!I made a goal.My goal was to go into middle school and become a writer,so i could help my mother get better.I also failed 2nd grade because of my speech,so this summer(5 weeks)I will start 6th grade.(Middle school)About 2 weeks ago,I learned about mangas.When i read my first manga,the first thing that came to mind was,”I have to do this!”
    I was thinking that maybe you could help me.If you’re reading this,Thank you and good luck with your manga.
    Oh yead,My real name is Angel Love and yes that is my real name.I use the name Blindfire13sis alot because i wear glasses(Blind)i love the color red(fire)13 is how old i’m going to be(13)and i’m a little sister.(sis).
    once again THANK YOU

  • Jiyxuz

    FINALLY I found the place that can provide encouragement and light up my road to become a fine Mangaka (since real life is full of criticism and discouragement) T^T

    Anyway, it’s really nice to know that foreign people like us can become successful manga artists ESPECIALLY in Japan… I mean I’ve always wanted to make my way and be a part of this great industry, drawing is what I do best and I can’t see myself in any place but Japan, especially after reading through your blog I knew I can do it… motivation is what I got from YOU !!!

    Thanks a lot for this helpful guidance and I hope you can be a great Mangaka in the near future and get your dreams fulfilled 🙂

    Embrace Your Dreams…

  • Zachery Williams

    Hi, my name is Zach and I want to be a manga author since I have multiple ideas for a series, and not the best at drawing. Anyway on to my question, I have started typing my idea in the form of a script, but I was wondering if I were to possibly send in my idea to a publisher or along the lines of that, does it have to be a one shot?

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      Hi Zachary, Well, I think that if you want to become a mangaka, then you’re going to have to show them that you can draw a full manga. They wouldn’t take a chance on an unknown person who only sent in a script.

  • DezTheMeister

    Hello~
    I love this post! It’s very interesting and gives me a lot of information. Thank you for sharing all of this with us. I really had no idea before now about what it is like to try to write a manga in Japan but now I’m getting more of an idea of what it’s really like (^-^)
    I did have a couple of questions though. The first one is How much Japanese should you know before moving to Japan? Is it hard finding a place to stay there and do you have to get another another job to support yourself while you’re trying to become a mangaka? I was also wondering if you could write a manga outside of japan?
    I’m still in high school right now and I’m really just trying to figure out what I want to do with my life. I reeeeeeaaaaaaally like to draw and make up stories and characters. I LOVE to read manga and I LOVE to watch anime. I’m pretty decent at drawing and I’ve been told I’m okay at writing. Some of your awesome advice would really help. Thanks a lot 🙂

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      Dez, I think that you don’t need to know any Japanese, and you can arrange for apartments online in English before you go (google will help for that). And if you don’t have enough money to live off of, it makes sense that you’d need a second job, no?

  • Shay W.

    Hi there! Thanks for all the information! I was just looking for another avenue to pursue along with teaching for my future career (I’m headed into grad school at the moment). I’d like to try my hand at learning the art of the Mangaka in order to do a kind or freelance thing if possible. I’m actually pretty good at drawing (I believe), but not very good at replicating the drawings/characters a second time. Any advice?

  • Antwain Anderson

    Hi Jamie how are ya?

    I am an aspiring manga artist and I have taught myself how to do draw anime/manga for quite sometime now. I was wondering how do I make a name for myself in publishing my manga both in real life and on the internet and how much money do manga artists make because I want to make this my career NOT a hobby!

      • Antwain Anderson

        Thanks Jamie Lynn I will 😀

        But another question if I may ask you is how do I promote and/or self publish it. I’ve already posted 15 pages of on DeviantArt but I’m not get enough views and comments as it I wanted but hey it’s always good to start off small right!

        • Jamie Lynn Lano

          You have to tag it, and then start talking to other people and making friends. You can take out advertisements, or work out deals with other artists to feature each other’s work. You can also try posting it on sites that host online comics.

          • Antwain Anderson

            Thanks Jamie Lynn Lano!

            As a aspiring manga artist is it better to go to a comic con or anime convention to put my name out there?

            And also how do I get over my fear of criticism since I do not take it as well as I should of?

            I hope I’m not annoying with all these question I’m asking you because I really appreciate you helping me out of this.

          • Jamie Lynn Lano

            Criticism is hard to take, at first. But try to think of it as a way to improve yourself. You want to be the best artist that you can be, right? So think about what people tell you about your artwork, and then consider how you can apply that towards making you a better artist. It’ll help to make it seem more like a learning situation than an outright criticism. 🙂

          • Antwain Anderson

            Oh wow!

            When submitting a manga to a publisher does it to be a full volume or can be just a chapter because it talking me a real long time to finish this one chapter?

          • Jamie Lynn Lano

            Your work is protected by copyright the moment it’s created, but you can also register with the U.S. Copyright office at http://www.copyright.gov, or with your own country’s office if you are outside of the US. There’s never any guarantee that your work won’t be stolen, but these are some measures that you can take to protect yourself.

          • Antwain Anderson

            Okay I think this my last question for you hoping you’re not too annoyed with me but

            What is the best software to do manga art digitally?

            I don’t like the software that I’m currently using that much which Gimp 2.8!

        • Antwain Anderson

          Last few things I wanna ask you!

          How much money do manga artists make because I am planning on moving to Canada to move in with some of my friends from there?

          And also when submitting your manga does it have to be a complete volume or a just a chapter or two at least?

          • Jamie Lynn Lano

            Manga artists in Japan usually make very little (not enough to live on) to start. If they become popular, they may end up making a lot of money.
            When you submit to a publisher it should be a one-shot.

  • Joshua

    Hi Jamie, I am an aspiring mangaka from UK and I wanted to know that can we send our manga digitally like mail it,or courier it.if yes,than can you please provide the details

  • CyAnn

    Kon’nichiwa!I’m Cyann pronoced sian I am an American trying to learn japanese and how to become a better drawer my drawing is descent 75-80 but could you give me tips on how to draw better !!! I would reall appreciate it Jaime-chan arigoto bye-bye

  • James W.

    Hi, I was reading this and I had to wonder, can the doujinshi method really work? Because currently my friend and I , well, are large fans of Bakuman so we decided to pair up and mirror the manga in making one, as in I’m writing the story and he’s drawing it. But the problem is that we are in Michigan where there’s only one event called Youmacon that might let us give out our manga there. It’s not like the other major cities like LA that have conventions every few weeks or so. We have a good plot and world set up, though all of it’s in English. The only problems are that we are using regular printing paper and probably the most advanced thing used would be a sharpie? So the quality isn’t very good, but I promise the idea is amazing.
    For a manga like that I doubt will take off like One Piece or all the greats, since it’s not really publishable due to it being in English, but how then can I really get even a small fanbase and eventually get it to a magazine? Any tips would be fine.
    I do have a DeviantArt though no one really notices my art :/
    Sincerely,
    James

    • StarFoxCaptainFalcon

      The first chapter will hopefully be done by this week, we are 16 year old incoming seniors in high school so it is tough to do weekly manga we are thinking of a monthly one but no one shows interest in reading it!
      Also would you recommend a english manga to use japanese names? Because I am always scared I am butchering names by naming people cool sounding but probably not common names.

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      Hi James, I suggest that you either pay to travel to big conventions and get tables there, or publish it online. There are a lot of places that you can do that, and maybe that’s a good place to start building a fanbase!

  • pavan

    hello i can write stories and i can tell how the drawings or the characters should be but the thing is i don’t know how to draw them on the paper and i don’t know anyone here showing interest in anime, so as u said, we have to draw our own manga, the thing is I CAN’T, but i want to become mangaka more likely i want my story to be a anime show
    PLEASE HELP ME WITH THIS

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      Hi, Pavan. I think that if you want to become a mangaka, or a story writer for anime, you’re going to have to either learn to draw, or learn to write scripts. Both of those things are completely learnable tasks if you’re willing to put the work in! 🙂

    • Maya Nilasa

      Hey Are u fro india i can draw on paper and write stories too . Itll be great if we are near by so we can work together

    • VJK

      Hi pavan
      U are exactly what I have been searching for!!! I am an aspiring mangaka who wants to get published in jump and im really bad at story 🙁 Do u mind if i send u an email to show u my artwork? Also, pls send me an example of your skills by mail…im indian btw…

  • Nina

    Do you know the process that manga drawings have to go through before they are published? (Digital editing for example) I’m doing a project about manga, and I can’t find the information anywhere! >.< could you please help? Thank you ^^

  • siang

    Hi, my name is siang and right now i’m an illustrator but my true goal is to become a mangaka. I have always loved it since i was small and could understand, and you don’t know how happy i am to learn that there is an amazing artist working as a mangaka whose NOT from Japan and is working successfully there , i am hoping to do the same you see, and i was hoping to be the same. However my drawings you see are illustrations, they are human illustrations and the anatomy maybe realistic in the sence but they still look cartoony , which is ok for illu but thats not what i wanted to do anymore. So im starting from the beginning and practicing anatomy and there lies the problem.You see there are no life drawing classes where i’m from and so to practice i have to use onlline classes which is good, but I Don’t know HOW to practice ,do I draw exactly like I see the picture, or draw just the frame, if so , how do i learn about anatomy this way? and do I practice gesture wit that altogether as the models are in poses. I’m very much stuck in this predicament and need your advice, plz plz help me(sorry for the long post i just need to get out of this problem).

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      I think that as long as you’re drawing, period, you will get better! It doesn’t matter how you draw it, only that you focus on making your style your own, something original that nobody else can replicate. 🙂

  • hikaritakishima11

    im waaaaaay in the caribbean, and in my school, they dont accept anime in art!! like noooo!!!! 🙁 i really love to draw anime and watch it as well, the thing is, no ones teaching me, anything at all, so i dont know if im going right or wrong, all the caribbean wants is realistic art…..not “cartoon” >..< i want to be a mangaka, but its hard to do so, im 16 and im the caribbean girl… its tough

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      You can always start out by drawing comics, printing them, and then selling them yourself. 🙂 You can get table space at anime conventions, or make your book (in Japanese), and get table space at doujinshi conventions. It’s a lot of work and takes a lot of money, but it’s always an option. 🙂 Don’t let your school or the opinions of society stop you!

  • hasebee

    Hellow..kawaii-chan i’m from india. I hate digital manga even amateur can make digital manga and I’m 99% good in drawing (pro)…i’m just a illustrator i help people.making their manga from facebook :3 and i’m for good writ
    ter’s where can i find it?

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      Well, they need the right to print it exclusively. They don’t want it to be printed by another magazine, and I don’t think that any competition would not have the same agreement. This only goes for the winners anyways.

        • Santiago

          I have an idea about the manga and it would be a detective seeris but not like Detective Conan. The only problem is that i can’t draw. My friend knows how to draw very good and we were planning that she draws and i write. However, i read that the manga artist should be the one who creates the story and draws.

  • Millicent Nadine Alcala

    hi 🙂
    I love anime and I love reading manga… 🙂
    I love writing stories that pop-up in my head…
    and someday I want to share my stories…
    and I really want even just one of my stories to become a manga…
    but I’m not good at drawing…
    I just wanna know, is there a possibility for my stories to reach some manga artist and if they have time to read it for a while… it will be really my greatest honor…
    thank you ^_^

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      Of course, it’s definitely possible. Anything is possible!

      I suggest that if you’re looking for an artist, you should try to make friends on a site like DeviantArt, or possibly try to publish your work online. Good fiction attracts good artists. And you can always publish novels on your own, since writing is your strong point!

  • Assistant?

    Hi, and thanks for the info.
    I have a slightly different question. How would I become an assistant?
    I will be studying abroad for a few months and really want to work under a mangaka. However, I don’t have experience, is it still possible? Would I have to make a “portfolio” I’ve been hearing about?

    Thank you!

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      Usually study abroad students are not allowed to hold jobs. But if you can, I suggest that you look on the websites for magazines whose artists you would like to look for.
      You’d definitely need samples of your art, but look to each specific job posting to check the qualifications.

  • Sallyna Tan

    can you tell me what materials do i need to be a mangaka (i know mostly, just to make sure..) and how much is the price in japan, i’ve been drawing with a pencil and ordinary drawing pen (but it is still fun to me :D). it’s awesome to know about your long journey as an assistant in japan, i’ve learned a lot, and reading your post as an mangaka make me want to draw more :D! thank you :)! i always think it’s impossible, and now i think i can 😀 (hopefully)

    disadvantage of me:
    lazy to learn the language T,T

  • GentleLife

    Hellow ,miss

    I want to become mangaka & i think i’m skilled enough because i’m about 19 years old and i’m practicing since i’m 11 years old & now i’m good in drawing and everything which is necessary to become mangaka & i also know how to speak in Japanese .
    I just want to ask you about – How to move to Japan? How did you move & did you completed your studies befour it. Because i do not want to study anymore…….

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      Hi GentleLife!

      Well, I have a bachelor’s degree, which is necessary for an American to work in Japan. Some other countries only require an Associate’s degree, if they participate in the working holiday program. I’m not sure where you are from, so I’m sorry that I can’t be of much more help than that. :/

      But anyways, here is the whole story of how I came to Japan! Or at least, the beginning of it! ^^ Living Tall in Japan

      • light

        hi
        like u iam also belongs to india .i dont know how to start manga drawing .i mean how to learn those drWings.
        ya i can draw one perticular anime by seeing its pic. eventhough i dnt know basics
        can u tell from wr i can learn those things…
        iam 17yr old student.
        thank u

        • Jamie Lynn Lano

          Just keep practicing! Mimic artists that you love is a good way to start at first, and then you can grow from there to develop your own style. 😉 I also recommend taking some life drawing classes in college or with your community center. Try drawing people and things that you see around you, too. 🙂

  • rehan

    Hi Jamie,

    I luv reading ur posts. Its inspiring 🙂

    How can anyone become a assistant mangaka in Japan? I mean how can ny1 approach a mangaka to be as an assistant.

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      Thanks! Well, like I said in my post, it’s pretty easy. You just look for ads, and then apply to them following the instructions. 🙂 It would take some japanese knowledge, but anyone can learn Japanese in time. 🙂

  • Maho

    I still didn’t understand about publishing or starting my manga road.How do i publish my manga (Let’s say ive already drawn in computer my manga and finished 1 character.Then where can i submit? Do i have to go to Japan to do it? Not that it is a problem ) Just you wait Jamie, i’ll make a manga incredible as you can’t ever imagine.Hope to see you’s someday ^ ^

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      Ooh, I can’t wait to read it!!!!

      All I talked about are the traditional ways to get published in Japan. The ways that mangaka there usually get started. But if you don’t want to go to Japan, then there are plenty of other things that you can do! You can submit to an English-language publisher (Sparkler Monthly and Image comics both take submissions), or you can publish it yourself and sell it at a convention, or sell it online, or even just put it up as a webcomic, like Megatokyo did! There are a ton of ways that you can go, and it’s up to you to decide the best one for you!

  • Elena

    Thank you so much for this thorough post! I always wondered what it took to be a mangaka and really appreciate your blog on this process.

    Also, I truly wish you the best on your journey to being a mangaka and hope to read yours soon. 🙂

  • Deni

    You made me really happy by posting this. I was trying to find something like this for a long time because i live in Serbia and here manga isn’t that popular but i love to read and to draw manga…However my knowledge of English language is poor and i don’t know Japanese, so right now i’m interested in this “silent manga competition”. will it be this year also or my chance is gone i would like to compete in this, and when is the dead line to send my work? if i came far with this i could consider drawing manga for publishing, right now i don’t have much time for big things because i’m university student so i was thinking that i should try something little, like making baby steps…. 🙂

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      Hi Deni,

      From what I can tell, they are always accepting entries, but only if you go through the Japanese site. The english site seems to have stopped in 2012 for some reason. Bu even in Japanese, it’s “silent,” so you don’t have to worry about a language barrier!

  • reflair

    Hi Jamie, thank you so much for making those entries. It really helps people outside of Japan to get an idea of how to get into the Japanese manga industry. Thank you for your time and kindness of sharing your experience!

  • Amaya

    I just want to say I admire you for being an assistant for a mangaka, and I am super happy that you decided to share this to all of us who want to become a mangaka someday!

    Drawing manga is also all i ever want to do. i’ve been writing several stories too so I think i can make a good story, however i need to show them to more people. The embarrassing part about it is that some of the stories i write may be a little shocking for some people and they may think that i need help or something .___. i dont know, its just how i feel i guess lol.

    But one thing that has got me thinking for a while…im dead set on making manga for my whole life. i wanna live my life as a manga geek! But do i have to live in Japan to do this? If I do i feel like getting there will be really tough. like a big difficult change in my life or something…

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      Thank you! ^^

      Ahaha.. when I was in high school, I used to role play online and I would always put my character through soooooo many terrible scenarios. One day, the leader of the group wrote to me and asked if I was depressed! I wasn’t though, not at all! XD;;

      And nope, I don’t think that you have to be in Japan to do it! Keep an eye on my blog. I actually have a little bit of an idea about that!

  • Alan H.

    First of all i’d like to say you’re a goddess, i love it when people achieve their dreams ,especially one as big as drawing professional manga, and share the experience of reaching it and how to reach it. I too have the goal to draw manga. But i want to stay here in the US to create an american manga publishing company. I want to allow others to show their creativity. And not to sound conceited or anything, but i am certain that i will make it as an american mangaka. We have only one life so might as well make it worth it.

  • C

    (Tried sending an email I don’t think it worked)
    Hi my name is Cheyne Ward,
    I am aspiring to become a manga author (don’t have much skills in drawing but I can write thoroughly and detailed for everything look, personality, characteristics, tendencies, everything, I tend to be critical. I can also draw rough sketches to guide someone else in drawing I have very detailed fight scenes). I have been searching for someone like you how to put it, someone on the inside. I would like to talk to you more if that is possible. I have always wanted to create a manga series. I can write well I showed a few of my ideas to my friends them loved them (most of us love manga and anime) even the ones who don’t read manga. I want to create the greatest manga ever I know it is a hard feat after One Piece but what is life worth if you can’t dream. I believe my ideas are good, although that is just me and my friends opinions. I just want to talk to you on how I can make this dream a reality and also if you can guide me a little. I would like to be published by Shuiesha in Shounen Jump as well as Jump Square (I would like to publish 2 at a time, I have so many ideas) because most of my favorite manga are or have been published there. Sorry I tend to ramble a lot. Please respond I need some guidance.

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      Hi, Cheyne,

      You’re right, I didn’t get your message! I will look into what is wrong with the site. :/

      You have a great dream, and I share your vision of wanting to create great manga! I think what you should do is look for artists on DeviantArt or Twitter who might be open to pairing up with someone on a great story like the one you’re probably writing. There are so many people out there, surely you can find someone! I wish you luck!!

      And don’t count out the other magazines! If your manga is awesome, then another magazine might be interested, and definitely don’t tell them no! 😀

      Jamie

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