How to Be a Manga Artist

Updated April 17, 2017

A manga artist, known as a "mangaka" in Japan, draws and often also writes a Japanese-style comic. A fan of manga knows that the manga style is more than just cartoon characters with large eyes, but also a distinct style of visual storytelling. To become a manga artist, you will have to develop your artwork and storytelling ability and know how to get your work published. Only very rarely do foreign artists become professional manga artists in Japan, but you may have a better chance of success in the U.S. or Europe.

Draw art daily. As a manga artist, you will draw many persons, places, animals and things. You should have a foundation of realistic art so you learn art basics like perspective. Draw both in manga style and in other art styles so that you grow as an artist.

Put together a manga art portfolio and a sample manga short story. American manga companies want to see portfolios of manga-style and other style art rather than a finished manga product. This is because they often hire manga artists to draw stories they already have in mind and do not need manga writers. Japanese manga companies, on the other hand, do prefer to see a completed short manga story, typically about 30 pages in length, and in Japanese. Nevertheless, it is virtually impossible for a foreigner to become a manga artist in Japan.

Submit your manga portfolio or story to manga companies. Check manga companies' submissions information to see how you can submit your work to them. Watch for manga drawing contests. Visit anime conventions and look for submission booths to meet with representatives of the companies.


Self publish your work and try to sell the book at conventions, online and at local bookstores. Arrange for a lecture at a local library to introduce your work. If no established manga company can hire you, you can build your own buzz through these avenues.


Do not pass over realistic art styles when you practice your art. Aside from manga faces, much of the manga art style looks realistic.

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About the Author

Amy McNulty has worked as a freelance writer since 2005. She has written for "Chocolate Zoom" and "The Japanese Tutor" among others. McNulty received a Bachelor of Arts in English with honors from Carthage College, where she also pursued minors in Asian studies and French.