What is the Role of a Manga Assistant?
The role of a manga assistant is to help manga artists in the realisation of their manga.
Discover why and who they are.
The mangaka and their assistant(s)
As you might be aware of, the realisation of a manga (in Japan) is time constrained. Some mangaka have to deliver 20 pages of their series every week. To be able to deliver they therefore have to work on parallel on scenario and drawing. And even though a manga artist can team up with a scenarist to do the job, this might not be sufficient to deliver on commitments.
This is the reason why manga artists will hire assistants to support them.
The manga artist will on one side work on the scripting and mock-ups of the next episode. Then, in parallel, he will work on the rough sketch and inking of the current episode. He will mainly focus on main characters and coloured drawings if any. The remaining work will be delegated to the manga assistant(s). This remaining work can be settings, secondary characters, screentones…
The manga artist will act as an art director. He/she will distribute the tasks to his/her assistants and control the finished work.
Who are these manga assistants?
Manga assistants can either be debutant manga artists or manga artists without a series, or artists specialised on certain tasks or techniques.
Debutant manga artists will generally be interested in working with a senior manga artist having a series. Their objective will be to learn the techniques and skills of making a manga from that artist. They might also be working in parallel on developing their own stories and characters. This assistant work being a way to earn an income until they become serialised manga artists themselves.
There is also a second category of specialised artists. These artists, on their side, are expert in drawing specific elements. This can be urban settings, mechanical devices, crowds… or specific techniques like applying screentones or digital effects…
Manga assistants might also be working on several manga series in parallel in different studios.
Do not hesitate if you have comments or questions.