It is a common understanding that many manga-kas, or manga artists, work for the art’s sake, not for monetary gains. Even though comics boom and increasing interest of young people in fascinating Japanese manga works are the factors that many smart people can take advantage of, still there are a lot of creative people, both professionals and doujinshi amateurs, who get the most pleasure at the fact of solid readership and sole creation of bright comics personalities.
There are different ways that manga artists work. A professional manga-ka gets as much as sixty to a hundred dollars per page, but usually his work does not belong to him, neither rights to the characters, nor to story itself. Technically they are not allowed to reproduce their work or claim the manga characters that they created. Publisher pays the fixed rate per page, and owes nothing more. Artists can only display original sketches for sale at comic markets or exhibitions.
Let us see what specializations exist for manga artist. A penciler is the one who draws images and frames according to the script that he gets from the writer. His wages are high as he is a very responsible person who influences on the general outlook of the manga book. A writer creates a story for comics taking in account not only a good flow of a plot from page to page, but also a limit of page volume, i.e. comic book usually does not exceed twenty-two pages. An inker enhances or interprets the pencil line work, he makes sure that lines are clear and neat. Modern scanners often replace human inkers in many manga book projects. A colorist paints the pages either by hand or using advanced software applications such as Adobe Photoshop. A letterer is responsible for the clearness and legibility of the letters. Nowadays most manga lettering is taken care of by computers.
Even though the publisher has the exclusive rights of publishing, the artist also gets some royalties and overseas exposure. Manga-ka gets credits for his work as opposed to American comic book artist who does not get any credits for his design or creation.
Another difference between American and Japanese comic book production is that in America a whole team works on each book, but in Japan most manga books are created and illustrated by a single person. He only leaves white balloons for lettering (with exception of yonkoma manga books).
So this is a brief description of a workload and specializations of manga book artists.
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