A manga artist (or mangaka (漫画家) in Japanese) is a comic artist who writes and/or illustrates manga. As of 2006, about 3000 professional manga artists were working in Japan.
Bow Ditama, a manga artist
Most manga artists study at an art college or manga school or take on an apprenticeship with another artist before entering the industry as a primary creator. More rarely a manga artist breaks into the industry directly, without previously being an assistant. For example, Naoko Takeuchi, author of Sailor Moon, won a Kodansha Manga Award contest and manga pioneer Osamu Tezuka was first published while studying an unrelated degree, without working as an assistant.
A manga artist will rise to prominence through recognition of their ability when they spark the interest of institutions, individuals or a demographic of manga consumers. For example, there are contests which prospective manga artist may enter, sponsored by manga editors and publishers. This can also be accomplished through producing a one-shot. While sometimes a stand-alone manga, with enough positive reception it can be serialized in a weekly, monthly, or quarterly format. They are also recognized for the number of manga they run at any given moment