A system of creating comics invented by the manga artist Osamu Tezuka. Previously, each page of a comic or manga used to be completely drawn and written by the same artist. Tezuka, however, employed assistants who did tedious jobs like drawing backgrounds, filling in shaded areas and drawing clean panel borders. This left him, the main artist, more time to concentrate on the essentials, storyline and character design, and enabled him to produce his manga much faster.

In Japan, this system has since become the almost ubiquitous standard way to create manga. A manga artist usually employs 3 to 5 assistants, who often live together with him or her. The assistants get the opportunity to learn the trade from a master, and many of them become full-blown manga artists themselves later on.

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