Bundaberg manga teacher and artist Bec McPherson uses her drawing ability to tackle her own mental health while helping others learn the art.
The 26-year-old, self-employed artist owns Bexylum Art, and has been drawing ever since she could remember, but her interest in manga started to thrive at the age of 12.
As a child Bec was not able to spend much time outside enjoying the beautiful outdoors because she suffered from severe eczema, and this led to her passion for creating manga.
“My art style is heavily influenced by the Japanese comic book style manga – with my own twist thrown in,” she said.
“I wasn’t able to go outside as much as I would have liked to due to my skin condition treatments.”
Bec’s mental health has a strong influence on her artwork and each subject featured, whether it is a person or an animal, shows a depth of emotion.
“I have always struggled to keep a ‘normal’ job due to ongoing mental and physical health,” she said.
“Hence, why I am currently self-employed. I may not make as much of an income as a regular job, but I love what I do, and my mental health is relatively good and I couldn’t ask for much more than that.
“My work is heavily influenced by my mental health; think of it as a constructive coping mechanism – creating a positive, from a negative.
“I believe all art requires some sort of emotion behind it, but I couldn’t say it’s necessarily a requirement for this particular style.”
The self-taught illustrator prefers to use alcohol-based markers on blending card to create her manga master pieces, but she said there were various ways to produce the artwork including painting and digital art programs.
“There are various digital programs available these days; I have many students who prefer to work digitally as it is more comfortable for them,” Bec said.
“Digital can be a great investment as it is quite cost effective in the long run. Both traditional and digital drawing have their pros and cons. Both are valid, and both are art!”
Learn to draw manga with Bexylum Art
Bec is currently running several online classes for her long-time students, and prior to the current Covid-19 restrictions she held both manga drawing classes, and intensive manga workshops at ArtsPlus, she hopes both will return soon.
“Prior to the pandemic, I was also teaching a weekly Manga class for NDIS clients at Impact,” she said.
“At this stage, all of my manga classes require students to have a little existing knowledge in the art/drawing style of manga.
“I will be looking into starting up some beginner classes down the track.”
To find out more about Bexylum Art classes click here.
What’s the difference between manga and anime?
Bec said there was sometime misunderstanding between manga and anime, but the difference came down to the how the art style was produced.
“So, there is often a confusion between the two,” Bec said.
Manga is the drawn or still art style that is produced as a comic, graphic novel or illustration.
“Whereas, anime is the animated or moving interpretation.
“Many, but not all anime series start off as, or are based off their original manga comic book series.
“A good way to differentiate the two is by remembering anime = animated.”