Youths getting animated about anime

Cultural phenomena: Mia Paxton's character 'Lucy' is part of a worldwide interest in anime that has spread from Japan to the west over the past few decades. Picture: Mia Paxton.

Cultural phenomena: Mia Paxton's character 'Lucy' is part of a worldwide interest in anime that has spread from Japan to the west over the past few decades. Picture: Mia Paxton.

Mia Paxton is just 15, but she’s already teaching other students the art of creating anime and manga, the Japanese comic form.

The Ballarat artist has been given the the opportunity to show her style at the City of Ballarat library from Thursday April 20. She’ll be teaching participants aged 12 to 16 how to draw the distinctive, wide-eyed characters popular in film, comics and cosplay. 

Ms Paxton says she has been watching anime since she was in grade one, and started teaching herself to draw in grade three.

“I’m really self-taught; I watched a lot of YouTube videos that showed me how,” she says. “My mum took me to some realistic drawing classes in Ballarat, but I’m mostly self-taught.”

Mia says taking her first classes makes her a little nervous, “but I think it’ll mostly be fun. I like teaching my friends how to draw at school.”

Katja Fiedler, youth development officer at the City of Ballarat, says the manga drawing classes are one of eight initiatives provided through the City of Ballarat Youth Development's Unique Message Maker (UMM) Project, and funded by the Victorian Government Engage! program.

“The UMM Project equips young people with the skills and tools to collaboratively work to create messages around concepts, ideas and issues that are important to them.

“The manga drawing classes provide a creative skill building opportunity for youth with a specific interest in manga and cartoon drawing. The classes are youth-facilitated and provide peer to peer learning and development and social networking through a mutual interest in manga art.

“Following two very successful manga drawing classes in 2016 with manga artist Arky Sparky, council has engaged Mia Paxton to deliver a six-week series of manga drawing classes at the Ballarat Library that will teach youth participants aged 12-16 how to draw in manga and cartoon style and to develop their very own characters, with the view to display and celebrate the final artwork of young people publicly.”

The classes are already booked out, but the council is hoping to provide more classes later this year.