Young and gifted

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April Barnaby-retter

My Manga Art........

I have been drawing since the age of three as my Grandma encouraged me and began to improve my art work at the age of seven years old.  I became very interested in reading comic books and Manga (comics created in Japan or by creators in the Japanese language).  I had always wanted to create art for people to enjoy as well as produce one of my own books one day.  My artist name is Angel as I feel the name represents what I am all about, I feel I am very much peaceful and wise but still learning and love to help others through my creativity. Manga are comics created in Japan (developed in the late 19th century) that the uses illustrations for storytelling.  It is really famous worldwide mainly in Japan and France with a lot of people reading it online or buying books offline, on Amazon and eBay.  It has also become very popular in America for instance for Manga artists who want to create their own comic book Japanese style.  Most artists have a dream of living in Japan, but some do not get the chance to do so.  I would like to create my own Manga art in my home country but always I felt like my calling and life goal is to live and work in Japan to become a serious Manga Artist.



Creating Manga allows me to relax, as well as have that feeling of being part of that world.  I usually create my own art and stories, which I enjoy and almost feels like I have created something that is cinematic.

My dream and Japanese Culture......

It has been my dream to live and work in Japan but also to be Mangaka illustrator.  If I could become an artist and help the People in Japan through my art and through my stories that would be my ultimate goal.  There are people in Japan who do not like the city they live in and struggle with life, so feel the only way out for them is suicide.  I hope through my art this may help them to notice there is another way out in life.  My art reflects everything about life and God and how he loves the world and his people.  I hope this could touch their hearts and help them to see a differently.

I feel in love with the Japanese culture mainly due to my parents being fascinated and meeting through taking up Karate and in 2015 my Dad booked a fully guided tour of Japan for me and my Mum for ten days and it was the best trip of my life! There is a massive difference between the English and Japanese culture as well as the language and how people treat each other and how they respect the environment.  


The Japanese tend to treat foreigners in a very respectful and kind way and have peaceful way of living.  I would say that I never feel like an outsider being in Japan as a Black Woman and if anything I felt more unique.

My love for Kendo......

I really wanted to take up a Japanese hobby that did not just involve learning about the language, so tried karate but felt it was too easy so I looked for something that challenged me physically, mentally and emotionally.  I found Kendo and took part in it after just watching one session and instantly feel in love with it! I knew instantly that it was the right sport for me.  I would say the most challenging part of Kendo is the fact that it pushes you to another level both physically and mentally.  Due to a heart condition I have, I really wanted to like push myself to the limit so I could become stronger.  I would also say when you are facing people who are taller or stronger than you, your mental character comes into play and you tell yourself that you can actually be this strong person even if you may not have the best chances of winning.

My rare heart condition…...

I found out that I had a rare heart condition called SVT (Supraventricular tachycardia) when I was sixteen during my second year of college.  It is a condition that is quite rare in the UK but actually funnily enough very common in Japan.  So when I found out I had a heart condition I thought my life was over! My cardiologist said that it may be an once-in-a-lifetime condition that I may not get again but one year after being told this, my condition worsened and my heart rate went up to 286 beats per minute just doing nothing.    After being prescribed medicine to slow my heart rate down, I found that this still did not work so ended up having a procedure where the doctors had to slow my heart rate down whilst I was awake.  This was at the risk that my heart could have stopped beating and I thought I was going to die…..but following a successful procedure I realised I was lucky to be alive!  I always referred to what Jesus went through when he died on the Cross and although scared of the outcome, my procedure was nothing in comparison in him dying on the Cross for us.  I now have the all clear and have a good bill of health, which makes me feel extremely thankful that my condition has gone and is like my life has begun again.

Who would you say is your inspiration is?      


If I had to pick someone it would defiantly have to be Hayao Miyazaki (Japanese Animator, Filmmaker, screenwriter and Manga artist) from Studio Ghibli.  This is because of his interesting stories and the way he makes you understand each character in each story.  He has also inspired me when it comes to improving my art and when I am writing my own stories. I would hopefully one day like to think that I myself could inspire others to pursue their dreams and life goals.


What are your goals for this year?     


My goals would be to improve my art and myself as a person.  I wish to inspire many artists as well as people who want achieve their dreams.  My other goal would of course be to try and save money to live and work in Japan.

Young and gifted 2019