Brooke Stephenson is a self-publishing Manga artist living and working in Japan. I met her in 2003 through a mutual friend and have admired how she has always pursued her art. Her pen name is Ogawa Bukurru.
I know you draw manga, but can you give us an intro of yourself as an artist?
First of all, I never intended to come to Japan permanently until I realized I was out of options as a sequential artist in America. I wanted to work for Disney and had made several powerful connections at their 2D animation department, but while I was in college they shut down their studio. I was devastated.
It has since re-opened, but by then I had already moved to Japan to pursue a degree in sequential art at the Nippon Designer Gakuin in Tokyo in 2004. I worked off and on as a professional comic assistant for two separate mangaka (comic artists) until 2010, when I got serious about publishing my own work.
In 2009 I had an editor show interest in me over at Kodansha’s Shounen Magazine (one of the top three best-selling weekly manga anthologies for boys in Japan), but after a year I felt it wasn’t working out and left. Sometimes I regret that decision, since even though my artwork has gotten better I have not had any luck with new publishers.
I decided to try the self-publishing route this year, hoping I can get a feel for my target audience by seeing what titles sell better and to what demographic. Test marketing at it’s finest!