A Burnaby woman who makes video tutorials of how to draw characters in the style of anime and manga — art forms that originated in Japan — has become so successful on YouTube that she has almost 900,000 followers and is able to make a living with her art.

Mei Yu, who posts the videos on her channel Fun2Draw, said she likes to help teach others to draw because when she first came to Canada when she was five years old she didn't have anyone to show her how.

"I didn't even know any English at that time, so drawing was a way for me to express myself. I had to teach myself how to draw for a very long time until I got into high school," she said.

"But now I'm able to show other people to teach them how to draw different things so I'm glad that I'm able to become that person I wish I had back then."

Yu said that through the revenue she earns through advertisements on YouTube, she is able to earn enough to support both herself and her family.

"I love drawing, that's all I want to do in life is keeping making art, and keep sharing my art with as many people as possible, so I'm very very grateful for that."

Yu, who also attended Capilano College, said that when she first began uploading tutorials on YouTube five years ago, it took a while for her to gain an audience.

But eventually she did, and she continues to pour hours into making videos, released new footage twice a week on what she calls "Tutorial Thursdays" and "Fun Fridays".

"If you have a passion for something you don't really mind all the hard work and the hours you put in," she said.

'Passion is the most important thing'

Yu said there are many artists that inspire her, and chief among them is Walt Disney.

"One of my dreams is to make my own cartoons, and my own comics and graphic novels and to just share my stories and my characters, like Disney did. That's my big dream in life."

Yu also has a message for anyone who wants to learn how to draw, or improve their art:

"If it's your passion, go for it, don't give up, and just keep practicing, and you'll get it. But the passion is the most important thing, so keep at it."

In the video above Yu talks to Our Vancouver host Gloria Macarenko about her passion for teaching others to draw, and also shares an anime style picture she drew of the CBC host.

With files from CBC's On the Coast