Today we’re joined by Terrana Cliff. Terrana is a fantastic artist who is both a writer and an animator. She is currently writing the webcomic Nwain: the Knight who Wandered Dream, which tells the story of an adventuring bi/gray ace knight with depression. From her description it sounds like a positively wonderful story. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I write, draw, animate, and code an animated webcomic, Nwain: The Knight Who Wandered Dream. It’s about a bi/gray-ace knight who goes on adventures while fighting depression.
What inspires you?
Lots of things! 90’s cartoons are especially influential to my webcomic: Gargoyles, Pirates of Dark Water, Samurai Jack. Interactive story books, like the Arthur series.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I’ve always wanted to be an artist, but didn’t always think I’d be one. For a while, I figured I’d be a scientist (assuming, in my innocent youth, that I’d get paid better). But I discovered I don’t enjoy lab work. I do enjoy drawing. I went to an art school and discovered I enjoy animating. Writing is like pulling out your own teeth and trying to build a house with them, but I like the results. A tooth house is something you can be proud of.
Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in our work that you’d be willing to reveal?
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Art is hell. You’re in hell. You are Sisyphus and Tantalus both, pushing a big rock to get at art grapes that are always out of reach and probably imaginary. Accept it. Look up from your burden every once in a while and smell the roses from heck. Then draw the roses.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I am grey-ace, or about 99.9% ace. I’ve been attracted to so few people that I hesitate to give it an orientation, but bi (as in, two or more genders) is close enough.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
I haven’t personally encountered any.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
Of those people who have heard of asexuality, some assume there is no spectrum. They think a heterosexual demi- or grey- ace must identify as straight. As if they’re in charge of how everyone on the planet is allowed to feel.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
I’m 32 and I only figured out where I am in the last year or so. It’s okay to go slow. You’re in a weird zone of invisible nuance which our culture has not equipped you to navigate. You might bump into things. That’s okay. Go by feel. Even after a long time, you might never know for sure where you are or where you’re going, and that’s okay too. You don’t have to be certain. Vague feelings are valid feelings.
Also, I am living proof that you can find and keep a wonderful romantic relationship. We’ve been together for 12 years.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
Thank you, Terrana, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.