Today we’re joined by Emily Pendergraft, who also goes by EmilyParagraph online. Emily is a fantastic writer who has also recently gotten into visual art. For writing, she writes both fiction and poetry. Emily has been dabbling in both traditional and digital mediums. She draws a number of things and has even begun experimenting with comics. Her work shows an incredible imagination and that’s always wonderful to see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I am a longtime writer, fairly recent visual artist, who works in both traditional and digital art. I write a lot of fiction and some poetry, and I draw mostly illustrations and portraits. Lately I’ve been experimenting with comics.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by all sorts of thing, but I think I really get into creatures. Jim Henson’s Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, and the Muppets were really huge things when I was younger. But I also felt very attracted towards creepy things, and wondered why they were supposed to be scary. I’m also really, really into steampunk.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I got into writing when I was nine. I had an awesome teacher that year who showed me how fun creating my own word concoctions could be. I doodled a lot over the years, but never seriously got into drawing until high school when I re-met my best friend, who has drawn her entire life. Since then, I’ve just been practicing and trying all sorts of new things.
Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?
I made my own signature/stamp some time ago. It’s a combination of my username’s (and real name’s) initials. As for any sort of recurring theme, I’m not really sure. I just like drawing and writing about creatures and steampunk.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
1) If you attempt a long-term project, there will be times when you have to force yourself to push through. It’s tempting to set it aside until inspiration or your Muse strikes again with that awesome rush of productivity, but chances are it’s not going to happen in a timely fashion. So, force your way through. It’s probably not going to be your best work, but to get from point A to point G, you have to go through points B, C, D, E, and F, even if they’re not as interesting.
2) Don’t be afraid to do fan works! If you want to practice a new technique, solidify a style, or just pass the time, fanart and fanfic offer an amazing, low-key, low obligation means of doing so.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I mostly just say I’m Asexual and be done with it, but I’m more specifically Panromantic Asexual. Although, I’m questioning if I could be demisexual/demiromantic.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
I’ve been lucky that I haven’t really encountered much. Mostly just ignorance and an unwillingness to learn more because they think the word “asexual” is self-explanatory. I try to correct where I can, but I’ve mostly kept my sexuality to myself until I know I can trust someone.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
I think the most common one is that asexuals are just nervous virgins. Or that sex can “fix” them and they just don’t know what they’re missing. Another big one is that there’s no spectrum, just aro/ace or not.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
1) You never, ever, EVER have to fake a crush. Just because everyone else is feeling feelings doesn’t mean you’re missing out on something or not caught up to them.
2) Feeling aesthetic attraction does not necessarily mean you’re having a crush.
3) Just because someone admits attraction to you does not mean you have to go out with them. It’s not a “Step 1: someone finds you attractive, Step 2: date!” thing. The steps we’re presented in media are overblown and sped up. Maybe you will go out with this person, maybe not, but you can take it slowly if you’re unsure.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
My main blog is right here.
I have a few sites that I house my visual work on:
Not as much of my writing is online, but I do have some excerpts up on my Weebly site. I also have a Patreon, and I am open for commissions.
Thank you, Emily, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.