Interview: Alatar

Today we’re joined by Alatar. Alatar is a fantastic versatile artist. She does a lot of writing, mostly fanfiction but has started dabbling with original work. When Alatar isn’t writing, she enjoys drawing and sketching uses assorted media. She’s an eager and enthusiastic artist who has a wonderful passion. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Please, tell us about your art.

As far as art goes, I write and draw, although I’d say I’m more attached to the former. I got started writing because I liked fantasy and liked making up my own; I’d say the interest in magic, etc. was mostly because of Harry Potter. I mostly write fanfiction (I have accounts on both and Archive of Our Own) but I’ve attended a writing camp in my city the last few years that resulted in several original works, and I’ve done a ton of world-building for a story I always mean to start writing, but never get much headway on.

I mostly draw people when I do draw, but after reading Maximum Ride I got very attached to the idea of winged people and learned a lot about wing anatomy in my attempts at realistic fanart. I usually try to make my art look as realistic as possible. I normally do pencil drawings, occasionally inked and colored, and I have several paintings from this past year at my school.

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What inspires you?

I’d say I’m generally inspired by anything fantastical. Leaving out my favorite shows and stuff would be remiss, considering how often I’ve drawn Gabriel from Supernatural, but fantasy is definitely my main motivator. Unless I’m in a class, where I generally get a specific prompt, I take from books and shows I like and try to draw my favorite characters. I have drawn original characters, but it takes a lot of time and revisions to really pin down their appearances, so it’s easier to sketch out people who already have canon appearances.

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What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I wouldn’t say anything specific inspired me to draw, I’ve just always been doing it; my dad has roughly sixteen years’ worth of artwork stored away, since he hates getting rid of anything. Definitely Harry Potter inspired my love of fantasy writing, and I guess it got to a point where I decided I could do it better. It’s been more recently in my life though, that I really decided that writing was what I wanted to do with my life. People who see my art first are always so surprised by that! But writing is definitely worth putting my heart into.

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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 don’t think I have a specific symbol that I include in my art. The only thing I can think of along those lines is a signature, and I’m constantly forgetting to sign artwork (which I should probably be more worried about, considering I post most of it online!).I do tend to label them in Elvish (as in Lord of the Rings) since I get very territorial about people reading private stuff, even if it’s just a name. I also draw a lot of Supernatural’s Gabriel, which I mentioned earlier, but he’s more of a commonly reoccurring subject.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

To aspiring artists, I would say: whatever you want to do, do it a lot. Do it as much as you can. That’s how you get better! You’re always going to look at your art, no matter if it’s two years or two seconds old, and think it’s horrible, but that’s because you see it all the time and you’re used to it. I promise it looks great to someone else. I’ve been lucky to have very supportive parents, but if you don’t, find someone – maybe a teacher – who is willing to support you creatively; you’ll definitely benefit from that.

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Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m still a little unsure where specifically I identify; I only recently started calling myself aro/ace, so for now I’ll just say grey-asexual.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

I’m only a student, so I don’t work much ‘in my field’ and my asexuality has never really come up in any of the areas I do find myself in. The only really problematic area is trying to get past my parent’s preconceptions of that kind of thing, and that’s . . . .kinda private. I’d like to say if I ever encountered it, I’d verbally take down whoever was saying that kind of thing, but I have anxiety, so probably not.

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What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

The most common misconception about asexuality is, I think, how it works. Plenty will say being aro and/or ace “doesn’t count as LGBT” or is a choice, like celibacy, or we’re “broken”, which is all patently wrong.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

My advice to asexual individuals would be: it’s okay. You’re allowed to not want romance, or sex, or be confused about whether you do, or change your mind. You know yourself best. If you’re not comfortable with something, no one is allowed to make you do it.

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Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

I don’t have a sideblog or anything specifically for art, but I am on Tumblr as wizard-fallen-angel and, occasionally, on Twitter as (at) AlatarMaia. You’re welcome to send me a message or trawl through my art tag (/tagged/my+art). If you’re looking for writing, I’m on as Alatar Maia and Ao3 as alatarmaia4. Sense a theme yet?

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Thank you, Alatar, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

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