Today we’re joined by Jasmin Dreyer. Jasmin is a fantastic freelance illustrator from Germany who does a lot of children’s animation and games. She hopes to draw a webcomic some day. Judging by her art, that would be an amazing venture. Jasmine is a great artist with an amazing eye for detail and color, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I’m a freelance digital illustrator, currently working mostly for children’s animation. So far I have mostly worked for animation and small game projects. I am also working on a bachelor’s degree for illustration right now.
A dream I have for the future is to maybe someday draw my own webcomic. We’ll see about that heh…
What inspires you?
Oh so many things. Mythology, animation, children’s books, trashy scifi movies, comics, cool fashion, just pop culture in general. The list goes on and on!
A lot of influences also come from the cool people I study with at my university. It is really nice to be surrounded by so many incredible artists with so many completely different styles.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I have actually been drawing as long as I can remember. When I was little I was pretty obsessed with drawing all kinds of animals and my MLP toys! I was also super into Disney and other animation movies and cartoons and I guess I already had some vague idea that I wanted to do something like that.
I never stopped drawing, but for a long time I just didn’t think I was good enough for art school. So right after school, I actually started studying jazz/pop music to become a professional musician but I quickly realized that that just wasn’t for me at ALL.
After that I went to university for comparative religious studies and anthropology for a semester, which was, well … interesting but also not what I wanted to do really.
So somehow after all these detours, I finally worked up the courage to get a portfolio together and apply to art school.
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?
Nothing like symbols, no. I do tend to use a lot of the same colours or colour combinations though.
Working in the media, I am very aware of the way women, POC, MOGAI/LGBTQIAP+ people are stereotypically portrayed (if they are portrayed at all!), especially in the games industry.
Since I almost always draw female or femme characters, I always try to give them some sort of agency of their own, if that makes sense. Like they don’t exist as mere objects to please a male gaze but for their own sake. I know I am still not perfect in this, but I also try to always challenge myself in avoiding “same face” syndrome and to try and make my characters more diverse.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
I know it’s easier said than done (and sounds cliché) but still: never give up. As you can see, it took me a long time to finally decide to pursue art professionally.
I personally think that talent is pretty overrated. Talent will only get you so far. Really one of the most valuable things I learned in art school is to be persistent and passionate about your art. Find something that you are REALLY interested in, a medium, a topic (I think this can also be applied to virtually any kind of art). Something you can spend hours and hours doing. Because if you have something like that, you will inevitably get better at it! And ultimately, I think people can always see if an artist is really enthusiastic about their work and will resonate more with it.
Use reference if you need it, it’s OK, we all do it. Don’t be afraid to copy art that you like for study purposes. But when you work on your own stuff, don’t try to blindly copy trends. Try and analyze why and what exactly you like so much about it and then try to translate those elements into your own style.
Knowing your fundamentals like anatomy, composition etc. is great but also know that you don’t have to be able to draw perfect realistic pictures if you want to be an artist. There are professional illustrators for example who don’t care a bit about exact anatomy but the pictures still “work”. Maybe you are more interested in telling a story or making people laugh with your art? Just find out what works for you.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I usually just identify as ace. I am probably somewhere on the aro spectrum as well, but who knows? Sometimes I just use queer when I don’t want to actually explain asexuality.
I do think it is great that we have such specific language and microlabels to describe ourselves and our experience nowadays. I just found that I personally tend to identify with too many labels at once (sometimes even contradicting ones) and get overwhelmed in trying to parse them out. So, for now, I have found it more useful to just use broader terms.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
Not in my current field luckily.
When I was still doing a lot of music and theatre though, I always felt very alienated. Everything was so incredibly centered around romance and sexuality. Like 99% of the songs probably and even stage directions I was getting. I could barely relate to anything at all. I still love singing and performing etc. but that was probably one of the main reasons I had to quit most of it sadly.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
Probably that aces are cold, unfeeling and not passionate about anything. This is mostly about media representation, but I think a lot of people still don’t understand how important that is. I know that it is getting better right now. But it also still hurts a lot when you only get to choose between robots or serial killers, as far as ace representation in mainstream pop culture goes.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
I would say that your experiences and what you are feeling are perfectly valid. That only you get to decide what you are feeling. That you are allowed to feel good about yourself and have pride in your orientation. Know that you don’t have to change, for anything or anybody. That you are not broken or abnormal.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
And I just started posting on Instagram too: https://www.instagram.com/jasmindreyer/
Thank you, Jasmin, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.