Today we’re joined by Grace Procella. Grace is a member of P4 Comics, a group of queer artists that do a variety of things. Ve does mostly comics but also some character design and illustration. Grace takes a lot of inspiration from anime and is very dedicated to vis art. Ve is incredibly passionate about creating, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to vis for participating in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
We are a group of queer (but mostly asexual) artists that do comics, videos and other content with the intent of spreading positivity and education about Asexuality. Personally, as it stands, most of my art involves comics, but I do a few character designs/illustrations here and there. Most of it is all anime inspired, as that’s what got me back into art in the first place, but I try to diversify a little here and there. Matter of fact, we run a weekly series where we feature different asexual perspectives. Since I let them tell me how they want to be portrayed, sometimes I run into some lovely challenges. From coyote shaped cakes to panda wizards, we’ve had an interesting variation of characters thus far.
What inspires you?
What originally inspired me was the works of Sophie Labelle, Serpentenial, Kate Leth and several other astounding comic artists. I really thought I had a neat experience being aporagender and asexual, so I thought sharing my experiences might make people feel like they’re not alone. Nowadays though, it’s the fans that inspire me, their passion for the message and for this community really brings about some interesting concepts and dialogues.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
Was a total doodler when I was in school, always drawing stuff in the margins, but it never really expanded from there. When I suddenly got into anime in university, it was jumpstarted and I realized that, that was the art I wanted to do. I think I’ve always had the artsy spirit and drive in me, just some bumps along the way made me lose track of it. (Most notably, high school studio art killed the enjoyment for me originally).
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?
Oh lord, I have bad habits, like I always use a certain hand positions, but when it really comes down to it, I think my signature would be how character interact with the dialogue bubbles and my framing. There’s a certain level of 4th wall breaking in all my work that really pops the story out on to your lap. Having character openly reference annoying dialogue bubbles or look over into other frames. It’s fun to conceptualize, draw, and read!
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
A while back I made a lovely little info-graphic about this. When it really comes down to it, the main thing is to just start. Art takes lots of refinement, practice and passion. With enough directed practice, anyone can become an artist.
To be more specific, if you’re looking to be a comic artist like me, I think the best thing I could tell you is not to be afraid of sharing your stuff. You see an LGBTQ+ page that posts memes about queer stuff. Share/post it to their page, tag them, whatever. When you reach out and tap into existing communities, you’ll find it’s much easier to grow.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I’m a romantic asexual, more specifically a biromantic asexual. Sex negative/apathetic, somewhere there. I just don’t like it.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
Actually I’ve encountered more prejudice FROM aces rather than naysayers. We have a way of questioning ideas on the right and left, which can sometimes draw some angry crowds. But whenever I run into prejudice or ignorance I have a conversation with that person. See what their opinions all about. Overall it usually end up with both of us coming away disagreement, but a little bit wiser.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
Oh lord, most definitely that attraction = desire. Even when it’s so easily explained to people. You desire acts and feelings. You’re attracted to people. But everyone seems quite ignorant to these ideas. Other than that, often people will think your asexuality was caused by trauma, which I’ve always found odd. That’s ones fairly commonplace.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
Be you. That’s all I can really say. We have an ongoing series about Gate Keepers, and the catch is always, that he can only make you think you’re not allowed in. But he can’t actually stop you from going through the gate. You know who you are better than anyone, so don’t let others tell you who you are and where you belong.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
Thank you, Grace, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.