Today we’re joined by Brittany Granville. Brittany is a phenomenal visual artist and writer from Kentucky. She’s currently working on a webcomic entitled Cirque du Royale, which she both writes and draws. Cirque du Royale is all about a family of circus performers and it looks so amazing. Brittany’s work is incredibly unique and her characters are so expressive they practically pop off the screen. It’s clear that she’s a passionate and amazingly talented artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I draw cartoons, comics, do graphic design and write. I’ve been drawing my whole life and have a Bachelors of Arts in visual communication design. I do freelance when it’s offered, but I’m still looking for a full-time job. I spend most of my time writing and drawing my own comic called Cirque Du Royale. It’s a slice-of-life comic about a family of circus performers. I love cartoony styles and silly expressions.
What inspires you?
Hahaha! Depression and money! I need to feed my dog and keep myself in clearance nail polish, so that’s a big motivator when it comes to freelance. When it comes to my own work, I just need to have something to focus on other than sadness and crying. That’s actually why I started Cirque Du Royale. It was a distraction from job hunting and all the rejection. Basically, I could worry about the last interview or I could write about a health-nut strongman and draw funny expressions!
On a less cynical note: I like stories and I like making up my own stories. It’s all an effort to try and communicate. Growing up, I had a hard time making friends and really communicating with people, but I’d make up characters and found that I liked spending time in their world rather than mine.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I grew up watching a lot of TV and reading a lot of books. Cartoons were big for me. I watched a lot of The Simpsons, The Flintstones, Rugrats, Looney Tunes, Powerpuff Girls, and Dexter’s Lab, and would copy the styles of those shows. I was fascinated by cartoons and the way they worked. When I was really little, I wore out our VHS copy of Bambi because I would pause and start it over and over to look at each frame of a scene.
I also read a lot of comic strips as a kid. At about 8 or 9, I started drawing my own comic strips. I shared them with friends and classmates, and they liked them, so I kept drawing them!
When I was older, I got more interested in illustration and graphic commercial art. I’m still nowhere near where I thought I would be at this point in my life.
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?
Both my art and design work tend to be very colorful and rounded, but I can’t see any real style signatures.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Like a lot of artists say, practice a lot, it’s very important to build skills. Draw from life and practice realistic anatomy. I see many young artists get annoyed that their teachers want them to draw still-lifes or models rather than anime or cartoons. But it’s good to know how to draw the real thing, that way it looks more believable when it’s simplified (for example hands). If you’re in school and want to draw anime or cartoons, just get a separate sketchbook for your own personal work and one for studies!
In addition, try different things, when it comes to art and life. It’s good to find a hobby outside of art; it keeps you well rounded and to gives you something to do when you don’t feel like or can’t drawing. For example, I write, cook, read, make jewelry and stuffed animals from time to time, and am in a local civil rights organization.
Furthermore, art is great but your physical and mental health is more important. Try to at least get a walk in everyday, so that your body doesn’t break down on you. And take breaks at least every 2 hours.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I’m asexual and aromantic. I know that people can have different romantic and sexual attractions simultaneously, but I can’t split mine. If you want to get more specific, I’m also sex repulsed. Like, I think consenting adults should have sex if they want. Cool. Good for them. But anyone touching or kissing me in a sexual way makes me want to barf!
I found out about asexuality when I was 18 after a dude at college kissed me. I was so disgusted, I googled to see what was wrong with me. Cause everyone likes kissing, right? This was in 2010, a little before Tumblr and more widely available material on asexuality, but I managed to find Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) and videos by Julie Sondra Decker (aka Swankivy) on YouTube. I was so happy to find out that what I was feeling was a real thing with a name. I’m so glad I’m aroace. Because, honesty, romantic/sexual relationships have always seemed really annoying to me…
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
No, but I’m not really out to people IRL, but I’m also not hiding it. The only problem is when men try to flirt with me or when my older relatives try to talk to me about dating. Bleh!
I have had a comment or 2 on my comic that an ace character couldn’t be ace because he’s 13 and that it’s just a phase. Like, bruh, that was literally a joke in the comic. I just ignore it. I think it’s funny. :p
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
Ha! I might be people’s idea of what an asexual is. I’m asexual, aromantic, and sex-repulsed. I’m also autistic, and asexuality is commonly seen as a trait of autism…:/ The perfect storm. But some people, especially people new to asexuality, don’t realize that not all aces are like me. Aces can be hetero, homo, pan, bi, etc. romantic. And guess what, some aces actually have sex and like it! I help moderate the asexual blog, Asexual-Society, and one of the most common questions we get is “Am I still asexual if I have sex or if porn or something sexual turns me on?” Like, yes baby. You’re still a human person with a libido, it’s just not directed at anyone in particular. There’s no wrong way to be ace, kids.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
You’re not too young to know your sexual orientation. You also don’t have to rush to figure it out. There’s no hurry. Just don’t do anything that you’re not comfortable with. No one knows you better than you do.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
Cirque Du Royale:
Thank you, Brittany, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.