Today we’re joined by Katy L. Wood. Katy is a phenomenal writer and visual artist who is from Colorado. She recently debuted her webcomic, which features two asexual main characters. Katy combines her visual art with her writing, frequently drawing character art and cover art. Her webcomic, Gunpowder & Pine, sounds like an incredibly intriguing mystery story. It’s clear that she’s a dedicated and passionate 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.
Hi! I’m an author and illustrator, so a lot of my art is very interwoven with the stories I write. I do single illustrations, webcomics, novels, cover art, and character art regularly. My work is mostly digital, but I also do a little traditional work here and there, mostly pen and ink, watercolor, and marker. I’ve had work featured in the Society of Illustrators in New York, I have one self-published book, and I have a webcomic (with two asexual protagonists!) that just started posting!
What inspires you?
I was born and raised in Colorado, a fourth generation native of the state, and I come from a HUGE family. I grew up with so many stories about settling the mountains and growing up off the beaten track, and I grew up a bit off the track as well. It really fostered a sense of adventure and exploration in me, and I try and pack as much of that into my work as possible.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
It always seemed like the only possibility for me. I’ve always told stories and done art, so making a career out of it was the natural way to go. Admittedly I’m still working on the actual “making money” part, but who isn’t?
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?
Hmmmm… not INTENTIONALLY. People tell me all the time that I have a style, but I don’t see it (which I think is true for most artists, you’re the last one to ever see your style). I do have one character that is in nearly all my novels, though. His name is Kala and he’s my oldest OC, and I always manage to sneak him in somehow. He’ll just be a random café worker or voice on the radio in someone’s car or something. He accidentally became important in one of my projects, though, and now he’s actually got scenes. Whoops.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Make friends. Make all the friends. It doesn’t matter how good your portfolio/novel is, your chances of getting your work out there in the world are 1,000 times better if you have a good network to help you out. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to people you admire, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Talk to people and keep in touch.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
Asexual with probably a dash of bi-romantic leaning towards women. Small dash, though. If all I ever end up with is a bunch of cats I’m okay with that.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
I think the biggest issue I’ve seen is in publishing for novels. The industry has gotten a lot better about allowing queer content, but they still have A LOT of catching up to do. Some people in the industry are stuck in some very old grooves and the refuse to get out of them. At the same time, there’s tons of awesome, forward-thinking people that are fighting incredibly hard to change the system, and those are the people I seek out.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
That the community doesn’t experience homophobia. I, thankfully, haven’t (in relation to asexuality, anyways). But it does happen to so many people and it can be incredibly harmful both mentally and physically.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
You’re awesome. You deserve to be happy and secure in who you are and how you love other people, and if those other people can’t accept that it is okay to let them go.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
Thanks so much for having me!
Thank you, Katy, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.