Interview: AbsolXGuardian

Today we’re joined by AbsolXGuardian. AbsolXGuardian is a young aro-ace writer who specializes in fanfiction. She’s incredibly enthusiastic about her work and obviously loves to write, which always makes for a great interview. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I write fanfiction. My first posted fanfiction was a story exploring a headcanon for the Fire Emblem games. It is under the f/m section of AO3, but it wasn’t meant as a romantic story. It simply had a big focus on a pairing for plot reasons (a pairing that wasn’t canon to boot). My main focus is angst and canon compliant stories expanding the backstory or what happens after the end of the series. I have a fair amount of Gravity Falls one-shots posted. Gravity Falls is also fandom of my current long-fic After the War. All my fics are mainly just headcanons that got really out of hand. They’re also really sad.

What inspires you?

My main inspiration are other big writers on Tumblr. I just want to get my ideas out there and have other people enjoy them. I was first inspired to write Return to Ylisse by seeing The Apocryphal One’s Fire Emblem fanfictions. The only fic I can really point to having a big inspiration is After the War. A lot of the ideas of the protagonists coping with the events of the series are based on the much better Fisherman’s Knot. Lyrical music does influence the plot or a character’s thoughts a lot. I’ll just be listening to a song and think “Hey, this fits a lot of the idea I have for a fic.” Then another line will inspire me to change the story a bit. They also help me with getting into a character’s thought process a lot.

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

When I was in third grade I wrote my first Pokemon fanfiction. It was your typical self-insert fic. I also started a couple of original stories that I still have saved on google drive. Once I got over my president and lawyer phase, I wanted to be a computer programmer with some published books on the side. Now a days, I’m more focused on being a computer programmer when I grow up rather than publishing books.

I first got reinterested in fanfiction last summer when I was hyper fixated on Fire Emblem. It was the summer and I had an idea (also a lot of free time). That was when I wrote most of the Return to Ylisse chapters. Once I got into the Gravity Falls fandom, I decided I wanted to write After the War. But wanted to finish what I started. So I finished up Return to Ylisse and started working on After the War. I’m forcing myself to order all my long fic ideas and eventually get to them. I have written some one-shots between After the War chapters.

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?

There’s no real special signature my fics have. Other than a lot of sadness, but that’s a common thing throughout all fandoms.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I mean, I’m kinda one myself, but I’ll give it a try.

Just keep at it. Treasure compliments. Use suggestions. But completely disregard the haters. Don’t let it go to your head.

Also if you’re experiencing a great emotion, just try to log off. Analyze what you are feeling. This will let you repurpose it in your writing. You (hopefully) won’t be experiencing anything as extreme as your characters, but you can exaggerate it. Try to do the same with other emotional scenes in books.

Oh and here’s a tip I got once that I’ve taken to heart. If you don’t know what your characters would say and you feel awkward writing it, so do your characters. Add in awkward pauses. “X didn’t know what to say, it was all just so overwhelming”

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m aromantic asexual.

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

With fanfiction, the community of each fandom is a lot more important than the field as a whole. But with fanfiction as a whole, it may be the popularity of smut/romantic fics over gen fics. For someone that’s aro/ace, that’s hard to write, but also hard to empathize with as you read. I just deal with it by creating the content I want. I’ve never been directly questioned/harassed about my orientation, but that’s what I’ve seen.

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

In general, just the misunderstanding with the dual meaning asexual has. For people who only learned the scientific meaning in school, it can be confusing to adapt. But it isn’t hard if the person is open minded.

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

You’re valid. Also anyone who is bothering you about not finding a partner with or without knowing your orientation is a jerk.

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

Other than my AO3 and FanFiction.net profiles, you can find me at my Tumblr blog: https://absolxguardian.tumblr.com/. It’s mostly just a mulit-fandom, but it’s the easiest way to contact me. I’d love to talk about my own fics, asexualitly/aromantism, my fandoms, or even read gen fics you send me and give feedback. Also I liveblog while I’m writing with the tag #writingwoes.

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

Interview: Nilah Magruder

Today we’re joined by Nilah Magruder. Nilah is a brilliant visual artist and writer who I met at Capricon. She moderated a great panel that I was on about friendships in SFF and I was ecstatic to find out she was a fellow ace creator. Nilah’s work is absolutely gorgeous and I’m so excited to check out her new projects. Her upcoming graphic novel, M.F.K., looks particularly intriguing. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

By day, I’m a storyboard artist in the animation industry. In my free time, I make comics and children’s books. My most recent projects are HOW TO FIND A FOX, a picture book about exploring the outdoors and perseverance, and M.F.K., originally a fantasy webcomic that will be hitting bookstores in graphic novel form in September.

What inspires you?

Life! Stories! Observing the world, its nature, its people, its politics is a huge inspiration. I also get inspiration from other people’s art.

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

I saw the pencil tests for The Lion King for the first time when I was twelve (I’m old, and The Lion King was still under production at this point) and from that moment I wanted to work in animation. I’d loved drawing from a young age, but I don’t think I ever considered it a serious profession. I had no concept of how to become an animator; it was more a pipe dream than anything. So at first I was interested in pursuing music, writing, or something more practical like accounting. It wasn’t until I was applying to colleges that I found out you could study animation, and it rekindled my interest.

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 unique or consistent like that. My work is kind of all over the place, actually, because I’m always trying new things. If there’s anything, I guess I draw a lot of girls.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Work on the fundamentals. Explore styles and influences. Be a sponge. Work hard, but don’t work yourself sick. Your health and life are important. Take breaks, stretch, exercise, eat well, sleep, enjoy the world around you, and learn to say “no” when you need to.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual and aromantic.

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

I guess ace erasure is what I encounter most commonly. Most people don’t seem to have a concept of what asexuality is, so there’s very little representation in animation and comics. I’m trying to be more open about my own sexuality, but in the meantime, I include asexual characters in my work. The main characters of M.F.K. are asexual. In my own canon, asexuality is always present.

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

I’ve been hearing the “asexuals are just straight people who wish they were queer” rhetoric a lot lately. And also the idea that it’s the same thing as celibacy, like it’s a choice. It’s sad, and also annoying to have your identity and feelings treated as invalid… something that I’d think more people would relate to, honestly.

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

Asexuality is a fairly new term, but asexuals have always existed; we just used different language in the past. So don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t belong in the queer community. We’ve always been here.

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

I’m on Twitter (nilaffle) and Tumblr as nilaffle, and Instagram as nilaffles. My website is nilahmagruder.com. You can find M.F.K. at mfkcomic.com.

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

Interview: Darius

Today we’re joined by Darius. Darius is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in making beautiful digital art. He specializes in photo editing and makes wonderful pieces with inspiring quotes on them. Darius loves creating, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I make art digitally. I would love to make things physically but I’m afraid that I have a low aptitude for that. I like photo editing which is a bit hard to describe because it can be so varying. I think the only necessary component to photo editing is that a photo be incorporated. Typically a subject is masked out and we use various softwares and applications to bend that photo to our will and make it into whatever we imagine it to me. I know that’s not the best explanation but it’s the best that I can offer (sorry), at least for now.

For about a year now I’ve started using shapes to make art. Basically what I do is I take shapes such as a square and triangle or maybe even an inorganic shape and combine them in whatever way I want to make whatever I want. For example, I may put an equilateral triangle on top of a square to make house looking figure from the too. The example is very simplified explanation of my process as for a given piece, I may use 100 different shapes and have a few thousand shapes in all in one photo. I can change the opacity, stroke, shadow, height, width, color of these shapes to give a piece even more depth or uniqueness.

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I mainly make relatively simple pieces and put inspirational quotes on them. I’ve always really liked those pictures quotes that we all have seen somewhere on the internet. About 5 years back I thought that they were so great because one could positively touch another with word in an art form. It inspired me to start making digital art.

I’ve put my shape art and quote into one, combining the things I love and sharing them with others in the hopes of inspiring them or touching them in some way and of for my own enjoyment as well.

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What inspires you?

I am mostly inspired by plants.

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

I’m not arting as a career or anything. It’s more of a very time consuming hobby.

Though I have been paid to create local campaign posters and store signs.

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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?

Hmm, no I don’t believe so

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I would like to young artist that perhaps aren’t as confident or capable in the art to not give up. I encourage them to try new mediums or to even make up their own.

I encourage them to try different art styles because there are so many and just because one doesn’t work for you doesn’t mean they all won’t. Most of all, have fun and love what you’re doing.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as Asexual Aromantic

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

I’ve only realized my asexuality for hmm about a month now and I’ve only told two friends who received me positively, so I haven’t had much opportunity for that. Though I’m certain people in my life would tell me that I’m a closeted homosexual or that I’m making it up. Something out there like that. I’ve decided that I won’t really tell people, partly to avoid predicaments like that but also because I feel people aren’t obligated to tell everyone.

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

I’ve realized that most people don’t even realize that asexuality exists.

They think that it’s something made up and laugh, but not before bringing up asexual reproduction … sigh

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I honestly haven’t encountered misconceptions because everyone in my life either doesn’t know what asexuality is or has a great understanding of it.

I’m sure I’ll encounter those with misconceptions in time. I just hope that I’m equipped enough to better educate them

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

Take your time and breathe.

If you’re not sure if you’re ace or not, you’re more than welcome to use it as a title.

If you don’t know where you fall, that’s okay also.

Don’t feel like it’s necessary to give who you are a title or a name. You don’t have to have one.

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You don’t have to use the split attraction model if you don’t want to.

You can be ace yet still enjoy sexual interaction with another.

Please understand that the only person who decides if you are ace or not is you, no someone else.

You aren’t broken. You aren’t going to die alone. You’re still capable of love. And you are very much loved by many.

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

I mostly keep my art to myself and friends but I do post them on my Tumblr if I remember to.

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

Interview: Kris

Today we’re joined by Kris. Kris is a phenomenal filmmaker who specializes in short films. She has done both narrative films and documentaries. Currently working on a feature length script as well as a webseries, Kris is an enthusiastic and dedicated filmmaker who has an incredibly bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a filmmaker. These days that is mostly writing and directing, though when friends have projects on the go sometimes I’ll produce or be director of photography. While most of my films are fiction, I do the occasional documentary when the right story presents itself. To date I’ve done exclusively shorts. I do really enjoy the medium of short film, the challenge of getting an audience hooked, engaged, and happy with the resolution all in 10-15 minutes is very satisfying to me. Lately though I’ve been branching out. I’ve got a feature length script that I’m working on, and also a 9-episode web series that I recently started to write. I also do a bit of photography, but that is much more as a hobby to entertain myself.

What inspires you?

Life. The world. When I first started taking photographs as a teenager it was all about looking at the light, looking at the world and thinking, “wow” and wanting to capture it. When I became a storyteller, it was sort of that, but with people. I love being out in the world – at a coffee shop, at a museum, at a park – and just watching people, listening to how they talk to each other, seeing what kinds of things make them go “wow.” I love playing the what’s your story game. Seeing someone, especially when they do something unexpected, and thinking who are you, and what’s going on with you that made you do that. And because I make fiction I can just make up an answer.

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

I always wanted to be behind a camera. I can remember the first time I ever took a photograph. It was with my Dad’s big heavy SLR shooting slide film. I still have that slide in a box in my attic. There was always art going on in my family when I was a kid, but I can’t draw so it started out as a way to make a picture. But then it became a way to capture a bit of the world and share it with people. And then I went from photography to video in college because it seemed like a better way to make a living.

I have always been creative, but I don’t think it’s accurate to say I always wanted to be an artist. I loved having a camera in my hands, I loved making things. But for 20 years the things I was making professionally I didn’t consider artistic. I was making training videos and other corporate/industrial stuff. But after a while I thought, I want to tell my own stories. I started doing film as a hobby. Getting my friends together and goofing off in my back yard, or making silly videos of my dog. The more I did it the better I got until I thought, you know maybe I could do this creative stuff for real. Now I’m a professor and it’s part of my job description to keep making films. It is possibly the coolest thing ever.

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 went through many years where my dog would get a role, or at least a cameo in most of my films. Usually one of the extras would be walking her. She died while I was in film school though, so in my thesis film there’s just a photo of her. My new dog isn’t trained well enough yet, so for the time being it’s likely to still be pictures of Blue hiding among the set dressing.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Ira Glass has the best advice, which is to make a lot of work, especially if you feel like the work you’re making isn’t good enough. It will never get good enough without a boatload of practice. And that’s true no matter what kind of art you do. Also, it’s important to get out in the world and have a life. My students often ask me if they should go to film school and I always tell them not right away. Go and experience a bit of life first because that’s what’s going to give you your stories to tell.

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Sarah and Esther working on the step afternoon

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual and aromantic.

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

I haven’t. On set we’re busy working and it would be unprofessional to be discussing our sex lives. And it’s really easy to be invisible as an asexual, which is both good and bad. I am unlikely to get harassed on the street because you can’t tell by looking. I’m not holding hands with the wrong person or whatever. People will assume you are like them until proven otherwise (about all sorts of things) so if I don’t bring it up it doesn’t come up.

Lately I’ve been realizing that invisibility is also bad. That it has a lot to do with why I spent decades trying to be something I’m not. Why it wasn’t obvious to me that there was nothing wrong with me. So I’ve started kind of coming out at work, identifying myself as a queer filmmaker. Universities tend to be supportive of that kind of thing though so nobody has given me a hard time about it. Maybe it would be better to battle the ignorance if I identified as an asexual filmmaker, but a) I don’t really have the energy to have to define it every time I say it, b) it’s not actually my colleagues’ business what flavor of not-straight I am, and c) I would really like to broaden the definition of queer film and queer filmmakers. We shouldn’t have to only tell coming out stories or dying of AIDS stories. I should be allowed to tell whatever stories I want and still be free to be myself.

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

The common problem is that it’s not a word your average straight person knows. We come so far down on the alphabet soup of the acronym that people give up trying to figure out what all the letters mean before they get to us. So if I use the word then I’ve got to explain it and then you get that little head tilt of “huh, I didn’t know that was a thing.” And if I don’t actively explain it then the misconception is she’s just single and eventually Mr. Right will come along and solve that problem. Or, among my sister and the rest of the lesbians in my home town, then Ms. Right will come along. But nobody ever thinks she’s single and that’s how she’s happy being.

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

There is Nothing Wrong with you. Many people won’t get it, but they don’t have to. You just be you and they can figure themselves out. For me the best part of being asexual is that nobody else really has to get it. The only people who need to understand the details of my sex life are the people involved in it, which, by definition, is nobody. All the well-meaning but annoying people who insist that there is someone out there for you, you can feel free to ignore them. Unless you actually want that, some asexuals do and that’s fine, you be you. But be unapologetically you. You don’t owe anything to anyone else.

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

If you’re interested in my work my company website (https://heronmedia.wordpress.com/ ) is the best place for that. New work has images and trailers, when things are on the festival circuit I keep that up to date on screening locations and times, and when they finish the festival run I put them up entirely.

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

Interview: Morgan Lees

Today we’re joined by Morgan Lees. Morgan is a wonderful artist who specializes in fantasy art and illustration. They’re have an ongoing comic entitled Corner the Maze, which is delightful urban fantasy about a racing driver who winds up in a different dimension. Aside from the comic, Morgan also does a lot of freelance illustration and has done some theater (including stage combat) in the past. Their work is beautiful and the detail is extraordinary, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I draw, paint, write, and do theater – some of those things more than the others. I’ve been focusing primarily on my comic of late, and I’m a freelance illustrator. My comic work is done in pen and ink, and I’ve been working with pencil on toned paper a lot lately for other art. I haven’t done much with theater aside from stage combat lately, but I’m hoping to get into it more again when I have more time (which I’ve been saying for years now, so who knows when that will be). I guess the common thread is that I like telling stories with art in one form or another.

My comic is called Corner the Maze, and it follows the adventures of a racing driver who finds himself inadvertently trapped in another dimension after falling into a strange portal during a race. It ties into the same setting as the books I’m writing, and some of the characters end up appearing in both, but I’m making sure that they both work well as standalone things, too.

What inspires you?

Mostly I have a lot of story and character ideas jostling about in my head, and I want to get those out and in some form where other people can (hopefully) enjoy them. I’m also inspired by music, nature, and rather unpredictable flashes of insight coming from seemingly random sources. So, I guess mostly it’s whatever happens to set my imagination off, which isn’t very predictable.

Roleplaying games have also been a big source of inspiration for me since I was really little. A great percentage of everything I’ve ever drawn has been one of my characters or another, either in pen and paper games or from CRPGs, and that probably had something to do with getting me thinking about characterization and storytelling so much as well.

Stylistically, again with the roleplaying games, I always really liked the black and white illustrations found in the RPG books I grew up with – first edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, and then Middle-earth Roleplaying/Rolemaster – and I’m sure that had some effect on my pen and ink style. Same goes for Choose Your Own Adventure type books.

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

I’ve been drawing since I could hold a pencil, but I didn’t get serious about it until I was eighteen or so. For some reason, both drawing and writing as career options seemed out of reach to me when I was younger, but then I decided that I was going to give it my best shot and see if I could make it work. I was actually more focused on theater (directing and lighting design especially) when I was younger, but the amount of travel that would end up being necessary for that put me off in the end – that, and what I really want to be doing more than anything is telling my own stories. That’s what led me to the comic, and what inspired me to get my writing in shape.

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?

Not really! I sign my work with my initials and the date, but that’s about it.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t stop practicing. Whenever you’ve got time, as much as you can possibly stand it, practice. When I look back and see the difference between where I am with my work and where I want to be, and look at the people who are where I want to be, the single greatest difference is always that they were more dedicated earlier on. I goofed off a lot when I was a kid and a teenager – there were plenty of whole weeks where I didn’t draw at all. There are lots of different ways to learn, and there’s no one piece of advice there that will work for everyone, but practice is universal.

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Nerevarine

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m aromantic and asexual. I’ve simply never had the slightest sort of romantic or sexual interest in anyone else. It took me an oddly long time to realize that’s not how most people are, and once I realized that, it “only” took me another few years to realize the rest of it.

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

The worst I’ve encountered is people thinking I’m weird, but then, the place I’ve generally spent the most time with other people in my life is in the theater – and it is true that people tend to get less flak for being seen as different there than in some other places. I was also home-schooled until I went to college, so overall I’ve had a lot less opportunity to encounter prejudice than many people. I did deal with some in college, but again, pretty mild and not directed at me (I hadn’t yet quite realized that I was asexual at the time). It made me uncomfortable, but that’s about it.

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

I did get a lot of people telling me I would grow out of it when I was younger (although that was only when I expressed a lack of interest, since I didn’t identify as asexual yet), but nothing in that vein for the last six or seven years. Again, I’m probably lucky with my circle of acquaintances in this regard; they tend to be rather reasonable and open-minded people.

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Shadow of Murder

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

There’s nothing wrong with you, and if you’re happy with yourself, that’s what matters. There’s no one recipe for happiness, so don’t let anybody tell you that there is. You don’t need to have a romantic relationship or have sex to have a great life (although of course neither of those things will stop you from it either), and being unusual isn’t worse in any way, just different.

I wish I had more useful advice, but I just went about happily assuming that nobody else actually cared about those things either until I was already in my twenties, so… yeah. I’m kind of oblivious about things sometimes, especially where people are concerned.

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

My comic can be found at http://cornerthemaze.net/ and updates every Tuesday and Thursday, my illustration portfolio is at http://morganelees.com/ (which is also where my writing stuff will be, when I get any of that up again), and I generally post all my art to my DeviantArt account at http://remmirath-ml.deviantart.com/. I try to keep those all just about as much up to date, but if anything’s going to fall behind, it’s usually DeviantArt.

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Turn Away

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

Interview: Bethany Heim

Today we’re joined by Bethany Heim. Bethany is an amazing and versatile artist who hasn’t met a medium she doesn’t like. She writes, she draws comics, and she does quite a lot of Girl Genius fanart. Bethany is quite popular for her tea blends, which she sells on Etsy. She’s an incredibly passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Invincible

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m pretty much constantly creating something. I draw two ongoing comics, I write prose fiction, and I dabble in cosplay and other textile arts. Around these parts, though, I think I’m mostly known for making the Girl Genius tea blends.

What inspires you?

My brain doesn’t sit still. If I have to a mindless repetitive task, then I guarantee I’m writing in my head. Sometimes I’m just plotting major events in a story, but I’ve actually had to memorize entire paragraphs of dialogue because I wrote them while driving.

If I’m terribly honest, anger and spite also give my work a major boost. I’m currently writing a novel that would not exist without spite.

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

Oddly enough, I’ve drawn for as long as I can remember, and I first developed a serious interest in writing when I was about ten or eleven, but I was in my early twenties before it occurred to me that I could combine the two by drawing comics.

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 like monochrome. My comics are black and white. I also do a lot of ink wash style fanart in single colors (I tend to favor burgundy and brick shades for those).

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Never stop trying new things. You don’t know what your next Big Project will be.

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Sfynn Tea

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Aro/ace. 100%

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

At my day job, the bosses tend to treat me like I’m a lot younger than I am because I neither have nor want a “significant other”. When work friends complain about their love lives and I try to contribute to the conversation, I get told: “You wouldn’t understand.” Then I blow off steam by angrily writing healthy relationships in my fiction.

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

I was about to say that it’s the old “You just haven’t met the right person” nonsense, but actually, I hear “You wouldn’t understand” so much more. I’m a writer. I observe people professionally. I may not understand wanting to be in a relationship from personal experience any more than I know what it’s like to fight Vikings, but that doesn’t mean I can’t use my imagination to put myself in someone else’s shoes.

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

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. It’s okay if you’re thirty, forty, fifty years old and you still don’t know. Just take your time and get to know yourself. I promise, you’re valid, and there’s nothing wrong with you.

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

My two comics (which will be coming off hiatus in February) are outside-in.thecomicseries.com and discord.thecomiciseries.com, and a small excerpt from the novel I’m working on, as well as quite a lot of Girl Genius fanfiction, can be found on my fiction blog at overlord-off-record.tumblr.com. My main blog, bethany-sensei.tumblr.com, is a mess of art and reblogs. Oh, and those teas I mentioned can be found at etsy.com/shop/bethanysarts.

wolfbros
Wolf Bros

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

Interview: dressesandcarresses

Today we’re joined by dressesandcarresses. dressesandcarresses is a wonderful fanartist who specializes in fanfiction. When she’s not writing fics, dressesandcarresses enjoys dabbling in AMVs. She has a wonderful enthusiasm, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I write fanfiction for various fandoms I am involved with. When I have time I also enjoy making AMVs too. I’d love to be able to learn how to draw, but I lack the patience and time to truly develop a proper skill.

What inspires you?

Other movies and songs inspire me. I love writing AUs so when I see a new film or hear about an idea, I like to think how a certain fandom would fit into this new one. There’s nothing better than discussing ideas with friends and getting really enthusiastic about a project.

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

I think the lack of diversity in main stream books is so poor, that sites like A03 and fanfiction.net just allow for a platform of work that is so unique, it’s just a refreshing change that makes you want to get involved.

I don’t think I’d class myself as an ‘artist’, but I’ve always enjoyed making up little stories up in my head, so I guess so yes.

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 special.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t be afraid to experiment. Your first piece of work will be poor, don’t be too disheartened if your work doesn’t get a lot of views. To excel as something you must truly suck at it first, but with practice you can build a solid foundation of skills. Also have fun, it’s not supposed to be serious.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual and Aromantic

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

The most I’ve encountered is when an orientation needs to be ‘fixed’ and true love will cure all ills. This always leaves a bad taste in my mouth, I try and leave a polite but firm comment explaining that there is nothing wrong with being ace and that are many paths to happiness. This isn’t really for the author’s benefit, but rather for other (preferably younger people) who maybe questioning their orientation and need to see there are other narratives to explore when writing ace people.

It’s also irritating when members of the LGBT community brush aside problems that ace people face. I’m not saying that they are the same problems, but being ace/aro can be incredibly isolating and sometimes lonely existence. Art provides an opportunity to explore new ways to live in this society and when our contributions are ignored or worse belittled, it just makes me angry.

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

That we don’t enjoy reading romance stories. All my stories have some form of romance, as long as they are developed under the right conditions I have no problems with it, its when its forced to fit into the dominant heterosexual narrative that I truly cant abide.

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

I find following a lot of Tumblr asexual support blogs to be really helpful. I don’t actively engage in the community, but just seeing some positive posts on my dash never fails to lift my mood.

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

I’m usually hanging around on A03 in the star wars tags or on Tumblr dressesandcarresses.tumblr.com.

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