Interview: Ceta

Today we’re joined by Ceta. Ceta is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in drawing cetaceans (whales, dolphins, porpoises). Her work has an extraordinary vibrancy and is remarkably detailed. Ceta has a real love and passion for her art, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Art1

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I mostly do cetacean (dolphin, whale, and porpoise) art; it is a mix of traditional art and digital. My traditional art include sketches, pointilism art, and completed works in a sketchbook using a 2B pencil, standard pen, and/or Prismacolor Scholar brand of colored pencils. For digital, I use either a Nintendo 3DS with Colors 3D or a Wacom Intuos tablet with the program GIMP. Nothing too flashy but it gets the job done. My art journey started in August of 2005 as a preteen when I started cramming as many poorly drawn dolphins as I could on paper. And now, almost 12 years later, the works shown are the result of those days. I am currently attempting to expand my subjects to other animals.

What inspires you?

I had grown to love the form of whales and dolphins. How they swim elegantly. And seeing the result of what I draw brought me personal joy and satisfaction. Lately though my motivation and inspiration have been dry but I’m still trying to better myself. I want to one day be able to make extra money off of what I do.

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

As a preteen around the time I first started drawing, I read a series of fictional books called the Dolphin Diaries. The covers were beautiful, the stories of travel and adventure were great. As a kid it must’ve impacted me enough to start drawing. As such, from what I recall, I never really saw myself as that big of an artist while going through middle and high school. It was just a hobby that I did in my free time. And as of now, I see it being a side career once I improve myself enough; something to do to earn extra money on top of a main career.

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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?

All I do is my general signature, either my online name or first name. However, I recently discovered an art thief on Twitter took one of my older pieces and claimed as their own so I’ve cracked down harder on the signature, adding my username, real name, and date strategically placed in a way that’d be difficult to remove without ruining the entire pic.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

DON’T STEAL OR TRACE OTHERS’ ART!!! Seriously, it takes years and years to get art to look decent. By thieving, you’re taking away those years of frustration and hard earned work in a matter of moments. If you want to establish yourself as a good artist, start now and have incredible patience. Artists aren’t made overnight. Professional sports players aren’t born. Anything good you want in life you have to work for it yourself and take no shortcuts.

Art2

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am fully asexual, but not repulsed or averse, and aro spectrum, somewhere between aromantic and heteroromantic (I think).

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

I prefer to stay away from conflict so I haven’t had anything firsthand. But I have seen posts on Twitter even just last night where posters say stuff like “I’m done with men/women, I’m turning asexual” and every similar post makes me roll my eyes and think to myself that that’s not how it works. I tend to ignore it though and move along.

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

That it’s celibacy/aces cannot date. Or that asexuals don’t have sex ever. The latter is a common viewpoint even among the ace community, and it kind of dismisses the neutral and favorable aces who do belong as well as demisexuals and graysexuals.

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

Be the asexy hottie that you are! There is a whole world outside of sex. You don’t have to have sex to be happy, and you can have sex and continue having sex even though it does nothing for you if making your partner happy makes you happy too. Having sex does not negate your orientation. Continuing to have sex while asexual means you are still asexual. You can date someone who will love you, those people are out there. And for the aro aces? Being a single pringle rocks! There’s no right or wrong way to be you.

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

I post on various sites, including on Tumblr here. The full list of sites to find my art are below:

Tumblr: artbyceta
Deviantart: cetasoul2
Instagram: art.by.ceta
Twitter: ArtByCeta
Colors 3D (www.colorslive.com): (at) art-by-ceta

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

Interview: Claire Greenhalgh

Today we’re joined by Claire Greenhalgh. Claire is a wonderful visual artist who is a freelance artist and university student. She does a bit of everything: digital art, fanart, and original work. Claire is versatile when it comes to style but she tends to favor cartoon/comic visuals and digital painting. She’s very enthusiastic, as you’ll soon read. 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’ve been a traditional artist, favoring pens and wet ink, for most of my life, but once I started using my graphics tablet in earnest for a university module in 2015, I’ve been completely hooked on digital work. I still love to draw on pen and paper, but working digitally has a lot of advantages and is much more cost effective in the long run.

I’ve been told I have either a talent or a curse for managing to make almost everything I draw cute, even when it probably shouldn’t be, which I’ve embraced (though I’m still trying to get better at drawing less friendly looking monsters)

What inspires you?

My inspirations change over the years, but the things that seem to have stuck in my head most in the past 5 years or so are sea creatures (specifically octopi) and magical girls. I draw a lot of inspiration from the video games I play and the anime I watch, and since I like to have music on whilst I draw, I’ve got numerous playlists of music to suit different themes, characters and overall feelings that help me feel inspired as I work.

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

I’ve been drawing for longer than I can remember, but I know when I was very young, we’re talking about 5 here, I wanted to be a vet or a zookeeper, something that involved working with animals. This was before I understood what allergies were, or why I always seemed to get sick near furry things.

My first inspiration for my art, my interest and eventual study in video games, that all gets traced back to Pokémon. I watched the anime so much as a child, the whole concept of a world with magical sentient animals was enthralling to me, and my art started developing properly with me copying the style of the show and expanding on that. Learning that there were Pokémon games too is what got me into video games, and that turned out to be a form of media I was never going to fall out of love with. Now I’m a few months away from having a degree in Graphics For Games.

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?

Well aside from my watermark, my work often includes a lot of glowing sparkly things. The ability to draw things which are emitting light so much more easily is one of the things which solidified my working with digital art more frequently than traditional. It’s one of the reasons why I set so many of my compositions, and the bulk of my current project’s story, at night, to make the glowing parts stand out more.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Experiment and persevere. Observational drawing is good groundwork to build your skills and understanding of the basics, and there’s not much better practice for drawing people than life drawing. But try using as many different forms of media as you can, paint, ink, pencils, sculpture, various digital methods. Try out every technique you can, see what gels well with you and feels right, and don’t give up, if it feels like your work isn’t getting better, you’re probably just getting better at analyzing artwork and your skill at drawing itself will catch up soon. You’re not going to improve if you don’t keep trying.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m demisexual and biromantic.

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

Ignorance certainly. My field currently consists mainly of the other games, animation and visual effects students at my university, most of whom aren’t unpleasant people, but they don’t seem to know much about any orientations other than straight and gay and the occasions I’ve mentioned that aro and ace spectrum identities exist it was met with confusion and dismissal. Hence why I’m only half out to most of my peers, I don’t really feel like having some guy from class interrogate me or try and convince me my orientation doesn’t exist, or should be ‘fixed’ by now because I’m not single.

I’ve tried coming out about my demisexuality to my parents but they just laughed at me and told me I was confused and that ‘every woman waits before she sleeps with someone’. That at 17 I was too young to know, which is an argument I will never understand. They didn’t want to listen to me when I tried to explain that it’s not a matter of choosing it’s a matter of feeling nothing at all before a bond is formed, so I’ve avoided talking to them about my orientation since.

Hence why as far as I’m aware they don’t know I’m also bi. Unless they’re reading this. They’re not homophobic people I just get the impression a lot of the time that I keep disappointing them by being myself and I’m not sure whether that’d extend to my not just liking dudes, so I’ve avoided having that particular conversation with them.

Most of the outright prejudice I’ve faced has been online. I’ve gotten death threats and some very unpleasant anonymous messages to the effect of ‘you’re lying, asexuality is a fake orientation so that fat ugly cows like you don’t feel so bad about never being loved.’

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

Well there’s the plant thing as you might imagine. Personally I’ve had people ask me repeatedly how I can be ace and still have a boyfriend, seeming to be confused as to how he hadn’t ‘fixed’ or ‘cured’ me. Thankfully, my boyfriend himself is a very understanding person who doesn’t exhibit these misconceptions and prejudices.

There’s the assumption that asexuality is a sickness, or tied to mental illness, which whilst yes, for some of us there is a connection, but as a neurodivergent woman myself, I don’t like people to assume that that’s the case for absolutely all of us, or that asexuality is any kind of illness or disorder in and of itself.

That and the idea that someone under the age of 18 can’t know they’re ace, or that ace and aro spectrum identities are somehow inappropriate for children and teenagers to know about or identify as. My childhood and teens would have been much less miserable if I’d known I wasn’t sick or broken before all my classmates suddenly started taking an interest in sexual things and started ostracizing me for not being able to relate to them, rather than about 4 years after that started.

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

Particularly with young aces struggling to feel at home with their peers, it’s tough, there’s no denying that, and people won’t always be accepting of who you are, but your orientation doesn’t make you any less worthwhile as a person. You don’t ever need to feel like you have to ‘try’ anything to be sure that it’s not what you want, you can live a happy and fulfilling life without ever feeling sexual attraction, or wanting sexual contact with anybody. Sex repulsion is a real chore, I’m lucky that I only experience it periodically rather than all the time, repulsion can be frightening and deeply unpleasant to go through, but you’re not sick and you’re not broken, you’re you, and you don’t need to conform to what others want you to be to be a good person.

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

My art blog, where you can find my recent work, my commission information, and where you can submit drawing suggestions, can be found at: http://cgreenhalghart.tumblr.com/

I also have a Redbubble, which I also take suggestions for, you can send those to my art blog’s inbox as well should you wish: https://www.redbubble.com/people/Mewsa/shop?asc=u

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

Interview: Mxnim

Today we’re joined by Mxnim. Mxnim is an absolutely wonderful visual artist who does a lot of digital art and comics. She mostly does character art, but also enjoys writing life comics. Their work shows an extraordinary imagination and their comics are adorable. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

dear boi
Dear Boi

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Hello! I make digital art and comics! I make paintings and other crafts occasionally. My digital art consists just of character art and concept art for a comic I want to make. In between, I dabble my own life comics!

What inspires you?

Animated movies/shows and music.

Watching the movies I love really inspires me to create stories and draw! My favorites are some of Ghibli’s movies and the old Disney movies!

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

I wanted to be an animator when I was growing up! I watched Disney movies and Pokemon as a kid and I loved how the pieces of art were moving!! Characters had voices and were so real!! But I slowly realized that I don’t have enough energy for animation so comics were a close second! So I pursued comics to tell my stories and to hopefully bridge the gap between a single piece of paper to a million pieces of paper!

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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?

I draw short haired androgynist people when I’m passively drawing. So if a person were to dig through all of my old art you would see a lot of that! There’s where a lot of my characters stemmed from and became variants.

Also all of my characters at first have a single trait but as I continue to develop them, they become pretty melancholy and thoughtful. I honestly don’t do this on purpose but I don’t mind that it turns out this way.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Even if you don’t think you’re drawing a lot, a circle or a line is sometimes enough!! Keep that up and you’ll be drawing in no time!

Also, you might be compelled to feel bad when looking at other people’s art, but did you know that everyone felt that way! Don’t despair! Just use that really good piece of art as inspiration and a goal to get better (and might even surpass)!

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Music

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual panromantic!

I realized I was asexual when I wasn’t sexually interested in people as my peers, but it wasn’t by choice so I couldn’t say I was celibate. It took me a long time to realize where I fit in, but through some digging through the sexual spectrum I realized that asexual and demisexual existed and there were people like me! It stuck immediately when I found out.

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

I don’t really have people come up to me and ask what my sexuality is. I feel because since I don’t sway Gay or Lesbian, people don’t bother with my indifference.

DOGS ARE THE WROST
Dogs are the Worst

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

People often don’t know that asexuality exist and sometimes when I tried to explain it to my cousin she said “Sounds like you’re celibate”. Which only bothers me because, calling someone celibate erases their asexuality and also implies that sex/being sexual is the default.

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

For those who are struggling, I do hope that you have at least a safe space or supporting friends where you can wind down! Dealing with people who pressure you or refuse to accept your sexuality is tiring and you don’t want to be worn down by that! Always have a “treat-yo-self” day or thing! And one day I hope you get into an entirely supportive community! It’s going to be okay!

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

You can find me on my Tumblr (http://mxnim.tumblr.com/) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/mxnim/)!

space kaddet
Space Kaddet

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

Interview: Rachael Peabody

Today we’re joined by Rachael Peabody. Rachael is an amazing visual artist who specializes in digital art. She’s a comics artist and is currently working on a romance comic that features an asexual character. She is incredibly passionate about her art, which always makes for a great interview. 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 mainly work with digital art (predominantly Adobe Illustrator) and create comics. I’m not professional but I am very passionate about comics and their creation. Currently I am working on a romance comic. This was more of a challenge until I thought it might be nice for it to feature one of the main characters as an Asexual. This will come into play in the second book since he hasn’t realized it yet.

What inspires you?

I get the biggest source of inspiration from music, but following my favorite creators on social media is always a great place to get strength. A lot of artists are willing to share their thoughts and ideas online. Granted no one should make their work a checklist of things to impress their role models, but you can see the world from a much broader perspective which is definitely something a creator needs. And, to be completely self-centered, hearing from my readers really gives me a boost to continue.

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

When I was little I actually wanted to be an Entomologist but my heart wasn’t in it. I fell into drawing and writing to deal with some issues going on with my family. While I was in college getting my BFA I started to pour hours and hours into comics. It went from a coping mechanism to an obsession and then a drive. I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t create.

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?

Uhm, I’m not sure. I’m always trying to add something to my work to make it stand out. I’d like to be someone who could be recognized by their style like some of my favorite comic creators. I have made it a point to never add highlighting to black areas other than hair (this is a leftover flip-of-the-bird to a really awful drawing professor I had in college who told me pure black doesn’t exist). I’ve been told many times that my expressions are awesome but no one has been able to pinpoint it, including myself.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

The best advice I ever got was when I was stuck in a rut with a previous story. I was talking to a comic writer at a comic convention. He said: “You’re a creator. Some people aren’t. There’s no reason you can’t just create something, even if it’s terrible. That’s something only you have and can control 100%. So do it.” There will be times when you feel blocked and miserable and guilty about not creating, or maybe you just can’t find the time with Life happening. It’s okay. You’re a creator. You will find the time and the place and when you do, breathe life into something. Until then, just take care of yourself.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I came out as a Hetero-romantic Asexual a few years ago to my friends and online mutuals. I had been dealing with some very serious depression for my whole life; most of it was centered on my inability to find a partner because while I knew I wasn’t gay, my dating experiences ranged from brief and confusing for the guy to awkward and uncomfortable for me. I felt some weird need to prove to the planet that ‘hey look at me a normal functioning heterosexual beep boop’. I discovered an ocean of orientations being talked about online and suddenly the word Asexual hit me. I fit it so perfectly. When I found out who I was and that I was not broken my life became so much more enjoyable. Even my depression is easier to deal with.

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

So far only one person has given me any guff for it, but they are in their 60’s and pretty resistant to new information. It’s just strange that this individual is also a Homosexual – I had kind of hoped he’d be more understanding or accepting. This is partially the same reason I haven’t come out to my parents. When it comes to comics, however, people are wide-mouthed and ready for diverse characters, creators and situations. I want to be able to create an Ace character to help with representation just like the creators who are making Gay, Trans, and Nonbinary stories. If I had had exposure to the concept of Asexuality when I was in my teens I have no doubt that things would’ve been much easier for me.

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

The biggest issue I have with coming out to people is that I’ve never had sex or a serious relationship and they seem to think I need those experiences to PROVE to them that I’m Asexual. While I do desire a close relationship with another person romantically or at least affectionately, I have had only bad experiences with Heterosexual men. There is an expectation that I can’t fulfill. My body goes into panic mode, alarms are going off, I immediately go into a flight response and, in about a week, there is a very frustrated and angry guy calling me a tease or a Lesbian. You don’t need to have sex or even a long-term relationship to know your own body. The idea that you need to be clawed to pieces by a tiger to know you don’t like being clawed to pieces by a tiger is just as stupid.

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

If you don’t feel like you fit any one aspect of the Ace spectrum, please know YOU AREN’T BROKEN. And you DEFINITELY don’t need to prove anything to anyone. Join or at least follow as many Asexual information sources that you can. Consider that you might change at some point. If you do desire a relationship find someone who loves you and not your junk. Be comfortable and open about who you are because you might, without knowing it, give strength to someone who is just as lost as I was. Follow some Asexual humor blogs, too – sometimes they have the best comebacks for people who are being really intolerant about your orientation.

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

My main Tumblr blog is tlaloc4kids.tumblr.com and my comic is posted on ilikeyoucomic.tumblr.com. I also have a Twitter where I post random sneak peeks of the finished pages and other odd things. You can find me there (at) rlpeabody.

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

Interview: Vide Frank

Today we’re joined by Vide Frank. Vide is a phenomenal illustrator from Sweden. They’re part of a group made up of asexual and aromantic individuals. Vide was also on a panel about asexual and aro issues at Stockholm pride. Their work is gorgeous and vivid, evoking an incredible amount of emotion, 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’m a visual artist, which is a very broad term. I paint and draw both digitally and traditionally but have also dabbled around in sewing, sculpting, writing and jewelry making. I mostly stick to painting and drawing though. I use a lot of different mediums, like watercolor, markers, graphite, oil paint, acrylic paint, colored pencils, photoshop and paint tool sai.

What inspires you?

So many things, like music, movies, books, fanfiction, poetry, photos, drawings, paintings and real life. I’m very driven by my emotions though, so it all depends on how I’m feeling in that moment.

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

I guess I always had this fascination with art, I used to beg my mom to draw things for me and I loved to use my hands to create things. Art has always been a part of my life, although I didn’t really try to improve until I was around twelve, and it wasn’t until I was fifteen that I actually thought of making it into a carrier. I don’t believe enough in myself to actually take that leap though, so I’m studying to become an assistant nurse at a gymnasium in Sweden.

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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?

I don’t really have a symbol or feature, since I think I would grow tired of it and start to hate it.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

It’s okay if your art look like crap, your dance can be off or you could have fucked up that seam, and that’s okay. Perfection isn’t necessary, it’s just tiring. Keep practicing, keep making mistakes, keep working and someday someone will say that you did well, and maybe that won’t be enough, but maybe it will. Learn to love the journey, not the result (as cheesy as that sounds).

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Demi gray asexual, which means (according to me) that I need to have an emotional connection to a person to feel sexual attraction to them, but it’s still very rare for me to experience sexual attraction.

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

In my field? No, but that’s mostly because I’m not very open about my “queer-ness” around my art. In other places? Yeah, defiantly. I mostly try to keep a calm and open mind when I meet these people, and try to calmly explain my point of view with examples and such. Most of the time they understand or we agree to disagree.

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

That we don’t have sex or that we just need to find “the one”. Both are complete bullshit, I can have sex with a person and still be ace, asexuality isn’t about our actions, but about our attractions.

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

You don’t have a find a label or figure everything out, it’s okay to just be. If the people around you don’t support you there’s always other people in the world, someone out of the seven billion are going to understand.

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

You can find my art on my Instagram at plantrot:
https://www.instagram.com/plantrot/

Or my portfolio http://vide.teknisten.com/

You can also buy some of my works at my Redbubble: http://www.redbubble.com/people/videfrank
(or contact me at vide.frankh@gmail.com)

tattoo

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

Interview: Chika

Today we’re joined by Chika. Chika is a phenomenal visual artist who also dabbles in writing and fanart. Though she started out in traditional mediums, Chika has been focusing mainly on digital art. When she’s not sketching, she does some cosplay and has started to get into tattoo design. Whatever she does, she puts her heart into it, as you’ll soon see. 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’m kind of all over the place in my interests, but lately I’ve been focusing a lot on digital art and writing. Even so, my roots are in traditional drawings so I still do a lot with traditional media (character sketches/drawings and watercolors, yay art degree teaching me to appreciate wet media!) and I’m a cosplayer when my schedule allows for it. I’m also starting to play around with tattoo designs

The majority of my works are fan-based, usually revolving around my friends’ and my fan characters. Even so, I’m trying to get some of my own stories scribbled down so I can give them proper attention too

What inspires you?

Music is probably my biggest source of inspiration – especially emotional music, like instrumental or metal. My family also has a huge impact on my art, and on my characters especially. (they’ll sometimes find themselves in situations similar to what’s happening with my family in real life. Oops!) Researching gets me in a creative groove too – researching anything! Myths, cultures, history, medical journals, unusual animals, genre tropes, what have you.

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

I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember, though I put it aside for a few years in my young teen years and didn’t push myself to really improve my artwork until I got back to it at age 15. Even then, it was actually my sister who got me back into it, bursting into my room not a month after we discovered anime and saying that I should learn how to draw it.

Even when I wasn’t drawing, writing was a constant hobby of mine. And as I got back into drawing, I realized that my passion wasn’t just drawing or just writing, but it was in creating stories that I could share with the world – and now being able to express these both visually and in writing? Young me was stoked! Heck, older me is still stoked.

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?

After a nasty bout of art theft in my main fandom, I usually sign my deviantART handle on my drawings. Aside from that, I’d say my “signature” is probably just the fact that 90% of my works involve my characters

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep going! I know there are days that the going gets rough, especially if you’re not at the level you want to be at, but you can get there someday if you just keep your chin up and eyes on-target. And if you can, surround yourself with people who will encourage you, give you tips, build you up as an artist and a person. Having a positive atmosphere around you will make every aspect of your life better, and your art will especially benefit from that positivity!

aib-raph-protection

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a cupioromantic asexual, though often I’ll just say I’m aro ace if I don’t want to go into the full explanation of what being cupio means (I have yet to master explaining “I lack the attraction but still want the relationship” without just leaving folks more confused than they were to begin with)

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

Thankfully I haven’t run into a lot of prejudice, and my online circle of friends have been incredibly helpful and understanding, but I’m met with a fair bit of ignorance in my daily life. Unfortunately, up until recently I didn’t combat it at all because I didn’t feel safe coming out in public and I wasn’t sure I could discuss it and not out myself. But of late I’ve been providing definitions and explanations when needed, to the best of my ability. It’s not always easy, but if someone is going to listen and take it in when they voiced confusion, cool! If they don’t, then that’s not on me – I did all I could

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

That asexuality is just a fancy word for sexual immaturity. Seriously, if I had a dollar for every time I heard “oh you just haven’t found the one yet,” “what was your childhood like,” “you’re just too young to know,” etc. then I wouldn’t have to take out student loans to pay for school

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

Nobody knows you better than you do. Don’t let others assume that they know you better than you know yourself; and don’t let someone else’s perception of you negatively impact your life. You’re too complex and interesting and cool for that!

You’re learning something new about yourself, and that’s really exciting! If you don’t find a box that you fit perfectly into, that’s perfectly fine. If you do, that’s okay too. And if your understanding of yourself changes over time (like your orientation changes), then that’s totally cool as well. The important thing is that you stay true to you

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

You can find me here on Tumblr at knightlychika, though a lot of my drawings don’t make it on here. You can find them all on my deviantART page, though!

mali-new-sleeves

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

Interview: Shaylee

Today we’re joined by Shaylee. Shaylee is a wonderful visual artist who works mostly in digital mediums. Her work is beautiful, displaying a wonderful amount of emotion and an artist with a great eye. When she’s not drawing, Shaylee also enjoys writing and does some cross stitch. It’s very apparent that she’s a passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

self-portrait
Self-Portrait

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

When I was a kid, I loved crayons and glitter glue and little homemade story books made out of stapled together printer paper. As a preteen, it was all about colored pencils and pens and some really embarrassing fanfictions. Then it shifted to watercolors and poetry and some really depressing song lyrics. Now, I work with digital art and both original work and fanfictions. I like to use Paint Tool Sai and haven’t found any other programs I particularly like just yet.

What inspires you?

It’s a bit of an eclectic mish-mash to tell the truth. I love the look of more historical styles like Art Nouveau, but also the cartoony styles. There was also the love of anime as a preteen that fueled some of the first drawings. Often, I find that my style will not match an inspiration that I pick, because it always changes itself. Often times, it’s just techniques that muck together, such as a particular type of gradience or color choices. I’ve been experimenting with line thickness and colors more recently.

For my writing, I find that I love to put twists on more common tales and tropes. I love fairytales, and there’s nothing like giving new information and twists to it. It may be the same old trope, but if you change some aspects, it will become something entirely new and different. Everyone’s heard the original, so the challenge is to keep them interested!

curls
Curls

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

I’ve been drawing and writing as long as I remember. I was reading out loud to my cousins when I was three, and later on I would illustrate and write my own stories that were carefully stapled together and put on the bookshelf. Shockingly, most of them ended with a marriage, four children and a happy ending. Later on, it was fueled by manga reading and a want to tell stories with what I made. I have yet to actually make a comic, but there are several storylines that I have built up over time to tell.

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?

One thing that I do is to particularly outline the lips and to usually only color the top half. This started because of a love for the artists Mothsbymoonlight and Dyemelikeasunset. They both have several beautiful styles and techniques, and I always loved the ways that they drew mouths.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

My best advice would be to work with what you know and then expand. When you get good at color, then start up with the next thing. If you just jump into something entirely new, there’s a good chance that you might feel flustered because you don’t have a frame of reference. You don’t always have to jump in the deep end, it’s okay to wade in a little.

girls
Girls

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m an asexual with a vague hand wiggle for romantic inclination. A lot of things are more circumstantial and fluid for me for romance.

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

I’ve thankfully have only faced the confused questions towards myself, but I have seen some stark examples of acephobia, especially when the ace community is trying to step up and out to be noticed. My tactic is mostly education. Sometimes hate can stem from miscommunication or from not understanding. Of course, it doesn’t always work, so don’t be afraid to just turn away either. There is no harm in placing your own health and mind in priority.

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

There’s the very common ‘you mean like reproducing by yourself?’ kind of science questions. It’s annoying, but usually it’s not mean but misguided. Not everyone knows about asexuality outside of high school biology. One of the other big things is about asexuals not having sex. You can have sex without a sex drive, and some do it as they wish. I prefer no sex, but I have engaged in it for reasons of my own before and it really surprised people when I told them. Everyone is their own mishmash of tastes and preferences, just like anything else.

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

To be honest, it might be difficult, because there’s not always clearcut signs. It’s like looking for the absence of something you haven’t seen. It can be hard, but I say to embrace the label as long as you see fit. There’s no harm in finding out that a different label fits you better later on. I saw myself as several different identities before asexual, and each of them were completely valid at the time.

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

I usually post art to http://luckysee12.deviantart.com/ and fanfiction to http://archiveofourown.org/users/Luckysee12 and I have my Tumblr http://luckysee12.tumblr.com/ but I will warn you that it is mainly memes.

galaxy
Galaxy

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