Interview: Kerstin

Today we’re joined by Kerstin. Kerstin is a phenomenal fanartist and visual artist. She writes a lot of fanfiction and cosplays as well. When she’s not writing, Kerstin enjoys drawing. She has been drawing and writing for years and has a great deal of passion for both, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

hand
Hand

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m mostly a writer, especially a fanfiction writer nowadays. I started with original stories when I was about nine or ten years old and continued to write original works until I was maybe sixteen. I never lost interest in writing but somehow I barely ever finished anything because I didn’t have the drive to write without getting any feedback. That’s where fanfiction came in. It’s a great way to practise writing, explore different styles and genres and also get feedback from people who love the characters as much as I do.

Drawing has always been important to me, too. I’ve drawn for pretty much my entire life, anything from little doodles or abstract art to manga to attempts of realistic art. I mostly draw people, many original characters, but recently I’ve started using real people for references as well and tried myself in art studies.

Lastly, I also started cosplaying about four years ago. I don’t do it regularly but it’s a lot of fun, especially when you see other people’s reactions to your portrayal of their favourite character. I’ve made cosplays that were close to the originals as well as freeforms.

What inspires you?

Honestly, pretty much anything can inspire me. Photos, buildings I pass, sceneries I see while going for a walk, music, people or objects around me, characters I adore,… Occasionally I’m inspired works by other artists, especially when it comes to drawing – I just love Renaissance and Romantic art. In fanfiction it’s the canon characters mixed with headcanons, oftentimes also conversations with friends that give me ideas. I’m also a big fan of thrillers and medieval European literature and I try to combine these two types when I write.

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

Ever since I was a child I’ve been reading tons of books and soon started coming up with my own stories. It just fascinates me how words can create worlds and capture one’s imagination but everybody still has their own pictures in their mind while reading the exact same story or sees different things in the same painting. I love the emotions art can elicit. I’ve wanted to become an author for years now and just graduated in art history and German literature and I hope that it will help me pursue my dream.

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 any signature.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep creating, no matter what field of art you like. You will get better, even if it might not seem like it occasionally. Practice is crucial, but so is having fun. Create what you’re interested in, not what you think you should create. Accept constructive criticism and don’t beat yourself up if you think your art isn’t getting any better. It is. You just need some time. And remember, no one will ever be able to create the exact same things you do – your art is one of a kind and you should be proud of it.

jensen jeffrey
Jensen Jeffrey

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as akoisexual and akoiromantic. Now and then I find some people attractive but it usually doesn’t last very long and if this attraction is ever reciprocated it just fades away.

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

So far I haven’t since I only recently started including asexual characters in my writing and most people don’t even know I’m on the spectrum.

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

The misconception I get confronted with all the time is that people on the spectrum don’t ever have sex and can’t have functioning relationships because sex “is a crucial aspect to any romantic relationship”. People don’t seem to understand that sexual attraction and enjoying sex are two different things, that you could have sex even if you’re not physically attracted to that person and that there are people who make relationships work just fine without sex.

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

Personally, I was glad to find a term that describes me because I felt a little less alone, but it’s not the most important thing to find a label for yourself so if you’re unsure, that’s okay. You’re not strange, you’re not alone, and you’ll be fine. You might encounter individuals who won’t be able to understand your orientation but their opinion doesn’t matter. Find people who accept you the way you are. Try to stay true to yourself – I know it can be hard, but it’s okay to struggle and question your orientation, I still sometimes do that, too. Your orientation does not define what kind of person you are.

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

I occasionally post some of my artwork and cosplays on my Tumblr: http://crazy-walls.tumblr.com/

My fanfictions can be found on AO3: http://archiveofourown.org/users/crazywalls

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

Interview: Kelline

Today we’re joined by Kelline. Kelline is a phenomenal visual artist who does both original work and fanart. She’s a hobbyist who mainly does traditional drawings and watercolors, although she also dabbles in digital art. Her work is gorgeous, making expert use of bright vivid colors and lines, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Michelle copy
Michelle

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My drawings tend to be human driven, I just really enjoy drawing people above all else.

I have my own set of characters that wander around my head, but as I can’t commit to writing anything about them, they’re not much more than vague muses that appear in my drawings sometimes. I have a bit of a world and a magic system that’ll also be referenced in some works but again . . . lazy writer.

I also do a fair amount of fanart, mainly video game related (Pokémon and Undertale are the most recent themes). I used to do a LOT of Nintendo fanart. A lot.

My favorite mediums are watercolors, colored pencils, and recently ink/pens/markers. I do tend to very lightly combine digital elements into my work through color edits or added effects, this is based from before I had a scanner and had to rely on Photoshop edits to make my photos of the artwork look at all decent. I also occasionally do digital drawings.

What inspires you?

Music, video games, nature, night skies and outer space, other artists, dreams, and I guess feelings in general.

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

Pretty much always! I’ve loved drawing as far back as I can remember. My first inspirations were my mom, she makes cool colored pencil drawings, and my grandmother (mom’s mom) who was an amazing painter. Plus I was an imaginative kid, and liked illustrating all of my stories and fancies.

My original plan for after high school was to study art and do it professionally, maybe as an illustrator, but my parents (who were kind enough to pay for my college education) wanted me to study something that would get me a quote-unquote “real job.” But the major I settled into “Digital Technology and Culture” (in a nutshell it’s basically digital communication and rhetoric), was a pleasant mix of writing and visual design, so I still have some graphic design work I do in my current office job, and I’m free to pursue art as my hobby outside of work.

Reset copy
Reset

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 think so? I’ve been told my style is pretty unique, that’s good enough for me; I’ve never thought of adding a unique symbol/trademark.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Sorry I have lots of thoughts here:

Check thrift shops for cheap supplies! – Probably won’t have too much luck with more expensive supplies, like paints and higher quality tools, but I’ve found great grab bags of colored pencils, crayons, pens, pencils, and erasers at my local Value Villages. Part of why I have a giant shoe box filled with colored pencils. >w> I’ve also seen basic watercolors and pastels. You could probably find some sketchpads too!

Keep pushing through! – Almost every drawing I do there is a point, usually early on, where I absolutely hate it and want to scrap it. But over time I’ve learned that if you can push past that point, keep adjusting the sketch, add shading, change the colors, I can get it to a point where I love, like, or am at least “okay with” the drawing.

Don’t be afraid to erase! – This was a mantra of one of my college drawing instructors, and I still think about and use it. Basically if you just know something is off with your work, don’t be afraid to fix it, even if it means completely starting over. Don’t stress so much about messing up what you have now to not fix something that’s bothering you. If nothing else, I think forcing yourself to acknowledge and fix the error could lead to improvement in future drawings. But also keep in mind:

You have to stop at some point – Advice from an editing teacher that I also think about when I draw. If you’re a person who is a perfectionist or an overachiever, know that there’s never going to be a point where the drawing will feel 100%, completely perfect, flawless. Especially since we are our own worst critics (and also have spent the past 8 hours looking at the bloody thing), we’re going to see every little error in a drawing. But there has to be a point where you have to let go and call it done. It probably varies by artist, but for me it’s when it gets too exhausting to keep working on it, and I feel okay calling it done.

Above all, don’t give up! – Art can be frustrating, it can be emotionally draining, and it can be tough to see people who seem more talented or popular than yourself. But if you love it and/or it’s a part of who you are, don’t give up. It’s still so worth it, as an expression of who you are and what you feel, what you love and care about. It’s worth it to see yourself improve, and realize you’re creating things you once couldn’t, or better than you once could.

take care copy
Take Care

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual definitely, but I’m very unsure where my romantic orientation lies. I used to think I was hetero, but realizing I’m ace has kind of opened new ideas for me.

I think I’m either heteromantic, panromantic, or aromantic. Pan is my current thought, but I feel generally not wanting a relationship right now, so it’ll be hard to say until my heart’s ready for that again, if it ever is.

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

Ace ignorance is pretty common everywhere; I’ve never personally encountered ace prejudice, either in my drawing/art sharing experiences or in my past or current jobs. I see ace prejudice on Tumblr more than anywhere else. <_<

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

The most common? I don’t know, I don’t really talk to people about asexuality (I mean I ramble online sometimes, but that’s different). Going off of general attitudes, probably that “real” asexual people would never experience any kind of sexual feelings or enjoyment ever. And that they probably wouldn’t experience romantic feelings either.

It’s definitely a giant part of why it took me so long to identify as ace, and I think also a large part of why asexuality either never came up or wasn’t taken seriously in past romantic relationships, even when I was trying to explain to past partners how I could care for them deeply yet still be very disinterested in sexual activities.

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

Listen to yourself. If something feels right or really uncomfortable/wrong, listen to it. Don’t let others dictate what you are or aren’t, listen to yourself; you know your feelings better than those who only have an outside view. Even if you think it is “just a phase” and things will change, your current feelings are still worth listening to. If identifying as ace (or any other orientation) is what makes you feel comfortable and happy, do it!

And do your research; if you think something but aren’t sure, look into it. Find the science, listen to other experiences. Don’t just say nah and ignore your feelings.

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

In a few places!

DeviantArt: http://kelline.deviantart.com/
Tumblr: http://artsyagnostis.tumblr.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SweetAgnostis

While mostly similar, there are some differences between them. My DeviantArt is the oldest, has the most on it, and where I’ll talk the most about my drawings. My Tumblr is where I’ll post the more personal thoughts or less finished work. My Twitter is pretty new and kind simple and breezy, but I also just started a Throwback Thursday where I’ll be posting REALLY old stuff, currently from the my first ever “sketchpad” I had when I was 5 or so, and might eventually move on to some of the sillier/wackier drawings I did when younger.

Poketale Undyne copy
Poketale Undyne

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

Interview: Barbara

Today we’re joined by Barbara. Barbara is a phenomenal artist who does a few different things. She’s a visual artist who does drawing, painting, and carving. Aside from visual art, Barbara is also an enthusiastic dancer. If that weren’t impressive enough, Barbara is also an acrobat! She has just started training in aerial silks, which is super cool. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

image1

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Okay. Starting with the visual arts I have been learning how to make visual art such as drawing painting and carving since I was just a few years old so I can say I have been learning for over 10 years. I am going to start an official art school next year. I started dancing 4 years ago and 2 years ago I went to my first aerial silk training (it’s an air acrobatic technique mostly performed in circus). I’ve improved my skills especially in the last 2 years and I am going to perform my first solo choreographies (acrobatic and dancing) in April and June of 2017

What inspires you?

Well, mostly it’s other people. I love the way we are all different and my definition of beauty is the opposite of perfect. Every mark, every scar, wrinkles or freckles- that’s what makes people so amazing and extraordinary. And I love stories. They inspire me a lot, and by stories I mean books and movies of course, but also biographies and little facts from everybody’s past. For example every time when I discover a new artist or author or a band or anything like that – I try to find information about their past because it’s the past that makes us the way we are, and we think, and we create.

I am also very inspired by other people’s art. That includes music, drawings, literature and stuff like that.

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

As I said I was really young when I started drawing. Into dance and acrobatics I got mostly because of my mom who’s a dancer and owner of the dance school where my adventure started. I think that a lot of motivation to become an acrobat came from that one time when I saw Circue di Solei live, it’s an experience that I will hopefully never forget.

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?

My signature is always visible on my visual art, I also always wanted my symbol to be a simple drawing of moth but I am still working on the project, do that’s something more for future.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I am only a beginner and don’t know much about life yet but my best advice is – practice a lot. Nothing makes you improve your skills more than practicing. Also don’t give up easily. Even if you lose a big opportunity or miss some chance. There will be another one – I promise.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as heteroromantic and asexual (or at least on the asexual spectrum because I am really young and I know some things can change but I don’t think they will to be honest)

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

Well, I haven’t come out to my parents because they don’t even seem to believe in such thing as asexuality. I am sure I will come out to them someday but by now I prefer the save option. Honestly most people in my country probably doesn’t know much about whole LGBTQIA community which is sad and it’s caused by an incredibly small amount of representation in media. I wouldn’t call it homophobia, it’s more like overwhelming ignorance. It isn’t that bad after all, I don’t think most people hate LGBTQIA community – especially younger ones.

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

The fact that we don’t actually exist is surprisingly common. I also saw people calling it a disease once or twice.

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

I don’t think I’m ready to give any advice. I discovered my own sexuality quite recently. I started identifying as asexual only about 6 months ago. From my experience I know that it really helps when you come out to someone. Just make sure it’s a person that you really trust.

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

My Tumblr: https://verysassywitch.tumblr.com/

My Pinterest (a lot of inspirations and some of my art as well): https://pl.pinterest.com/verysassywitch/

My DeviantArt: http://verrysassywitch.deviantart.com/

Thank you, Barbara, for participating in this interview and this project. It is very much appreciated.

Interview: Taylor Cruse

Today we’re joined by Taylor Cruse, who also goes by Triscribe. Taylor is a wonderful up and coming writer who also does some visual art as well, including character design. She has recently become really interested in world building and has begun to create her own fantasy world, where her novel is set. She has this admirable love for art and the written word in particular, which makes for an engaging interview. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Crant - Wolfen's Rage Cover
Crant – Wolfen’s Rage Cover

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Hold onto your hats, then, ‘cause this might take a while!

To start, I’m both a visual artist and a writer, as the two are often intertwined with me. A lot of my stories start out as drawings of characters who then receive names, backstories, places to live, adventures to experience, so on and so forth. I consider the world-building to be just as much a craft as the physical art of sketching and coloring my characters or planning out plots – having a wealth of little details to be able to include in even simple dialogue can be so important to making the story come alive for my readers. This holds true even in the realm of fan fiction, where I also spend a fair amount of time.

I’m also proud of how my recent experiences in college have opened my eyes to greater realms of diversity for my characters to take part in – not just visually, as I’ve done in the past, but also mentally, emotionally, and of course, romantically. When my Stories from Sarant, starting with the Turning Point trilogy, are published, I want them to be a beacon to marginalized categories of readers – the ones eager to read books with asexual main characters who don’t need romance to fulfill their plot, female leads who are strong in more ways than just being able to punch the bad guys, and characters of color who get to be more than the sidekick or comic relief. (Point in fact, the mainest of the main characters in my above-mentioned trilogy, Crant, is all three of these things, and also goes on to become a hero to everyone in her war-torn and race-divided world. She’s the greatest of all my creations, and I hope when the book eventually comes out that readers adore her just as much as I do.) This is the kind of art I’m eager to share, because it’s the sort of stuff I’d have loved to see more of when I was younger, the kinds of things we need more of nowadays too.

What inspires you?

What doesn’t inspire me? The mountains surrounding my college campus, the utter insanity of family stories I hear from my mom and her mother, even the amount of time my dad poured into his World of Warcraft blog, Need More Rage, when I was younger.

It’s quite common for me to create a new superhero character based off of a friend of mine, or incorporate something funny I heard in ordinary conversation into a story scene. Even my pets will gain representations of them in the things I write, especially my wonderful golden retriever, Athena – she’s an inspiration all by herself, even if my animal-drawing skills aren’t enough to do her likeness justice!

I’ll also mention the more famous figures I’ve been inspired by: J.R.R.Tolkien, first and foremost, because that man went and built an entire world for his books, starting with the languages and working outward. Pretty obvious how he’s influenced me, yeah? The other big author was Anne McCaffrey, simply because of the sheer volume of fantasy stories she wrote, taking place at all different times and places. That’s what I want to accomplish as an author – I might be starting small with a single trilogy, but I’ve got more than fifteen other books I plan to write that happen all throughout the 70,000 years of history I’ve crafted for my world of Sarant, and then all my other projects of high, modern, and science fiction fantasy.

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

Heh, well, you see, my parents were big on bedtime stories when I was little, using them as enticement to get me to want to go to bed rather than fight to stay up longer. Dad did an especially great job reading them, using all different voices, and went for a wide assortment: everything from Dr. Seuss classics to the Chronicles of Narnia to a children’s version of The Odyssey (Mom gave him a few weird looks over that last one, but then I became a huge fan of Greek Mythology and she gave up trying to interest me back into Amelia Bedelia).

As for my becoming a writer/illustrator… Apparently, at four years old, I wanted to get down some of the adventures I imagined during playtime. I dictated them to Mom, who dutifully wrote down every word in these blank booklets, into which I then drew all the corresponding pictures. I’ve still got a few of them in a box of old toys, and occasionally go take a peek to remind myself on the bad days that, yes, I do have greater writing and drawing skill than a four year old.

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?

Three! Literally, the number three finds its way into most things I work on. (Once again, I blame all the Greek myths I read as a child.) The leader of my Jr. Team superheroes is called Trihunter; when it comes to coloring my black and white sketches, I usually incorporate at least three colors, whether they’re all different or just varying shades of the same one. Even my signature makes use of all three of my initials, TRC, rather than a first initial and last name.

Although, really, I think I don’t use that other option because I happen to have the same initial and name as my grandpa Tom… Was very awkward on the occasion when a friend of my grandmother’s visited their house, saw a watercolor of mine hung of on the wall and signed ‘T. Cruse,’ and asked in a startled tone if my grandfather was following Grandma into being an artist, as she makes and sells oil paintings for fun. After that, I decided it was a necessity to develop my own symbol, which I sign nearly all my art pieces with.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t. Stop. Practicing. Seriously, I’ve compared recent pieces (whether drawings or short stories) to stuff I made as recently as a year or two ago, and can see marked improvement because I spent so much of the time in-between getting in as much practice as possible. And feel free to mix it up, too! Dedication is good, but not to the point you become sick of the material you’re working with. Writing for superheroes and fantasy characters sometimes get stale, and I feel so much more invigorated to keep going after taking an hour’s break to write a journal entry or jot down some insane piece of family history from my maternal grandmother’s days as a professional juvenile delinquent. Same goes for visual art – when I can’t stand sketching one more skin-tight outfit or piece of armor, I take a while to go sit in my campus cafe and draw some of the people I see, or head partway the local hiking trail to paint the landscape around me. It all goes a long way to restoring my frayed sanity, and I highly recommend the same to anyone else dealing with the same issues.

Self portrait, color pencil
Self Portrait, color pencil

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual panromantic, I think? Or perhaps lithromantic. I never had much in the way of romantic feelings or experiences growing up to gauge by, though I would every now and then develop what I thought was a crush on a friend of mine. To be honest, learning that asexuality was A Thing in my senior year of high school was a wonderful blessing I blindly clung to like a liferaft, and didn’t really start looking into all the different types until I came to college and got to meet great friends of all sorts of genders and sexualities. Even now, I’m much more content to spend evenings in writing alongside my fellow ace roommate, a previous interviewee by the username of Knightlychika, rather than attempt to define my unique brand of something-nice-to-daydream-about-but-not-to-the-point-I-want-to-do-anything-to-act-on-it attractions.

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

Heh, yeah, my mom had no clue what I meant last winter break when I told her I was ace. She listened to my explanation and even did some research of her own, coming to the conclusion that I was becoming My Own Person – which is all she’s ever wanted anyway, regardless of what form it took. I did make a point of telling her I wasn’t averse to the idea of eventually adopting a kid of two, in case she was watching any dreams of having grandchildren to spoil go down the drain, but Mom said she wasn’t anywhere near as worried about that as knowing I was happy and content.

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

“Oh, that’s just a phase, you’ll grow out of it.”

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

Don’t feel guilty if you meet someone that makes you decide you aren’t asexual after all. For some people, maybe it was a phase, a defense mechanism against the world of dating and hooking up that becomes unnecessary. It’s fine – you absolutely ARE NOT justifying the ignorant people who think it’s a phase for all of us.

Every person is unique, with their own identity made up of all sorts of different factors, and while you can find groups of others with whom you share one or a few or a lot of those factors with, there’s no one you’re identical to. And if some of your factors change over time? That’s perfectly acceptable, normal, and doesn’t invalidate anything you were at an earlier point in time.

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

I have the same username, Triscribe, on Tumblr, DeviantArt and FanFiction.net, where you can find old and new art, snippets of my current original projects, and of course stories written in all sorts of fandoms (Star Wars, the DC Batfamily, Harry Potter, and Voltron LD being some of my more popular favorites). Hope to see you there!

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

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.

Art4

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

Art3

Thank you, Ceta, 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.

card2016smllr

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: Brenna

Today we’re joined by Brenna. Brenna is a wonderful young artist who is quite versatile. She does visual art, writing, and singing. She’s currently studying art in school and is incredibly passionate, 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 do many arts from painting and drawing to singing- but the one I’m most passionate about is my writing. I even go to an arts high school for it.

What inspires you?

Music usually inspires me, but other times it’s dreams or TV shows, movies or books that I really like.

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

I really got into writing in sixth grade, I loved it and I realised that that’s what I want to do for a living. When I was younger I really wanted to be a vet- then I wanted to be a singer, then I wanted to be an actress, so you can say I’ve always been into art- but it wasn’t until the sixth grade that I was sure of which art.

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’m not sure if I do- I’m sure if you look intently through my recent works you would be able to find something. I usually write first person from a female protagonists view, that female protagonist is usually quite arrogant and sarcastic. That’s all I can notice for now, but I’m positive that there has to be something else.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

To young aspiring artists: Go out there, experience new things, work on your art- because you’ll never be perfect, there’s no such thing as perfect- but you can pretty well damn try.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as heteromantic, demisexual.

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

I haven’t actually experienced any ace prejudice or ignorance in my field, as I said- those in my field that I interact with all go to the same arts school as I, and so we are exposed to many sexual orientations, many genders, many religions- and so we kinda have to go into everything with an open mind. I say I’m very lucky not to have experienced it in my field.

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

The most common misconception that I’ve encountered is that since you identify as somewhere on the asexual spectrum you are also aromantic. It actually gotten tiring explaining it to people when I tell them that I identify as demisexual and then in later conversations say that I want a boyfriend, they’re always like “oh but aren’t you aseuxal?” Yes, I am- but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel romantic attraction.

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

It’s okay if you don’t understand where you identify on the spectrum- you honestly don’t need to put a label on it, no, or ever. It’s okay if you don’t know why you feel, or don’t feel these things- we don’t know either, the best thing I can tell you is to embrace it and move on with your life, it’s a part of you and you can choose what to do with that knowledge.

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

People can find more of my work on Wattpad at: https://www.wattpad.com/user/JazzHz0o0 but I would advise not reading the stories I wrote before 2016, because they are cringey and make me visably cringe when I read them. But you can do what you want with your life, just don’t say I didn’t warn you. Other than that I am working on another story that will come out soon, because it is almost finished- so look out for that.

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