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.

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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.

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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: Clara

Today we’re joined by Clara. Clara is a wonderful and versatile artist who does a bit of everything. She’s been drawing for a few years now. When she’s not drawing, Clara loves to write and does quite a bit of fanart as well. She’s obviously a very passionate artist and it shows in her interview. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Well, I consider myself a writer, fanartist and artist. I’ve written one complete novel and am constantly working on my writing skill, as an artist I’ve been playing around with creating a style in digital art and I’ve been expanding into the animation area and as a fanartist I use both of my ‘platforms’ in different ways by writing fanfiction or drawing fan art.

What inspires you?

Seeing other people their work and the things I see in the news or read online. In general I get my ideas either from seeing/reading what other people have made or seeing things online that I want to write something about or draw something like that.

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

Somewhat. Ever since I was little I’ve been playing games and thanks to those I’ve always wanted to work at a gaming company like Ubisoft or Bethesda. I’ve always been playing story-heavy games or RPG so when I discovered a certain thing called fanfiction I got hooked on reading it and eventually decided, why not? And so I started to write and by now I’ve written a complete novel in my second language, English. Drawing came from my obsession with Pokemon but I never planned on drawing as much as I am now.

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 anything like that. When it comes to my writing I’m certain I don’t have anything like that because I feel like my writing changes all the time and when it comes to art I don’t do anything special either, I’d like to reveal something but I don’t have anything.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I don’t have much as I myself am still quite young, I haven’t finished high school yet. The best advice I have is just to do what you love. If you’re being held back because you feel like you’ll never be good enough, there will be always be someone better but no one can be better at you being yourself so don’t worry too much about it. Do what you want, take criticism but only if it’s constructive and use it to continue but just never let yourself be held back because of other people.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as Asexual and Biromantic but as most people haven’t really heard of biromantic, panromantic, aromantic etc. I just tend to say I’m Asexual and attracted to both genders.

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

I have never been the victim but I’ve seen it a few times though not necessarily in what I would consider my field. I’ve seen a big discussion of people whom were discussing if people who are Asexual but only attracted to the opposite gender belong in the LGBT+ community. In general when I see it if I know I can form a rational discussion I would engage but otherwise I wouldn’t, sometimes it’s hard to do that but I know that having a discussion with someone who isn’t willing to change views is pointless.

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

That we don’t have sex or aren’t romantically attracted to people. Asexual is just that you don’t desire or feel the need for sex. There are people who are Asexual and don’t have sex but there are also ones who do. Just as there are people who identify as Asexual and Aromantic but others who don’t.

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

Don’t worry about it too much. Who you are sexually interested in or who you want to have a relationship with does not define who you are and it won’t make every decision in your life. It’ll have an influence but that doesn’t mean you need to let it rule everything you do. If there are people who are worried about a future, don’t. There are plenty of Asexual people who are adults or have finished University/college and are in a happy relationship with someone. Some people in those relationships have sex and some don’t. In the end a partner is someone who accepts you, not someone who only wants to be with you for sex because then it’s not a healthy relationship to start with.

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

On Tumblr // doctorclarami.tumblr.com
Deviantart // doctorclarami.

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

Interview: Hale

Today we’re joined by Hale. Hale is a phenomenal artist who does both visual art and fanart in the form of cosplay. She has degrees in graphic design and fine art. Hale is also a great cosplayer who has an admirable love for bringing characters to life. She’s an incredibly dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

DChuntress
DC Huntress

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Right out of high school I started as a graphic designer. I got my Associate of Science in Graphic Design, so a lot of my art from back then is focused on design principles. During the rest of my undergrad (Art History Bachelor’s with a minor in Fine Art) I took other fine art classes, but I still stuck with shapes and forms that were more simple or geometric – meant to advertise an idea or be a backdrop rather than a focus. Now that I’m going for my Master’s in Business Design and Arts Leadership, I make a lot of presentation graphics. A lot of the projects I work on take lengthy case studies or papers and turn them into design works that are understandable or fit a brand image.

Outside of school, I also cross stitch, take photos, and I cosplay. The cross stitches I make are usually based on old 8-bit graphics from video games. I tend to cosplay as video game characters, as well, though I enjoy anime cosplay, too. I’m currently interning at a photography business, so I’m learning to take portraits of family and weddings. This is informed by cosplay photography, but it’s also something that I just enjoy as a hobby. I took several photography classes at school, but they were more fine art focused rather than portrait focused. I like going down different avenues of thinking or going through different art worlds for my work, so it varies a lot.

What inspires you?

When it comes to the art I make as a student, I get a lot of my ideas from Pinterest. I don’t directly copy from them, of course, but I first get an idea of the brand that currently exists (or if I’m working on rebranding, the brand that I want to exist) and then search for images on Pinterest that fit that idea. For example, I might type “plants” into Pinterest to get an idea for a logo for a farming agency that hasn’t already been done. Or if I’m working on a case study write up about Etsy, I might type “orange” into Pinterest, since one of Etsy’s brand colors is orange. Making mood boards helps me get into the right mindset of the project I’m working on and sends me down different avenues I might not have thought of if I just had a sketchbook in front of me (sort of like the 2-D art version of the Youtube wormhole)

I find that RPG video games inspire me the most in both cross stitching and cosplay. For example: Pokemon, Dragon Age, and Ace Attorney are all games that I’ve used in my work. Usually when I cosplay from an anime, it’s because I’m doing it as a group or because it’s meaningful to a certain point in my life. I don’t usually just pick from an anime because I enjoy a certain character like I do with video games.

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

When I first got into all three of my degrees, I didn’t really know what I was getting in for. I just kind of went for it. I never really considered myself an “artist” because I am not as good at drawing or painting as some of my artist friends. I enjoy art and always wanted to do something related to art, but even now I feel some hesitation to call myself an artist. With all three of my degrees, I sort of took a baby step into the field first and then just jumped in without considering all of the consequences. For example, I started college as a PSEO student, meaning I took college classes as a high schooler for credit. I took Graphic Design as an elective, and then after graduating high school, decided that would be my career path. The same thing happened with Art History where I took an art history class as part of my Associate’s and decided to jump into it as my Bachelor’s. I took a year off in between my Bachelor’s and my Master’s where I tried to decide what I wanted to do. I still didn’t think I was an artist, but I had an art degree (kind of). I didn’t want to work on commission, and I had a vague idea of working in a museum, but didn’t really know how to get there. I went for my BDAL Master’s with the idea that it could get me headed in the direction of a nonprofit organization without needing to pick a certain area (Museum Development or Museum Studies seemed too specific)

I guess I was always destined to be involved in art in some capacity. I’ve always surrounded myself with other artists as friends and peers. I feel like artists get better critiques and feedback from their friends, especially if those friends are also artists. Friends got me interested in video games, in anime, in design; I wouldn’t have become an “artist” (in the loosest sense of the word) without my support. That being said, I don’t think the traditional categories of painter, writer, sketch artist, etc. necessarily make sense anymore in today’s digital world. Art doesn’t have to fit into one category to be art, so although my friends may fit into those categories better than me (and for a long time I didn’t consider myself an artist because of it) that doesn’t mean that what I do isn’t good art. It just means the ways in which my art gets critiqued needs to be different. I have always wanted to do what I do, I just didn’t always consider what I do to be “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?

Not so much in the art I’m making now, but I focused on stars quite a bit when I was starting out professionally. I said earlier that I use a lot of geometric shapes, and a star is more visually interesting than a simple circle, but I’m come to appreciate simplicity a little more than when I began. Otherwise, my signature is more literal. Especially in designing case studies, you get credited for “visual layout” or for creating charts that better convey the information. So my unique signature in my more recent art is literally my signature. I don’t do anything like that for the art that I consider to be more of a hobby (cosplay, cross stitching, etc.) and I use the basic metadata info for my photos and digital art.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Try lots of different areas of art. Even if you’re a painter, and you’re always going to be a painter, there are lots of unexpected avenues you can find by trying something new. I never considered myself a sculptor, but my school required me to take a 3D class and some of what I consider to be my most unique art (if not my best) was 3D. It was hard, and not something I particularly enjoyed, but it broadened my horizons.

I would also say, study art history (and especially non-western art history). There’s no better way to learn about your own art than to immerse yourself in art. If you can’t immerse yourself physically by making something, learning about the ways that ancient people (or contemporary people) made art is just as informative. A lot of contemporary artists make works to continue conversations that artists of the past were having. We speak of art like it’s a visual narrative of an individual’s life, but it can be a conversation with another artist or political movement. It’s easy to get inspired by other artists around you, so it should be just as easy to get inspired by artists who made works long ago.

Print
Print

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Grey-asexual and Grey-aromantic. I can’t picture myself having sex or dating anyone in particular, but I can imagine myself having sex / dating in general. I don’t find anyone (or I haven’t found anyone) that I’ve met sexually or romantically attractive, but I can still picture myself doing the action in a more general sense.

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

I’ve found that most artists are fairly accepting of asexuality. Ignorance is vastly more common than prejudice, in my experience. I know that there are many female artists that define their work as feminist art and engage in feminist conversation by either pointing out gender roles as necessarily sexual or making art that is intentionally sexual and thus provoking. There are also artists that focus on sexuality and gender as a social construct and assume that the conversations they want to convey apply to all people within their audience. I’ve run into the conversation in critiques where the artist will explain sexuality as a “universal experience” while they, in the same breath, explain that gender roles are not universal. I usually just question their beliefs further and try to understand why they came to that conclusion or how they justify their ignorance. In terms of prejudice, I find it much more common to experience prejudice against asexual individuals from home, or when I was in college, at the dorm, rather than directly at work in my field.

There have been a few experiences in cosplay where I have been hit on or flirted with because I was in costume (despite the ‘cosplay is not consent’ banners everywhere), but I tend to view those as one off experiences that I ignore rather than something that I personally need to address. I handle them the same way that I would handle someone flirting with me were I not in cosplay, which is usually to find a group of friends and avoid contact with the person flirting. I haven’t found any of the flirters to be particularly aggressive once I’ve left, though ignoring the problem is obviously not addressing the deeper issue, it works in those one off situations.

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

I get the misconception that there must be something wrong with me quite often. I was in a pretty dangerously sexual situation as a child that many people who know about the situation think informed my ‘decision’ to be asexual, but honestly I have never experienced attraction, so I don’t think it has anything to do with that– or there being anything wrong with me. I’ve been lucky that most people have been pretty accepting, although there have been a few of those “oh you just haven’t found the right person yet” replies that get under my skin. Still, the biggest misconception tends to be ignorance more than anything else. The fact that people in my area just don’t know what asexuality is or refuse to believe that a person may not experience attraction is the most prevalent conversation that I’ve run across.

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

I would just recommend doing your research. If a label makes you happy, use it. Don’t feel like you have to keep it forever. I’ve gone back and forth between ace and grey-ace forever in my head and just decided that in the end, it makes no difference to anyone but me. If you’re comfortable with labelling your orientation as something now, then label it. If later you decide that it doesn’t really fit, you can change the label. I know that when I first researched asexuality, I was thinking that it might fit me, but I was hesitant to agree because what if it didn’t fit me sometime in the future? What matters is your comfort now and finding supportive people might start with a label, but it might not. You should find people that support you no matter what your orientation is. That might mean seeking out a support group or forum for asexuals, or it might mean just finding a group of people that don’t care what your orientation is. It’s more important to reflect on yourself and to know your boundaries and morals when it comes to sex and romance than it is to find a label that perfectly fits you. It’s just as important to find a group of people that will help you to keep those boundaries rather than pressure you into something you’re uncomfortable with– whether that’s because you’re ace or just uncomfortable with the situation. It feels cheesy just to say “don’t worry about your orientation, the label will come when you’re ready” but the best way to find supportive people and figure yourself out is to do your research.

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

The three social media areas I update on a regular basis are-

My online portfolio: behance.net/halebi
My cosplay Facebook: facebook.com/puppyrock32
and My Society6: society6.com/puppyrock3
My personal Tumblr is: puppyrock3.tumblr.com
It has my art, process images, cosplay, etc. but also just things I enjoy, so it can be a lot to sift through. I only link it here because you can send me an ask on Tumblr as a form of contact, and I can link you to other social media pages that I update less frequently or to process images on certain pieces of interest.

godproject
God Project

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

Interview: Inu

Today we’re joined by Inu, who also goes by InuShiek. Inu is mainly a fanfiction writer who writes stories based on a variety of fandoms. Aside from fanfiction, Inu is also a dedicated crafter, doing a fair amount of knitting and crochet. She also recently did a rather unique sewing project. It’s very apparent she loves what she does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Blanket
Blanket

 

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a fanfiction writer mainly, but I also crochet and knit in my free time. I enjoy writing for several fandoms, but mainly Transformers. I began writing little drabbles on paper back in middle school, and I began writing much more frequently online since graduating high school. I picked up crocheting almost 2 years ago, and knitting a year and a half ago. I’ve made a large blanket, but mainly small items as gifts for friends and family. (I think my favorite project so far is a crocheted Optimus Prime hat. It’s magnificent!)

I also occasionally sew. Let me lead by saying that I am an Animal Sciences graduate student, so much of my time is spent studying and teaching nutrition. Because of this, my most notable sewing project has been a life-size replica of a horse’s digestive tract made entirely out of fleece. It is nearly 100 feet long! So….much…..sewing…!! But it’s been used for several educational events and it’s always fun to see peoples’ eyes widen when they realize just how big a horse’s digestive tract can be!

What inspires you?

As far as writing goes, I rely heavily on my online friends for ideas and requests. Most of my fanfics are actually of the smut variety, so people will sometimes make requests with their favorite characters, specific scenario, or kinks in mind. I enjoy writing for them, and seeing them enjoy something that they didn’t have to write themselves is nice

For yarn crafts, I enjoy spending time on Pinterest and Ravelry looking for project ideas and patterns. I’ve saved so many patterns that I’ll probably never be able to make them all! I’m constantly on the lookout for new yarn of all different colors and materials, and they often inspire the article I’ll make. For example, I saw some lovely yarn with my university’s colors, and I immediately knew I wanted a scarf made of it for cold football game days.

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

I’ve always had an imagination that had me making up stories in my head. Back in the days when folks posted fanfiction on Quizilla, I read my first fanfiction and realized I could make stories up using established characters from shows, books, and movies that I love. I introduced my best friend to it, and we set out on writing a joint fanfiction that turned into a massive 400+ page fic. I was hooked and I’ve been writing in various fandoms ever since.

As for the yarn crafting, my grandmother used to crochet often, and I’d sit and watch her for hours when I was little. She showed me how to crochet chains, and I would make these things sometimes 10-15 feet long for no real reason other than I could. I was too young to really understand how to go back within the chain to add multiple rows to projects to make them wider, so I’d just make chains. I enjoyed the action, but I couldn’t do anything with the chains I made. I wound up quitting for several years, and decided to pick it back up when I learned that my best friend also wanted to learn. We made blankets as our first projects (yikes!), and haven’t stopped crocheting and learning together since. I learned to knit a few months after picking crochet back up because the types of projects that can be knitted are so distinctly different. I enjoy the repetitive motions of both crafts, and being able to pretty pretty and/or useful things for myself and my friends is a treat

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 fanfics tend to be very short (more drabbles, really), and I like to think I’m at least a little recognizable for my style and how I incorporate various kinks.

I haven’t developed my crochet or knit skills to the point of being able to create or customize my own patterns, so I don’t really feel like I’ve got any recognizable features yet

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Find what you enjoy, and do it because you enjoy it. I remember when I first started writing and posting online that I didn’t get many views at all. I started to get discouraged, but I eventually realized that I was trying to write to please everyone. After that, I started writing things that I enjoy or that others specifically asked for. I still don’t get as many views as some of my own favorite authors, but I’m ok with that because I enjoy the writing

I still make mistakes. I find typos, continuity errors, dropped stitches, miscount rows, and all that stuff. I just keep working because I learn from those mistakes and still enjoy the final product. Don’t get discouraged because you made a mistake or you aren’t famous. Make art that makes you happy, no matter what form that art takes

Digestive Tract
Digestive Tract

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual. I usually don’t even experience aesthetic attraction to people

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

Occasionally I’ll get asked how I can write fanfiction like I do and be asexual, but the questions aren’t phrased rudely. Plus, I know most people think asexuality invariably means “I want nothing to do with sex, thanks,” and they’re usually pretty understanding when I explain that it’s a spectrum and we’re all different in our experiences and preferences.

I sometimes attend a weekly knitting group in my town. There are two regular attendees who are homosexual and bisexual, and they sometimes bring another friend who is pansexual. They’re very open about their own orientations, and I feel like they’d likely be open to mine if I made it known, so that’s been great to know that I’m not on an island

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

Personally, I most often encounter the misconception that we are all sex repulsed and/or have no libido. We can consider ourselves to be in those categories, of course, but it’s not a requirement by any means. We’re all different and have our own individual reasons. Because nearly all of my fanfictions involve sex, that seems to throw some people for a loop when they learn I’m actually asexual.

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

Don’t let anyone try to force you to be someone you’re not.

You’re on the ace spectrum and you’re wonderful, okay?

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

http://www.ravelry.com/people/InuShiek is the site that I use to track my progress on a few of my ongoing knit and crochet projects. It isn’t a comprehensive list (because I’m bad to start a small project and finish it before I ever add it to Ravelry), but there are some WIP photos of a few of my projects.

https://inu-knits-and-crochets.tumblr.com/ is my crafting blog where I post about the crafts I love and share patterns that others have created

All of my fanfiction is on AO3, but, again, most of it is smut of some form or another. Please don’t click if you aren’t comfortable with that http://archiveofourown.org/users/InuShiek/works

I’ll also post prompts, drabbles, and links on my main blog (which has further NSFW content. Please don’t click if that isn’t what you want to see): http://inushiek.tumblr.com/tagged/inu+fic

OP hat 2
OP Hat

Thank you, Inu, 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.

invincible
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.

sfynn-tea
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.