Interview: Claire Greenhalgh

Today we’re joined by Claire Greenhalgh. Claire is a wonderful visual artist who is a freelance artist and university student. She does a bit of everything: digital art, fanart, and original work. Claire is versatile when it comes to style but she tends to favor cartoon/comic visuals and digital painting. She’s very enthusiastic, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’ve been a traditional artist, favoring pens and wet ink, for most of my life, but once I started using my graphics tablet in earnest for a university module in 2015, I’ve been completely hooked on digital work. I still love to draw on pen and paper, but working digitally has a lot of advantages and is much more cost effective in the long run.

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

What inspires you?

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

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

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

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

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

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

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

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

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m demisexual and biromantic.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interview: Bridget

Today we’re joined by Bridget. Bridget is a phenomenal hobbyist who loves to draw. She loves to draw a variety of things, mostly using pens and markers. Her images are positively beautiful and show a great eye for lines and color, which you’ll soon see. Bridget is a passionate artist with a wonderful amount of enthusiasm. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m not a professional artist, but drawing has been a hobby of mine for as long as I can remember! I mostly draw in pen or marker and usually just in black and white. Color is still something I find a little intimidating except for in little splashes!

What inspires you?

Seeing the work of other people definitely is inspiring. An artist I follow closely at the moment is Dana Terrace…seeing her work made it click for me that as an artist you can truly make anything you want, even if it’s a little creepy or strange. The wonderful thing about art is that there are so many ways to make it, and none of it is wrong!

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

Art is not my professional field, but it is something I’ve practiced on and off since I was a little kid. I actually got my degree in technical geography, so while art is not at the center focus of my work, it still helps to have a good eye for visual displays.

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 at the moment!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I still consider myself to be a young inspiring artist, but something I’ve picked up along the way is to look at a broad variety of artistic styles. I know that I always have trouble drawing eyes, and so I’ll go and look up several different artists and practice drawing in their style until I find a combination of something that works for me! I’d never claim or post anything that I copied from another artist, but it is definitely very helpful to practice by copying the pros.

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Lantern

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Until recently I identified as asexual, but recently I’ve discovered that I’m closer to demisexual.

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

In my field I have not encountered any, but I also don’t tend to bring up my sexual preferences in everyday conversation, ha ha! In my personal relationships I have had some difficulties…I dated someone for several years, and about halfway through the relationship it dawned on me that I did not experience the same desires as my partner did. My partner didn’t understand, and often left me feeling like I was ‘broken’ or not fulfilling my side of the relationship. It caused a lot of heartbreak. I ended the relationship; there were several reasons why we didn’t work out, but our differing sexual goals definitely played a part.

At this point I thought I was completely asexual. However, I entered a new relationship about six months ago, and it surprised me to find that I was experiencing some attraction to my new partner in ways I never had before. This has led me to the conclusion that I’m demi, and also that it’s entirely possible for my identity to shift with time and experiences.

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Space

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

That something is wrong with you for not feeling sexual attraction, that you have a disorder of some kind. It took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that I’m not ‘broken’…when I finally found resources describing asexuality, I was thrilled to have a word to describe how I identify myself.

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

That it’s totally okay to shift your stance on your identity. Assigning a label to your identity is a great thing to be able to do, but don’t feel like you’re locked into it forever. It’s okay to change your identity as you explore your preferences!

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

I post my art to Instagram, at bridget_tuttle_art

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Dance

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

Interview: cxxxxxxxx

Today we’re joined by cxxxxxxxx. cxxxxxxxx is an incredibly versatile artist who has dabbled in almost everything but has most recently focused on zines. She has a great love for art and it’s very apparent this love has transferred into making zines, which are fascinating. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Lately I’ve been experimenting with a lot of stuff it feels like—poetry, fiction stories, nonfiction and more personal writing, drawing and painting with different kinds of pens and paints and pastels, making collages—but this summer I got into making and putting together zines and I can put all those things inside of a zine on a given topic, so I’ve been having a lot of fun writing and drawing for zines on dancing, creativity, my gender identity, romance stuff. I get stuck a lot when it comes to my art and writing but I’ve made a lot of things this year especially that I like to look back at now.

What inspires you?

I don’t follow a lot of artists but this semester I’ve been watching a lot of documentaries about Dada and the Beat Generation and learning about those movements and reading their writings/looking at their art/collages and I feel really inspired by these artists and writers that look at a given society and create art to oppose it and express their own views. I like to put on films about stuff like that or just political movements in general and spend the whole time sitting at my desk painting and drawing. Watching Stranger Things really inspired me to draw some cooler stuff, too.

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

I’ve been writing since I was a kid and started drawing my first year of high school because a lot of my friends were into it and I really kind of idolized them. I’ve always felt like I had a lot to say but I’m abysmal at talking to people, so I’ve always liked being able to express myself and my thoughts in writing; there’s something special about it, I think.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

Not really, to be honest. I’ve never been really consistent with that sort of thing.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I spent years drawing not because I enjoyed it but largely out of a desire to improve so that I could enjoy, and I don’t think that’s the right way to go about creating things. Make what you like, and if it doesn’t turn out how you wanted it to, find things about it that you like anyway. Draw because you like to draw, not for the sake of other people. Something like that.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as aromantic and asexual, although technically slightly gray-asexual is probably most accurate.

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

Not really? In everyday life a majority of people I knew up until college didn’t even know it existed (me being one of them for a long time, too). I’ve seen people make prejudiced comments online and expressed some of my anger about such comments in poems I’ve written about being ace.

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

Mainly the one that I can’t be happy in the future without a partner, but I don’t think that’s true. I experience depression and anxiety frequently but dating someone/etc. wouldn’t change that, and I do feel happy and excited about enough things (poetry, history, playing guitar) that I don’t feel I’ll be missing something when I’m older. There are a lot of things I want to do someday and I don’t need another person to do them or in order to feel happy and fulfilled, I think.

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

I have a tendency to over-think things of that nature and make myself anxious wondering how I’m supposed to look and be and identify, but my best friend advised me to try not to worry like that and just accept myself even without labels and I think she was right about that. For me, anyway, it’s easy to get caught up in anxiety when I don’t identify with any known labels for gender identity or sexual/romantic orientation, but lately I’ve just been trying to be the person I like being and feel comfortable being and I think maybe that’s helping. So I think I’d recommend trying that, just going with the flow of things and how you might feel.

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

My zines are online to read here.

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

Interview: Becky

Today we’re joined by Becky. Becky is a wonderful artist who enjoys doodling with pens and pencils. She does paint occasionally, but it’s clear she prefers pens/pencils and paper. Her work shows her vivid imagination and it’s very obvious that she pours her heart into her drawings. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art is mostly pen/pencil and paper, I rarely start with a plan when I begin my projects. I just sorta let my hand do what it wants! I seldom work in realism, I prefer my scribbles and rough movements, but there’s always room for improvement! I’ve really been trying to improve my anatomy. I like my style, but I know each time I draw, I’m getting a little better. Even though they all seem nonsensical and meaningless, I pour my heart and soul into each little doodle.

What inspires you?

Art is food for my soul. As I’ve grown, I’ve come to realize that I can’t starve myself. I need to create! I always feel so much better after hashing out a vent art, or putting time and effort into a more detailed piece. I’m heavily inspired by the things outside of the visual realm. Reality is great, but I love giving life to the weird little things that live in my mind.

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Cabin

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

I’ve been drawing ever since I could remember. At first, I was really driven by cartoons and wanting so hard to be part of that reality. Growing up wasn’t easy, so I’d escape into my imagination as often as I could. It was my safe haven, nothing could hurt me there. And so, I’d draw what I “saw” at first. Then it turned into moving beyond that and really diving into my mind and trusting my hand to show me what it was trying to portray. As far as wanting to be an artist, I can say I always was. I still am, even though it isn’t my career.

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?

Oh gosh, I don’t even know. I just use my initials most times if I can remember. I guess my drawings aren’t really ever “smooth..” I pick up me pen/pencil a lot and use short strokes. I know you aren’t “supposed to” but anarchy.

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Derek

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

It’s okay if it doesn’t look like what you had planned! The important thing is that your creation is yours, your imagination is yours, and NO ONE can take that away from you! Feed your soul, even through those days when picking up a pencil is the last thing you want to do, you’ll really surprise yourself!

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Pretty

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m more on the Gray-A side.

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

Since art isn’t really my career, I can’t say I’ve dealt with it so much in that regard. My dating attempts in college though, boy that’s another story.

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

Well, I’m married (happily, I might add.) And my husband and I have agreed to remain childfree for the foreseeable future. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve heard with a smug chuckle, “You say that now…” or, “Just wait, you’ll change your mind.” Someone even bothered to tell me that it was my purpose and responsibility as a vagina owner to repopulate. Are you kidding me??? So I always just say snide like, “oh well you’re free to have a baby for me, in the meantime I’m going to enjoy not destroying my body.”
And I don’t need to mention reproducing by budding… But in college, my romantic interests just assumed “Oh, you’ve just had bad sex.” Or “Try it with me, you’ll change your mind.” UGH…

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Purple

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

YOU. ARE. NOT. BROKEN. Read that again and again because I know how hard it is living in a world where “sex means love” and “love means sex.” IT DOES NOT. You are asexual enough, and you are loved and valid by me and this community, okay? If you’re sex positive, or sex repulsed; you’re still valid and cherished. If you like sex but don’t have a sex drive, you’re still valid. If you hate sex and the very idea of touching, you’re still valid. Don’t let anyone ever police your identity because for some of us, it’s important.

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

On my blog: http://beckycause.tumblr.com/ under the tag “beckydoods” 🙂

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Fox

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

Interview: Jacen

Today we’re joined by Jacen. Jacen is an incredibly versatile artist who works in a few different mediums. She’s a very passionate visual artist who does both original work and fanart (her Eevee is truly delightful). She hasn’t met a medium she doesn’t like and uses both traditional and digital mediums. Aside from visual art, she’s an incredibly dedicated oboist who was an admirable love of music. It’s very clear that she loves creating art and that’s always awesome to see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Ahsoka

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a digital artist, primarily, but I love to experiment in all different mediums. I’ve worked with pencils and pens, Copic markers, watercolors, oil paints, India ink and more, and I like to combine different mediums as well. Be it fanart or original works, I enjoy taking an interpretive approach to my pieces.

In addition, I am a passionate musician. I’m one of the few oboists in the city and even though I haven’t been playing for all that long, I have an extensive background in music and theory.

What inspires you?

With my art, a big part of my inspiration is geometrical shapes. I like arranging irregular shapes and making them work together to form an image. As someone who heads out to the Rocky Mountains on a regular basis, I also enjoy taking inspiration from nature, both living and inanimate. And, of course, my favorite TV shows and movies. I just really love seeing my pieces come together and make sense.

My music is a lot of the same idea. I absolutely love just the sound of my oboe, and I actively enjoy practicing on my own, but my real passion is for sitting down with the entire band and hearing all the parts together. My favorite pieces are always the ones that send chills down my spine to hear and to play. I’d say that’s really why I play, to hear mine and everyone else’s parts combine to make something incredible.

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

Ever since I was very young I’ve drawn and played instruments. Growing up as a longtime student in the Gifted program, creativity was always massively encouraged. I would definitely say that being in such a program was what got me continuing to draw and make art into middle and high school. I wouldn’t say I’ve always wanted to be an artist, it’s more something that slowly and unconsciously evolved into a hobby; I’ve never really been interested in a career in art, but it’s still a big part of me.

As for music, I actually hated piano lessons when I was young, and I stopped playing anything for a long time. In eighth grade my best friend convinced me to join band and I started out on the clarinet, which I can still play, and the next year I took up oboe. That, I can see myself continuing for a long time, for sure.

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Flareon

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 mentioned earlier incorporating geometric shapes into my work, that’s really my thing. I like the challenge of taking an image and turning it into shapes, and making it still make sense. That’s something I do with a lot of my work, even sometimes when I do semi-realism.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

You really have to stop worrying about getting it right. Especially if you’re a perfectionist like me, you have to stop trying to get it right every time. You gotta experiment with styles and techniques and mediums and don’t feel that you have to know anything about that medium to just try it. If you like it, that’s when you do your research, take some classes, whatever you want. Just practice your art without worrying about how it might turn out.

For any oboists who may or may not be reading this: FIND A GOOD TEACHER. Band is great but oboes are so weird and specialized that you need an expert to help you. Oboe reeds need a lot of tweaking and I’m gonna guess you don’t know how to make reeds yet. Not to mention that damn Db key. Trust me, a teacher you get along with and who knows their stuff will be invaluable to you.

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Wolf Inverted print

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m aromantic asexual.

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

Ignorance, definitely, more than prejudice. But I’ve found that artists and creative-types in general are quite accepting and open-minded. When the odd person arises who has a real issue with it (mostly only existing on social media) I try to not let it get to me. It’s not the minority’s job to educate anyone on their community, but when someone genuinely doesn’t know what they’re talking about, I try to clear it up for them.

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

That we just don’t like sex, or we’re scared of it, or that we’ve had some kind of sexual trauma. Of course there are aces who are scared of sex or have been traumatized, but it’s inaccurate and rude to place that assumption on all of us, because it often leads to us being dismissed or harassed for it.

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

When I was figuring out I was asexual, I was scared to identify as such in case I really was just a late bloomer. There’s so much emphasis put on the fact that aces are definitely never going to change or start feeling sexual attraction that it’s easy to forget that it’s alright if it is a phase. It doesn’t make it any less valid. If you identify as ace now and you don’t later in your life, who cares? Sexuality can be fluid, so if it feels right at the moment then just go for it.

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

I have my Tumblr (http://the-cat-in-the-fez.tumblr.com/) that you can always message me on.

I post art to my Instagram (stcrmpilxt)

I have a couple works-in-progress on my AO3 (http://archiveofourown.org/users/satancat)

And I sell my art on Society6 (https://society6.com/suncat) and I’m working on uploading stuff to Redbubble (http://www.redbubble.com/people/satancat)

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Eevee

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

Interview: Kay

Today we’re joined by Kay, who also goes by Kaystronaut online. Kay is a phenomenal hobby artist who loves to draw and paint. Their work is truly extraordinary, showing an incredible attention to detail and just an astonishing use of color. There is obviously a lot of love put into their work, as you’ll soon see. It’s absolutely beautiful. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

OK, I am a hobby artist who works mainly with watercolor and various pens. I love drawing and painting my original characters but I also do fanart too. Lots of detail is a must! I got started with watercolor mainly because I have always been attracted to it as a medium and love its easy flow on paper.

What inspires you?

Lots of things actually. Catholic art, Mucha, manga. . . But movies and music are the big ones. I love Wes Anderson and Del Toro movies their visuals are always so stunning. I find though that the movies and TV shows I like don’t always match my own art style it’s a little weird.

But my favorite movies for inspiration have to be: Hellboy, The Crow, I Robot, The Dark Crystal, Jurassic Park and Megamind.

Of course Steven Universe is amazing too and also very inspiring.

eeerrr there is just too much inspiration out there!!

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

I have always been interested in drawing, but I think it was in 6th grade when it started and we had to draw a picture of a human heart. Afterwards the class was really amazed (I guess I did well meh). So I think it was others reactions that made me think that art was something I could do.

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?

Haha this is interesting I do have a signature it’s a triangle with the letter K in it for my name, though that’s not really a secret. I also love incorporating triangles and halos into my pieces because I think it adds a bit of mystery into my work. You find yourself wondering, “Are they working for the Illuminati?”

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

JUST DRAW!! No matter if it looks ‘bad’ just keep drawing and don’t stop. Fill a whole page with doodles. This is something I wish I did more of back when I was younger, I would always look at a drawing of mine and hate it and spend lots of time thinking about how to make it look perfect, when I should have just drawn without thinking it over so much.

And always remember: you can do it!!

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as Aromantic and Asexual (Aro Ace). I have always felt this way for as long as I can remember, in fact when I was younger I always thought people chose to be attracted to someone. It wasn’t until 2014 when I found out what asexuality was and started to identify myself that way.

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

Hmm because I’m just a hobbyist and have not come out to anyone other than my brother I have not run into any prejudice yet thankfully.

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

Probably that I am just really weird and out of the norm (but to me that’s more of a compliment so it doesn’t bother me to much). Though I can understand how that would bother someone who just wants to be excepted and not looked at differently.

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

This may sound cliché but just be yourself, and don’t rely on labels to much yo.

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

My Deviantart is where I am the most active. Feel free to talk to me I don’t bite!!

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

Interview: Dani

Today we’re joined by Dani. Dani is a wonderful comics artist who works with both traditional and digital mediums. They are currently working on two separate stories. They obviously have a great deal of passion and enthusiasm for their art, which is always fun to read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a traditional comic artist, who’s been dabbling in visual art for about fourteen years, but only been into drawing comics for five so there’s still a lot for me to learn. I mostly work with pens, and coloured pencils, but I occasionally draw on my phone when I’m out doing life sketches.  Currently I’m working on two ‘slice of life’ type of projects, the first one being a sort of growing up story, featuring a religious kid who learns to be more accepting; which is currently on hiatus for redrawing.

The second is more of a drama about a guy who tries to makes friends with someone who he assumes is his late childhood friend, which has more problematic subjects than the first one; definitely rated for a mature audience who can handle more disturbing stuff. They both feature mostly the same cast, but in a different setting and time-line. Which is fun since I get to work with the changing tastes, personalities, ages of the characters, and the evolution of the things around them.

Hopefully the knowledge, and experience gained from working on these projects will give me a better understanding of comics to better tackle much larger scale stories.

What inspires you?

That’s a tough question, drawing is so habitual I just do it, even during artist blocks I draw it out because I have to do it; like blinking.  But some things do help out the process, such as watching certain movies, listening to music, or generally seeing things that sparks the drive for creativity.  The genres of the movies and music vary depending on mood, but I usually get something from movies like Big Fish or Hugo, and any genre of music from the 80’s and back.

Incidentally, musicals also get me hopping.

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

I’ve been drawing before I could even remember, even have a drawing I did from when I was three, but I never had any real interest in the craft until I turned twelve.  A friend from youth group drew me a gift, and for some reason I just wanted to draw, after that I spent every waking moment drawing on anything I could get my hands on.   In high school I discovered manga, webcomics, and the like.

A friend introduced me to yaoi at sixteen, which now makes me incapable of making a character 100% straight, I guess this is a good thing depending on who you’re talking to.

Since there were already stories in my head at the time, I started dabbling in my first comic projects after graduating, but didn’t make my first dedicated project until five years ago.  Oddly enough, I didn’t, and still don’t have intentions of doing art professionally. The idea of turning the tool I use for relaxation into a source of money related stress is unappealing, I would rather kill two birds with one stone and get a higher education for a better job, while using that knew knowledge to better my art and storytelling skills.

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?

Nope, no idea.  I have been told that my linework is recognizable, but I never put much thought into adding anything special into it.  I do, however, write a signature on illustrations when I remember to.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you’re serious about improving your visual art, study from life.  You don’t have to take a class to do this, just go out and sketch what you see, sketch stuff/people around your house, sketch photos on the internet (pixelovely is a great site for this).  I’m not saying to draw realism, but go learn from life, there is no better source for improvement than the real thing.

Don’t worry about having a style yet, it’s like a fingerprint unique to you, but it’ll come as you learn.  Don’t force it, just let it happen, keep moving forward.  Practice colour theory, practice perspective, and don’t ever be scared of failing.  I can’t tell you how many drawings I’ve messed up due to being new to a certain medium, it’s going to happen, and that’s alright; it’s a part of learning.

If you include things like illness (mental and physical), drugs, or certain existing cultures in your stories; do your research.  The internet, while not always accurate, is a wealth of knowledge; don’t be afraid to take advantage of it.  If you’re only drawing for fun, and don’t care about trying to improve, good for you! Keep on keepin’ on, enjoying your craft is the number one most important thing, if studying ruins the fun for you don’t do it.

Lastly something most artist hate hearing, but learn the differences between criticism, and personal attack.  As much as you put into your work, it isn’t you, criticism of your work isn’t criticism of yourself.  Negative commentary of your work can be difficult to swallow, especially when the comment is harsh, but not everyone is going to like your art; and there will be people who like it enough to want to see you get better.

Part of being an anything, whether you’re a scientist, an artist, or a math teacher, is to be able to take criticism maturely; with a grain of salt.  Don’t let it keep you from improving, and enjoying what you’re doing… if that makes sense.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m an aromantic asexual, although I can be aesthetically attracted to anyone.  No one is safe from me thinking they look like a good drawing reference.

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

No prejudice, just ignorance, which most of that comes from my work and it’s not surprising since I live in a red state.  An odd thing is that apparently my mom, and grandma claim to also lack sexual attraction, but they can’t comprehend that it’s a sexuality; so they always say I’m straight.  I have argued that you can’t be two different sexualities at once, but the last argument they somehow equated it to being transgender… like, I can’t even.

They are from a different era after all.

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

“That’s biologically impossible”, “you just haven’t met the right guy yet”, “but you had a boyfriend before, didn’t you?”, “how can you be asexual if you’ve had sex?”, “you’ll want it when you fall in love”, “you just need someone who knows what he’s doing in bed”. The “you need a man” comment is so predictable, why can’t they break out of  their comfort zone and say I need a lady for once.

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

Don’t pay any mind to what other people think or say, they are not you, what you do with your life and body is none of their business.  Explore who you are, don’t be afraid to be “different”, don’t be afraid to be you; because no one is the same anyway.  We are all perfect in our imperfections, and no one should feel inferior because they don’t meet the social standards.

I know that the idea of not being accepted is scary, but there will always be people who will care about you, if you haven’t found those good people yet than reach out.  You will find people who will be there for you.

Sorry if this isn’t helpful, I don’t have much experience with giving advice about sexuality, and my “cool story, bro” method isn’t always the best way to tackle prejudice/ignorance.

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

I’m not super active since I work full-time, but here’s where you can find me, a quick warning that most of these contain some kind of NSFW material:

My personal blog
http://watchbii0drawshit.tumblr.com/

My webcomic blogs
http://wyihnwebcomic.tumblr.com/
http://voidwebcomic.tumblr.com/ (definitely contains violent imagery)

Webcomic sites
https://tapastic.com/Bloomer
http://www.smackjeeves.com/profile.php?id=115569

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