Interview: Sylvia Odhner

Today we’re joined by Sylvia Odhner. Sylvia is a fantastic visual artist and writer. Her visual art mostly consists of comics, fanart, and illustrations. She also has a few webcomics. It’s very apparent that she’s incredibly passionate about art. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I mostly create comics. I have one webcomic that I’ve been creating for over 7 years, Think Before You Think. It’s a romance/comedy/drama about a mind-reader. I’ve also done various fan comics and fan art, as well as illustrations for specific projects. My latest project is a blog I co-write and illustrate, Averting the Flame Wars, about online communication.

What inspires you?

Probably the thing that inspires me the most is whatever fandom I happen to be obsessed with at the moment. A large portion of my art and comics has been fan art of bands, TV shows, etc. I currently have a Tumblr blog dedicated to Vlogbrothers fan art and comics.

When I’m not doing fan art, I’m usually doing something for a specific purpose, and I get my inspiration from different places, depending on what it is. For my webcomic, I get a lot of inspiration from the TV shows and books that I like. I also get inspiration from TV shows and books that I don’t like, because I think to myself “this is so frustrating, I could do this better,” and then I create the thing that I wanted to see instead.

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

I’ve always been interested in art, as long as I can remember, and people always told me I was good at it when I was younger, so I just kept doing it. I always enjoyed the satisfaction of being able to picture something in my head and then bring it to life on paper.

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 I have anything like that.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I’m not sure what advice to give because I think every artist needs different advice. I think my general advice would be to keep trying new things. Ride on the waves of your inspiration but also try being disciplined and sticking to a schedule. Try learning new skills by taking advantage of online tutorials. Nowadays it’s possible to learn practically anything you want to for free, so don’t let the limits of your knowledge or skill hold you back.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I currently identify as asexual and hetero-romantic, although I’m not totally sure about either of those things. If I’m not completely asexual, I know I’m somewhere on the spectrum.

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

I haven’t, maybe because I haven’t ever really dealt with the topic of asexuality in my art (at least not yet), so the subject doesn’t usually come up.

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

I don’t think I’ve encountered people explicitly voicing misconceptions about asexuality. But I do hear people talking in general with the assumption that everyone experiences sexual attraction, or everyone wants sex, and is either in or looking for some kind of sexual relationship.

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

You don’t have to have everything figured out. You don’t even have to have a label for your orientation. And if you do adopt a label, you don’t have to be sure about it. I’m not even sure whether or not I really am asexual, but I call myself asexual because so far, I don’t have any reason to believe I’m not. Asexuality is probably harder to figure out than other orientations, because you’re trying to identify something that you may have never experienced yourself.

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

All my projects are listed at http://sylviaodhner.com/
Think Before You Think: http://thinkbeforeyouthink.net/
Averting the Flame Wars: http://avertingtheflamewars.tumblr.com/

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

Signal Boost: Victory Witch

Hello everyone!

Rebecca Mann’s comic Victory Witch is going to be released tomorrow! There was a signal boost on this site a short time ago, but if you forgot, this is your reminder. According to the site, victorywitch.tumblr.com, the webcomic is about the adventures of an asexual witch. “Like sorcery, conspiracy, and gay monsters. Well come on and join the fun.”

Judging from this artwork, it’s going to be a spectacular and fun comic.

Signal Boost: Victory Witch

Hello everyone!

It’s a special signal boost for Saturday. An artist I interviewed for the blog some time ago, Rebecca Mann (interview found here: Tumblr & WordPress) has a webcomic coming out soon!

Here’s what she has to say about it: I am starting a web comic called Victory Witch and it stars an asexual girl. I plan on starting it on October 10th on victorywitch.tumblr.com and I am doing weekly promos for it until release day (on my art blog acerunaway.tumblr.com and on the victory witch blog)

According to the website, the webcomic is about the adventures of an asexual witch. “Like sorcery, conspiracy, and gay monsters. Well come on and join the fun.”

It sounds fantastic. So head on over to her site and give her a follow. It sounds like it’s going to be a ridiculously fun ride 🙂

Signal Boost: Lanterns of Arcadia

Hello all!

I was contacted yesterday by an artist I interviewed some time ago. Beth has recently started a webcomic entitled Lanterns of Arcadia and it looks amazing. Fantasy fans, this is one that will probably interest you.

LoA17sm

According to the site, this is a webcomic about “monsters, magic, and mad science.” According to Beth, the main character is also ace. There are currently nine pages online and it updates daily until July 1st, after which it will update weekly.

It’s a webcomic that definitely is worth a look: http://lanternsofarcadia.com/

If you like what you see and you want to support this super cool webcomic, Beth also has a Patreaon page.

So please, give the webcomic a look and help support an awesome ace creator.

LoA1sm

Interview: Dylan Edwards

Today we’re joined by Dylan Edwards. Dylan and I were both panelists on a panel about diverse creators at WisCon this past May, which was one of my favorite panel experiences to date. I’m very rarely placed on a panel with another ace I don’t personally know, so I was beyond ecstatic when Dylan approached me to ask about Asexual Artists. Dylan is a phenomenal artist who specializes in queer and trans comics. He has been part of some truly fantastic anthologies and has written just a ton of comics. He’s currently working on a scifi webcomic that features a number of ace characters. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a comic artist whose work focuses primarily on queer and trans comics. I’m the author of Transposes, a non-fiction comic about queer-identified trans guys; and Politically InQueerect, which I like to describe as “a comic for people who wish Edmund Blackadder were gay.” I’ve also been in several notable anthologies: No Straight Lines (2013 Lambda Literary Award), QU33R (2014 Ignatz Award), and the Beyond Anthology (2016 Lambda Literary Award).

Right now my main project is a sci-fi webcomic called Valley of the Silk Sky, which features several asexual characters. While I do a lot of non-fic and autobio work, science fiction and fantasy are my first loves. Valley of the Silk Sky gives me a chance to have queer, ace, and trans characters in a story that’s much more focused on adventure than on identity issues.

I also do all-ages monster art and sculpture, called Feeping Creatures. The Feeps are asexual and agender.

What inspires you?

The strange and immense variety of earth biology. The truth is, you just can’t out-weird nature (I mean, there are photosynthetic slugs, okay?). My sci-fi stuff takes a number of things that actually exist and remixes them or cranks them up to 11. For example, spider silk is one of the strongest substances we know of, so I’ve got cow-sized spiders that put out silk which can be used as a primary building material. I stole a bunch of the biology for one of the non-human species from bees, so asexual, non-reproducing members are important to their social structure.

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

I had always been interested in comics to some degree, and as a kid cranked out several strips that were mostly ripoffs of Peanuts. I hadn’t necessarily always intended to go into comics specifically, but art was always a focus. I like telling stories, and comics merged my interests in drawing and writing.

As far as the Feeps are concerned, my grandmother was a ceramicist, so I grew up playing with clay. The Feep sculptures are made from polymer clay rather than ceramic clay, but a lot of the skills translate.

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

I do sometimes include Tarot symbolism in my work. I don’t subscribe any mystical beliefs in Tarot, but I’ve used it as a means of giving myself new ways to think about life events. It’s a fascinating source of rich symbolic language, and one that’s available to me as an atheist in a way that religious symbolism isn’t.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Be nice to everyone as much as possible. Simply being pleasant and easy to work with can do a lot for you.

Be nice to yourself, too. Comics can be really hard on the body. Sitting in contorted positions for hours will catch up to you, and physical therapy is expensive (trust me). Get up, stretch, take breaks, recharge.

There is a tendency to promise too much for too little money when you’re a younger artist, but this really does feed into the cycle of underpayment and overwork. Don’t work for free. Exposure is not payment (and places that don’t pay rarely get you very many eyeballs).

Etsy_banner

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Homoromantic. Sometimes demisexual feels right, sometimes monastic levels of celibacy is more accurate. I definitely have to be romantically interested in someone for sex to seem even slightly appealing, and it’s very rare for me to be romantically interested in someone (though it does happen).

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

Sure. Queer male culture is hypersexualized, I think to the point where people who aren’t even THAT horny all the time feel like they have to fake it to fit in. So working in queer comics I encounter a lot of false assumptions about my sexuality just because I identify as and present as male (I’m a trans guy). I get people offering weird speculations about what I must get up to sexually when I’ve never actually broached the subject with them at all.

I’ve seen some LGBT people say asexuality doesn’t get to count as a queer identity because queerness is solely defined by sexual activity. Which is a very limited viewpoint that leaves out a LOT of people, not just asexuals. For sure I think if you’re asexual you don’t HAVE to identify as queer if that doesn’t work for you (like, if you’re heteroromantic demisexual and don’t feel any particular connection to a queer identity). But coalition-building is how marginalized people get anywhere, and asexuals are a group who are marginalized based on their sexuality. Hence, queer.

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

Mostly people just seem not to believe it exists. Asexuality was never mentioned as a possible identity in high school health classes; doctors have given me really weird looks when I tell them; close friends have told me I must just be repressing myself and need to try harder to be a normal sexual person.

Also, there’s a conflation of aromanticism and asexuality, which is a trap I unfortunately fell into myself in my younger days. I remember meeting an aro ace guy in college, but since I didn’t identify with the aromantic part of his orientation I thought asexuality must not be the right descriptor for me.

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

Asexuality has a lot of different manifestations. Just as Kinsey 6s don’t represent all (or even the majority) of queer people, just as binary-gendered individuals don’t represent all trans people, an asexual person who never thinks about or engages in sex is only one possible iteration of asexuality.

So yes, you can have (and even enjoy!) sex sometimes and still be ace. It’s more to do with the level of importance you attach to sex. I’ve always been really confused by people who describe sex as one of the most important things in life. I wouldn’t put it in the top 20. But I also wouldn’t say it’s something I will absolutely never engage in.

Since this came up at the Asexual Lives panel at WisCon last month, you can look at porn and still be ace. Viewing sex on a screen or contemplating sex in your mind are both entirely different from getting naked with another human.

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

The complete list of my books for sale, and where to buy, is here:
http://www.studiondr.com/buy-stuff/

Valley of the Silk Sky is available to read online here:
http://valleyofthesilksky.tumblr.com/

Feeing Creatures are for sale here:
https://www.etsy.com/shop/feepingcreatures

If you want to keep up with my goings on, Twitter is probably your best bet:
https://twitter.com/DylanNDREdwards

VoSS_part1_cover

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

Interview: Sam

Today we’re joined by Sam. Sam is a phenomenal digital artist who works with a variety of different media. They use both traditional and digital media and a lot of their inspiration comes from their love of webcomics. Sam’s work demonstrates a remarkable skill and vivid imagination. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

charge!

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Most of my art is a combination of traditional and digital. I draw and ink by hand, and then color on my computer. I also sometimes use colored pencils or markers, and lately I’ve been practicing with gouache, which is a type of opaque watercolor paint. I’m not very good with paint yet, but I’m getting better!

I mostly draw my own characters, the majority of which are from a comic I’m currently working on. On occasion, I’ll draw little bits of fan art when it crosses my mind, but not as often. I’ve been branching out a bit lately, trying some more world-building type art, and art with clearer settings/backgrounds.

furry fyrry furry

What inspires you?

I read a fair assortment of webcomics that I love and that are good inspirations. Three of the biggest inspirations for me, comic-wise, would be Paranatural, The Glass Scientists, and Harpy Gee. Some cartoons/animated movies with nice art styles inspire me, as do some games. I like Legend of Zelda and Pokemon a lot, and draw stuff from them sometimes. Some books make me want to draw too! The main one I think would be the How to Train Your Dragon books.

is this gay

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

I’ve been drawing for a very long time! I drew a lot when I was very little, and just kept doing it and improving myself. It was a nice way to control stress and boredom, and it just makes me happy.

I got interested in comics because I love the idea of visual story telling, and I saw how happy different webcomics I read made people, and I wanted to make something like that. I hope my art makes people happy.

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 particularly. I’ve tried a couple of times to do something like that, but I’d only do once or twice, and then forget.

spade's pet

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you want to draw, or wish you could draw better, you can! Lots of people I talk to say all they can draw is stick figures or something like that; when I first started drawing, that’s all I did. Stick figures!

You can draw, it just takes practice. You’ve gotta do it a lot. Doodle on the bus, or the margins of your notes in class, or on your napkin while waiting for your food.

If you draw something and it doesn’t look very good to you, that’s no reason to stop. It’s why you should try again, and try to make it better the next time. Please don’t compare your art to someone else’s. That won’t help at all. However, you can try looking back at your old art and see how much you’ve improved.

You’ll always be changing and improving.

spicey greys

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m aro/ace!  I’m also panplatonic

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

Eh, not so much, but that’s mostly because I’m not out nor have I mentioned it ‘in real life’. Although, my family is of the mindset that you have to get married and make a family to be successful, even though none of them know asexuality actually exists.

There’s the ‘you just haven’t found the right person yet’, or ‘you’ll change your mind one day’ floating around also.

stabbing pain

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

That being ace makes you more ‘pure’ or ‘innocent’. That ace people cannot have sex/don’t have sex ever. Stuff like that. Asexual doesn’t necessarily mean sex-repulsed.

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

If you think you’re ace, that’s okay and normal! If you’re not sure you’re ‘ace enough’, remember, it’s a spectrum! If you’re ace, you’re ace; you’re on the spectrum somewhere.

And don’t feel like if you’re ace now, you ‘have’ to be ace forever. It’s okay to grow and change. Maybe twenty years from now you’ll decide you’re bisexual, et cetera, or maybe you’ll still be asexual. Both are good and okay, and whatever happens in the future doesn’t change what you are right now.

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

You can find my stuff lots of places!

I have an OC blog which is where most of my art is: http://halfwaytown.tumblr.com

A more ‘normal’ art blog (aka, not just my characters): http://licantaur.tumblr.com

A DeviantArt: http://licantaur.deviantart.com

And a webcomic! : http://forgottenpassages.smackjeeves.com

Although, the comic still being worked on and no pages are up yet. When it updates, there will be an announcement on the above listed locations.

I also have an ask blog for the How to Train Your Dragon Books: http://askhiccupandcompany.tumblr.com

villian kids

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

Interview: Parker Goodreau

Today we’re joined by Parker Goodreau. Parker is a phenomenal and versatile artist. They do both writing and illustration. They have a webcomic entitled Shadow, a Supervillain Comic. They have also written a few short stories and specialize in YA fantasy. They also do quite a bit of illustration and the images they sent to go with their interview are really beautiful. There’s so much expression and emotion in them, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

belle et bete corrected
Belle et Bete

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’ve dabbled in lots of stuff, but mostly I write fiction, do visual art, and make comics. I have a couple short stories out and I’ve contributed to a few collective art projects soon to be available to the public, so the next goal is publishing a novel. I write fantasy for teens or slightly younger kids, and my art is usually in a similar vein. I just started a really fun project, an art nouveau-ish illustrated chapter book inspired by the Cottingley Fairies. I’ve got a webcomic that’s been going for about a year and a half, which I should be working on right now. When I get into a better rhythm with that, I’m planning a slice-of-life style comic about an asexual drama student. She has a vampire girlfriend. I’m pretty stoked to finally get to work on it.

What inspires you?

Odd people. Most of my favorite characters are unconventional in some way; I love people who are peculiar and revel in it. I’m also a sucker for fairy tales, mythology, and pseudo-historical legend. And I watch a lot of cartoons.

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

My brother was a bit of an art prodigy, so I’ve been hanging around art studios and paint fumes since I was a preschooler. It never occurred to me that I might stop drawing and find some other interests, but it wasn’t until later that I considered art as a career. As far as the writing, I think it’s S.E. Hinton’s fault. I started my first novel shortly after reading The Outsiders in middle school.

Blood Muse
Blood Muse

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 sometimes feel like Beauty and the Beast is actually the only story I have any interest in, and thank God there are so many things you can do with it. Elements from that, and a few other related fairy tales, pop up all over the place in my stuff. I also really enjoy writing nonbinary characters; it’s rare that a long project of mine doesn’t have at least one.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Listen. Consume lots of whatever it is you do and engage with other people who do it. Take part in the communities that interest you and support each other. If you can’t afford to buy books or do Patreon/commissions, talking about the work you love is all the more important.

masha copy
Masha

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m asexual and biromantic (and agender, which wasn’t the question, but in my case it all feels related).

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

Young adult publishing is pretty good about it, though asexuality is not as widely talked about as other orientations. The great thing about the field is most people are willing and eager to learn, so I make myself available to answer questions and jump in if it looks like asexuality is being forgotten/misrepresented. In webcomics, there seems to be an uncommon amount of asexual rep, which is very exciting. A lot of media still considers asexual characters less interesting or marketable than allosexuals, and many people don’t understand how varied the asexual experience can be. And it still seems like most asexual/agender-coded characters are inhuman, or treated as less than human. (I once had an editor tell me the genderlessness of my character “enhances its alien nature,” which was amusing. I just made extra sure they got my pronouns right in my bio.)

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

I’ve had people question my orientation because of my lack of experience. The idea that you need to meet the right person or that you can’t know unless you try is pretty common.

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

Remember that we’re all different. I value the asexual label a lot, but it’s still a label. Everyone on the spectrum experiences and acts on their sexuality in their own way; don’t let anyone, allo or ace, make you feel uncomfortable about your identity.

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

Portfolio: https://parkergoodreau.carbonmade.com/

Patreon for webcomic and queer fiction: https://www.patreon.com/parkerctg

I post updates and other art stuff on my Tumblr: http://youdonothavetochoose.tumblr.com/

Mist and Rita edit
Mist and Rita

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

Interview: Terrana Cliff

Today we’re joined by Terrana Cliff. Terrana is a fantastic artist who is both a writer and an animator. She is currently writing the webcomic Nwain: the Knight who Wandered Dream, which tells the story of an adventuring bi/gray ace knight with depression. From her description it sounds like a positively wonderful story. 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 write, draw, animate, and code an animated webcomic, Nwain: The Knight Who Wandered Dream. It’s about a bi/gray-ace knight who goes on adventures while fighting depression.

What inspires you?

Lots of things!  90’s cartoons are especially influential to my webcomic: Gargoyles, Pirates of Dark Water, Samurai Jack.  Interactive story books, like the Arthur series.

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

I’ve always wanted to be an artist, but didn’t always think I’d be one.  For a while, I figured I’d be a scientist (assuming, in my innocent youth, that I’d get paid better).  But I discovered I don’t enjoy lab work.  I do enjoy drawing.  I went to an art school and discovered I enjoy animating.  Writing is like pulling out your own teeth and trying to build a house with them, but I like the results.  A tooth house is something you can be proud of.

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

Nope.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Art is hell.  You’re in hell. You are Sisyphus and Tantalus both, pushing a big rock to get at art grapes that are always out of reach and probably imaginary.  Accept it.  Look up from your burden every once in a while and smell the roses from heck. Then draw the roses.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am grey-ace, or about 99.9% ace.  I’ve been attracted to so few people that I hesitate to give it an orientation, but bi (as in, two or more genders) is close enough.

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

I haven’t personally encountered any.

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

Of those people who have heard of asexuality, some assume there is no spectrum.  They think a heterosexual demi- or grey- ace must identify as straight.  As if they’re in charge of how everyone on the planet is allowed to feel.

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

I’m 32 and I only figured out where I am in the last year or so.  It’s okay to go slow.  You’re in a weird zone of invisible nuance which our culture has not equipped you to navigate.  You might bump into things.  That’s okay. Go by feel.  Even after a long time, you might never know for sure where you are or where you’re going, and that’s okay too.  You don’t have to be certain.  Vague feelings are valid feelings.

Also, I am living proof that you can find and keep a wonderful romantic relationship.  We’ve been together for 12 years.

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

Nwain: The Knight Who Wandered Dream: http://nwain.com
My Patreon: http://patreon.com/terranacliff
My art portfolio: http://terranacliff.com

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

Interview: Paige Hender

Today we’re joined by Paige Hender. Paige is an incredibly enthusiastic illustrator. She is working on a webcomic called Celestial Bodies. Aside from illustration, she also specializes in sequential art. The lines and colors really makes her images pop, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

dreamlife
Dreamlife

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a visual artist with a focus in illustration and sequential art. I run a webcomic called Celestial Bodies about witch hunters in a small college town and the struggles they face. I try to focus as much attention possible to shape, flow, and color. I feel that these three things can truly bring a piece to life.

What inspires you?

Honestly there is no driving force in my life greater than spite. In my freshman year of high school a teacher told me that I would never get into art school or become a professional. I’m trying desperately to piss her off. I’ve also managed to make a few enemies amongst my peers who are absolutely fantastic artists, so there’s a bit of animosity driving me there as well.

When it comes to inspiration for subject matter, I’ve always been interested in otherworldly material, like the occult and old folktales. Within the last year I’ve become especially interested in witches. Seeing other people make art that involves these subjects always gets me really excited to create!

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Header

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

I grew up with the most insane admiration for my older sister. I’d never tell her, of course, because that’s how sisters are, but I wanted to be just like her. I don’t know if she necessarily wanted to be an artist, but she was always drawing. So once she started drawing, so did I. By the time I hit fifth grade she knew she wanted to be something else, but I knew there was nothing else that made me happier than drawing. Flashback to around the time I was in third grade, when she let me sneak into her room at night and watch Inuyasha with her while our parents thought we were asleep. That show more or less opened my eyes to the world of anime and laid a plague on my home. I would say that seeing art like that on screen and in print was what really cemented the idea in me that I wanted to make art for a living.

undying
Undying

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’ve been getting into traditional symbolism a lot lately. I like to put actual research into any sort of subject matter I put in my work. For example if I have a character surrounded by flowers, I want to look up what each flower means so I know I’m saying something more than it seems. Some symbols I’ve been looking into a lot more lately include water, mirrors, and various plants.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Draw every day. No matter what. Even if it’s a doodle in the margin of your notes. Keep your end goal in mind and work harder towards it than you think might be possible. Your mind can do incredible things. Trust your mind, trust your eyes, and trust your heart. Don’t force yourself to draw something you don’t want to (unless it’s for a grade or for money). Don’t you dare give up. You can endure whatever life throws at you as long as you have a pencil. Keep trying!

stuDYING
stuDYING

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual heteromantic, and I’m starting to realize that I’m pretty sex-repulsed.

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

I’m not deep enough in my field to encounter any prejudice, but I have encountered it in my daily life. My mother, for example, still doesn’t believe that it’s a real sexuality. I was once in a creative writing class where a girl basically told me to my face that I was broken, that there was something wrong with me. And of course there are just ignorant people in general. I’ve been very fortunate to find friends and classmates who understand my sexuality and are not disturbed by it at all. Many of my closest friends are asexual, as well. Truth be told we’ve formed a little ace squad.

unhinged
Unhinged

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

I’ve of course gotten the jokes about asexual reproduction and the like, but once that wears off people tend to sweep asexuality under the rug. It’s a passing one-liner, nothing more. In my experience, people are far too likely to deny the existence of asexuality altogether. And I’m not surprised, in our sexually charged culture, that people feel that way but it’s still unnerving to come up against such fervent deniers of my identity.

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

Please take your time to discover yourself. You have all the time in the world. You are not broken or wrong for who you are. Don’t feel like your sexuality is equivalent to your social status. And don’t let anybody tell you that you’re not real. If your friends bully you about your sexuality, tell them off. Fuck them up. Please please fight for yourself. And never stop learning about who you are.

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

You can find me at two different blogs, http://paigumondus.tumblr.com/ and http://paigudoodle.tumblr.com/, the latter of which is my art blog.

You can find me on twitter at paigumondus and on DeviantArt at http://wastelandsandroses.deviantart.com/

You can also read my webcomic, Celestial Bodies here http://celestialbodieswebcomic.tumblr.com/

RWBY
RWBY

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

Interview: Bxndit

Today we’re joined by Bxndit. Bxndit is a phenomenal artist who is incredibly active online. She contacted me after a number of her followers directed her to this site and I’m grateful they did, because her work is awesome. She is currently working on a webcomic and her work is very character focused. There’s a wonderful lightheartedness to her drawings, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Warning: the last picture with some blood in it.

angel 2
Angel 2

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art is mainly based around a set of characters that I’ve created to be featured into a web comic that is currently in the works. Up until recently, I kinda moved between different styles before settling on a very cartoony-style. My art consists mainly of these characters that I’ve been working on, and their developments. I’ll sometimes dip into fanart from time to time, of whatever I’m into at the moment, and I’ll do quite a lot of art for other artists, whether it’s in trades or commissions or even just gift art. I’ve started to create silly little comics that are very rough and sketchy, mainly for humour purposes. I’ll usually use these to convey a zany persona for myself, and they’ll usually feature me with another friend. All in all my art isn’t super serious and it’s meant to be quite light hearted and follow my sense of humour, which is pretty zany and goofy. Some of it will be serious, but man that is pretty rare.

What inspires you?

SO MUCH! Especially the art style from any of the Gorillaz’ music videos, I adore that style and have tried to incorporate it. A lot of shows that I watched as a kid inspired me a lot, I was super into Disney, which lead to my art having a very limited sense of realism to it, I’ve always tried to show the same kind of flow and emotion that Disney character art show in my own work. One of the biggest inspirations to my art and the characters I work with especially was a lot of the anime-ish styles from shows that I was into, especially Fullmetal Alchemist and Teen Titans. These shows in particular are still a driving force in my desire to create very in-depth and relatable characters. As I think about this I keep pulling more things that inspire me, even things with really nice atmospheres and aesthetics like Rapture from the Bioshock series and the Wastelands from the Fallout series. More importantly I take a lot of inspiration from the artists that I speak with and the encouragement I get from the people around me. I have quite a few friends that really push to get me to be the best that I can, which is awesome. Both my parents help quite a bit too. Just seeing that genuine love and interest in what I’m doing really gives me this rush of motivation to keep going and to get better, even if I’m not feeling great about my art.

For any of my dumb-humour comics that I’ve done, they’re usually based on something that has happened, and all I’m doing is recreating it.

angel
Angel

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

I’ve always been encouraged to draw, from the moment I was able to hold a crayon I’ve been encouraged to create. Back home my Mum has every drawing I’ve ever done tucked away in ring binders and boxes, and we used to hang up a lot of my drawings from when I was very young. My grandparents did the same thing. I remember specifically one day I was in a group project at school when I was maybe 6 or 7 years old and we were drawing animals out of picture books to create puppets for the story we were putting on for the class, and my best friend turned to me and said something along the lines of “Wow! That is really good you should draw them all” and at that point I started thinking about whether I was good at drawing. I mean, speaking as someone who is training to go into teaching, kids adore those kind of compliments, and I totally rode on that compliment and it drove me to get better and better, it was even better that I found that I really enjoyed drawing. I was encouraged to doodle on my jotters a lot going through Primary School, since it really helped my focus. So it’s really all been down to encouragement from others and then actually realizing that I liked drawing. Creating my own stories and characters just seemed to fit in naturally with that, especially since I’ve never been good at actually writing stories down, it fit in nicely with my want to draw. I did get made fun of it for a while in school from kids outside of my social circle, but my love for it has been too great to actually let it get to me.

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 art styles have been changing quite rapidly since I started drawing seriously after school, so there isn’t anything consistent other than my watermark, which I’ll fit in somewhere in each drawing. It depends on the characters I’m drawing, some of them have specific symbols relating to them that I’ll fit in. For example, my character Bandit has the alchemical symbol for Earth on him in a few places (He’s similar to an earth-bender from The Last Avatar series)

bandit
Bandit

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Practice! I’ll always preach that drawing and art is a skill, not a talent. Like any other skill, you’ll have to practice it to get better. No-one is born drawing flawless art, in the same way that no-one is born being able to swim perfectly. Don’t be too harsh on yourself, either. Comparing yourself to a ‘better’ more experienced artist is one of the most disheartening things to do. It’s happened to me a few times where younger, new artists have compared their work to mine and felt like they’ll never get to the level they’ve put me at. I’ve been drawing since I was able to pick up a drawing utensil and I’m 21 now, which is such a long time to be drawing, you’re just starting out. It’s your art, not anyone else’s so don’t compare it (the only comparison you should make is when you look back on your old art, and honestly when you look back and see the difference it’s the best feeling.)

Don’t feel invalidated because you don’t produce the kind of art that gets attention, a lot of artists, including myself, feel like they’ll never be ‘popular’ unless they draw fanart. If you want to draw fanart go for it! But if you wanna draw some of your own characters don’t let that stop you, draw for yourself, the attention from others will come later. Personally it is a much more satisfying way to treat art. Don’t think you’re creative? Quick! Think of two things and mix them together, what do you get?

Finally, speak with other artists! I know that starting out can be really daunting with artists that appear to already have their own groups of friends that they work with, but you’ll be surprised how many of us want to talk with others and work with as many artists as possible. Personally, I’ve set up quite a few groups that artists are welcome to join and just hang out and get to talk to other artists. Just speaking with and getting advice from other artists is great! There are a lot of ‘popular’ artists that love helping out aspiring artists, we all started out in the same place, it’s good to help others.

isa believe
Isa Believe

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Aromantic Asexual. For a very long time I wasn’t really sure where I would fit in, and there was a period of time that I was convinced that there was something wrong because I just wasn’t interested in relationships or sex. Even after trying being in relationships it still got nothing out of me. It wasn’t until I was doing research on inclusion for a teaching module at university and I had come across the treatment of LGBT+ kids in secondary schools in Scotland, and after a little further I realized that, hey, other people are like this, I’m not crazy!

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

Personally, no. I have seen it around the internet, but it’s never actually happened to me. Whether that is down to the fact that I am very sparing with sharing my personal life online or if I have surrounded myself with the correct people, I don’t know. Though in the rare times I have spoken about asexuality I’ve been informed that it’s not real, though I find myself ignoring those kind of comments, the only person that actually gets to have a say is me.

murkIPLERGH
murkIPLERGH

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

That it doesn’t exist? I dunno, so far it’s been the only way that I’ve been able to explain to myself about where I sit in the spectrum.

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

There is nothing telling you that you must find what you identify as at this very moment, and don’t stress out that you haven’t found yourself yet. One day everything is going to fall into place and it’ll all work out, you’re just working up until that day at the moment. Regardless of what happens and where you place in the spectrum I believe in you.

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

I consistently post on my Instagram and I’m the most active on there.
I am working on getting all my work over to my Tumblr and eventually set up my own site, but for the moment it is mainly Instagram that I operate on.

oz
Oz

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