Today we’re joined by Beth Yarde. Beth is a wonderfully talented writer who has a webcomic and also does a lot of illustration. The pictures they sent along are quite lovely. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
Hm, well, I like to do a lot of illustrative, cartoonish pieces. I’m best with either a pencil or a tablet, and I usually have a person as the main focus. I’m still at school, so right now I’m looking to expand my repertoire of abilities! I try to tell a story with each piece I draw, and create dynamic characters that people can identify with.
What inspires you?
Okay, so, story wise, for my webcomic? It all started with The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl, and it all snowballed from there. No shame.
Stories where there’s an intense emotional bond between characters (…not really romance, more often friendship or sheer loyalty) always make me want to create, or stories where someone gets a fantastic gift and they use it for the most mundane everyday things.
For art, I like pieces where there’s still a remnant of the guidelines the artist used to line it, and a monochrome palette with just one striking colour. Strong colours, heavy brushstrokes, and an intense atmosphere are also good, along with expressive scribbles that only imply a shape. Fluid, flowing shapes and unnaturally coloured hair.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
For the first ten or so years of my existence, I swore up and down I was going to be a detective. Then, I was going to be a writer. About six or seven years ago, I gained access to the internet, read about forty or fifty webcomics, and decided that I wanted to be capable of doing that too. I specifically realised I wanted to be able to draw after I read Today Nothing Happened, by Shazzbaa. Fantastic work, and I heartily recommend her current webcomic, Runewriters. Oh, and it was also from her that I first heard the term ‘asexual’, I’d forgotten about that! Thanks, Shazzbaa!
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?
Haha, well, there’s a couple of recurring motifs, but nothing really specific. There’s a butterfly symbol that I can put in my signature, but I always forget it, alas.
If it’s a very large project, I might draw myself as a background character, or throw in little references to other work I’ve done (keeping everyone confined to their own universe and canon is boring). In my comic, there might be a few small background details that either hint at upcoming storylines or pay homage to other works I’ve enjoyed.
Oh, and ponytails. I just like ponytails. Fun to draw, and they look great.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
You know that one artist you really like? Take one of their works and get a piece of paper, and try your best to copy it. Don’t try to go around claiming it’s yours or anything, just try to get a feel for how they do things! Then, all those drawing tutorials you’ve saved? Don’t just hold onto them, sit down and put a bit of time aside to follow them step by step. Do this over and over again. Mix together the stuff you like, get rid of the stuff you don’t. The tutorials are really nice, but the best way to learn how to draw, is to draw! Take a sketchbook and try to draw something small every day, and do it even if you think it looks bad. Drawdrawdrawdrawdraw.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I am asexual! On the romantic side of things… I saw someone use wtf?mantic once, and that seems to be the best way to describe it.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
I haven’t gotten much more than a mild ‘oh so you bud?’ comment from anyone I’ve told, which is nice! Although a friend, when I showed them an asexual character of mine, told me that they thought guys couldn’t really be asexual. That person was summarily ignored, and that character continues to be aggressively aro/ace.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
That we seem to think it’s funny when you do the whole ‘oh so you bud?’ routine. It wasn’t even funny the first time, sorry guys.
More prominently, that it’s just a phase and we’ll grow out of it. To those people, come back in 60 years and I’ll tell you whether or not I ever grew out of it.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
You’re okay, it’s not a flaw, and anyone pressuring you to be something you’re not can go take a hike. If they want babies so badly, they can go make babies themselves. It’s your life, not theirs.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
As I said, still in school, so most of my physical work is in that direction! I’m working on getting it out to a more professional level. Online, I have a webcomic that’s currently hosted at SmackJeeves, with a mirror over on Taptastic that will get updated every half-chapter or so. I also have a semi-professional art tumblr, along with my not-professional-at-all personal tumblr! The personal tumblr has much more art on it. The webcomic has the most art on it. And asexual characters. Many of these characters are jerks, but, you know, likable jerks. With superpowers. Please read my webcomic.
Thank you so much, Beth, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.