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