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.
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.
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.
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?
My webcomic, which is about a superhero’s girlfriend becoming a villain, can be read here: http://www.smackjeeves.com/comicprofile.php?id=144930
I post updates and other art stuff on my Tumblr: http://youdonothavetochoose.tumblr.com/
And I have a short story in this ghost-themed steampunk anthology: http://amzn.com/B015YQG7MO
Thank you, Parker, for participating in this interview and this project. It is very much appreciated.