Today we’re joined by Shaylee. Shaylee is a wonderful visual artist who works mostly in digital mediums. Her work is beautiful, displaying a wonderful amount of emotion and an artist with a great eye. When she’s not drawing, Shaylee also enjoys writing and does some cross stitch. It’s very apparent that she’s a passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
When I was a kid, I loved crayons and glitter glue and little homemade story books made out of stapled together printer paper. As a preteen, it was all about colored pencils and pens and some really embarrassing fanfictions. Then it shifted to watercolors and poetry and some really depressing song lyrics. Now, I work with digital art and both original work and fanfictions. I like to use Paint Tool Sai and haven’t found any other programs I particularly like just yet.
What inspires you?
It’s a bit of an eclectic mish-mash to tell the truth. I love the look of more historical styles like Art Nouveau, but also the cartoony styles. There was also the love of anime as a preteen that fueled some of the first drawings. Often, I find that my style will not match an inspiration that I pick, because it always changes itself. Often times, it’s just techniques that muck together, such as a particular type of gradience or color choices. I’ve been experimenting with line thickness and colors more recently.
For my writing, I find that I love to put twists on more common tales and tropes. I love fairytales, and there’s nothing like giving new information and twists to it. It may be the same old trope, but if you change some aspects, it will become something entirely new and different. Everyone’s heard the original, so the challenge is to keep them interested!
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I’ve been drawing and writing as long as I remember. I was reading out loud to my cousins when I was three, and later on I would illustrate and write my own stories that were carefully stapled together and put on the bookshelf. Shockingly, most of them ended with a marriage, four children and a happy ending. Later on, it was fueled by manga reading and a want to tell stories with what I made. I have yet to actually make a comic, but there are several storylines that I have built up over time to tell.
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?
One thing that I do is to particularly outline the lips and to usually only color the top half. This started because of a love for the artists Mothsbymoonlight and Dyemelikeasunset. They both have several beautiful styles and techniques, and I always loved the ways that they drew mouths.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
My best advice would be to work with what you know and then expand. When you get good at color, then start up with the next thing. If you just jump into something entirely new, there’s a good chance that you might feel flustered because you don’t have a frame of reference. You don’t always have to jump in the deep end, it’s okay to wade in a little.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I’m an asexual with a vague hand wiggle for romantic inclination. A lot of things are more circumstantial and fluid for me for romance.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
I’ve thankfully have only faced the confused questions towards myself, but I have seen some stark examples of acephobia, especially when the ace community is trying to step up and out to be noticed. My tactic is mostly education. Sometimes hate can stem from miscommunication or from not understanding. Of course, it doesn’t always work, so don’t be afraid to just turn away either. There is no harm in placing your own health and mind in priority.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
There’s the very common ‘you mean like reproducing by yourself?’ kind of science questions. It’s annoying, but usually it’s not mean but misguided. Not everyone knows about asexuality outside of high school biology. One of the other big things is about asexuals not having sex. You can have sex without a sex drive, and some do it as they wish. I prefer no sex, but I have engaged in it for reasons of my own before and it really surprised people when I told them. Everyone is their own mishmash of tastes and preferences, just like anything else.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
To be honest, it might be difficult, because there’s not always clearcut signs. It’s like looking for the absence of something you haven’t seen. It can be hard, but I say to embrace the label as long as you see fit. There’s no harm in finding out that a different label fits you better later on. I saw myself as several different identities before asexual, and each of them were completely valid at the time.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
I usually post art to http://luckysee12.deviantart.com/ and fanfiction to http://archiveofourown.org/users/Luckysee12 and I have my Tumblr http://luckysee12.tumblr.com/ but I will warn you that it is mainly memes.
Thank you, Shaylee, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.