Today we’re joined by Bethany Heim. Bethany is an amazing and versatile artist who hasn’t met a medium she doesn’t like. She writes, she draws comics, and she does quite a lot of Girl Genius fanart. Bethany is quite popular for her tea blends, which she sells on Etsy. She’s an incredibly 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.
I’m pretty much constantly creating something. I draw two ongoing comics, I write prose fiction, and I dabble in cosplay and other textile arts. Around these parts, though, I think I’m mostly known for making the Girl Genius tea blends.
What inspires you?
My brain doesn’t sit still. If I have to a mindless repetitive task, then I guarantee I’m writing in my head. Sometimes I’m just plotting major events in a story, but I’ve actually had to memorize entire paragraphs of dialogue because I wrote them while driving.
If I’m terribly honest, anger and spite also give my work a major boost. I’m currently writing a novel that would not exist without spite.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
Oddly enough, I’ve drawn for as long as I can remember, and I first developed a serious interest in writing when I was about ten or eleven, but I was in my early twenties before it occurred to me that I could combine the two by drawing comics.
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 like monochrome. My comics are black and white. I also do a lot of ink wash style fanart in single colors (I tend to favor burgundy and brick shades for those).
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Never stop trying new things. You don’t know what your next Big Project will be.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
At my day job, the bosses tend to treat me like I’m a lot younger than I am because I neither have nor want a “significant other”. When work friends complain about their love lives and I try to contribute to the conversation, I get told: “You wouldn’t understand.” Then I blow off steam by angrily writing healthy relationships in my fiction.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
I was about to say that it’s the old “You just haven’t met the right person” nonsense, but actually, I hear “You wouldn’t understand” so much more. I’m a writer. I observe people professionally. I may not understand wanting to be in a relationship from personal experience any more than I know what it’s like to fight Vikings, but that doesn’t mean I can’t use my imagination to put myself in someone else’s shoes.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. It’s okay if you’re thirty, forty, fifty years old and you still don’t know. Just take your time and get to know yourself. I promise, you’re valid, and there’s nothing wrong with you.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
My two comics (which will be coming off hiatus in February) are outside-in.thecomicseries.com and discord.thecomiciseries.com, and a small excerpt from the novel I’m working on, as well as quite a lot of Girl Genius fanfiction, can be found on my fiction blog at overlord-off-record.tumblr.com. My main blog, bethany-sensei.tumblr.com, is a mess of art and reblogs. Oh, and those teas I mentioned can be found at etsy.com/shop/bethanysarts.
Thank you, Bethany, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.