Today we’re joined by Nicole Blanchard, who is also known as nicoledraws online. Nicole is a wonderful visual artist who does quite a bit. They do a lot of sketches and drawings, as well as some fanart. They’ve recently gotten into cosplay and are currently studying Media Arts and Animation. They are obviously quite passionate about art, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
Visual Artist here who mainly dabbles in sketching and drawing. Painting is on my list as well, but is done much less often due to the fact I do not get a lot of time to sit down at home where all my supplies are.
I also double as a FanArtist. I just recently got into the cosplay game and don’t possess “professional” photos, but I have been drawing fanart for at least the last six years of my life. It’s good practice and gets your name out there.
And occasionally, I do animate. Media Arts and Animation is currently what I am in school for so there’s that as well.
What inspires you?
There is no one specific thing that gives me inspiration. It comes and goes from many different places.
The only mildly consistent aspect of it is that it usually tends to be from real life. Whether it be from long talks with one of my closest friends or experiences I’ve had.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
Memories of my childhood, in all honesty, are blurry at best. So I can’t say what got me interested in art—just that it happened.
For as long as I can remember, I have always found joy and comfort in drawing. It’s not only therapeutic but I feel I am most myself when doing it.
If nothing else, the one thing I do remember was the fact that I did always have a desire to grow up and be an artist. However, thanks to career counselors and other adults, it never seemed like a realistic goal and dream to have at the time. The whole “starving artist” myth is legitimately terrifying to a child from an already struggling household.
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?
Not really. At least, not that I have personally noticed or consciously done.
Though I am hoping to fix that. I want to get to a point talent-wise and artistically where someone can immediately identify my work as mine without having to look at my name.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
There is always going to be someone better than you in some way. However, don’t let this lead you down the road of a quitter—instead use it as a motivation to improve.
With any form of art, the only way to get better is to keep doing it. Don’t ever stop, because stopping might as well be you giving up.
Some people need to work harder to get to a certain level of mastery and that’s okay. Not every person in the world has a knack for picking things up easily. Every person learns at their own pace. At least a decade worth of drawing and I’m still learning.
Another important aspect to any form of art is constructive criticism. You, as a producer of content, need to listen to the criticism of your audience. The input they can provide can be very insightful and point flaws out that you might have never noticed on your own. And this goes for not only basic theories and principles of your art form, but potentially offensive topics.
However, also keep in mind that you cannot please every single person you meet. Simply be open-minded and kind.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
The sexual identity I am currently most comfortable with and feel fits the best is “asexual” itself — not a branch of it.
However, my romantic identity remains an oddity to even myself. I am currently coming to terms with the fact I reside somewhere on the aro-spectrum, but am also hesitant to label myself fully as “aromantic” despite never experiencing the feelings in question.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
My sexuality isn’t exactly an aspect of myself I have made common knowledge in my daily life and to the people in it. So needless to say, the answer would be an overall “no.” Very few people, even within my circle of friends and acquaintances, know about it. It just isn’t something I tend to talk about, though it’s not a fact about me that I purposely hide either.
The topic of sexuality as a whole isn’t something ever brought up at the college I attend or the places I work, so it might just be a matter of “ignorance is bliss.”
There was a misconception of “being ace means you don’t like sex” once or twice, but that’s about as far as it went.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
In person, definitely “being ace means you don’t like sex.”
On the internet, it’s been quite an ugly mix of comments. The two worst being “aroace people are just Straight People wanting in on the LGBT+ community and its resources” and “cishet aces are Straight.” Both of which mainly come from members of the LGBT+ community and enforce heteronormativity in the process.
What many LGBT+ people on the internet fail and refuse to realize is that The Straights don’t see us as straight. In their eyes, we are not one of them.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
Life is too short to hate yourself. There are things about you that you can’t change; so instead of letting the world make you feel bad for it, embrace and accept it even if it is difficult to do so.
Do not change per the request of anyone (partner, family, or otherwise), because I can guarantee that you won’t be happy in the end.
And if one moment you find your ace label (whatever it may be) does not fit like it did before, don’t fret. Sexuality and gender is a spectrum. Labels are meant to help identify yourself, but are not inherently permanent. Do and use what you feel is best in that moment.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
My artwork can mainly be found on Tumblr under a side-blog with the url nicoledraws.
However, I do also have a Twitter account that has some artwork that never sees the light of day on Tumblr. As a warning though: the twitter account is a lot less organized and also has a lot of non-art related topics attached to it. You can find me currently at mokamazing there.
Thank you, Nicole, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.