Today we’re joined by EJ Anderson. EJ is a wonderful writer and visual artist who is the creator of Gecko Jehovah, a webcomic that prominently features a m/m couple. The webcomic has been running since June 2015. EJ is an incredibly passionate and dedicated artist who has been drawing for years. Her enthusiasm is admirable, 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’ve had a lot of different projects but right now I write and draw a long-form webcomic called Gecko Jehovah, which I’ve been publishing since June 2015. It’s my very first adventure in digital drawing and also my first exercise in drawing (almost) every day since high school.
What inspires you?
Good comedy, good dialogue, observational writing in general. And then lot of the basic concepts and main characters in my ‘verse come from dreams because I used to be very diligent about writing down my dreams, but I’m less consistent with that these days.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
Yep. I’ve been drawing since I was a little kid and I went to an arts magnet high school and then majored in art at university ever since then. I’m impaired in math so I wasn’t able to pursue any of my more scientific interests because of that.
I’ve only been drawing “seriously” – as in, almost every day and with the explicit goal of improvement – since August 2014, though. And I started doing this at the encouragement of a dear friend who thought I might have a grain of a cool story in the universe I’d created when I was much younger.
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’m big on Easter eggs and I slip them in whenever I can, and it’s not really important to me whether anyone finds them, it’s just a fun thing that keeps the process interesting.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Keep plugging away, I know it’s cliché but it works. And sometimes you’re going to feel like you’ve plateaued or even that your skills are getting worse. This is a normal part of the process, because seeing and actually drawing are two separate skillsets that can sometimes get out of sync with each other. So sometimes you’ll be better at seeing your mistakes than you are at correcting them, and when this happens you just have to keep drawing and eventually your brain will sort itself out.
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?
Within my artistic field? Nah, not really. In fact I think every time I’ve asked if asexual artists are included in calls for LGBT-produced comics, the answer has been yes, which is wonderfully refreshing.
Outside of comics, on the larger internet as a whole, though? There’s a lot of it. I typically handle it by using filters and blockers to hide upsetting content from myself but honestly I’m quite bad at that and I get into arguments pretty regularly.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
That asexual people with opposite-sex partners are “just straight”. I’d say this isn’t so much a misconception as it is an informed opinion that I fundamentally reject, though.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
First off, that it’s okay to shed the asexual label if you find it no longer applies to you. Labels are tools and it’s perfectly fine to stop using them when they stop working. I say this because I’ve known very young people who assumed they were asexual when in fact they were just developing an interest in sex at a later age than their peers, and this can create an identity crisis. So know that it’s absolutely fine to change your label at any time and it doesn’t mean you were faking or lying before, it just means you’re learning new things about yourself.
And second, and this is a big one: know that you don’t have to have sex. Ever. You don’t have to go skydiving, you don’t have to climb Mt. Everest, you don’t have to hike the Appalachian Trail, you don’t have to kiss the Blarney Stone, and you don’t have to have sex. Just because it’s on most people’s bucket list doesn’t mean it has to be on yours.
And if you’re romantic but sex-repulsed, know that it’s absolutely possible to have a happy, healthy, long-term relationship where sex is simply not on the table. I know it’s cheesy to say “there’s a lid for every pot” but the human species is insanely diverse, the internet has given us access to so many types of people, and you (yes you) can meet somebody. Don’t give up hope.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
Thank you, EJ, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.