Today we’re joined by Rosa. Rosa is a fantastic visual artist and fanartist. She mostly does digital art and enjoys drawing her interpretations of characters from fandoms she follows. When she’s not drawing, Rosa enjoys writing fanfiction and has recently gotten into costume making. She also dabbles in cosplay. It’s clear that Rosa is a talented and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
The majority of my art is fanwork; I get great enjoyment out of creating content for my favourite series and getting to explore how I depict the characters and events in them! I do mostly digital art, though I also love writing fanfiction. I do cosplay on the side as well! I’m still learning with that, but costume-making is an absolute blast to me and I look forward to seeing how my skills with it will grow.
What inspires you?
This has always been a really hard question for me! My inspirations always seem to either be very nebulous or very, very obvious. “What inspires you?” This videogame/book/movie inspires me because I like it! Because I like it, I want to create things with it. The interest in a particular series creates the inspiration to work with it, for me.
I do have some specific inspirations, mostly from nature. Certain environments – huge mountainscapes, the open ocean – always light up my imagination.
The idea that I can create content that others will enjoy or relate to is always a good one. Whenever I make something, I’m often thinking “I wonder what everyone will make of this. I wonder what their favourite parts will be”.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I’ve been drawing since before I could remember! I still have sketchbooks from back when I was four. It’s always been a pursuit I’ve loved dearly, but I’d have to say that one of the very first things that got me into it was my active imagination. As a kid I was coming up with new creatures and mythologies almost on the daily, and drawing was the easiest way for me to manifest them. I’ve always wanted to be an artist, yes – but not necessarily a visual artist! My earliest passion was to be an author, and I still consider that my primary “thing”. (Even if I’m the world’s slowest writer…)
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 have a lot of creator’s thumbprints in my designs – I’m not necessarily aware of them all until someone comes up to me and says “as soon as I saw that, I could totally tell it was yours”! That said, I haven’t actually had a specific symbol or signature for a very long time. Back when I did, it was a stylised eye. I absolutely love the image of piercing, staring eyes still, so it’s definitely stuck with me!
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
I hate to give the cop-out answer, but listen: you gotta practice! Everyone knows that though, so I’ll tell you some things I wish I’d learnt earlier.
You really are your own worst critic. I’ll look at a feature on my art – a hand, a shading technique, whatever – and look at someone else’s art where it was drawn exactly the same, and I will still think that my version of it looks worse. Sometimes the best thing you can do is pass your work to someone else and say, “hey, this thing here, how does it look?” You’ll be surprised how often the problem is only in your head. Taking breaks from a piece is great for that; if you’re running up against a wall with something, I can guarantee you that trying to bruteforce it will just exhaust you and make you hate that piece. Step back, do something else, let yourself forget about it for a while.
References are your friend and they will help you mightily. Never be afraid to use them – that’s why they exist! And believe me, there’s a reference for everything. It’s wonderful. Go nuts with it.
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?
In my field specifically? Thankfully, no, not really. It has almost never come up regarding my art, but sadly, I’ve encountered all sorts of prejudice in other areas of my life. Admittedly, I haven’t really intertwined my orientation with my art until very recently, so I don’t have the most experience.
When it does come up, I tend to just block and move on, or if I feel that the person involved might be receptive to a discussion, I try to engage them. Thanks to my personal experiences and the recent environment around asexuality and aromanticism, I’ve become very scared and cautious about even getting into it. If I even suspect that someone might have something bad to say about us, I tend to shut off to them entirely.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
Offline, people making the absolute conflation that sex = love/romance. Almost every single person I’ve ever tried to explain asexuality to immediately gets stuck on the snag of “but if you don’t have sex does that mean you don’t love anyone?” It’s baffling and incredibly frustrating. Sometimes it goes as far as the person assuming that a lack of sexual attraction makes me some kind of cold emotionless freak. Just because I don’t do the do doesn’t mean I lack the capacity for warmth, genius.
I encounter lots of misconceptions about asexuality in general. Visibility and resources about it are so low that people genuinely don’t know anything. Even my other LGBTQ+ friends sometimes struggle to come to grips with it. Oftentimes people default to thinking it’s a choice and equate it with abstinence or celibacy.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
Don’t ever feel ashamed to question yourself and explore what everything means to you. Asexuality can be hard to recognise in yourself – especially if you’re surrounded by media and things telling you that sex is the bomb-diggety. Take your time with it.
Being asexual doesn’t mean you’re “frigid”, “evil”, or “just haven’t tried it”. Anyone who says so is ignorant at best and malicious at worst. Ignore them. You know yourself best.
Just as importantly: please don’t feel ashamed if you find out that you’re not asexual. Identity is a journey and making a few missteps on the way doesn’t render your or your current identity wrong!
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
I’m an awfully disorganised person, so my “portfolio” – as it were – is all over the web! One day I’ll collate it all in a single place, I promise.
The best place to start would be my deviantART, where I post the more finished pieces: https://electrosa.deviantart.com/
I also post on Tumblr! I have a few blogs where I post the rest of my art, which includes all the more “casual” and scribbly things that I don’t port over to my dA. Here they are: http://electrosa-rs.tumblr.com/tagged/my+art and http://queensectonia.tumblr.com/tagged/my+art.
Thank you, Rosa, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.