Interview: Anna

Today we’re joined by Anna. Anna is the phenomenal visual artist and writer behind the webcomic, Last Living Souls. Her webcomic is about a man who wakes up with no memory of what happened to him and journeys to the nearest town for help, but instead finds a town of the living dead and he’s one of them. It’s an intriguing premise and definitely worth looking up. Anna has also recently gotten into creating visual novels. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and talented artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Hey there! I’m a webcomic artist and I’ve been writing and illustrating Last Living Souls since 2011. During that time I’ve been also picking up visual novel development as it’s a great way to tell other stories without the huge time commitment.

As a webcomic and VN dev I have to wear a lot of hats; character design, script writing, backgrounds, and more. I think that’s what’s my favorite part about those two mediums is you get to personally bring your entire story to life in a bunch of different ways, not to mention I get to grow as an artist that much more.

What inspires you?

I’m a huge fan of the horror genre, especially indie or older horror games. If a work is able to simultaneously make you so uncomfortable that you don’t want to continue yet you’re so intrigued about the story you WANT to continue, that’s the incredible sweet spot that makes me want to create myself.  I really enjoy emotional or interesting pieces in general even if they aren’t horror, I like Shonen anime and sci fi movies.

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What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I got into drawing as a child because I loved drawing silly joke comics or doodles starring some of my favorite characters from video games or cartoons. There was something so fun about making something that could make my friends laugh and a way I could express things I liked. Eventually, it developed into trying to draw more of my own characters and stories and I simply never stopped since, comics were an especially interesting field for me given they allow you to create such dynamic scenes and tell entire stories. While my career path never took me towards being a professional artist, I think I was always going to have art somewhere in my life.

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?

Haha, some might joke that “Way too many of my characters are missing an eye, or some body part,” which is an unintentional detail choice that crops up from time to time. But, one I’m more aware of or more direct about is my desire to include subhuman characters in my works. Things ranging from monsters to robots to mutants, there’s a lot of interesting moral dilemmas and character interactions that naturally develop from including characters that are different from ourselves. I suppose these types of characters also lend themselves well to the types of stories I like to create which usually feature some kind of horror theme or some scary situations.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

You’re probably going to find a lot of art boring and hard and intimidating especially the “ART” that your high school teacher is making you create. But art doesn’t have to be only about that; practicing, learning, observing, if you make it into homework it’s going to feel like homework. Find that part about art that seems the most fun to you: is it building giant worlds? Drawing lots of different outfits? Setting up scenes with your favorite character? Coloring in a big page of lineart? Find that part of art that excites you and focus in on it, let it fill you with that energy to draw and draw and draw. Because you will be practicing, and learning when you’re drawing a whole lot! But you won’t feel like it, and that’s when art is amazing!

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a demisexual individual, with a fairly low libido. I will experience some sexual attraction to those that I’m very emotionally close to.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

Thankfully, most of my artistic peers are understanding (and sometimes ace themselves) and growing up my friends just thought of me as “naive” and never really treated me disrespectfully.

Joking or prejudice was fairly mild, to my fortune.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

Asexuals hate sex, or must have had some kind of traumatic experience with sex previously. Allosexuals seem to make it into an us vs them situation, where asexuals “hate” sex and any sexual individuals.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

It may feel like you’re a “late bloomer” and all your peers seem to be a part of some kind of club you’re not in, with talk about porn and sex and all sorts of things that just don’t interest you. It’s okay if you never become interested in it. It’s okay if you find that only that special person becomes interesting. You’re not slower than anyone else to mature, you know exactly what you like or don’t, and you might just need to find the right word to describe that and suddenly it’ll all make so much sense!

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

If a comic about undead creatures regaining their souls and trying to adapt to their new existence sounds right up your alley feel free to read Last Living Souls!

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Thank you, Anna, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: goatbunny

Today we’re joined by goatbunny. goatbunny is a phenomenal visual artist who works in a number of different mediums, both traditional and digital. goatbunny has done shows in the past and has a number of different projects they’re currently working on, including creating her own Tarot Deck. It’s clear she’s a passionate and driven artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Hammer

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I paint and draw using both traditional (pencil, ink, watercolor and illustration marker are my main tools, but I also use gouache, acrylic, spray paint, crayons, and pretty much anything else I find) and digital media (I’ve recently gotten back into digital media so I’ve been exploring more of that). I dabble in almost everything else, I’ll try anything once. I’ve sculpted in the past, and I sew a lot when I don’t really feel like drawing or painting, by hand and with a machine. I am currently creating my own Tarot Deck and collaborating with a fellow artist on a card game, activity/coloring books and I have started to experiment more with non-traditional styles of animation with him using “2-D” type of puppets using cardboard and even felt. I have recently created my second short film.

What inspires you?

I try to gain inspiration from everything around me. I try not to focus too much on other visual artists like myself as I try to avoid the trap of having other drawing styles impacting my own too heavily. I am very inspired by music, films, books, etc. I just try to be as observant as possible. Meeting up with other creatives also helps a lot. I have a lot of musicians and artists, and a couple of writers in my friend circle so I like to think we inspire each other.

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Llamacorn

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I’ve pretty much been drawing and creating since I was able to hold a pencil in my hand. I have always loved cartoons, comics, animated film and even videogames and had always wanted to be an animator, cartoonist, illustrator or character designer when I was younger. I HAVE always wanted to be in a creative field, even if I was steered in other directions. Even when I was studying the sciences in school or during my short career in the medical field, I never stopped drawing and now I can finally say that art is what I do full time.

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 can’t say that I really have a unique signature, aside from signing “Goat” when I do remember to sign my pieces. Lately I have been watermarking any pieces I have posted publicly online, and have also been incorporating my Goatagram logo in digital work (It’s basically a pentagram with a goatbunny head – a bunny with goat horns).

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Retro Goatagram Nob

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just keep creating. Even if you don’t end up being a full-time artist, always make time for art. It’s not the easiest career choice. I’m 35 and have only been a full-time artist for the past 3 years, so I can feel the difference, financially. I almost want to say my parents were right and that you should find a steady, well-paying job but to be honest, I traded said job for the sake of my mental health and I can say that, for the most part, it was worth it.

If you do choose art as a career, you may feel discouraged. You may feel like you want to quit. You may even become disgruntled about what you see in the art world. It’s important to remember why you create and why it’s important to YOU. It also helps to have a close, supportive network to help you through any of the rough patches you may hit.

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Vidscreen

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I feel like I discovered asexuality waaaaay late in the game (early-30s) so I found it really difficult to figure out where I fall in the spectrum. In retrospect, I feel like I could be a grey-ace but it’s hard to really tell what I really felt and what I thought I SHOULD feel. So I generally just use the more general asexual term because I am at least certain about that.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

It’s hard to say as I tend to keep my personal life out of my work for the most part. My city has a large LGBTQ+ community, and a large arts community and they both overlap. I have been invited to fairs run by queer artists through a mutual friend but I feel like ace representation wasn’t strong on there at all. The community feels very overtly sex favorable, and most art is very inundated with social commentary, especially about sexuality, gender and orientation. It even felt like there was even a certain “dress code”. Since my art doesn’t have any specific themes about gender or sexuality, didn’t “look” like them, and am cis in relationship with someone of the opposite sex, I didn’t feel very welcome. Not to say that I wasn’t, but I didn’t feel very included by some of the merchants/organizers. I’m not entirely sure if that counts, but it felt like if I didn’t openly express my sexuality or orientation, I don’t really count or am truly accepted. I tend to not let situations like that get to me since I want people to relate to and judge my art, not who I am.

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What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

Of the few people I came out to and had to explain it, the main misconception was basically that I just don’t like sex. In the case of my husband before we were married, he thought it meant that I didn’t/couldn’t love him or didn’t want to have sex with him. After having explained it a few times, he finally understood that I am capable of love, but sexual attraction is something I don’t experience. I’ve come to realize that for a lot of people, it is very difficult to separate sexual attraction, romantic attraction, love and the act of sex itself.

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What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

That one’s tough, since I feel like I’m still learning a lot about my own every day. I guess: Keep reading up on it. Do some introspection. Be open to what you learn. Accept the fact that your orientation may change. Just learn to accept who you and what you’re going through at the moment. Finding community among others who accept and support who you are and what you are experiencing will also help, whether it’s in real life or online.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

My Tumblr is http://www.church-of-goatbunny.tumblr.com/
And Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/churchofgoatbunny/, but it’s mostly just posts shared from my Instagram: at winner.gets.a.rake.
I do have a Patreon which is a huge help for self-employed artists: https://www.patreon.com/goatbunny
Work can be purchased directly through me or my Big Cartel shop: https://churchofgoatbunny.bigcartel.com/

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Tarot 17 Scholar

Thank you, goatbunny, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Jainai Jeffries

Today we’re joined by Jainai Jeffries, who also goes by fydbac, llc. Jainai specializes in creating violent and erotic imagery to break through mediocrity. They specialize in concept design, tattooing, and violent webcomics. It’s clear they’re a dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for participating in this interview.

Warning: potentially triggering material in this interview and the images included. Views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this interview don’t reflect those of Asexual Artists.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Its aim is to murder off the mediocre and cliché.

What inspires you?

Exploring the unseen and untold. The countless unexplored (or rarely explored) ideas and concepts.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I always loved fantasy and hearing stories I never heard before.

Where does “always” start for you? Let’s just say, yes; if we don’t count the half day I considered being a Veterinarian, or the month or so I reached out to the FBI about being a sniper/assassin.

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 change it periodically: For the past year or so, I’ve been stamping my work with “©fydbac,llc”.

I hope that’s what you meant. Is it what you meant? …We’ll just say that’s what you meant.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Undercharging yourself (anything under $20 for line art) is a sign of an amature, and makes you look unprofessional (like you have no respect for yourself).

Don’t half ass shit: like relying on only social media. Work on your presentation and business as hard as you work on your craft.

But then again, there are folk out there who are half assing it, but still making $2k+ on Patreon, so da fuck do I know?

Point is…there are countless paths to maintain an art career. There is no “correct” one. But they ALL share one thing: Luck. [Don’t obsess over it.]

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Sex: Ace [thought not ruling out demi, cause I think I have the capacity, but never had such a connection]. Romantically: Aromatic (my idea of “romance” doesn’t fit into the general category of this era I think).

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

No. I actually still don’t understand how prejudice against ace is possible: The lengths folk go to infringe upon someone’s existence over something that ain’t they fucking business is just utterly ridiculous to me in general.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

Probably, “you just haven’t found the right person yet”. That was mostly just before I realized I was Ace, or just as I was realizing it. Cause I have yet to share that I was Ace to those people, (no reason why I haven’t, I’m just not one to share myself unsolicitedly).

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What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

I don’t think I can give “advice”, as I never “struggled” about it. I guess I can share my personal attitude about things pertaining to myself? What other people think have no relation on what I think about myself and how I view the world. They have their world, and I have mine. Sometimes they brush against each other to learn from each other, but…yeah, my orientation has never been a “struggle”, so don’t think I can help

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

Official: http://fydbac.com
Webcomic: http://ipity.me
Tattoo boutique: http://fydmi.ink

My current primary social medias:
http://twitter.com/fydbac
http://instagram.com/fydbac

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Thank you, Jainai, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Ash Kleczka

Today we’re joined by Ash Kleczka, who also goes by Umber online. Ash is a phenomenal visual artist, an all-around fantasy enthusiast. They love using visual art to tell a story and highlight beauty. Their images show a unique style and a very vivid imagination. It’s clear Ash loves to create, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a fantasy illustrator, a painter, concept artist, and all around enthusiast… I was going to add more to that statement, but honestly I think ‘enthusiast’ about covers it. I get really excited about concepts that are self-reflective in some way, or that highlight an unexpected beauty.

I really try to create art that tells a story.

What inspires you?

Nature, mythology, the occult. Things that are taboo or archaic. I’m also deeply inspired by role-playing games like D&D and the character building process.

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Hogwashn Newton

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

The simple, inelegant answer is that I got into visual arts because I was dissatisfied with the attractiveness of some characters from a video game I was into at the time – and I wanted to make characters that would appeal to me.

It’s an ongoing struggle haha.

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?

My super-secret naming convention for pretty much any character I’ve ever created ever is to try to match their personality/appearance/some interesting feature to a bird or other natural flora or fauna and then I build their name around the scientific binomial of that thing.

So for example, one character named Cyril Alcyon is based around the belted kingfisher megaceryle alcyon. Another is named Melia Edarach which is taken from the chinaberry tree, or Melia azedarach.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

My advice is to just keep going. It’s OK for things to not look exactly as they do in your head, or to be dissatisfied with where you are with your art. It means that you have room to grow! Stay open to new ideas and roll with the punches. Art, like life, is full of happy accidents.

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Greed

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Grey-Ace/Pansexual

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

I’m not particularly open about my sexuality in the workplace, but the few times it’s come up typically end with the person I’m talking to feeling sorry for me. It’s not hateful – just a lack of understanding. So I try my best to explain that it’s not a negative part of my life experience. It’s just an orientation in the same way that being gay, or bisexual is.

I have encountered prejudice in my personal life however. One instance was in my last D&D campaign. I played an ace/aro character, and was met with some questionably in-character commentary from another player. That was really the first time I’d encountered something like that in the wild before, and honestly…I’m open to advice myself.

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Fort Save Web

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That it’s something to be fixed.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

Find people you trust that you can talk to, and be patient with yourself. Sometimes it’s not as simple as just being one piece of the big sex/gender pie. Sometimes you’re a triple decker slice of pie with whipped cream and cherries.

I’ve found it really helpful to talk to my husband (who’s allo) to see where we differ. Sometimes the answers you’re looking for are in the empty spaces between two truths.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

I have a website umbertheprussianblue.com!

You can also follow me on Instagram and Twitter at ThePrussianBlue

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Solas

Thank you, Ash, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Lucas Wilga

Today we’re joined by Lucas Wilga, who also goes by luci online. Lucas is a phenomenal game maker and writer. They create tabletop role-playing games and the first one is entitled Sundown, which sounds fascinating and I highly recommend checking it out. Lucas has recently branched out into writing short stories set in the Sundown universe. It’s clear they’re an incredibly passionate and driven artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I make tabletop role-playing games, and I recently branched out into writing fiction as well. The first game I’m creating professionally, Sundown, is currently in an open playtest. It’ll have an official launch sometime next year. It’s light on rules, and it’s set in this cyberpunk, biotech inspired fantasy setting. It has transhumanism, politics, and sword cowboys. My work on it is mostly done, so I’ve started occupying my creative time writing a serial of short stories set in Sundown, starring a sarcastic young monster slayer.

What inspires you?

Other games and works of fiction. I’m always itching to design something new after I read a new game. Sundown itself came out of a modification of a different game I’d recently picked up at the time.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I’ve always been imaginative. I entered the hobby at eleven, and I started running games and designing adventures at fourteen. This eventually turned into creating my own games, but I didn’t know I wanted to make a career out of it until a year ago.

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?

My style is all about keeping people engaged, so my signature has become brevity. I keep things short and snappy. Whether teaching a game or weaving a narrative, it pays to avoid toiling too long on the nitty gritty.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Especially when designing a game, start small. Keep your scope limited. Know what you want to say and cut anything that isn’t in direct support of it. Don’t overthink it. Don’t spend too long thinking about one specific thing. Don’t try to create the perfect piece. You’ll burn yourself out chasing perfection.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I don’t know if there’s a word for this yet, but I’m okay with sexual things that take place entirely within my imagination. Things like smut. Sometimes images are okay, too. But I have no desire for, and am usually repulsed by, sex ‘in real life.’

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

I’ve had folk tell me to tone down the queerness in my work, but I haven’t really encountered any sort of acephobia. There is a strong queer independent tabletop role-playing game community, so I don’t really have to try to sell to, or interact with, non-LGBT+ spaces.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

The most common misconception, I’d say, is the idea that asexual is synonymous with aromantic. Especially for ace folks in relationships, it can get tiring to explain the difference.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

This might be hard advice to follow, but just don’t give it so much weight. It’s okay for your sexuality to shift or change as you grow as a person and learn more about yourself.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

Grasswatch Games is the company my two creative partners and I created to work on Sundown. Its website, grasswatchgames.com is the hub for our current work. You can find Sundown itself there, as well as my first short story. You can also find our Twitter, Facebook, and the Discord server we’re running Sundown’s playtest on.

Thank you, Lucas, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Anne Hawley

Today we’re joined by Anne Hawley. Anne is a phenomenal novelist and editor who writes queer-themed historical fiction. She has a novel entitled Restraint, which features an ace secondary character. Anne is currently working on a new historical novel that features an ace protagonist, which is exciting (we need more historical fiction featuring aces). It’s clear she’s a talented and passionate writer who loves what she does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Laughing

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I write novels featuring queer characters in historical settings, exploring issues of identity and acceptance. I’m also a Story Grid Certified fiction editor, helping other writers shape their novels and screenplays.

What inspires you?

People’s individual search for wholeness and self-acceptance. The search for meaning. My stories revolve around people on spiritual journeys, and my editing work is focused on helping writers find and tell the story that’s in their heart to tell.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I’ve been writing since I could read. I started my first novel when I was nine. I was inspired by fantasy novels and wanted to create my own worlds.

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 always name something after a notable feature in my hometown of Portland, Oregon USA

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you’ll permit me to change the question, I’d like to say something to aspiring artists who may not have started young, or aren’t young anymore. Ageism is real and insidious in our culture, and it has a huge silencing power. Just as the dominant culture would still prefer it if you were allosexual and cisgendered (though thank goodness that’s changing), it would like you to be silent and invisible if you’re not young. If you have a story to tell, tell it.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Aromantic asexual. I think “autochor” is probably a term that applies to me.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

There’s not much ace representation yet in fiction, and as a person who came to the identity late in life, I’m still working to change my own ingrained belief that “nobody” wants to read stories without sexual tension, or about individuals who are fulfilled without romance.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That asexual people don’t really exist, and that people in my age group who claim that sexual identity are simply resigned to being “too old” for love or sex–or that we’re some sort of holdover from an earlier and more prudish, sex-negative era. We aren’t.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

Many, many people in older age groups like mine have never even heard of asexuality. If you’re like me, hearing about it at a late age might create a real internal struggle, especially if you’ve given a lot of energy over the years trying to conform to old cultural standards of “normal” sexuality.

It helps to read as much as you can about all the nuances in the spectrum of asexuality, and realize that it’s okay to try on different names and labels. It might take a while to feel at home with one or another of them. But you might also find, as I did, that little by little embracing asexuality solves so many mysteries of your life.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

https://annehawley.net

Thank you, Anne, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.