Interview: Emilia Shinpai

Today we’re joined by Emilia Shinpai. Emilia is a wonderful visual artist who is just starting her art career. She specializes in drawing characters, both her own and others. She has a style that is whimsical and cute, brimming with color and imagination. Emilia is a very dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Emilia
Emilia

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I usually do artwork of characters of mine or of really cool characters. I’m not an expert at everything, but I’m OK with it!

What inspires you?

My friends! We all share each other’s art and such, usually while eating lunch or when we have time between classes, or when we’re at home.

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

I discovered my hidden talent while writing kanji. I tried out art from one of those anime books, and I thought “Hey, that’s good!” In the beginning it was about appeasing friends, but now it’s for fun. I have always wanted to do art, since my dad was an artist as well! My mom always said he passed it down to me.

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 do have a special signature, it depends on the art I’m making. If it’s for an account with “Emilia” on it, I sign “エミリア” (Emilia) on it. If it’s an account with “Chibs” on it, I sign “ちび千葉市” (Chibi Chiba-Shi, which could roughly translate to “Small Chiba City/Chibi (small) Chiba”)

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

No matter how bad you see your art, keep trying! You’ll get better with practice as time goes on. Who honestly cares if you start off trying to be realistic, only to mess up on proportions, or if you start off with some sort of anime-like style, copying your favourite show, etc. No one really cares. Your style and your art are up to you.

Amsterdam
Amsterdam

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Aromantic Asexual! If we want to get technical, then I’m a touch-averse sex-repulsed aromantic asexual.

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

Not really, since I’m not out to everyone as an aromantic asexual. Everyone just knows me as an artist personally, only really close friends know about my orientation

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

“It’s just for now.” I honestly don’t like that, especially since I’m growing up, becoming an adult. It’s now I should decide what my future’s like, and they say “no one can stop you”, but there’s extra meaning to that. I’m free to be who I want, and I like being aroace.

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

It’s okay! Right now, you’re free to find out who you are. You may be young, or old, or in between, but it’s never too late to find out your orientation/sexuality. You may be 13 and find out you’re asexual, only to realize later, you may not be. You could be 30, or 60.  No one can decide who you become or who you are at this moment in time.

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

I don’t usually post my art on Tumblr, I’ll start using a new site that works much better than DeviantArt or other sites. Link to it: https://pixiv.me/emiliashinpai

Nizimine Kakoi
Nizimine Kakoi

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

Interview: Sam

Today we’re joined by Sam. Sam is a fantastic fanartist who does a lot of drawing and also writes fanfiction. When they’re not creating fanart, Sam enjoys baking and hopes to open a bakery one day. It’s very clear they’re an incredibly passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

For the most part I’m a fanartist. I write and draw, mostly as practice. I enjoy creating original content, and have done so in the past, but currently I find it easiest to take ideas from existing media and make it my own or change it to reflect how I think it should be.

I also bake, although that’s unrelated to my fanart. I’d like to open a bakery at some point, once I have the funds and opportunity. I’ve been told I’m pretty good at it, so I think I’m moving in the right direction.

What inspires you?

For my non edible art, I’ll draw from personal experience, or from ideas I’ve seen in other people’s art. I’m currently working on a story that struck me while I was shopping with my sib, and it made one of my friends mad (in a good way), so I started writing it.

In regards to baking, I’ll usually just make whatever in the mood to eat. A lot of the time, I’ll look up a recipe involving a certain flavor, chocolate for example, and then from there I’ll look for interesting combinations to experiment with

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

My mom and sib have been visual artists for as long as I can remember. Since it was something I was exposed to regularly, I started experimenting with it, too. Writing came a bit later. When I was about nine my dad started participating in online flash fiction contests. My sib and I soon joined as well. For a while I worked exclusively in original content, but more recently I’ve found that fan works are easier for me to create.

When I was little, a babysitter I had would make and decorate cakes with my sib and I. I enjoyed it, but didn’t do it much once my sib and I started looking after ourselves more. Recently, around the middle of last year, I wanted cookies and we didn’t have any, so I made some. From there I started baking a couple times a week.

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 don’t have a symbol, no, but in terms of content, my works are pretty linked. I usually write science fiction with no romantic subplot, usually about a group of teens or young adults defying society’s expectations of their abilities and figuring out who they are as people.

My unifying trait in baking is chocolate. We almost always have cocoa powder at my house, but rarely have chocolate chips, so a chocolate base is always an option and always delicious.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

It’s okay to change media and subject. You’re growing and developing as a person, and that means your interests will change. If for a while you love to draw or paint, but then you prefer to write, or suddenly you’re passionate about photography, that’s fine! You’re going to shift as you figure out who you are and what you want your identifying traits to be.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m an aromantic asexual.

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

I’ve had people tell me that I’ll change my mind when I find the right person, which is easy enough to ignore. I’ve also had people who accept my asexuality assume that I’m the standard for all aces. One guy I knew told me that he didn’t think aces would dress in revealing or alluring clothing, which ignores sex positive aces and any aces who just like typically attractive clothing. In those situations, the person is usually willing to listen and learn, and it’s nice to have someone who doesn’t disregard your opinions.

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

That it’s a phase. A lot of people are convinced that as an asexual person gets older, they’ll grow out of it. And sometimes that does happen, when a person IDs as ace and later realizes they’re a late bloomer and attracted to people after all. But not every ace changes, and a lot of people don’t realize that.

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

It’s okay. You’re not broken. And you’re not making it up. If you think someone looks nice, that doesn’t mean you’re attracted to them, and if you are occasionally attracted to people, you can still identify as ace or ace spectrum if that’s what fits best. Society tells us what is considered conventionally attractive, so it’s easy for anyone, even those not attracted, to figure out who’s considered “hot”.

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

My Tumblr is: mockingajaybird.tumblr.com

and my AO3 account can be found at: http://archiveofourown.org/users/Mockingajaybird/pseuds/Mockingajaybird

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

Signal Boost: Werewolves vs. Hollywood

Dylan Fields is an awesome writer who interviewed with Asexual Artists a while back (Tumblr & WordPress). He has a new story out in a zine entitled Werewolves vs. Hollywood. Here’s what he has to say about his story:

“My story is titled “Negative Exposure” and it’s a comedy about two paparazzi photographers who stake out an actor’s house to try and get compromising pictures of him, only to discover an even bigger “scandal,” he’s a werewolf!“

Dylan is a phenomenal author and come on! Werewolves! And the cover! What’s not to love!? 😀

Werewolves vs. Hollywood
Image from: http://werewolvesversus.com/post/165063126731/werewolves-versus-hollywood-is-available-now-get

Please, check out the story and give Dylan some love 🙂

*Note: I made an error. The author’s name is Dylan Fields, not Edwards. My bad. This post has been corrected to reflect that. Apologies to Dylan Fields.

Interview: K O’Shea

Today we’re joined by K O’Shea. K is a wonderful writer who has completed a fascinating sounding graphic novel. Anytime someone mentions The Maltese Falcon, I perk right up (I’m a sucker for noir). K’s novel is entitled The Ghost Army of Atlantis and it’s currently being illustrated. It’s clear they’re very passionate about the project, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I currently have an unpublished but fully written graphic novel called The Ghost Army of Atlantis: A Millie Buckle, Ace Investigator Adventure. It is currently being drawn and colored by the artist, who is an equal partner on the project.

Millie Buckle was a project I began while I first was working out what being asexual meant to me, and is a reflection of what I always wanted in literature – awesome women, zero romance, and skeletons fighting ghosts in a two-page spread splash panel. Millie is a private investigator in the 1930s who often gets called for some of the weirder crimes – the elevator pitch is basically “What if The Maltese Falcon also summoned ghosts?”

I also write the occasional editorial and review on a website created by friends.

What inspires you?

A lot of my inspirations come from experiences or shared stories with my friends, but I do take a lot of influence from the books and movies I had growing up. There’s a little bit of Stephen King in me, but also some K.A. Applegate and Terry Pratchett.

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

Honestly, I always have ideas for stories, but I get the most excited when I get to share them with friends and family.

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?

That would probably be a good idea, huh? Probably my love of the semi-colon, which gets used far more than grammatically should be allowed.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t be afraid to shove things back in the vault if it’s not working. You might get to it later when you’ve learned more. It’s okay to let yourself stop and move on to something else if you’re just not feeling it. If you force it, it’ll come out forced.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Sex-neutral, alloromantic, asexual. It’s never been that important to me as it has been for my partners – I get intimacy from emotional bonds and physical closeness.

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

Not personally, but I’ve seen more published authors struggle with it.

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

That my marriage is not as valid as it otherwise would be. My spouse and I love each other, and sex doesn’t factor into it. We’re no less married than we were before I figured this out.

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

You’re not broken. You are absolutely not broken.

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

My reviews, editorials, and former podcast (I have since given it to my former cohost who continues to produce it) are at Made of Fail Productions (http://www.madeoffail.net). When Ghost Army is nearing artistic completion and ready for publishing, it will be there as well.

I’m also around at Twitter and Tumblr under the username osheamobile.

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

Interview: Ella

Today we’re joined by Ella. Ella is a phenomenally talented artist who specializes in designing creatures and props. She works as a graphic designer and also writes, both original work and fanfiction, and bakes. Ella is most passionate about making creatures from movies. They’re exquisite, as you’ll soon see. Ella is a passionate and dedicated artist, which really shines through in her work. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I do lots of things! I’m a graphic designer, I bake, I write stories … But I think my creatures are the things I’m proudest of, so I’m gonna talk about them.

Have you ever sat in a movie theatre and went: ‘that animal is the most adorable thing I have ever seen and I want to hug it!!’

Me, too. Sadly, most of the animals on films and series are either lethal, imaginary or trained. So you’ll have to live out the rest of your life, knowing you would never get to hug that little critter.

I refuse to live out my life that way. That’s why I make the animals myself.

I have made a Toothless costume from How To Train Your Dragon, a BB-8 from Star Wars, two creatures from Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy, and a plaidypus and the pig Waddles, from Gravity Falls.

My greatest joy comes from bringing the creatures to a convention, so other people can hug them, too.

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What inspires you?

The movies the creatures are in, mainly. But never underestimate the reaction other people have to your creations. People keep me going. People going “He’s so CUTE! Where did you buy him?” And then I can say: “Oh, no, I made him!”

Then again, everything can inspire me. A walk through the dollar store is very helpful, for instance.

The thing that inspires me the most is that sometimes, kids believe that my creatures are real. To me, that’s the best compliment I can get.

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

I just sort of… ended up in it. My job is graphic designer, but I only went to that school because it was close to home. I started working on Toothless when I was 18 or so. I always thought I wanted to be a comic artist, or just an illustrator. Or maybe an actress. Or maybe something with languages! Then it turned out that my drawings are not that good, I don’t have patience to practice and I didn’t like languages all that much.

But, man. I started work on Toothless, and it just flowed. And then I started to work on BB-8, and that flowed as well. Writers tell about it, too. As if a book wants to be written.

I guess my creatures just want to be made.

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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?

For some reason, I love the number eight. I usually try to put it somewhere in my writing, art or creatures. Or I incorporate something of myself. The lines on the hands of the big white ape-like Dougal are the same as the lines on mine. And I love special effects. The eyes of Dougal light up, the Niffler has a pouch in which bells are glued so he rings when he is shaken. BB-8 rolls and makes sounds. Toothless’s wings could go up and down.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t force yourself to do anything that you deep down feel you don’t want to. If drawing secretly isn’t your thing, try clay! Try writing!

If you wanna do something like the things I do, buy a glue gun. It’s the best tool ever.

Stay kind to the other artists. They started like you did. And above all, stay weird. Find that one small spot inside yourself that screams “this is me!” and hold on tightly.

Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you aren’t good enough. If they do, hot glue their fingers together. Trust me, it hurts.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as Straight and Asexual Until Further Notice.

That basically means that I have no sexual interest in people, but I don’t know what happens when I actually do get a relationship at one point.

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

My colleagues don’t often understand it. They ask questions like “But if your partner wants to, and you don’t, what do you do?”

The answer is “We don’t do the do.”

I don’t have much prejudice or ignorance, really. I guess people already see me as a strange person and are like “well, we’ll just add that up to the total picture”

Most people just want explanations on How It Works. Here’s my tip on that:

Ask if they have pets. Most people do. Then ask them if they think that their pet is the most beautiful thing in the world. Most people say yes. Then ask them if they would like to have sex with their pet. The people go “NOOO EEEEW”

Then you go: ‘That’s how I feel about everyone’

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

That you can get rid of it.

“Oh, no matter. Once you meet the right person…”

You can’t get rid of it. It’s like your spine. Sure, you could try to get rid of your spine, but that would take immense force and possibly trauma.

Please don’t get rid of your spine. (unless you medically need to or something)

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

Relax. Sexualities change. At first I thought I was completely and utterly asexual, now I’m thinking I might just be demi. Your atoms and molecules replace completely every seven years or so. Who says you can’t?

If you don’t want sex, don’t have it. And if you are struggling with anything, do some research. Talk to people. Talk to your partner, for goodness sake.

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

My stories: SleepingReader on AO3
My cosplays: EllaFixIt on Facebook or FixitCosplay on Instagram.
My Tumblr – feel free to talk to me about anything- SleepingReader.

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

Interview: Diane Ramic

Today we’re joined by Diane Ramic. Diane is a phenomenal freelance illustrator who specializes in prehistory, science, fantasy, and science fiction. She does a ton of paleoart and dinosaurs are frequently in her work. Diane has also written a couple children’s books, including a coloring book of scientifically accurate dinosaurs. She has a passion for science and it shows, 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.

I’m a freelance illustrator and graphic designer, and my work tends to focus on prehistory, fantasy, and sci-fi. So, you’ll find plenty of dinosaurs, dragons and aliens in my art. I also illustrate children’s books, and have written a few of my own as well! I love combining art and science into a work, as those two fields have both captured my imagination since I was very young. Educational media is something I try to work on whenever I can.

What inspires you?

Nature for sure. Thinking about life that existed in the past, and life that may exist in the future, it just makes me want to design or re-create them through art. Astronomy is a huge inspiration for when I need to do alien designs, and just thinking of the cosmos gets me in the creating mode of thought.

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

Well, when I was seven, I wanted to be a Velociraptor. I even started walking on my toes, all hunched over and with my arms mimicking their folded up arms. When I found out being a Velociraptor was physically impossible (for now), my next goal was to be a paleontologist, and that turned into wanting to be a science-minded illustrator. Fossils are a fantastic base for knowing as much as we can about these extinct animals, but the only way we can really know what they looked like in life is through artists reconstructing them in their work. For most of the public, their first impressions on prehistoric animals comes from the media, be it in movie, toy, or book form. That’s why it’s important, when you’re working with paleoart, to incorporate the updated science in your work. It brings me great satisfaction to help contribute my work to the paleoart community, and help educate the public about the lives these wonderful animals lived.

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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?

Beyond designing aliens and their environments, I really, really enjoy doing the math for figuring out the planet’s mass and composition, atmospheric pressure, its place in the solar system, the mass and age of its star(s), how many other planets it shares the star(s) with, etc. Even if no one ever sees these things, it’s just very satisfying to have it all work out in your head and on paper.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I’m a visual artist, so this will be in that category of art. Study from life as often as you can. Once you’ve got a good grasp on the basics of how objects interact with one another and understand color theory, you can experiment with distorting and exaggerating figures, and play with color choice. A lot of online resources are free, and try to share what you’ve learned with others. There’s a lot of gatekeeping in the artist community, even though that doesn’t help anyone. You will most likely have to go through plenty of rejections, and that’s OK, too. Just pick yourself back up and keep going as best as you can. And whatever you do, don’t make fun of younger or less experienced artists’ work.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am definitely both ace and aro, and have felt this way as long as I can remember. I’m actually pretty relieved to not have developed any romantic or sexual feelings; I feel they would get in the way of me doing my work.

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

I think the most common thing is being told again and again that what I am doing is unnatural, and going against nature, the person’s gods, or “how it should be.” The “late bloomer” stuff can get kind of annoying, too. I’m about to be 23 as of this writing, I’m pretty sure if I was going to develop any other orientations, it would have been a thing by now. And if nothing else, I’m pretty sure there are plenty enough humans on this planet, the global population isn’t in danger of going extinct anytime soon, haha.

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

Probably that we are seen as cold, unfeeling robots. I understand a lot of ace people out there definitely have the same range of emotion as anyone else, and being compared to a robot is very dehumanizing. But as someone that also has a lack of emotion/empathy/etc. in general, I actually kind of like the description.

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

You are a valid and real person, and you know yourself better than anyone else can. You might be confused at first, thinking “Is something wrong with me?” or “Am I really like this?” and that’s ok. Sometimes feelings can shift over time and you may find yourself having a different experience than you do now, and this is normal. Part of what makes living things special is their ability to grow and change over time. You’re not alone. Do what makes you comfortable.

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

I have a website at http://dramic.wixsite.com/home, but more frequently post on my Tumblr at  http://dianeramic.tumblr.com. I’m always working on new projects, so I hope you stop by to see what’s new! I’ve also got an Amazon author page; feel free to check out what new books I have available!

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

Interview: Caoimhe

Today we’re joined by Caoímhe. Caoímhe is a young fanartist who does a lot of drawing and some cosplay. She started out drawing anime but is currently developing her own style. Caoímhe demonstrates an incredible use of color and line that make her images really stand out. She’s very talented, 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.

I guess I’m a fan artist really. I do traditional art of shows I watch and fandoms I’m in. I started off drawing anime and I’ve started getting into my own style more recently. I’ve also done some small cosplaying bits for conventions, nothing major though.

What inspires you?

As a fan artist, what I’m interested in really gives me ideas. I’ve been very into musicals recently like Hamilton (I know I’m basic) so I decided to draw my friends as characters from it to help improve my drawing somewhat realistically. I also get random ideas from conversations with my friends so I’ll jot them down in the notes on my phone. I always have little ideas that I want to pursue, it’s more finding time to actually do them is the work.

When I do cosplay, I pick characters I like and/or admire. My favourite cosplay is Heather Chandler from Heathers as I love to act as a bitchy character.

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

I was never really into art as a kid. I was very much a bookworm, so whilst other kids played GAA (football and hurling) I would read books or work on coding. It wasn’t until I started secondary school and a girl I became friends with got me into anime. I started with Ouran High School Host Club and got into a few others. I don’t know why but I decided to draw some of the characters and I’ve been drawing for around two and a half years now.

It’s the same for cosplay, I became friends with people who would go to conventions and I started going to them too. There’s not a major amount of them as I’m from Ireland though, but I try to get to them when I can.

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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 particularly. I do sign my work and date it, so I can look back and see where I’ve improved more than anything.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Whatever area of art you are in, practice. It’s the only way to improve. I say this as someone who is still a young artist trying to work on her art. But also try not to compare yourself to others too much. Yes, you’ll always feel like there are those who are better than you, but by constantly criticizing yourself, you’ll only make yourself feel worse.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m asexual and bi/panromantic (haven’t really figured it out yet). In regards to my asexuality, I’m open to intimacy just not sex, though I’m not outright repulsed by it, I just know it’s not for me.

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

I personally haven’t experienced anything like that in real life, though I have met people who don’t get asexuality which I kind of expect. Online, I have seen a lot of ace hate, especially on Tumblr and Instagram, where there have been ace hate pages and just so much abuse thrown at the community.

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

That all ace people hate intimacy. Obviously some do, but many of us are fine with and enjoy things like cuddling, kissing and such. There are even aces who do have sex, but I feel like it’s not really shown as much in the little representation the ace community has.

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

You don’t need to have it all figured out. I’m still trying to figure out my own identity, but once you are ok with who you are you’ll be fine.

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

I’m not particularly active on Tumblr, my Instagram is really where it’s at:
https://www.instagram.com/caoimhedraws/

I also post updates as I draw on my Snapchat CaoimheDraws

I don’t always post what I’m doing so if you want to shoot me a DM to see what I’m working on or to talk, feel free!

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