Interview: Ryan Meier

Today we’re joined by Ryan Meier. Ryan is a phenomenal podcaster who hosts a podcast focusing on videogames, geek and popular culture. When he’s not working on his podcast, Ryan also acts as a dungeon master for a 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons. He writes the stories and paints miniatures. He’s incredibly dedicated and passionate, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

beholder zombie
Beholder Zombie

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My main outlet is my podcast, The Bear vs. Man Cast. My co-host and I discuss video games and other geek/pop culture goings on. We have casual conversation about things we’re interested in in the realm of games and try to be funny about it. We were attempting to get into streaming last year but we’ve pulled back from that because finding time for everything we want to do is rough.

I also run a Dungeons & Dragons game for a small group of friends, so I do some story writing for that. We play D&D on a grid, so we use miniatures, which I’ve started painting and 3D printing for. Very hobbyist; I haven’t been painting minis for very long, but you learn something new with each one you do.

What inspires you?

I get a lot of inspiration from the things I look at, the things I play, what I watch etc. just like everyone else. It’s hard not to. When you like something, it ends up in your work in some shape or form. For podcasts we both came from listening to things like Giant Bomb and Idle Thumbs, and that round table discussion that’s free form and fun. When I’m writing stories I try to pull from personal experience that’s reformatted to fit the context of the story. Characters are based on people I know or observe, same with conflicts etc. There’s that idea that there are only seven stories, and it’s all about how you tell them. I am not a professional writer by any means, so I say paint the wheel a cool color instead of trying to reinvent it.

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

We started our podcast almost three years ago now (!), and we were both listening to a lot of podcasts at the time. One thing lead to another and we started doing one. It’s very much something we do for ourselves, and if people like it great, come along for the ride we’d love to have you, but becoming a huge success in podcasting has never been our aim.

I’ve dabbled in art for my whole life. Coloring outside the lines in kindergarten. I played a lot of music in grade school. Brass instruments, drum line, guitar. I was composing for a while in high school but that dropped off. And now I podcast and I write stories for the games I play with my friends and paint some miniatures. Always the dabbler, and never the master, but I’m working on finding focus.

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 think I do!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just make the thing. Just do the thing. If anyone is like me (and they probably are) they always feel like what they’re doing is not enough, always room for improvement, always that one thing you wanted to change. So just make it. Don’t feel like you can’t start, or can’t show it to anyone. Be proud of what you make and improve as you go.

ogre zombie
Ogre Zombie

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual and aromantic.

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

I try to up play my aceness on my Twitter as often as I can. I think it’s important for people in the wild to see ace people being ace in all sorts of situations. I’ve gotten some slack for it, but I try not to engage, and just let those moments pass.

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

For me it’s a lot of unawareness. A lot of people don’t know the first thing about folks on the spectrum as I’m sure a lot of your readers know. What does it mean to be ace? What do you do with all your free time and money? (Spoilers I have neither.) If I had one thing I wish could be made more apparent is that the ace spectrum is a spectrum, full of individuals with a wide variety of experience. No two ace folks will approach the same situation the same way, no two ace people will have the same previous sexual experience. So take the time to hear their stories.

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

A) if you’re not sure, it’s totally fine. Questioning anything as important as your sexuality is so incredibly valid. It impacts the way you see the world, and how the world interacts with you. You should spend some time wondering, if that’s what you need to feel comfortable.

B) If it feels right to call yourself ace, then call yourself ace. Or whatever orientation really, I feel like this applies to every sexuality. On your own, in your own personal space, just try it out. You don’t have to come out right away. You don’t have to be sure. But just, be ace with yourself. Be ace with those you trust, even if you don’t tell them. Just telling yourself you are something is a good way to see if it fits. Only time will tell if being ace is who you really are.

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

You can find my podcast, The Bear Vs Man Cast, on iTunes or on the web:
https://bearvsman.simplecast.fm/

I’m on Twitter, at ace_phd
(I keep my DMs open if you ever have ace related questions. I try to help when I can)

I’m on Tumblr: https://ace-phd.tumblr.com/
(Same: message me anytime about ace stuff.)

olaf
Olaf

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

Interview: Teloka Berry

Today we’re joined by Teloka Berry. Teloka is a phenomenally talented visual artist from Australia. She’s a digital artist and specializes in comics. She also does portraits, original characters, and fanart. Aside from that, Teloka also does crafts. It’s very clear that she’s an incredibly dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

aceinterview_01

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a digital artist, and primarily a character illustrator and story-teller. I do stuff like portraits, comics, original characters and fan-art, and sell crafts and merch like stickers.

aceinterview_02

My very favourite things to do are comics, both short ones and long form ones! I like stories with a strong focus on acearo, queer and neuroatypical characters who are just having adventures in various genres, and my personal schtick leans heavily towards acearo girls who want to form lasting commitments and have relationships with other girls.

I have two long-haul projects. Let’s Celebrate!, my queer magical girl themed webcomic has been live for almost three years now, and features an acearo lead and a bunch of silly festive super powers. It’s very lighthearted but still explores various celebrations from around the world, mental illness and communication, and features a bunch of monsters that the girls/guys/nb-pals fight with improbable weapons like giant candy canes. You can see it here: http://letscelebrate-comic.tumblr.com/

My second long haul project is collaborative with my girlfriend which we’re hoping to release early next year, and it will be an online graphic novel in installments. It’s a supernatural, Lovecraftian kind of adventure-thriller, structured around the Great Australian Road-Trip in rural Queensland. It follows an established acearo f/f couple, who accidentally enter an outback region they can’t leave filled with frightening “Locals” and those long roads that go on “forever”.

aceinterview_03

What inspires you?

I’m going to sound super cheesy when I say this but… my girlfriend? Haha, I’m pretty inspired by personal experiences and personal interests, I suppose. I spend a lot of time drawing and illustrating stuff based on things we’ve done together or concepts we talked about and came up with together.

Maybe also like … spite, to be honest. I’m kind of tired of heteronormative stories and the same straight white male leads who fight the Big Bad and get the girl with very little actual effort. I love to write and see stories about girls, especially queer and neurodivergent girls, doing cool stuff and saving the day and being in genres they’re generally sidelined in, like action stuff or zombies.

aceinterview_04

That aside I find music and bright cheerful colour palettes quite inspiring, and use both of them a lot in my work. And the work of other artists who I look up to, of course! I’m pretty visual so if I see something that is just aesthetically pleasing to me (like some architecture, a posing angle, fairy lights in a shop window) I’ll probably think about how to incorporate it into an art piece sooner or later.

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

I’ve always been really crafty and drawn or scribbled stuff, so I guess so? I got serious about artwork at about 13, when I entered high school and fell in with fellow artsy-sorts who enabled the habit. I started out like most teens on DeviantArt back then with an anthro fursona, and made more friends online that encouraged me, and so I just… persisted with it. I don’t think I ever had particular plans to be an artist, or to be anything for that matter, but it’s probably my stand out skill now. I draw every day and love my stories and characters a lot!

aceinterview_05

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?

Probably like I mentioned in that first long ramble I did, I have a really strong narrative interest in queer stories, and especially a focus on acearo mentally ill girls and healthy relationships. Artistically/Stylistically though… no, haha, I have absolutely zero consistency in my work, I’m so bad at that!

Usually when I pitch it to other people they’ll say stuff like “sparkles!” or “colours!” or “same face syndrome!”, so maybe that’s the answer here? I like colours a lot and playing around with harsh lighting. I also draw a lot of birds, because… birb.

aceinterview_06a

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

1. Give it a go! If you want to do it, just do it. It’s worthwhile, even if all it ever does is bring you happiness or relaxation to create; that’s super important and you deserve it.

2. Quite difficult, but don’t compare your creation to other peoples work negatively. Be critical of your own work, sure, and always, always strive to improve. But your work is not anyone else’s but your own, so try not to be disheartened if it doesn’t look like something else you wanted it to look like. It looks like it’s yours, and that’s the best thing it could be.

3. This one is for minority groups in storytelling especially (I figure relevant here on an ace positive blog), and something I’ve struggled with a lot but: Tell that story about your own experiences/preferences if you want to tell it. Create your own representation if you can and want to.

It’s not self-centered, it’s not “too much”, it’s not unpalatable, it’s not boring, and it’s not cheesy. Don’t feel like you can only put one character from a minority group in your story, and don’t feel like you can’t have characters who you relate to or have traits like you in your story. You do not have to write in something for “someone else” to relate to or have straight white men in your story for it to be “acceptable”, regardless of what popular media seems to be trying to say.

For example, when we started on the roadtrip story I mentioned earlier, we thought “is two whole acearo girls in a story… too many? should one of them at least… be bi?” and while scripting I’ve often wondered ”is this chronically anxious character having too many anxiety attacks…? should I just have them handle this thing better so that their mental illness is showing less?”. And the answer to those things is obviously no. Show that mental illness. Have only acearo leads. Have a whole cast of POC. There’s no such thing as “too much” representation of your minority characters and stories, and if they’re based on your personal experiences or desires- great. Because nobody else can tell that for you; it’s yours.

aceinterview_07

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a cis girl (she/hers) and I identify as asexual and aromantic, though I might more accurately be quoiromantic as I don’t really understand the difference between platonic and romantic relationships, though I absolutely don’t experience attraction regardless. I previously considered myself panromantic because I “want to be emotionally intimate” with friends quite intensely and have close relationships, but I later realized that I don’t experience romantic attraction so… aromantic-spec it is.

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

I’ve actually experienced very little ace prejudice. I’ve found straight people to be confused and commit some naïve-microaggressions at best, and mostly they just want me to explain what it meant and expressed general confusion about how I could not feel sexual attraction. (except for those dudes, you know, the: “well you just haven’t been with ­me yet” narcissists.)

I also had an abuser who ID’d on the ace spectrum, who would constantly guilt me about my orientation and say I would be a disappointment to my partner/s, that I was “broken”, or that I was just “trying to be holier than thou” and all kinds of toxic shit. So it really can come from anywhere.

The absolute worst ongoing prejudice I’ve seen has been from gatekeepers in the gay and lesbian communities. No surprises there. So many “sapphic safe place” blogs will reblog artwork of my girlfriend and I, which is clearly f/f and I get the lovely gift of seeing their acephobic descriptions on how ace people don’t belong in the queer community and queer is a slur, while they profit from artwork literally featuring two acearo girls.

aceinterview_08

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

Lately there’s plenty of stuff going around tumblr especially about how asexuality doesn’t equal celibacy, and that it’s not a choice. True, absolutely! But I still very often see asexuality conflated with sex repulsion, or a lack of libido (and aromance with a lack of interest in close intimate relationships at all).

Sure, it can be that way, but it’s not universal for all aces or aros. Just like any orientation, asexual people can sit anywhere on the libido and/or repulsed spectrums. They are not the same at all, and it’s super toxic that it has become popularly interchangeable, because I’m often seeing ace characters who “hate to be touched” and it just…

Ace people can be sex positive and interested in intimacy.

Allosexual people can be sex repulsed or simply disinterested.

And sex repulsed people of any orientation can also still be highly sensual and have a libido and still really want to have sex (that’s me!).

All these things are separate experiences. Neither drive nor repulsion are intrinsically tied to each other or to asexuality, which is the lack of sexual attraction, and not the lack of desire for touch.

I think that’s a super important distinction that’s often lost. My stories focus on this a lot, and almost all of my comics and stories feature acearo characters who still actively seek close emotional intimacy- because aro people are not unfeeling robots- and who also like to experiment or be close to their partners physically- because ace doesn’t necessarily mean no libido or interest.

And it’s super alienating to sensual or libido aces to see the narrative that “to be ace means you can’t ever want to have sex with someone else” perpetuated. It feels like something that, in years to come, is going to segue into Ace-Gatekeeping-v2.0, and I’d like to see communication and compassion stop that before it happens.

aceinterview_09

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

Auuhhh… uhmmm I’m really not an ideal person to put in like… advice giving roles. I’m still learning stuff myself; the Living Experience is pretty enormous! But perhaps the best thing I found (for me) was to have close friends who I could talk to about being ace and aro. If you have other friends who are already knowledgeable or confident in their own sexuality and ID on the acearo spec then that is probably the safest way, and they can explain things to you and answer questions.

There are also a variety of previously linked ace-help blogs and websites, and probably honestly… a lot of the artists featured on this blog would probably be happy to answer anon-questions and stuff about their experiences if you get in touch? I’d be happy to, for sure. That might be good for anyone who feels isolated or confused and doesn’t want to have a name attached to their questions!

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

You can find my artblog, where I post most of my art and links and updates on the above mentioned projects here: http://berryartistic.tumblr.com. I should warn that there are some suggestive works on there and it’s pretty heavy on the f/f content. There’s nothing graphic and no actual nudity, mostly just implications of intimacy and some power dynamics, but it might be a bit much for some minors or anyone intimacy-repulsed, so take it with a grain of salt.

Let’s Celebrate! is completely PG and can be found here: http://letscelebrate-comic.tumblr.com/ which has links offsite to places like Tapastic.

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

Interview: Broeckchen

Today we’re joined by Broeckchen. Broeckchen is a phenomenally talented visual artist who works in mostly digital mediums. She mostly does character design but has an incredible passion for any kind of drawing. Her work shows a masterful use of color and extraordinary detail that just pulls the viewer in, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. A Whole New World
A Whole New World

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My main focus is on character design, but enjoy illustrations of all kinds and even some crafts like bookbinding. Most of what I create is digital art.

2. Taste in Style
Taste in Style

What inspires you?

I’m strongly inspired by the aesthetics of animated stories and by art nouveau in terms of style, while mythology is one of my main inputs when it comes to the contents of my art. For example, I love creating variations of well-known mythological beings to go for an unusual and fresh look!

3. Rosemama
Rosemama

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

Sailor Moon! I always wanted to be able to draw, but different from many other kids I was extremely self-critical with what I created and got frustrated with my pictures very easily. Discovering Sailor Moon was what first gave me a really strong drive to push through that frustration and get better at art. I would probably still have given up very early on if my Mom hadn’t taught me how to trace from the magazines I owned – that was how I started actually studying the art I admired. From that point on though, yeah, I always wanted to work as an artist! I briefly wavered after graduating from school because everyone told me I couldn’t live off art, but then I soon discovered that there was nothing worth having art behind for either.

4. Harpy
Harpy

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?

Yes! It looks like two lines with a diamond symbol in between, often followed by the last two digits of the year I drew the image in.

5. Round KingfisherGriff
Round KingfisherGriff

I chose this symbol because it consists of my initials and incorporates that diamond-shape. At the time when I thought of that symbol, my best friend was a huge fan of the rapper Diam’s, and once told me that the rapper chose that name for herself inspired by the dictionary definition of a diamond: “The hardest substance known to man, a diamond can only be cut by another diamond.” It was a statement about perseverance and resonated so strongly with me and what I want to be that I felt it should be part of my identity.

6. Round PeacockGriff
Round PeacockGriff

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Learn to be forgiving and appreciative and do not stop. One of the most positive things I ever did was learning to look at a half-finished picture, realising it wasn’t exactly what I wanted it to be, and then just finishing and putting it out there anyways. More often than not, other people ended up seeing the beauty in it that I was blind to because I was too close. Sometimes a small miracle happens and it turns out that the half-finished work just happened to look worse than it did at any other stage, with the final result being incredibly pretty. But many people drop a piece or even the craft at large when they bump into that wall of “damn, this is not what I wanted at all!” and never get to find out how good and positive their work would actually turn out to be.

7. Round Cloudicorn
Round Cloudicorn
8. Round Furycorn
Round Furycorn

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as demisexual and panromantic.

9. Pearl
Pearl

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

I actually don’t tell people about my exact identity too often. Since both labels I most strongly identify with are pretty obscure where I live, I tend to dread the conversation a little. I am also exceptionally lucky, though – where I live, most people are pretty progressive, and the number seems to shoot up even further when you go to an art school.

I am trying to open up about being demisexual more though ever since I realised that younger people with the same identity could probably really benefit of noticing that someone older and (hopefully at some point?) more established identifies that way, too.

10. Garnet
Garnet

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

The “But isn’t that normal?” one that follows demisexuals around a lot. I always have to explain to those saying it that while the emotional bond I need often appears alongside romantic feelings, it doesn’t always. I’ve felt attracted to close friends I had otherwise exclusively platonic feelings for, and I have been head over heels romantically for people but we never arrived at that specific bond I needed to feel physically attracted to them.

11. Amethyst
Amethyst

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

First off, it’s okay to take your time with figuring things out. Anyone who demands of you to have a firm and established label within a short deadline is just being a butt about it, you’re free to think about it, experiment, gather experience and even to reject specific labels altogether. And secondly, you’re a gift to everyone who shares your experience and is still searching for themselves. Whenever I wasn’t sure about continuing to grasp for my goals for my own benefit, that helped me out a lot. Knowing that I’m one more person in my field who improves all of our chances to become more visible and provide a future generation with more stability some day.

12. Alien
Alien

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

While my artblog at broeckchen is one of the most complete collections of my current work, I also have a nice hub-page at http://linktr.ee/broeckchen89 where people can see more different places to potentially follow me instead.

13. Rosa's Pumpkin
Rosa’s Pumpkin

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

Call for Interviewees

(Another repost, just a reminder)

Hello all!

Once again, I’m low on interviewees. Since I don’t have the time to constantly post calls every single time I’m running low, I’m hoping to use this post as a kind of a reminder:

ASEXUAL ARTISTS IS OPEN FOR INTERVIEWS YEAR-ROUND!

I’m always looking for artists who are on the spectrum to interview. Any and all kinds of artists are welcome.

This is including but not limited to:

WRITERS: all genres and forms are welcome (novelists, short stories, poetry, flash fiction, etc). It doesn’t matter if you’re unpublished, just starting out, a student, a hobbyist, or established. Traditionally published, self-published, small press, etc. You’re all welcome and you all have something to offer.

VISUAL ARTISTS: Self explanatory, any kind of visual art you can imagine (photography, painting, sketching, drawing, sculpture, installation, etc.).

FANARTISTS: Another self-explanatory category. Cosplay, visual, fanfiction, etc. Whatever you do in your fandom (any and all fandoms welcome), you’re an artist.

FILMMAKERS: YouTubers, directors, cinematographers, anything that has to do with making films (short, features, documentaries, etc).

PERFORMANCE ARTS: actors, theater arts, singers, mimes, any sort of performers.

DANCERS: Any kind of dance style you can imagine is welcome here (ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, burlesque, belly-dancing, ballroom, etc.)

MUSICIANS: playing instruments, composing, singing, anything involving music

CULINARY: maybe your medium of choice is food. If so, you’re welcome here.

CRAFTS: any sort of craft you can think of (sewing, knitting, crocheting, candle making, jewelry making, etc.)

All levels of artists are welcome: whether you’re a student or a professional, just starting out or already established. If you create, you have something to offer and therefore I want to interview you 🙂

If you’re still unsure whether or not your art qualifies (there’s a 97.9% chance it will), and your question isn’t answered in the F.A.Q., please contact me at laurenjankowski27@gmail.com

If you want to be interviewed, please email me at the same address (laurenjankowski27@gmail.com)

This site continues because I get requests for interviews. If the interviews run out, this site will remain as a resource 🙂 Updates will continue as long as there are aces out there willing to be interviewed.

Thank you, everybody.


I just want all you amazing, talented, wonderful artists who have already been interviewed: you are making such a difference. Giving an interview may seem like a small thing, perhaps even insignificant, but believe me when I say that so many aces have found comfort and inspiration in your words. I have received numerous messages about how much this blog means to people, especially to aces still coming to terms with their identity. That’s a truly wonderful thing.


All ages, races, religions, genders are welcome. If you’re on the ace spectrum and you create, I would love to interview you for this blog.

ALL aces are welcome on this blog! It doesn’t matter if you’re a hobbyist, a professional, a dabbler, a student, aspiring or experienced. Your art is important. Your voice is important.

Signal Boost: Book Trailer

Hey everyone!

I have a super awesome book trailer and an announcement concerning the eBooks of my series.

BOOK TRAILER

A while back, I interviewed a fantastic up and coming filmmaker for this site, Britty Lea. I was struck by her creativity and just the fascinating visuals in her short films. I remained in touch with her (she even moderated this blog for a bit). Recently, she started doing some freelancing and mentioned wanting to get into book trailers. I can’t even begin to describe my excitement at hearing this and soon commissioned her.

And man alive, did Britty deliver! Check it out:

If you’re interested in commissioning Britty, and I cannot recommend her work highly enough, check out her personal site (https://www.brittylea.com/) or her Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/brittyleafilm/). She’s a phenomenal filmmaker.

EBOOKS

I’m going to try not to swear, but no promises 🙂

Like numerous indie authors, I was selling the eBooks of my series through a site called Pronoun (which was part of MacMillan Publishing). MacMillan, without any sort of warning, decided to shut down Pronoun permanently. Thereby screwing numerous indies.

A week into marketing and I lost my rankings, which are important to indie authors, because of this. I’ve been forced to move my eBooks onto Kindle. For the foreseeable future, they’ll only be available on Kindle (I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience). The paperback distribution will be unaffected and still widely available.

However, this is a setback and a really frustrating one. People, I really, really need support in the form of reviews and signal boosts. And, of course, I need people to buy my books.

If you’re interested in physical copies, after Sunday, they’ll be available on my Square Store for convention prices (which are a little cheaper than online distributors and the money goes directly to me).

Thanks everybody! 😀

Interview: Jana

Today we’re joined by Jana. Jana is a wonderful young artist who both writes and does visual art. Most of her writing is fantasy and historical fiction. When she’s not writing, Jana does a lot of painting and drawing. Her work shows a creative mind and it’s clear Jana is an incredibly dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. meguminfinished

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I write stories and also I draw and paint. Stories are usually fantasy or historical fiction, with dark motives, while my drawings are more positive. I sometimes draw illustrations for my stories but that is rare for me. I also draw Harry Potter fan arts, as I am big fan of the story (and also I have written some fanfics but they aren’t in English).

2. autoportretpodpis

What inspires you?

I don’t really know. The inspiration just appears out of somewhere. And then it leaves. Sometimes it’s a sentence I hear, sometimes an internet joke or when I see the view from my window. It can be anything. I have periods of time when I see inspiration literally everywhere and then it stops and I don’t have any inspiration at all.

3. liw-pribeh

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

I think so. I remember I liked to draw and paint since I was very little and I remember that in kindergarten I was usually drawing, instead of playing with other children. And I still draw when I have the time (also if I don’t have) and usually I choose drawing over chatting with friends in class. With writing, it’s similar. I write stories during lessons in school because it’s fun and teachers don’t tend to notice. They usually think that I’m just taking notes while I really am creating a story.

4. IMG_0662

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 put my name on my drawings so no one can steal it from me (if it’s drawn on computer, it’s usually very big). That’s what almost everyone does I think. But other than that I don’t have anything like that. In my writings I don’t think I have something like that. My stories are dark and complicated, as are my characters, but that’s not that rare.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I am actually one of them, as I am sixteen, so to my fellow young artist: make art, do what you love and don’t give up. It can be hard but not giving up is worth it. If you love art, make it. Good luck to you (and to every artist here, you don’t have to be young).

5. IMG_6656

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual.

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

Well, ignorance by my mum. I came out to here so I could make terrible jokes and puns but it has gone a bit wrong. Well, she didn’t believe me (she still doesn’t I think) and was quite rude about it, because “I am too young to know” and “I can’t be ace if I have a boyfriend”. A few months later she was trying to understand and was asking questions but I felt really uncomfortable so I just left. But now I think I am starting to be a bit more comfortable around her, like when we are watching some TV series and they mention something sexual or say that someone is hot, I usually make a disgusted face or ask “really??”. Apart from that, I’ve only seen it on social media and it wasn’t directed purely at me but on the whole community.

6. IMG_2550

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

As I said before, it was what my mum said, that I am too young to know or that I can’t be ace if I have a boyfriend. Then of course things said on the internet and not aimed at me directly, like it is a disability or disorder or that we are plants. I like the last one the most.

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

To not try to unconditionally fit into a label. Take time. You don’t have to find it out right now, it’s okay not to know. I know it’s hard, I know it’s easier said than done. But don’t worry, you are not alone. There are many other people who feel the same and there are many people out there who will try to help you. Before I learned I was ace, I thought that I was lesbian (because women are cute), then that I was bi (because the sexual attraction I felt towards the two genders was equal – now I know it was zero).

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

I have an Instagram account but I don’t post much. I also am at Wattpad but I have only one English unfinished work published. I will try to be active on both social media (Wattpad is social media, isn’t it?) but I can’t really promise anything because I don’t know how much time will I have. On Instagram I am as Janethepurpleelf and on Wattpad as Fialová Víla.

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

Interview: KC

Today we’re joined by KC. KC is a phenomenal author who specializes in children’s books. She wants to write for older children who don’t like to read, since there aren’t many books aimed at that demographic. When she’s not writing, she also enjoys doing crafts, knitting in particular. KC is clearly a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I knit as a hobby and tinker with water coloring and brush lettering on the side, but my real love is writing. I’ve always been enthralled by stories. I wrote a handful of books in middle school and high school, but they were short, dry, and lacking in substance. Now that I’m in college, I’ve become more serious about the quality of my work.

I like writing for children, upper-elementary kids in particular. Fifth grade is typically the age when kids decide if they love reading or could do without it, and I want to do what I can to hook the kids that might miss out on what could be a great passion. In my experience, there aren’t many older children’s books out there for kids who don’t like reading. I want to change that.

What inspires you?

In life, I’m inspired by the feisty women of history. Anne Sullivan Macy and Eglantyne Jebb, to name a few.

In my writing, I’m inspired by the people around me. The kids at my work who have big personalities and even bigger souls, but no one to take them seriously, are my muse.

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

I’ve loved stories from a very young age. My fondest childhood memories were spent playing elaborate games of pretend with my siblings, and weaving epic tales with my toys.

It was The Tale of Desperaux that made me want to be a writer. Kate diCamillo lit a spark in my eight-year-old heart and showed me the true beauty and power of stories. I wanted to be just like her and spread that spark to other eager hearts.

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 the longest time, I always had “green mush” slipped into each one of my stories one way or another. I’m still deciding whether or not I want to keep up the trend.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Find a community of artists to surround yourself with. I wouldn’t be the writer I am today without the constructive feedback and unwavering support I found in my high school writing club.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Aromantic asexual.

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

I’m not out yet, so I can’t really say for sure. Interestingly enough, my roommate is also a writer, and one of her protagonists is asexual, so I’d say it’s actually going very well on that front.

At the moment, the most difficult part about being an aspec writer is that I can’t write romance. It’s actually really pathetic. Nonetheless, I know that many haven’t had it as easy as I have, and I don’t want to play down the difficulties experienced by the ace community as a whole.

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

That we’re cringy loners who made up an orientation to feel good about ourselves. I’m sorry to say it, but before I knew I was ace, I bought into this.

The main reason I haven’t come out is because I’m afraid people won’t take it seriously. I’m afraid they’ll think I found some label in the deep crevices of Tumblr and now I’m convinced that I’m not straight anymore. I very much wanted to believe I was straight, but that didn’t help the horrifying nausea I felt when I was asked out to prom, or the petrifying fear when the guy I thought I was crushing on texted back.

My orientation is not for anyone to deny, because trust me, I’ve thought about it a lot longer than the person who asks if I’ve ever had my hormones checked or the people who say I’ll change my mind when I’m older.

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

Give yourself time to come into your asexuality. Don’t rush it, just let it happen. I’ve spent way too many sleepless nights with racing thoughts. Take your time. Maybe you’ll find that you don’t identify with what you originally thought. Maybe you were right all along. Whatever happens, your identity is your own. Don’t let anyone define it for you.

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

I have an official author website, but as I’m not out yet, I won’t disclose it publicly. My inbox is always open at helpful-hardware-folk on Tumblr, and I’m more than happy to chat about anything, writing and asexuality and everything in between 🙂

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