Interview: Linz Vandermeer

Today we’re joined by Linz Vandermeer. Linz is a phenomenal writer who has recently gotten into cosplay. They mostly write fanfiction, but they started out writing poetry and stories. For the cosplay, they’ve only recently started dabbling in it and enjoys it. It’s clear they’re a passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

14600987_1707433356243575_2095689406511391016_n

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I have been writing for as long as I can remember, it’s almost a compulsion with me. I started with poetry, some bad, some even worse, and then branched out into stories. Eventually, through my love of comics and movies, I ended up in the realm of fanfiction, and that’s where I’ve focused most of my attention for the last 3 or 4 years. The other thing I have really started to get into is cosplay, and though my sewing skills are not the greatest, I have a great group of friends to turn to where my abilities are lacking.

What inspires you?

I get a lot of my inspiration from daily life. I take a situation that I’ve encountered, and wondered ‘what would such-and-such a character do in my place’, and ‘how could this have gone worse’? It’s like a little mental exercise, and then before I know it I have 1200 words on a page. When I am cosplaying, I try to find a character that really calls out to me, someone that I can see a bit of myself in.

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

Even from a very young age I wanted to be a writer. I used to write stories with my friends about the adventures we would go on if we didn’t have to be in school, or if our parents were actually super spies, and things like that. As I got older I realized that I didn’t want writing to be my job, it was my mental escape from life and to put pressure or deadlines killed my creativity. Cosplay naturally evolved from my love of roleplaying games like D&D. I took part in a LARP (live action role play) for almost a decade before health issues made it too difficult, and that’s where I really started to learn to build costumes.

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 like to use British cuss words, they’ve always entertained me and I grew up watching shows like Monty Python and Red Dwarf, so that coloured my view of humour. More than that I like to take one scene and add more description than necessary, really make it the centerpiece of my work. I also rarely have sexual content in my fanfiction, which makes it a bit of an oddity.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

When you are writing, write for you. That way any person who likes what you have done, that’s just a bonus. Art should come from inside of us, and serve us, the rest of the world is a distant second. Do it to make yourself happy, that’s where the best art comes form.

40455109_2139013643085542_1792967478201024512_n

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a panromantic asexual and agender individual.

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

There’s a lot of pressure towards sexualization and romanticism in writing, and fanfiction in particular. I occasionally get pressure to add sex scenes, and I will the odd time concede and add them, but it always feels wrong to me. I have no interest in sexual actions, so I’m not certain that I can really build them appropriately or accurately.

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

I find that for the most part I encounter a lot of confusion over the fact that my partner and I have been together for almost six years. We’re both asexual, and though we live together we have separate bedrooms because I am an extremely restless sleeper. When people hear that we have never even kissed (I’m touch-averse), they assume we are more like friends that live together, but it’s not that at all. I love and adore my partner, and being with her is very different than being with even my best friend.

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

Struggle is natural. I grew up in a world where asexuality didn’t exist, and where even more standard queer identities like gay and lesbian were barely discussed. I tried on a lot of hats when I was trying to figure out who I was, but it wasn’t until I found asexuality that I felt comfortable and that it was ‘just right’. Don’t be afraid to change your identifiers when they don’t suit you anymore. Sexuality is not only a spectrum, but it flows and changes as your identity and personality develop.

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

I have some of my old poetry up on Deviantart at https://www.deviantart.com/cavannarose and my fanfiction is up on AO3 at https://archiveofourown.org/users/CavannaRose

Capture

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

Interview: Wolf

Today we’re joined by Wolf. Wolf is a wonderful visual artist who specializes in digital artwork. They do a lot of photoshop and also draw comics. Wolf is also a talented fanartist. Wolf shows an incredible amount of enthusiasm in their work. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Day - 2 - pt 1
Day 2, Part 1
Day - 2 - pt 2
Day 2, part 2
Day - 2 - pt 3
Day 2, part 3

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’ve sadly been digging myself deeper and deeper into the hole of digital art. I used draw traditionally up until I got my wacom tablet. After that, pencil and paper were out of the equation. But whenever I do draw digitally usually it results in a really weird photoshopped picture, fanart, something that’s really anime, etc. I draw whatever I’m feeling at the moment. So I’ll draw a silly short comic if I’m happy. Or I’ll draw a really serious picture that holds a lot of meaning to me when I’m sad. But I try to arrange it so that other people can understand it, so that they understand the feeling I’m trying to convey.

What inspires you?

I get inspired by a lot of things. (One time I got inspired by a Dorito chip) But most of the time I get inspired by music and people’s personalities. With music, I use it to enhance my emotions. (If that makes any sense) So when I’m drawing something that has a sad tone I’ll listen to a sad piano song on repeat. Now with people’s personalities, I think of it as if I’m a comedian on stage. And my audience is a canvas of personalities. I’m trying to entertain my crowd, make them feel the emotions I’m trying to get them to feel through jokes. Now trade comedian to artist and trade jokes with my art and you get a satisfying reward of making a connection to someone else. Whether that connection was big or small, short -lived or forever.

Day - 4 bonus
Day 4, bonus

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

I think I always had an interest in art ever since I was a kid. Stuck at home with only a box of crayons and an infinite stack of paper allowed me to draw out my imagination. So that started my love for drawing. Then at some point I experienced my first episode of an anime. I still remember the name of it to this day. But the fact that I could experience the world of someone else inspired me to draw more and come up with even more ideas to draw. But then I hit the point of time where I could draw digitally, and that was the real start of sharing my work with others. So I would receive more than just the reactions and opinions of my peers, but with random people from the internet. And that was the point of time where I began to enjoy seeing people’s reactions to the emotions I tried to convey in my pieces.

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?

Well I’m still trying to find a signature to stick with. (I’ve already gone through four. Haha) But I would like to try incorporating something with my little imaginary companion, Derpy Wolf. Since they’re like a mascot of mine.

Huggies - Napstablook
Huggies – Napstablook

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

References are what they are REFERENCES. Use them. They are practically screaming you to use them. Now when people say it’s bad to use references, they’re wrong. We all have to use references. How are you going to learn to draw the human body without looking at it? You can’t. Unless you have photographic memory, but even with that ability it takes a lot time to learn how to draw anything.

Draw a lot. It can’t hurt. Even if it’s really bad. (I photoshop the most stupidest things sometimes) In fact draw silly things to take a break sometimes. Late on looking back at your old work you can laugh at it.

Try out different styles/ brushes/ tools. Explore a little. It helps you in finding your style.

Now we all do this as artist. We all look at someone else’s work and compare ourselves to it. Instead of telling yourself, “Man I’ll never be as good,” Or, “Man this person isn’t that great.” Instead of doing all of that tell yourself, “What are some strong points they have that I can improve on?” Having that kind of mindset will help you take a step in improving your art.

I don't even
I Don’t Even

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a triple AAA battery. Haha, as in I identify as a Aromantic Asexual Agender person. I’ve been aromantic, asexual, and agender for a long time. But only recently I’ve found those terms and community that I could relate myself to.

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

Actually not really. But I do sympathize with those who do. (Because I’d totally be your weird friend.) I think from a young age when other kids began to ‘like’ other kids, I would find myself really confused. Since I would never look at anyone that way. Instead of liking someone as a ‘significant other’ I would like someone as a ‘friend’. But I never received any hate from anyone. Nowadays only a few people know I’m actually an asexual, but it’s not in an ignorant way. It’s because the information is irrelevant to them because I’m not considered as an ‘asexual’ friend, but just a ‘friend’. (If that makes any sense)

There was only one time when someone told me, “You just haven’t found the right person.”

And I responded with, “Oh I’ve found the right person for me alright. And that person is me!” Or something along the lines that asexuality doesn’t exist. But then I usually find myself joking about how their genitals don’t exist. Or joke about why they would be talking about asexuality if it didn’t exist. (It’s really fun)

Outertale - Asgore
Outertale – Asgore

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

Sometimes I get the occasional, “Asexuality is an excuse for not getting laid.” “Asexuals are just freaks.” “You can’t have a stable relationship without sex.”

I just laugh. (One, I would be a minor. Two, what’s the definition of normal nowadays? Three, yes you can. It’s called friends.)

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

You are you. No one on earth knows you better than yourself. Not even your parents. So YOU decide who you are. NOT others. But expressing yourself is another subject. You can express yourself openly if you choose to do so, but just know that sometimes there will be people who judge you. Just ignore them. Since honestly they are not worth your time. Spend your time with people you trust, who support and care for you. Now if you don’t have anyone like that, seek out maybe some clubs, maybe even adults you can trust, or even people that are safe to talk to online.

Just remember that there will come a time where you’ll meet someone who really cares for you. (Like me…)

Oh, and yes. Figuring out who you are and why takes time. There’s a reason why you are even trying to do so. It’s because biologically your brain is developing. You might not find the answers right now, and you don’t need to be in a rush to do so. Yes it will seem like a struggle but what can you do when all you can do is wait? Take your time. Everything takes time. If you pace yourself you’ll find an answer that is way more matured than a rushed one.

Okami
Okami

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

This is my Tumblr. (Feel free to talk to me. Don’t worry I don’t bite.)
This is my Deviantart. (You can also contact me here, but I’m on Tumblr more these days.)

My Color
My Color

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

Interview: Daniel Clarke

Today we’re joined by Daniel Clarke.  Daniel is an incredibly talented writer who writes both fanfiction and original work.  They dabble a bit in digital art to create covers for their work, but their passion lies in writing, which definitely shows in their interview.  My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Artificial Light

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Well I’m a writer, mainly of fanfiction. I have high functioning autism, so I’ve always been one to obsess. So writing has been how I express my feelings on a certain topic. So my “special interest” has been Marvel and The Avengers for the past 3 years. So my main work is on the Avengers. I also have smaller special interests that I love, but I’m not quite as absorbed in. And I have a lot of works for those too. But my main book is a series called the Driven MAD series, and there are 4 books. I’m currently working on the 3rd one. The first two books are currently unedited and uncondensed, so the first draft for book one is 895 pages long, and book two is 912 pages long. Combined, those two have a higher word count than the entire Harry Potter series combined. So… You could say I’m just a bit wordy.

Black Knight

What inspires you?

Well, aside from the movies or shows themselves, I would say that my biggest inspiration is reading. Whenever I get the chance to just sit down and read for a few hours, I find my desire to write double, triple, quadruple. I see the success in other authors and I just think… Yes. I can do that too.

Broken Crown

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

I’ve always been into writing. Ever since I was a little kid. I started writing when I was in the 3rd grade. It was this horrendous, ten page story about a girl and a boy who fell madly in love, only for the boy to move to freaking RUSSIA and she builds a plane out of mushrooms and flies to him. Yeah, I was a weird little kid. It was so bad. However, it slowly became more organized, got a little better. By the time 6th grade rolled around I’d written about 7 books, all of them being between 100 and 400 pages long. And then, in 7th grade, I started my MAD series and that’s when things started to get interesting.

Do You

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in our work that you’d be willing to reveal?

Ever since I came out as asexual, I try to hint at or blatantly say that at least one of my characters are asexual. So right around the time I came out, I made Sharon Carter asexual, and it’s since become sort of a big plot point in her relationships. And I’ve recently started a Hannibal fanfiction, and I made Will Graham asexual. And I’m starting to include my romantic orientation as well. So I have about 4 or 5 pansexual characters in my Avengers fic. My gender and sexuality don’t define me as a person, but it’s an important part of me that I like to express in my writing.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t stop writing just because you think someone else is better than you. I know I got discouraged a lot when I first started because I thought R.L. Stein was the coolest person ever and I thought that my books would never be as good as his. But trust me, your work will get better the more you practice. The more you write, the more things you notice. You notice what sounds good, you start to figure out how to better organize your ideas… And eventually, this:

“After eight months in Paris I was finally aloud to go back and visit my parents and bring back three friends. When I got there GABE ran up to me and hugged me. Then he kissed me! “Kat! I missed you so much! I can’t believe you got a plastic leg and now you can walk again! Oh I missed you so much!” He said to me. He spun me around! That was a sign of true love. I knew that I had to turn him down. “Gabe, I don’t know if you remember this but we’re sort of over. We can still be friends though.” I said. That had to be the hardest thing I’d ever said. “Kat.” He started. I shook my head. “I used to love you but I sort of got a boyfriend.” I told him. It was true. His name was John Luke. I’m only dating him because his name is a combination between my brothers’ names. I really hated him though. “So you don’t love me anymore?” he asked. I shook my head. There was a long silence between us. “I still want to be friends though.” I said to him. He nodded and we went our separate ways.” (Book 3 of some series I wrote in 4th grade. CRINGE.)

Will turn into this.

             She didn’t hesitate a single moment. She just grabbed the remains of the bottle, grabbed a quick swig, then dumped the rest of the bottle on his head, burning his eyes and stinging his lungs as he choked. She smiled sickly, perhaps cruelly, as she poured it over him, letting him choke and sputter on the alcohol and blood and sweat and tears… He was HYDRA. He was the enemy. And he deserved it.
“Still don’t want to tell me?” Sharon hissed.
He just bit down on his lip and shook his wet head violently. She sighed and turned toward the desk again, where a pack of cigars and a set of matches were sitting. She grabbed it quickly, opening the pack and taking a cigar, setting it carefully just between her teeth like she’d done God-knows-how-many times before. When she was a rebellious teenager, she had been addicted, but after awhile, once she grew up and joined S.H.I.E.L.D, she’d gotten clean, been clean for years. But still, the feeling was familiar. The feeling. The taste. The warmth. The smell.
“The first time I ever smoked a cigar,” she started, “was in the fifth grade with Marlene Smith. Funny little girl, I adored her. I thought she was so cool because she was in the seventh grade. I smoked then, and then all through high school. This wouldn’t be the first time I’ve put one out on someone…”

And this:

             Broken glass shattered around his feet as he cautiously stepped into the apartment, the cracked remains of vases and photographs and all of the other things that you were supposed to have when you were married splintering beneath his feet. Inside sat Bobbi Morse, hair matted and mascara smudged and clothes torn, near-empty bottle of vodka still in hand. She laughed manically, coughing as she did so, sputtering out what seemed to be vomit as it dribbled down the corner of her mouth, just before she spewed it out all over the carpet. “We’re all going to die, Clint Barton.” She slurred.

And this

              “You are not understanding, Thanos. Your army is weak. The Avengers destroyed them in one afternoon. There were six of them. We have an army, Thanos. The Asgardians, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, what’s left of the Avengers. We are strong, Thanos. You may have the power of the Gods in your hands, but we have the power of the people. And maybe I’m wrong, but I have never believed in a God. Here’s my proposition. The people create the Gods as a crutch. And when those Gods turn on us? We kick the crutch and fight back.”
“I am not some manmade thing, meant to make you petty humans feel better about yourselves. I could care less if you follow some moral conduct, because morals are for the weak, for those who want to be good and pure, for those who can’t accept that the way they live will land them nowhere but Hel. It matters not how you live, how you wish you could be. I am no expectation, longing, no mark. I am… I am. I am the God of this grave new world. And I am no crutch. I will eliminate you all before you touch me, before you kick your imaginary crutch.”

Driven Mad2

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m just asexual. Plain and simple. I used to think I was demisexual, but I’ve been in a few deeply committed relationships, including the one I’m currently in, but I don’t feel any sexual attraction to her. In terms of my romantic orientation, I am panromantic. I’m also agender, but that’s not really connected to my asexual identity.

Tale as Old as Time

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

I don’t experience a lot of acephobia in my work, other than the occasional question about it. I write my ace characters in a lot of different ways. When I write Sharon Carter, she’s something of a badass and is pretty sex neutral. However, when I write Will Graham, he’s extremely sex-repulsed and has a lot of trouble with touch. So I’ll get people who think that all ace people are this way or the other, but it’s not true. If you meet one asexual, you’ve met one asexual. It’s not a “know one, know them all” situation. So I try to explain a bit, but I’ve only gotten a few questions on that. People aren’t quite as ignorant as they used to be.

Victory Call final

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

Asexuals just haven’t tried it yet. Yeah, I’m still a virgin and I plan on staying that way. But that’s like saying that you can’t know you’re straight until you’ve had gay sex. Or like saying you don’t know that you don’t like BDSM because you’ve not tried it. It’s just a common misconception because “oh my god who doesn’t love sex?” We live in a sex crazed society, and those who live without it are alienated.

Walking Travesty

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

You are valid, you are beautiful, and you don’t need anyone else’s approval. You’re not broken, and how you live your life is entirely up to you.

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

All of my work is posted on my Wattpad.

https://www.wattpad.com/user/MARVELousThor

If you want to know more, feel free to message me on Tumblr as well.

http://harleys-lil-monster.tumblr.com

White Rain

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

Interview: Natasha Dancy

Today we’re joined by Natasha Dancy.  Natasha is a wonderfully talented visual artist and writer.  She’s the author of Tethered, an ongoing webcomic set in a dystopian Britain.  Reading her interview, one can tell how passionate she is about her art.  Tethered sounds absolutely fascinating and the imagery she sent with the interview is stunning to look at.  My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Fire Girl
Fire Girl

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am the artist and creator of the on-going webcomic Tethered. It’s set in a dystopian Britain, after a political war had devastated countries, leaving survivors to fend for themselves. The story follows a young woman and medical android as they travel up country in hopes to accomplish their own individual goals.

I’ve been drawing it for about 2 years now, it started because of several reasons, the main ones stemming from how I was tired of always drawing art for other people, with barely anything to show for myself, and also because I want to build up a story that will eventually raise awareness for many things I have encountered in my life. One being in regards to what it is like to have a disabled family member, and another being how I interpret love, in both relationships, friendships and family.

What inspires you?

I would definitely have to say my family. I never started Tethered in hopes of making money, I wanted to raise awareness and to have a solid piece of artwork that I was truly passionate about and could call my own. That being said, I do remember thinking that if I could really make this comic work, and people were willing to put money towards it, I could use the profit to help improve my family’s quality of life.

Cara Portrait
Cara Portrait

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

I cannot really remember the first time I drew, ever since I was little I had a strong imagination. I always loved my art classes when I was at school, and each art tutor I had always encouraged me to keep pushing my skills. I find it a great way to express myself, it just gives me a wonderful sense of freedom that I cannot find elsewhere. In regards to my comic, I chose to do that because  it meant I could tell a story without relying on anyone else, I could do everything. I used to work on Indie films and animations, and the waiting around, then complete mad rushes with tight deadlines frustrated me. It was too unpredictable and unstable, so it pushed me to become more independent.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in our work that you’d be willing to reveal?

I don’t really have anything in my work that is personal to me, I do put small things into the background now and then, but that is part of the storyline that I cannot reveal yet!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Well, you have plenty of advice telling you to keep following your dreams, push yourself and don’t stop drawing. All of that is true, but I think great advice would also be – don’t let people take advantage of you. In my experience, a lot of people will think that because you enjoy drawing you should be willing to do it for free. Remember, once you’ve gained your skill you tell them that they are not only paying for you to draw, they are paying for the years it took you to get there. You would be shocked at the amount of people out there who are willing to just take the work and run. So please, become a great artist, but also be precious with your skills, a new and eager artist is always an easy target, and don’t let “but it’s good experience” be the only reason to do a job.

Ed Portrait
Ed Portrait

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’d class myself as an Agender Asexual.

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

To be honest with you, I have only recently discovered this about myself. All through my life I knew there was something different about me, but because I was naive to the large spectrum of identity out there, I foolishly allowed a few people to make me feel like it was wrong or strange to be this way. So I guess the ignorance comes from people who were not open to other options – for example, at one point I wondered if I was bisexual, but had an extremely negative response when I was trying to be open about it, so I ignored the possibilities I could have been anything else but a ‘regular’ person. However, after meeting someone who was asexual, we spoke in great depths about his experience, I researched into it and my entire world opened up. Since then I’ve not held myself back. I know who I am and I no longer care who knows or what they think.

Forest Creatures
Forest Creatures

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

That everyone is really this way. When I tried to talk to someone about it, they kept shooting me down, saying “we all feel that way sometimes”, and making up excuses as if asexuality didn’t really exist. I think some people just can’t comprehend the idea of not being sexually attracted to someone, especially through physical appearance. I also hate hearing how some people believe asexuality is just a phase, you just haven’t met the right person yet or going through emotional turmoil which is blinding you to who you really are. As if meeting the right person instantly means sex, that there is nothing else in a relationship other than that. For me, “meeting the right person” means someone I can connect emotionally to, without those pressures of needing to provide something that I am not at all that interested in.

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

Sit and think about you and your life, when I was discovering myself I actually read through some old diaries of mine (I kept some through my teenage-hood), and came across an entry that said “at school today, all the girls were talking about boys, I felt so left out, I don’t like talking about that. But I did, I pretended to be interested”. This was at the age of 13, at the age of 16 I told my mum I refused to have a boyfriend, at the age of 26 I was asked to name a celebrity I would want to sleep with, and I couldn’t, I was confused with working out who I was attracted to. There are many more examples, but this alone confirmed to myself I really have felt this way my whole life. After that, it seemed so obvious who I was, there is no shame, and don’t feel alone 🙂

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

Oh boy, I’m in quite a few places, but if you visit www.tethered-comic.com, you will find links to other locations on the web! I hope to see you there soon!

Visual Storytelling
Visual Storytelling

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