Interview: Bryn Kettle

Today we’re joined by Bryn Kettle. Bryn is a phenomenal animator from New Zealand. They draw a lot of fascinating and unique characters, frequently including bright vibrant colors to draw the viewer in. They’re clearly a dedicated and imaginative artist who loves what they do. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. Putting the War in Reality Warpers
Putting the War in Reality Warpers

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m an animator who works on very cartoony nonsensical jazz that usually involves something meta or something that warps reality – most of my work is pretty much a tribute to something else.

What inspires you?

Cartoons – old, new, foreign, limited, in a weird medium, seconds long, hours long – whatever! if it’s animated, I’ll watch it!!

2. Atronus
Atronus

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

I believe the first cartoon that got me into this mess was Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends – that, I remember, was about when I started to try and replicate smear frames that I’d get a glimpse at.

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?

The number ‘307.47’ pops up a lot. Everybody who I’ve worked with on shorts and what have you, that I’ve been able to sneak it in, have never questioned me about it – it’s probably because there’s a lot more cartoony nonsense distracting them from it.

It’s the DSM-IV code for nightmare disorder.

3. Butterfly Soldier
Butterfly Soldier

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

That isn’t keep making/practicing the thing? I think having a back log of your most favourite, most inspirational pieces of art to fall back on really helps keep me trucking along.

4

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Just a genuine ace!

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

Not at all – I find my fellow artists are extremely accepting – the folks at work even use they/them pronouns for me.

That isn’t to say I haven’t experienced it anywhere else, of course – I’ve gotten my fair share of the old “you just haven’t found the right person” and “you’re young, you’ll grow out of it” every now and again.

5

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

Oh criminy which one to pick – ace peeps had a bad experience, ace folks are all naive, the ace community are just picky – but I think the most common one I’ve gotten is the mindset that it’s curable in some shape or form.

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

A month ago, I went to Wales to meet my second cousin Ian for the first time. he’s in his 60’s, retired and totally 100% ace goals – his apartment was full of treasures from his life, including a Salvador Dalí lithograph and he gets all the love he needs from his close friends and family. he’s never wanted, nor tried to get with folks and nobody really expects that of him. (they’ve given up at this point) So yes – it is absolutely possible to live a full and happy life without focusing on any of that jazz – just be you, focus on feeling before labels and live your best life full!!… of treasures, preferably.

6

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

At hoodboycartoons on InstaTwitterTumblr and Facebook and Hoodboy33 on Deviant art

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnCGOSQa4jg

7. Sean Expressions Chart
Sean Expressions Chart

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

Interview: Ria

Today we’re joined by Ria, who also goes by rainbowbarfeverywhere. Ria is a phenomenal character animator and digital illustrator. She has worked on a TV show and does animation for a living. On her free time, Ria loves to draw. She does a lot of fanart and enjoys focusing on friendships between characters. It’s clear she loves what she does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. Ace Week 2018
Ace Week 2018

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I part time as a character animator in an outsourcing studio, Toon City Animation. I’ve only been working there for a year and I’ve worked on the television series Big Hero 6. Though I’ve been animating for a while now, I haven’t really made any personal animations though I hope to do some someday.

I mostly draw fanart in my free time. I’m a digital artist and I mostly use Clip Studio Paint and Adobe Photoshop. I love drawing for anime and other animated series or films. I’m not as active as the average fanartist but I love drawing for fan events like fandom weeks or big bangs. Although I used to be a big shipper and drew my pairings all the time, now I like to focus on individual characters and friendships.

What inspires you?

When I fall in love with a work, a character, or a relationship, I want to convey my love for it through art. When I appreciate something, I want others to appreciate it too and I can do that either by exchanging ideas or thoughts, or by making fanart of that something. It’s my little way of giving more love to the series.

I also get inspired by other fanartists. Their skills become a goal I want to work towards. When I see an artwork that stops me at my feet, I become driven to also touch someone like that.

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

I’ve been drawing forever. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t draw. Even as far back as preschool, I already remember when I drew my favorite cartoons. Art is a part of me and I can’t imagine myself without it. When I thought about what I wanted to do in life, it seemed like a no-brainer to be an artist of some kind.

Becoming an animator came later in my life. I, at one point in my childhood, wanted to be an animator since that was the only field I thought I could work in as an artist. But I let go of that dream pretty early on. I had to be practical and while I liked my drawings, I didn’t think they were exceptional.

The opportunity to learn animation and become an animator only came late into my university life. I had taken a leave of absence and my cousin told me about an animation workshop that happened near me. I fell in love with animation instantly.

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 used to have a special cat symbol that I always included in my drawings when I was young. I used it as a sort of artist signature. I did realize later on that it would be hard to identify whose signature it was unless you were already familiar with me. In the end, I just use my artist handle when I want to sign my work. It makes things easier for my audience.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Love both yourself and your work. It will be hard to get far and stay far in life if you don’t.

You will never be satisfied if you don’t love your work and people can feel the emotion you put into your work. Without love, it will be hard to touch other people’s hearts. You also need to take care of yourself. So many artists have fallen sick or died because they didn’t care for themselves. There can be no art if there are no artists. Be kind to yourself.

2. Yamakage (march 13, 2016)
Yamakage

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as aromantic asexual.

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

I don’t share my sexuality to a lot of people. Only a handful of people in real life know that I’m ace and none of them are people I know from work.

On the other hand, I’m open about my sexuality online. I have it in my description and I occasionally talk about it in my posts or tweets. Still, I only interact with an intimate amount of people online. While I don’t hide my asexuality, only the people I interact with would know. And I make sure that the people in my internet circle are accepting.

I’ve never been outright attacked or singled out, but I’ve seen hate for my sexuality in different parts of the internet. I simply choose not to engage in them because I feel they won’t listen to me either way.

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

The two most common misconceptions about asexuality is that it’s only temporary (that it’s a phase or asexual people just haven’t found the right person yet) and that there’s something wrong with us for us to feel this way. People think that we’re just misguided and need to be taken to the right path.

But asexuality is just a part of us. Just because we’re not attracted to other people that way doesn’t mean that we’re broken. It just means that we care more about our friendships and families. There’s nothing missing in our lives just because we don’t have a significant other.

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

No matter what anyone says, you and what you’re feeling are valid. There’s nothing wrong with you and you’re not broken just because you don’t feel that kind of attraction for other people. There’s more to life than romantic love or sex. It can be just as fulfilling with the people you have in your life.

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

My primary account is at Twitter and you can find me here: https://twitter.com/rainbowbarf_/

I’m also at Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rainbowbarfeverywhere/

You can support me through Ko-fi: https://ko-fi.com/rainbowbarfeverywhere

3. Galaxy (april 16, 2016)
Galaxy

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

Interview: Inbar

Today we’re joined by Inbar. Inbar is a phenomenal visual artist and writer who has been running a webcomic for almost a year and a half. It’s entitled Just a Sidekick and it’s a superhero story that sounds fascinating. Aside from the webcomic, she’s also currently studying animation and is working on her final movie. When she’s not working on the webcomic or animation projects, Inbar also writes fanfiction. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and enthusiastic artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

5. My So-Called Face
My So-Called Face

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

The main project I am currently working on right now is a webcomic called “Just a Sidekick”, it’s a superhero ensemble story with a large focus on character interactions and character development. I’m also studying to be an animator, I’m in my last (fourth) year – and although I currently haven’t done any animation work that isn’t technically school work, I’m fairly proud in my animations. Currently, I just started work on my final movie, an urban fantasy called “Shoshi Ben-Abraham: Good Witch (Usually)” about a soft pastel witch and outgrowing the influence of toxic parents. In additions, I do some writing. The stories that I have online (and in English) are mostly fanfiction on AO3 (I’m currently writing for the Ace Attorney fandom), but I’ve also written original fiction before. Mostly short stories, but I’ve dabbled in poetry too.

What inspires you?

That’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it? Sometimes I feel like I’ve got stories overflowing in my brain all the time and I just need to grab the not-sucky ones and share those in the best medium possible. But I guess my biggest source of inspiration is… other works of art and storytelling media. Not in the sense that I consider myself a rip-off artist or that I steal ideas, but I just… I look at a work of fiction and find something about it I like; a particular character, a trope, a relationship, a plot point, a design aesthetic or even just a feel that the work inspires, and I go “That’s neat, I wonder what I could do with that. I wonder if I can give this idea a take of my own. A spin that takes the stuff that I like but makes it unique enough so it’s mine.” I used to go roaming on the TV Tropes website all the time, find a trope I think has cool potential and think what I could do with it. I’m a fan and analyst as much as I am a creator, and I think it reflects in my artistic process. Also, “Just a Sidekick” started out a middle-school piece of crossover fanfiction that mutated so much that I was better off just making it original fiction, so that’s something.

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

I’ve been drawing and making up stories since I can remember myself. As a kid, I used to draw in any given opportunity, on anything I could find. On the final first grade, I had to stay after everyone had left to clean up the desk in my classroom as punishment for all the desks I doodled on. After that, my parents started buying me blank “drawing notebooks” to draw on instead. I filled them up, sometimes an entire notebook in one school day, with illustrations (and sometimes stories) I made up. I also always really liked animation, cartoon shows were my favorite form of entertainment as a child (I was always inherently biased against any kid’s show with live-action actors, they were always less interesting to me.) However, up until middle-school I didn’t consider animation, comics or art in general as a future career option. I thought of them as a hobby, my first dream (well, after I outgrew wanting to be a puppeteer-air hostess-cook-kindergarten teacher-robot scientist-farmer) was to be a zoologist. I love animals and I love reading facts about them, I thought I would enjoy becoming a scientist who studies them. But around middle school I started realizing it wasn’t a very realistic dream, I didn’t have a head for the sciencey subjects and I only really enjoyed knowing about animals from a distance and without all the icky stuff. Around that time, as I was reconsidering what I want to do with my life, I was watching some special feature about the history of Pixar in one of their DVDs (maybe the Incredibles?). Someone there said that they got into animation because they grew up watching Disney animated movies and so they wanted to do so themselves. That seemed like the right angle to go at, a lot of people answer ‘why did you decide to become an X’ with “well, I grew up inspired by X and I wanted to pay it forward to the next generation”. And what was my favorite form of media as a kid? The one I would like to advance forward to the kids of tomorrow? Cartoon shows! That’s when I decided that one I day I’ll be the creator of a cartoon show, or if that can’t happen – I’ll at leas be an animator. Also around the same time I was suddenly starting to have some problems with art class in school because it was starting to lean more ‘realistic’ and toward live-drawing – while I, I realized, care more about the art of telling stories via my drawing. The move to comics and animation is only logical from there.

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

My signature is the Hebrew Letter Ayin (the first letter of my name) stylized and with a dot in the middle to make it look like an eye (another meaning for the word “Ayin”). Although I don’t use it on a lot of online content. In terms of recurring storytelling motifs, I guess most of my stories have a mostly-female cast, and I really like the trope where a character has to face against a pre-character development representation of themselves.

4. My Signature
Signature

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Find something that you’re both pretty good at and have fun doing and focus on that. Also, originality is overrated. Having a unique idea nobody ever thought before is not nearly as important as presenting and delivering those ideas well.

2. Page 63
Page 63

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

The identity I feel most strongly about is “Asexual, period, full stop.” For the sake of communication, I can say that my identity is “Asexual Aromantic”, and it’s not that I’m ashamed at my lack of romantic attraction or that I don’t feel solidarity with other Aro people… but I’ve spent so much time questioning and second-guessing my own orientation and worrying that I might be ‘faking it’. But “Asexual” is the one label I’ve always come back to, the one that feels the most ‘right’, the most like home.

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

I’ve encountered ace prejudice, but not in my ‘field’, so to speak. I’m not very vocal about my asexuality outside of the internet, and online (where I am very vocal) I’m just not that well-known as a creator. One time I made a piece of art as schoolwork about my AroAceness, and the teacher started out with “Oh that’s very sad that you felt like you have to fake attraction to a boy” but ended up constantly talking about her husbands and soulmates and how wonderful relationships were as if me talking about how I was hurt by heteronormativity is insulting her relationship somehow. That kinda hurt me, especially since it was such a personal piece. I am very afraid of the possibility I might be the target of ace prejudice, though. It’s an anxiety that’s constantly on my mind.

3. Shoshi model sheet
Shoshi model sheet

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

That it’s not ‘real’. When I first mentioned Asexuality to my dad, before I came out, he dismissed it as “what crazy thing they’ll make up next” and it really hurt me. I’ve seen all sorts of crazy antagonism and misunderstanding about Ace People online, but the outright dismissal of our identities is still what hurts me the most.

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

Surround yourself with good friends who respect your identity. Even if the world can be really crappy sometimes, a good community to take refuge in can make you feel a lot better. Also, try and not get stressed about your identity the way that I did, okay? You’re probably not faking it or lying to yourself, and if asexuality feels like the most ‘right’ label for you and makes you happy – that’s all you need.

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

My webcomic, Just a Sidekick, is found at http://justasidekickcomics.tumblr.com/ and http://justasidekick.thecomicseries.com/.

My fanfiction is on Archive of Our Own under “Invader Ham” https://archiveofourown.org/users/InvaderHam

I might upload some animated projects to my YouTube channel soon, which is https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTL3B4o0qQzpyd_cvzHw-jg

1. Dana
Dana

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

Interview: Alice Chrosny

Today we’re joined by Alice Chrosny. Alice is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in animation and character art. She enjoys drawing fantasy creatures and mythical monsters. Her work is extraordinary, showing an incredible eye for detail and color. It’s clear she’s a remarkably talented artist with a passion for creating, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

00_MiniWeatherFriends
Mini Weather Friends

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a 2D digital animator and character artist that loves drawing cute, friendly content from fluffy fantasy animals to mythical monsters.

What inspires you?

Animation! From television to movies, I was always amazed at how fun and alive drawn cartoons could be. They completely captured my heart at a young age and I knew I wanted to work with cartoons. For more inspiration, my friends and a bunch of webcomic artists I follow inspire me to keep going with my art and stay motivated.

1. Ace Pride Sunny
Ace Pride Sunny

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

Watching Dexter’s Lab and PowerPuff Girls as a kid and all sorts of cartoons in general on Cartoon Network along with Disney movies, Looney Tunes, etc. Ever since I was old enough to hold a pencil, I’ve wanted to work in the art field in some way, primarily in animation.

2. MerMary
MerMary

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 write my signature with a dash and a tiny heart. I always try to put or sneak hearts in my illustrations when I can.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you’re passionate about art and want to continue creating, don’t give up.

Everyone learns and grows at a different pace and we’re all walking our own different path. Life’s not a race and I know it’s hard not to compare yourself to others, but you have to remember how far you’ve come. Draw what you want for yourself, challenge yourself, take care of yourself, and be kind to others and yourself.

You got this!

3. Alphonse Cats
Alphonse Cats

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a Romantic Ace

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

When I’ve had to explain to people, they don’t always get it or just assume I’m just a “late bloomer” or know me better than I do. However, I’ve never personally faced any ace prejudice in my field, so I consider myself very fortunate.

4. Super Blue Moon Eclipse Hide
Super Blue Moon Eclipse Hide

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

That aces don’t want to have relationships or be married. It’s pretty easy for asexuals to be confused or automatically assumed to be aromantic, too, but that’s not the case for everyone. Some aces want to have relationships and some don’t and that’s fine. Romantic love isn’t greater than platonic love. Love is important and comes in many different ways and forms that we give and receive.

5. Solar Dance 3
Solar Dance 3

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

You’re not broken and you’re not alone. You can’t let others define and label who you are. You only know what makes you comfortable or not. If a label or identity feels right for you, then awesome, but don’t worry if you’re not sure. Everything’s on a spectrum, not everything fits neatly into place and that’s OK. You’re gonna be OK. Keep going!

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

You can find my work at my website: http://alicechrosny.com/

And follow me on social media!

https://twitter.com/alicechrosnyart
https://www.instagram.com/alicechrosnyart/
http://alicechrosnyart.tumblr.com/
https://www.youtube.com/user/AliceApproved/featured

Thank you so much and I hope you have a Sunny Day!

6. Solar Dance 4
Solar Dance 4

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

Interview: goatbunny

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

2. HammerTPIG
Hammer

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

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

What inspires you?

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

3. llamacorn wm
Llamacorn

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

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

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

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

1. RETRO GOATAGRAM NOBGig
Retro Goatagram Nob

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

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

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

4. vidscreen
Vidscreen

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

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

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

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

5. DSC_1697_1507070092659

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

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

6. Screen Shot 2017-04-29 at 3.19.43 AM

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

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

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

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

7. Tarot 17 Scholar
Tarot 17 Scholar

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

Interview: NomnomNami

Today we’re joined by NomnomNami. NomnomNami is a phenomenal game-maker and author. With her friend DarkChibiShadow, a fellow ace, she has a game studio SofDelux. NomnomNami makes a number of games with numerous ace characters in them. She specializes in wlw characters and is very passionate about greater visibility for aces. NomnomNami is an incredibly talented and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Clever Fox Moxie

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I make stories about girls who like girls! I mostly like designing femme and androgynous characters who are all excessively adorable. I’m currently doing a variety of visual novels and RPG maker games, but I’ve also done comics and some animation every now and then.

What inspires you?

Gotta say the Disgaea series! I’ve been a huge fan since childhood, and a lot of my storytelling is really just me trying to emulate the feeling I get from those games. Looking back, the series is actually really ace-friendly so it’s no wonder I fell in love with it so easily, haha.

First Kiss at a Spooky Soiree

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

Pretty much! I’ve always loved games, cartoons, and comics, so I just ended up drawing a lot to express that. I remember in middle school I told my class I wanted to be a mangaka — and although it turned out comics weren’t really my passion, I still get to do storytelling through drawings! So I feel like I pretty much had the right idea, even back then.

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?

Hmm… just cute girls loving cute girls. Nothing secret about that 🙂

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t let anyone tell you drawing anime will get you nowhere, and don’t let them stop you from drawing fan art either — HAVE FUN DRAWING WHAT YOU WANT THE WAY YOU WANT TO!

Friendly Bunny Mochi

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I consider myself gray ace!

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

Definitely ignorance, but I’ve never had any kind of negative interaction over it. Anyone I can think of that I’ve had to explain things to has been very open to listen and ask questions in very non-intrusive ways.

Lonely Wolf Treat

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

Hmm, it’s hard to think of any I’ve run into a lot personally. This is gonna be a NSFW answer, but a big one is definitely the idea that ace spectrum folks can’t be interested in porn. Some of us absolutely are!! Sex is a really interesting facet of relationships between fictional characters — there are a lot of people who love exploring those sorts of ideas without any desire to be involved in it themselves. Like, for me, it’s about the strong emotional connection between the characters. There’s a lot of great, really emotional porn out there if you know where to look! Heck, I’VE released a comic like that!! I even got comments from ace spectrum friends telling me it was one of the few NSFW things they’ve enjoyed/felt safe reading. I want to provide more stuff like that. Just, comfortable Yuri!! I’m very passionate about this.

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

IN THE END, it’s up to you what you are. Don’t hold yourself to others’ standards. You’re not weird or wrong for being whatever way you are. Love yourself!! ❤

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

All my games are available free on Itchio: https://nomnomnami.itch.io/
And I have an art blog for doodles and finished works: http://nomnomnamiart.tumblr.com/
And a personal Twitter! For updates and yelling about my favorite things: https://twitter.com/nomnomnami.

Syrup and the Ultimate Sweet

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

Interview: Jojo

Today we’re joined by Jojo. Jojo is a phenomenal versatile writer and visual artist who describes herself as “a figure skating writer and artist who dabbles in cosplay props.” For writing and visual art, Jojo specializes in scifi and fantasy. She does both traditional and digital art and has a degree in animation. When she’s not writing, drawing, or animating, Jojo enjoys making various props for cosplays and even has a blog dedicated to cosplaying on a budget. She’s clearly a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

ArcReactor
Arc Reactor

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a sci-fi and fantasy enthusiast, and most of my art is themed around that. I do a lot of digital art and pencil drawing in an actual physical sketchbook, but have a degree in animation and like to play in Flash when I have time (RIP Flash). Most of the time though everything I draw stays in sketch form. Drawing helps me work out ideas and logistics, which translates into writing very elaborate Sci-Fi worlds. I have one that I’ve been writing for a literal decade that I’m finally only just starting to amass into something like a novel. So far it has a tone I didn’t expect but I’m actually liking it. Fingers crossed.

I’m also a hobby prop maker, I make small manageable props and things that won’t weigh too much for cosplay using items from the dollar store.  I’ve done a Squall cosplay, an arc reactor, the purgatory blade and Samulet from Supernatural, Mad Max: Fury Road’s Bloodbag equipment, fake skulls, phasers, and Wonder Woman Armor from the new movie!

What inspires you?

I love ice skating, space, human goodness, animals, the sky, large swaths of nature, dungeons & dragons, stars, anime, food, Star Trek, multiverse theories and FOOD.

I adore food, it’s one of those things everyone can agree is amazing, and it’s something that comes in so many forms and says so much about each culture. If I didn’t enjoy eating it more than making it I might be a chef instead of a writer today!

Star Trek and anime started me on a very interesting path when I was very young. Star Trek is about a positive future, and anime is all about a protagonist finding out what makes them tick and then using it to do a thing. In my case I spent more time trying to figure out the ‘whys’ of my life than the ‘hows’ but luckily the two seem to go hand-in-hand so I believe even more in the power of being the protagonist of my own story.

FuryRoadFanzine_Final
Fury Road Fanzine

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

Well, Starship Captain isn’t a viable career path (yet) so I settled for doing what I love. I always knew I’d be an artist, my father is an artist, both grandmas on both sides of the family are artists, and my grandfather is a former NASA engineer. I had a lot of people saying ‘if this is what you want, do it’ my whole childhood, it never occurred to me to try and pursue anything else. If space became a viable option I’d go there, but honestly I’d never stop creating art.

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?

Goodness, I actually don’t think so. The only thing I can say for sure is I try to make really stylistic varied body types, but I don’t think that’s a symbol, just a preference. Every main character I’ve ever had (once I got out of my ‘every character is from CLAMP’ phase- and shut up, you know we all had that!) has had a different body type that affects how they do things. I do it for fun and also because it adds different lifestyle choices they have to make.

Inktober_Ikali
Inktober Ikali

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

My advice is always Go for whatever that thing you want is. Seriously, go for it. The world out there isn’t made for doing the bare minimum to get by and then dying. If you can do something to get yourself ready to do That Thing you want, then do it. Work that retail job, but put all that money (as much as you can) away so you can eventually tell the customer they’re wrong and try what you want to do. If you have something you love to do, there’s probably a way to live off it if you want. And if you don’t want your art to be your job be sure of this: Don’t live to work. Work to live. Your art, your passions are worth pursuing even if you’re the only one passionate about it now. Your art doesn’t have to ‘contribute.’ Support your friends, but if they don’t support you back get new friends. Be loyal to yourself.

But seriously; be who you are, even if society isn’t a fan. Because screw them, society elected Trump, what the hell do they know? You’re you and you’re stuck being you forever, so try to get along with yourself. Artists are often eccentric, and I know that’s hard, but listen up, bb artists, you’ll be alright. Everyone’s actually really weird, some just hide it better than others. There are weirdos just like you who want to be friends, but are too nervous to fly their own personal flag. Put yours up, they’ll come. It’ll be hard, but you’ll find your people because they’re out there, they’re just hiding.

To those of you not hiding: Kick ass, take names and don’t let anyone tell you that eccentric = bad. Do no harm, but take no shit. XOXO

Mugiwara_Puppies
Mugiwara Puppies

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a sex neutral aromantic asexual and it annoys me! “Nothing, nope not even that” is a hard orientation to be and massively inconvenient to explain. Especially when “maybe your first experience with sex was bad?’ doesn’t apply to me. Sex was … fine. I would have rather gone for ice cream, but eh, okay, we had fun together and I loved the guy so okay. So there. Tell your parents THAT. I actually tried it! It’s fine! Not the best but whatever who cares.

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

Strap in folks, you ain’t gonna BELIEVE this one! I’ve been holding onto this story for a special occasion and I guess this is it:

I used to work at a big corporate company, and our department took us out for a Christmas Dinner every year. Nice! This particular year I get sat between two men I know, across from a woman I don’t and she’s MILITANTLY lesbian. I’m talking about the type who won’t go five minutes without being like “So because I’m a lesbian” and we’re all sitting there like “we get that you’re a lesbian, Carol, go on…”

So Carol (she’s Carol now) is drinking because it’s a Christmas Dinner/Party and we’re all happy and buzzed and chilling and ALL OF A SUDDEN out of nowhere she says “I’m a lesbian so you won’t get it-‘ a pause then she turns to me and says ‘you’re not a lesbian right?” FINALLY. Thanks for finally asking, Carol! But no, I’m not a lesbian and I say so. “I’m Ace,’ I say, assuming her militant sense means she’s active in the LGBTQA+ space and she’ll know what I’m talking about. I was young and foolish.

She has no clue what I’m talking about. I now have to explain to her and my two straight male friend/coworkers what being asexual means. I do so, because why the hell not, I’m already in deep. Straight male friends go ‘oh okay, so you’re not attracted to anyone’ and go on with their meal. GOOD JOB STRAIGHT MALE FRIENDS YOU’RE ACTUALLY THE HEROES FOR ONCE!

Carol says “Oh. So… what happened to you? To make you like that?”

A pause. A horrified pause. A horrified pause where my two straight male friends and everyone within hearing radius at the table realizes Carol just asked if I was assaulted or molested or abused to make me asexual. I see straight male friends glance at me in horror.

But I am two drinks in, and I am transcendent. Instead of getting embarrassed and answering honestly straight out, I ask, as loudly as I want because FUCK YOU CAROL “Did you just ask me at the company Christmas dinner if I was sexually assaulted?” A horrified silence falls. I stare at her as she realizes she has come to the WRONG HOUSE. She starts stammering and backpedaling but OH NO, not today, Carol. “Not that it’s your business,’ I say loudly, ‘but I was born this way.”

She correctly decides to excuse herself to powder her nose. Run Carol, run.

This is when straight male friends, and actually the entire department, show some goddamn solidarity, kids. The boss (who I don’t actually think heard the convo) has already paid the bill, and as one, while Carol is in the bathroom, the whole department decides dinner is over. Everyone is talking and acting like it’s normal, but the whole table- myself included- gets up and leaves while Carol is in the bathroom at this restaurant.

It was ignorant, and it could have been very embarrassing, but I was able to realize I wasn’t the one who should be embarrassed, and if you can remember that next time someone tries to shame your asexuality, you can ditch Carol at a restaurant on Christmas too. The End.

Phaser_original
Phaser

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

People seem to think three very incorrect things. They think something had to happen to make you asexual. Like it’s their damn business to know if it did. Two: that their opinion on you being ace matters (pro tip: hell no) and three: that being ace means you don’t care about being cute and flirty. You get to be as damn cute and flirty as you want, cuz it’s fun! They still ain’t gettin’ none of this, so they better step off.

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

I am struggling too. I get you. It’s hard to be ‘nothing’ when you’re conditioned to think everyone gets ‘something’. Some people don’t and that’s okay. Again, society is dumb, so find something that works for you, whether it’s a Poly tribe, a best friend, a cat, two best friends and a cat, or an online community of people who get you better than the physical ones. Whatever works for you is the right orientation for you. If you wake up tomorrow super attracted to someone, fair enough. You’re a changing person and regardless of how you wake up tomorrow, today you’re ace and that’s your choice to identify- or not! Ace is just a better word for ‘nah nothing really works for me’ and gives you a bunch of other people who get it. Aro’s also a hard one, because you have been told your whole life you want something, but then when you have it, it’s… fine. I had a great relationship for a while, but I felt like we were friends who slept in the same bed. I was later informed that’s not how most people feel (?) Doesn’t de-legitimize my relationship, just means what I’m looking for and what others are looking for might be different. Which is fair, and valid. Labels exist for you, not for the world. You do you, as the saying goes. That’s my advice. I won’t tell you it’s not hard, it is, but it’s also worth fighting for yourself and what you want, not what society or parents or friends want for you.

ALSO ADVICE: Find a doctor who’s cool with you not having sex. My doctor doesn’t care, doesn’t ask why I don’t have sex, doesn’t ask why I laugh if he asks if I’m in danger of becoming pregnant. He just nods and says ‘okay’ and moves on. Find one of those. You not having sex is not a problem and if your doctor says it is: time for a new doctor.

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

My main blog is http://starshipcaptainjojo.tumblr.com/
Art is posted to http://hipster-safari.tumblr.com/ (though also to my main blog most of the time)
And my cosplay/craft blog is http://dollarstorecosplay.tumblr.com/.

Siano_Debut
Siano Debut

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