Interview: Skyler

Today we’re joined by Skyler. Skyler is a wonderful fanartist who has written a massive amount of fics in the Doctor Who fandom. She writes fics about the 10th Doctor and Rose Tyler. Aside from fics, Skyler has also created moodboards and 8 tracks. She’s clearly a passionate artist who enjoys what she does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Jess bday edit

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I have written about 145 fanfics for the Billie Piper and David Tennant fandom. Most of those are Doctor Who, for the Tenth Doctor x Rose Tyler ship (sort of. It’s sci-fi complicated.). I’ve also made some playlists on 8tracks with manips for cover art and moodboards and such for this ship.

What inspires you?

I think since I’m aro ace, I find relationships fascinating, and I love exploring the drama and what-ifs.

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

I started reading fanfic when I was a preteen on a message board and by the time Harry Potter peaked in popularity around my high school and college years, I was reading tons of fic. I deeply wished I could create a Fanfic.net account and start posting. But I was too scared and never did it. I came back to fic after college when I watched Doctor Who and needed to know what happened after the happily-ever-after. I started reading fic and had all these ideas about what I would do with that story. That’s another thing that motivates me: wanting more than we were given about how a plot point or relationship tied up.

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?

Having the voices of the characters in my head, thinking about how the actors would say it, how the character would perceive each other’s actions… if I don’t have that, I can’t write. It wouldn’t be any good. But when I do, people say I have captured them well, so it’s worth the battle to push through.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

There are not as many rules as you think there are. We all have insecurity. It is tempting to think of fandom as this cool kid table where you have to get permission to join, but you don’t. Just write. Create what YOU like. Read as much as you want, and yes there will be fanon that people consider sacred or whatever, but some of the best fic is from writers who are new to the scene because they don’t get trapped in the same tropes done the same way. When you’re in a fandom a long time, it’s tempting to write the same thing over and over 100 times that everyone else is writing. But new writers don’t have that sense of conformity. If you can preserve that curiosity and wonder while also gaining experience and growing as a writer, that’s when true art is born.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Aegoromantic/aegosexual (aro ace for short)

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

There’s always aphobes on Tumblr, who aren’t worth my time, but my actual community has been hugely supportive. I would say all the prejudice and ignorance from people who matter has been internal. I limited myself because I didn’t think I could be ace if I like writing and reading smut (then I found the aegosexual label!). Then I made a post about it and it still shows up in my notifications years later. I was so afraid to publish my fic for Pride last year about Rose being bisexual and the Doctor being demisexual. It was really personal for me. But people are still leaving comments a about how much that story meant to them. So I think we limit ourselves a lot more than we should.

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

There are so many out there, but one personally is that people don’t understand the split attraction model. Usually it doesn’t both me because I’m both aro and ace, but I do have aesthetic attraction, and people don’t really get that. I like the visual of a “hot” person and can call people “sexy,” but that doesn’t mean I personally want to have sex with them. lol It’s just an expression to explain what type of aesthetic appeal they have. Which probably doesn’t make sense to people who do experience sexual attraction, but when you don’t, it is like a huge lightbulb.

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

First, it’s OK to change labels later if you decide you were wrong. Second, it’s a spectrum so you probably weren’t wrong, just somewhere else on the spectrum than you thought. And third, you can also be sure! Even if you’re a teen, you don’t have to “wait until you get older” to identify as ace. You can be ace at any age. It’s also not a Tumblr thing. People have been ace a lot longer than Tumblr has been around.

Also, just ignore the discourse. It is minimally helpful just to be familiar with the arguments people are using these days, but it’s not worth getting upset about and definitely isn’t worth engaging. Just gather real fellow aces and allies you can count on and support each other.

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

The best place to read my writing is AO3: Skyler10. My Tumblr is Skyler10fic. And here is my edit tag and 8tracks.

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

Interview: Sandr Spade

Today we’re joined by Sandr Spade.  Sandr is an incredibly talented and versatile artist.  They mostly write fanfiction, but are working on some original work too.  Aside from writing, they also compose music using chipspeech, UTAU, and Vocaloid.  My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Self-Portrait
                                                                              Self-Portrait

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I mostly do writing of the fanfiction variety but I also am working on a few novels in the young adult science-fiction and fantasy genres. I also compose music using synthetic singers like Vocaloids, UTAU, and chipspeech instead of my own voice.

What inspires you?

Oddly enough, older, less…good attempts at writing. I can always look back on my older works and smile and say, through the haze of embarrassment, that I can always do better than this. And I do. It’s surprisingly cathartic.

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

I love books. I love music. I love reading books while listening to music. They just fit so well. I was once a huge weeb so Vocaloid was an eventuality. (I still have some of the older Vocaloid songs like Triple Baka and Magnet on my iTunes account…)

To be honest, I want to make a living writing and music is more of a paying hobby for me. But ever since I started playing songs by ear on the piano and flute, I like making up music. Also I was really big into poetry and lyrics during my high school years and they just needed music!

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?

Well I have a very specific narration style when it comes to writing even third-person where it comes off very stream-of-consciousness. And I love antiquated and polysyballic words. As for music, I tend to write vocals in the lower register because I love throaty, low female voices.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Always keep your old works guys! Embarrassment is one hell of a motivator! Also, if your writing seems predictable or your music seems boring, it’s cause you wrote/composed it and you’ve listened to/read it multiple times. It’s gonna seem that way to you and you may be able to pick out the flaws but I bet you a billion dollars that Jane Doe from down the block thinks it’s the damn bee’s knees.

Queer
                                                                                         Queer

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a triple-A. Asexual (autochoris), aromantic, agender. It makes for some really good puns.

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

Yes and no. On one hand, I have written songs about both being genderqueer and aro/ace and they’ve been well-received. On the other, I want to write a story about other people in the queer community and I’ve seen some hate towards someone who is “straight and cis-passing” writing characters that are not.

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

“[Asexuals] are just running away from relationships!” (Actual Thing my dad said to me.)

Not true. I had a relationship for five years. I just realized that it was better for him if I said we’re done. Now he’s married with a kid and I’m still happily single.

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

Asexuality is a weird thing. You may not even be what is considered traditionally asexual! You might be grey-ace, demi, akiosexual, lithsexual, or autochorissexual but that does not devalue your place in both the asexual community and the queer community. There are more people like you than you think. You are not broken, trust me. And even if you don’t turn out to be asexual, that’s okay! I thought I was asexual panromantic at one point so keep looking! You’ll find your label eventually!

Also, don’t sweat it if you don’t ever find a label and just waffle back and forth. Maybe you’re something we don’t have a word for yet! Just hang on and you should be good!

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

My Bandcamp: http://clockworksinger.bandcamp.com
My personal Tumblr: http://clockworksinger.tumblr.com
My professional Tumblr: http://sandr-spade.tumblr.com
My professional Email: clockwork_singer@aol.com
My Twitter: @sandrlives

Arrow-Ace
                                                                          Arrow-Ace

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

Interview: Oliver

Today we’re joined by Oliver.  Oliver is an incredibly talented visual artist who also identifies as aro-ace. He is incredibly passionate about his art and it really shows in his work.  My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WARNING: The 2nd to the last image in this interview could potentially be triggering and/or NSFW.

Kurokaga
Kurokaga

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I started drawing when I was really young. I lived in an incredibly small town in the middle of nowhere, so entertaining oneself was a survival skill. The TV was not utilized often, but I was allowed to us MS paint on our bulky 1990’s computer. Drawing, since my discovery of it, has always been an important survival skill for me.

My art, within the last several years, features carefully picked colors and symbols to convey meaning. Generally, my art’s symbolism and color palettes are confusing, or allow for many interpretations. That is less intentional, and more a cause of my own conflicting thoughts. It is a visual record of who I was, am, and will be. I can look at any one of my drawings and remember what the air smelled like when I drew it, who was around me, the weather, what I was wearing. It is a powerful thing and an integral part of my being.

What inspires you?

Life! I love life. When it’s ugly and dirty, when it’s beautiful and bright. It all inspires me. Though, what truly spurs my hands into motion is a sense of need. I like to write, draw, create things for a purpose, to be something useful to other people. Or sometimes I just want to make something that is useful to myself. Though, I’m always surprised by how many people benefit from something I created only for my own satisfaction.

Manhou Shounen Harper
Manhou Shounen Harper

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

I don’t think I ever did want to be an artist, I was just born one. I don’t believe I ever said “I want to be an artist.” I said “I am an artist.”

My thoughts and feelings bottle themselves up, I’m not good at releasing this kind of tension. So you could say my interest in drawing was sparked by a need for catharsis. I experience an inexplicable feeling of relief and peace when finishing a piece, or even looking at it years after the fact. My drawing instructor in high school always told us, “Art is a gift you give to yourself that no one can take away.”

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?

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t do it for anyone but yourself. Do it because it makes you feel good. Practice, practice, and practice some more, and if you cry because you’ve erased a hole through your cheap printer paper, well you better scream too because that sucks.

Honestly all of my best pieces, the ones I am most proud of, came about when I was just trying to do a warm up doodle. Try to find your rhythm and enjoy what you do.

Quantrell
Quantrell

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a quoiromantic asexual, I also happen to be trans masculine.

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

Yes, I suppose I have. Though what I’ve seen, or been involved in, most of it didn’t require a reaction. It’s all microaggressions that don’t bother you until it’s midnight and you can’t sleep because the poem you wrote three years ago about asexuality for valentine’s day was stapled with too many responses of “slut shaming” and “hateful.”

There are some people who are not worth reasoning with, they are only present in your life to be contrary. They do not care what you have to say, so you should perpetuate the same attitude. Celebrate yourself and let their anger fuel your self-love.

Trans Magical
Trans Magical

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

Asexuals, aromantics in particular, are not interested in relationships! Please friend, no one can live alone. I am searching for my corner of love in this world just like everyone else, do not be fooled just because the type of love I feel is different from your own.

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

I struggled a lot with coming to terms with my asexuality, actually. Realizing my transness was not nearly as difficult as accepting my asexuality and aromanticism. Being trans, oppression aside, was just moving from one social box to another. Asexuality, however, was breaking the box and willfully existing in white space. It was scary, but because I no longer had to live inside boxes, I found peace with my less masculine interests and settled a crumbling foundation inside of me.

If I have any advice for asexuals or questioning individuals, it would be; don’t ever settle. Even if it’s scary, even if it’s painful. Don’t settle. You’ll thank yourself for it later.

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

sirotterpup.tumblr.com/tagged/things_i_drew

This is my drawing tag, you will also find links to my other works (writing, costumes, etc) in my blog’s side bar.

Aoba Bride
Aoba Bride

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

Interview: Letty Wilson

Today we’re joined by Letty Wilson.  Letty is an amazingly talented artist from Scotland.  She’s a semi-professional comics artist, writer, and illustrator and wow, her work is incredibly eye-catching.  Browsing through her portfolio, one can’t help but be impressed with her creativity and talent.  My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Well I always seem to have a bunch of projects going on at any one time, but at the minute I’ve just finished the first issue of Meteor, which has been my baby for the past year! It’s a big, melodramatic superhero comic with swearing and violence and laser-robots and I’m so excited and so nervous about how it’ll be received, partly because it’s the first really big project that’s been just me (writing, drawing, slaving for hours over copy-editing), and partly because it’s also going to be my first go at making something with an openly asexual protagonist. I also just finished the second issue of Cosmic, which is written by the awesome Erin Keepers. That’s a sci-fi adventure about a girl who is part alien, part human, created when an alien creature crash-landed on earth, and how she tries to find her way in the world and figure out who she is. There are also a few other collaborative projects I’m working on, most of them with Panels, the comics team I’m lucky enough to be a part of. We met whilst studying comics at Dundee University and have sort of grown from there. It’s so fantastic to have a close group of other creative people to work with, even if I complain about being overworked a lot!

What inspires you?

I’ve always been really interested in science – particularly zoology and botany, so a lot of inspiration comes from stuff like new scientist articles and zoological art – though I love fantasy and surreal elements, I often try and draw that from the weird and amazing things that are really happening in the world. That said I’ve been in love with the escapism provided by fantasy and magical realism since I as a kid. At the moment I’m reading China Mieville’s Perdido Street station and Ali Smith’s How to be Both, and for comics, Nonplayer by Nate Simpson and Noelle Stevenson’s Runaways, watching/ listening to Bojack Horseman, Steven Universe and Welcome to Nightvale, and replaying Dragon Age 2. I guess I have a pretty short attention span!

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

I think it was always one of the options. As a kid it was always 50/50 between being a writer and being a scientist of some kind – I actually put off making the decision for so long that it was made for me – I applied for both zoology and English courses at university, but got a scholarship to do English and creative writing, and that settled it. I never really had any training as an artist but I’ve always loved drawing – for most of my teenage years I had pretty bad anxiety problems and drawing was a release and a diversion – I still doodle compulsively. I never really thought of comics until I was in University, and I was writing all these stories and kept finding they had all these visuals that I wasn’t really getting across in prose – I would reel off pages of description, it was ridiculous, no word count could contain me – but when I started trying out comics everything felt like it worked much better, I could tell the stories I wanted to in a way that did them justice. I started a webcomic (it was called patchwork people, and it’s terrible), and it snowballed from there. After I graduated I flailed around aimlessly for a year until I stumbled on the idea of doing a masters, and found out that Dundee University does an MLitt in Comics Studies. I managed (with some very generous help from my family) to scrape the cash together for the course, and within about a week of starting I knew I could do this exact thing for the rest of my life. It helped a lot that everyone on the course was a fantastic person and they remain among my closest friends.

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?

Not really. When I just started comics I had various little creatures that I’d sneak into the panels – six-legged wormy salamander things and little yellow people with rotating heads, that kind of thing, but after a while it becomes a gimmick, and I got tired if it – also as I’m not doing a regular webcomic there’s not so much space for it. I do sneak in things that make me laugh when I can. I like putting secret monsters in complex panels, or posters with weird stuff written on in the background, or giving objects faces. Comics has a lot of room for things like that, because you have focus on certain elements of the art and often you can do what you like with the bits around the edges, either to make them beautiful, or meaningful, or, if you are bored and juvenile like me, to hide dick jokes in the margins

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Art doesn’t have to be Art with a capital A. It doesn’t have to be a career or a calling or even a talent. I think there’s a lot of pressure on kids, especially when they get to their teens, to make everything they do aim towards a future. But art, any kind of art, doesn’t need to lead anywhere, it has value just in the fact you are doing it, even if nobody sees, even if you never make a penny off it, even if you only do it when you’re sad or bored or to amuse your friends, even if you are absolutely terrible and you know it. Just the fact that you’re making something is valuable and you shouldn’t let anyone tell you otherwise

03-web

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m aromantic and asexual!

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

With the people I work with creatively, it’s been great actually, I’m lucky enough to have a close group of friends, many of whom are also queer in some respect or other, and who are all amazingly supportive. But outside of my creative work, I’ve run into some disheartening stuff. I’ve yet to have a day job where I’d feel comfortable coming out – you raise the topic to test the waters and people are often instantly dismissive, treating asexuality as something weird and creepy, or patronising, assuming that it’s a sign of abuse or denial or just something fat ugly people say to cover up the fact nobody wants to sleep with them. One of the things I used to find really hard to handle was the isolation. People assume you’re straight and talk about boys and stuff, and you find yourself a complete outsider to these conversations, nothing to contribute. When I first started to realise I was ace I was also realising I had pretty bad social anxiety problems, and the two were definitely connected. Finding a group of friends who knew me well and who I could really connect with was a lifeline – it makes it so much easier to deal with the ignorance and patronizing acephobia from other people if you have people you can go home to and laugh with about it all.

urban-wildlife-3-100dpi

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

I have to spend a lot of time explaining how love and sex and romance are all different things, and how not wanting romance doesn’t mean I’m incapable of love, and how not having a sex drive isn’t the same as not experiencing sexual attraction. For such a simple concept it can take a lot of time to unravel people’s assumptions, and I’m afraid I don’t always have the patience to do a good job of explaining.

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

Take your time. Figure things out on your terms – these are difficult things to be sure about – you’re trying to quantify an absence, by its nature it can be difficult. But if you give it time, you will figure it out, and if you’re really uncertain the internet is a fantastic resource – we may be invisible in real life but online there are loads of us, and many will be happy to talk about our experiences and offer advice! But most of all know that you are awesome and brave for just being who you are, whether you’re out or closeted or still finding out how you feel.

what-I'm-not-2-web

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

My tumblr has general doodles and updates of whatever I’m working on: lettydraws.tumblr.com

My portfolio is where I put excerpts of comics projects as well as the nicer illustration and commission pieces: lettydraws.behance.com

And panels has a website with all our group projects and con-appearances and stuff: panelspublishing.com

Oh and I’m on twitter: @patchworkperson

what-I'm-not-5-web

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

Interview: Rosie

Today we’re joined by Rosie.  Rosie is a young aspiring artist who leans towards drawing.  She also acts, but prefers drawing and animation.  Judging by her dedication to art, I’d say she has a very bright future ahead of her.  My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

IMG_0051

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am an aspiring self-taught artist and an actress. I enjoy acting but I tend to lean more towards drawing.  I have different styles of drawing.  Sometimes I draw mandalas, draw a scribble and work around that, or redesign logos and other times it will be a silly character. I recently started to learn how to animate things and I have really enjoyed doing that. I have sold some of my drawings to a local tattoo parlor and some people have had them tattooed.

What inspires you?

Anything inspires me really but most of the time it’s music. I will hit shuffle on my playlist or turn on the radio and draw to the song.

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

I have always been into drawing and acting, ever since I could remember I was doodling on things (especially walls) or writing little skits with my brothers and the more I progress with my art the more I get interested in it.

I have always wanted to be something to do with the arts, I can’t see myself having a job that doesn’t require creativity when I’m older, I see myself as having a job that uses my artistic skills.

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?

Unfortunately I do not! But I am working on it

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t stop! Keep drawing even if it doesn’t look appealing to you, it will to someone else. Draw something that looks ‘bad’ and see how you can improve it, try different drawing techniques and styles and maybe come up with your own style.

Eye blink

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Aro/ace

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

Sadly I have, I have had people say to me that it isn’t real and aro/aces do not exist. (I don’t advise doing this it will get you in trouble) My response was to hit them in the arm and say ‘if I’m not real then that didn’t hurt’

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

That it’s a phase. That is the most annoying thing I have ever heard in my entire life. Ever.

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

Give it time. It took me a long time to figure out what was going on with me. When I was 10ish my friends would always talk about who they fancied etc. and when they asked me I had no idea what to say, because I didn’t like anyone. When I was 12 I got a “boyfriend” and I didn’t feel comfortable with it. I didn’t like kissing or anything so I stopped after having 1 kiss and I didn’t understand the whole ‘I love you blah blah’ relationship thingy. When I was 14 I saw a post on tumblr about asexuality so I decided to look into it and I started identifying as aro/ace. It took me a while to come to terms with it though, so let your life continue and search for some websites for advice on things.

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

I set up a Devianart a few days ago, and me not being very tech-savy have no idea how to get some of my pictures from my phone to my laptop to there. But here’s the link anyway: http://rosslingroo.deviantart.com/

I also post some of my art to my tumblr blog- watching-angels-fall.tumblr.com (and again with me being terrible with technology will make a page for my artwork when I can actually figure it out)

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Thank you, Rosie, for participating in this interview and this project.  It is very much appreciated.