Interview: Amy

Today we’re joined by Amy. Amy is a wonderful visual artist who does digital painting and is also a cartoonist. She mostly draws people and characters. Amy enjoys art that tells a story. Her work is absolutely beautiful, filled with vibrant colors and expressive faces. She’s clearly an incredibly talented artist with an amazing eye, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a cartoonist and digital painter interested especially in figural works — characters and people. I like paintings which tell a story, or maybe just hint at one; the sort of thing that might become someone’s character inspiration. When I’m doing relaxing doodles in my sketchbook, it’s usually faces making a variety of expressions.

What inspires you?

Colour and light; humans. I love the visceral reaction to a painting which uses colour and light boldly. I am also a habitual people-watcher and am inspired by the people I see every day. As an artist, I have a habit of seeing beauty and interest in everyone. I’m not great yet at capturing that, but it’s an inspiration for sure!

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

I’ve always liked drawing, but when I was around 15 years old I decided to get serious and start really practicing and investigating. The internet especially helped me with my art — all of my early favourite artists were people sharing their work online, like Vera Brosgol and Emily Carroll.

I went to university for Fine Arts, and realized after I got my degree that I was happier doing art as a hobby than as my every day job. I’m an extrovert, and after a short stint working from home doing backgrounds for animation, I realized that almost all art jobs are solitary and would drive me totally batty if I did them as a career. It’s hard balancing art with working full time, but I’m working on learning how.

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

I don’t necessarily hide a lot of symbolism in my art, but if I look at all my paintings side by side I realize that I very much have a palette that I like to work in: pinks and teals. There’s just something about the contrast between pink/coral/peach and teal/blue/robin’s egg that appeals to me.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Look at everything and practice everything! Remember that what you put into your head influences what comes back out, so seeking more diverse stuff to look at and enjoy will help your art grow and expand. Then draw, draw, draw. When I was learning to draw hands I filled pages and pages and pages with sketches of hands while sitting in front of the TV; now I’m confident in drawing hands and enjoy including them in my work. Not every piece has to be final: go ahead and just try stuff out and see what happens.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a bi-romantic or pan-romantic ace. I usually use bi since it’s easier for people to understand, but I’m romantically attracted to men, women, and non-binary or genderqueer people.

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

I’m not extremely vocal about being ace in my field IRL as I have dealt with a lot of general ignorance and prejudice already. I’m much more open about my sexuality online, though, because I know that seeing other ace people has helped me and I want to pass that on when I feel able to. Over time, I hope to become more vocal about it in real life so that I can help people that way too.

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

That it “doesn’t exist” or I “don’t know what I’m missing out on”. Both are really frustrating to encounter! Everyone seems to think they know better than me about my sexuality and attraction and want to tell me how I should feel or identify. I’m doing my best to tune them out.

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

I first realized that I was ace when I was around 20; I didn’t actually accept it and start identifying as ace until I was around 30. It’s hard to be a part of an orientation that people either completely don’t know about or think isn’t real. It’s also hard to fit into a world that thinks sex is the be-all end-all when it just isn’t a priority or interest. I guess my advice would be: it’s okay to struggle; that doesn’t make you any less valid as an asexual person. And it’s okay, too, to decide that you’re done struggling and you’re happy being you regardless of what society thinks! I think it’s a process getting from the first to the second, and we’re all working our way along it; give yourself time.

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

I have a blog where I post my art — I’m not the most active poster, but I’ve got a good long archive of simple sketches, pen and ink work, and full paintings. You can check me out at amy-draws.tumblr.com.

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

Interview: Emma Tyler Kantt

Today we’re joined by Emma Tyler Kantt. Emma Tyler is a wonderful artist who does both music and is also a cartoonist. They’re a very versatile musician who dabbles in a number of different genres. They play the guitar, sing, and write songs. As a cartoonist, they write and draw little comic strips with pen and pencils. They’re incredibly dedicated, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I do two kinds of art! I’m a singer-songwriter and a cartoonist. Music-wise I play guitar and sing and write songs. My songs are kinda all over the place; I have ones about obsession, and conspiracy theorists, and anime, and a podcast called The Adventure Zone, and just…a lot of stuff.

My comic strips are little pencil/pen things. There’s no overarching plot or anything; it’s mostly little anecdotes or a look inside my mind. A lot of self-depreciative and dealing-with-anxiety stuff.

What inspires you?

I’m kind of the mind that everything I consume (media-wise) inspires and influences me in some way. Music is a big overarching one because it’s a big part of how I process my emotions. Comics, graphic novels, podcasts, and TV shows too. I’ve also gotten some comics ideas from stuff I see scrolling through Twitter.

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Talking Head

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

I’ve always had an inclination towards music; I remember singing a lot and coming up with little bits of songs when I was a kid. I realized I wanted to be a musician in high school, maybe? Not long after I started learning guitar. The cartoonist thing is more recent. I’ve always loved comics and I used to draw some in middle school but I’ve only recently started doing it again. It’s just a really effective medium for me to express my thoughts, I think.

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?

Uh…I don’t know if this counts but a lot of my comics take place on couches or in beds? There’s not really a special meaning to it though; I just spend a lot of time lying on the couch or lying in bed.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I’m gonna kinda bastardize an eloquent quote from Ira Glass: Make a lot of stuff. Not everything you make has to be good! A lot of what you make will not be good, actually. But the more stuff you make, the more good stuff you’ll end up making. So just keep making stuff. And to back it up with personal experience, I’ve written probably about 90 full songs? And probably less than a third of them are truly good. (Wow I apologize for the overuse of the words “make” and “stuff”)

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Todd

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual! Alloromantic…I’ve attempted to say “heteroromantic” but since I’m technically non-binary that’s hard to define… So let’s say asexual and romantically attracted to guys.

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

So far no, thank god. I imagine it’ll happen eventually, though.

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

Probably the two big ones I’ve had to deal with are A) lack of awareness that asexuality is even “a thing” and B) conflation of asexuality with aromanticism.

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Pit

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

That’s tough, cuz I struggle a lot with it too. What I can confidently say is, whatever struggle you’re having, you’re not the only one. There are dozens of other people who have been/are going through what you’re going through, so you’re not alone. You’re never alone.

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

Oh boy. My comics Tumblr is https://crappylilcomix.tumblr.com/. My comics Twitter is https://twitter.com/crappylilcomix. My YouTube, which has my music and some other stuff is emmacan or https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGWqmYQEXrT7VpCQG-WTCPw . Some of it is also on https://www.soundcloud.com/emma-kantt. I also have a music Instagram? Which is https://instagram.com/emma.has.a.knife, and a music Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/emmakanttmusic.

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Just Draw

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

Interview: Al

Today we’re joined by Al. Al is a wonderful visual artist who has her own style and characters. She is a self-taught artist, who creates some absolutely beautiful imagery as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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CeeCew

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a cartoonist. Overall though, I like doing my own thing. Own style, own characters, and own stories to go with them.

I’m more or less self taught, I enjoy drawing both digitally and traditionally, and I also animate. Usually on my DSI and 3DS though, as I don’t own the appropriate tablet yet.

I mostly draw my characters and occasionally I don’t know, draw a tree or something.

What inspires you?

The idea that someday, I might be able to put my ideas and creations out there and they will be forever immortalized so that when I die, they will continue on without me.

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Flyte and Marquel refs

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

Oh, I’ve been interested since I was a little kid. I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember, even before I hit preschool. My parents seemed to like what I created with my grubby little hands- so being the attention seeker that I was, I just kept drawing and drawing, until I eventually started to really like it and here I am.

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?

Sure. I have an art logo I created a few years back, and although it’s not in all of my art, it gets some cameos here and there. It’s of a dead fish, looks like this-

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Practice. Practice a lot and stop comparing yourself to others and belittling your art just because you don’t think you’re good enough. No artist improves at the same rate or the same way, and the only thing that will happen if you keep drawing is that you get better and better, until you become absolutely fantastic. The worst thing you can do is give up.

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Monstrosity

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

For sexual orientation, I just call myself ace/asexual. On the romantic side, I’m grayromantic.

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

Honestly, I never really got anything bad directed towards me in terms of my asexuality. There was one time where a person believed that it was the same thing as celibacy, saying that being ace is a choice and if you have sex, it automatically makes you well, not ace. But y’know, it’s just ignorant words coming from an ignorant person.

As for parents/family, I hinted it at them a few times but I’m pretty sure they just think I’m some sort of late bloomer or saving it for marriage or something. They’re no doubt just waiting for me to suddenly wake up one morning and be like, “HEY!!! I’M NOT A SQUEAMISH SISSY ANYMORE!! I’M GONNA HAVE SEX LIKE A NORMAL PERSON!!!”.

It never really bothered me though. The worst kind of prejudice/ignorance I’ve seen is from Tumblr itself, but it’s not exactly personal so, I just get angry for a second and then move on.

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Panic Icon

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

Oh, there’s a lot. “Only girls are asexual.” “If you have sex, you’re not ace.” “It’s just a phase.” “I wonder what made you decide to be asexual?” etc. Yknow, the usual ace myths.

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

First, don’t beat yourself up for how you feel. Not only is it possible that other people are already hurting you for being ace, but now you’re hurting yourself, and that just makes things ten times worse. Your lack of sexual attraction is fine and normal, and if you’re gonna take the word of someone else about how YOU feel, then you’ll be as misguided as they are.

Second, if along the way, you end up discovering you aren’t as ace as you thought, don’t beat yourself up about that either. You’re not a fraud. You just learned more about yourself, or changed over time and that’s perfectly fine. And don’t feel obligated to keep calling yourself something just because that’s what you already told others. Like I said, labels can change and you should accommodate them to describe yourself.

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

Oh, mostly Deviantart or YouTube. My YouTube account is SaltyMilk and my DeviantArt is Captain-Dark-Kitty.

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Skele Duck

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