Interview: EpicRosalina

Today we’re joined by EpicRosalina. EpicRosalina is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in digital art. While she mostly does digital art, she also dabbles in traditional art, using mostly alcohol markers. Her style draws its inspiration from anime. EpicRosalina mostly draws her own original characters (she also dabbles in writing), but has drawn her friends’ characters on occasion. It’s clear she’s a very passionate and talented artist, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Aki Lumi
Aki Lumi

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I work with digital and traditional art but I much prefer digital over traditional. When working with traditional art, I use alcohol markers. I work using an anime style as it’s what I’m most comfortable with. I mainly draw my own characters however I sometimes also draw some characters belonging to a friend of mine. I’m trying to get back into writing by starting a new book soon.

What inspires you?

A lot of my inspiration comes from my characters’ personality and backstories. Some have pretty messed up pasts. I turn those moments into illustrations which is fun since I get to experiment with different poses and backgrounds. Other times, inspiration just comes out of nowhere. Some doodles that I do get turned into illustrations.

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

I would casually draw starting from the age of 11 mainly because of a close friend of mine who is skilled with her art. I aspired to be as good as her and so I started taking art more seriously. It was around that time when I discovered anime and so I also took inspiration from that sort of art style. I only wanted to really be an artist when I saw that my art was improving and had people complementing it.

Aki Suki
Aki Suki

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

I don’t think I do have anything special that I try to include in my work.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t think that to be an artist, you must be “Born with artistic talent.” I wasn’t talented at all but I kept practicing and practicing till I reached a point where I could say “I made this and I’m proud of this.” Use whatever you need whether it’s references or models. Do whatever you need to keep you motivated and constantly finding ways to improve.

Luna's breakdown final
Luna’s Breakdown

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as Asexual Demiromantic though I do find myself questioning it sometimes

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

I have encountered some ignorance. I have been told that I just need to find the right person and I don’t belong in the LGBTQ+ community but I try my best to ignore it my surrounding myself with people who support me.

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

People who confuse Asexual with Aromantic. I’ve encountered people who think that just because I’m Asexual, it means I don’t want to be in a relationship however it’s quite the opposite. I’m fine with being in a relationship however I don’t want to have any sexual relationships

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

If you’re struggling then give it some time. Some people figure out their orientation much sooner than others but that’s ok. If you need to experiment to find out what you identify as then go ahead. Don’t think that you have to abide by a label.

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

You can find my art on my DeviantArt, Instagram, and sometimes my Tumblr at EpicRosalina. My upcoming story will be posted on my Wattpad which is also EpicRosalina.

Luna LN Final
Luna LN

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

Interview: Katy L. Wood

Today we’re joined by Katy L. Wood. Katy is a phenomenal writer and visual artist who is from Colorado. She recently debuted her webcomic, which features two asexual main characters. Katy combines her visual art with her writing, frequently drawing character art and cover art. Her webcomic, Gunpowder & Pine, sounds like an incredibly intriguing mystery story. It’s clear that she’s a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Gunpowder and Pine_Part 1 Cover
Gunpowder and Pine, Part 1 Cover

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Hi! I’m an author and illustrator, so a lot of my art is very interwoven with the stories I write. I do single illustrations, webcomics, novels, cover art, and character art regularly. My work is mostly digital, but I also do a little traditional work here and there, mostly pen and ink, watercolor, and marker. I’ve had work featured in the Society of Illustrators in New York, I have one self-published book, and I have a webcomic (with two asexual protagonists!) that just started posting!

What inspires you?

I was born and raised in Colorado, a fourth generation native of the state, and I come from a HUGE family. I grew up with so many stories about settling the mountains and growing up off the beaten track, and I grew up a bit off the track as well. It really fostered a sense of adventure and exploration in me, and I try and pack as much of that into my work as possible.

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

It always seemed like the only possibility for me. I’ve always told stories and done art, so making a career out of it was the natural way to go. Admittedly I’m still working on the actual “making money” part, but who isn’t?

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?

Hmmmm… not INTENTIONALLY. People tell me all the time that I have a style, but I don’t see it (which I think is true for most artists, you’re the last one to ever see your style). I do have one character that is in nearly all my novels, though. His name is Kala and he’s my oldest OC, and I always manage to sneak him in somehow. He’ll just be a random café worker or voice on the radio in someone’s car or something. He accidentally became important in one of my projects, though, and now he’s actually got scenes. Whoops.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Make friends. Make all the friends. It doesn’t matter how good your portfolio/novel is, your chances of getting your work out there in the world are 1,000 times better if you have a good network to help you out. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to people you admire, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Talk to people and keep in touch.

Bellewood Promo Image
Bellewood Promo Image

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual with probably a dash of bi-romantic leaning towards women. Small dash, though. If all I ever end up with is a bunch of cats I’m okay with that.

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

I think the biggest issue I’ve seen is in publishing for novels. The industry has gotten a lot better about allowing queer content, but they still have A LOT of catching up to do. Some people in the industry are stuck in some very old grooves and the refuse to get out of them. At the same time, there’s tons of awesome, forward-thinking people that are fighting incredibly hard to change the system, and those are the people I seek out.

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

That the community doesn’t experience homophobia. I, thankfully, haven’t (in relation to asexuality, anyways). But it does happen to so many people and it can be incredibly harmful both mentally and physically.

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

You’re awesome. You deserve to be happy and secure in who you are and how you love other people, and if those other people can’t accept that it is okay to let them go.

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

My website (which includes my newsletter!), Webtoons where you can read my webcomic, my Tumblr, and my Patreon.

Thanks so much for having me!

Vivian's Kitchen Test Illustration
Vivian’s Kitchen Test Illustration

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

Interview: Dreachie

Today we’re joined by Dreachie. Dreachie is a phenomenal visual artist who works with digital mediums. She’s an illustrator and her work has a very dreamy appearance and feel to it. Most of her drawings fall into the fantasy genre. There’s an amazing attention to detail that pulls the viewer in and holds their attention, as you’ll soon see. It’s clear Dreachie is an incredibly talented and dedicated artist. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. Meet the artist new
Meet the Artist

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a digital artist and I focus into creating dreamy & fantasy illustrations but I also love to draw original characters, girls and try to evoke some sort of feeling to people through my art.

Now I’m trying to work on my own project about things that make people happy even though I still don’t have a name for it.

It’s basically a collection of things my followers and people have told me that make them happy and that I want to transform from words into illustrations, as a reminder to people that even in bad days or how bad things seem to be, there are always things that make us happy, even the smallest thing can bring a smile to someone.

2. Heavenly 2
Heavenly

What inspires you?

Ahh, I’m mostly inspired by things that happen in dreams. When you wake up from a dream and the first thing you do is write them down, or well draw them… But I don’t know how many people do that but I like to write down my dreams even as weird they might be, they are very inspiring and you are creating worlds in those dreams as well.

But of course, being inspired by other simple things such as the colours of the sky, aesthetic boards and that book you read not long time ago, as long as they seem… unusual!

3. Star sketch girl
Star Sketch Girl

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

Since I was a little kid and my parents gave me my first paper and crayons, I’ve always enjoyed drawing, oh and paint the walls of the kitchen with my brother!

But you know when you get the common question at school of “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and as a kid saying you wanted to be an artist, people wouldn’t actually take you serious haha.

Way back when I was 10 years I discovered, like many, Deviantart and the many amazing artists and art but it wasn’t until I was 16 that I actually started to take art more serious, to actually become an artist and after having to drop school at my senior year that I had more time to practice my art and things actually started to change and improve! So yeah, I’ve always wanted to be an artist!

8. maybe tears
Maybe Tears

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 include to all my drawings, no matter the character’s race, colour, alien or human, or rock… some sparkling/starry freckles, plus some details in the eyelashes. But it’s not just that, I love to play with vibrant colours, sparkles and add a lot of “dreamy vibes” in my art!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

1. Don’t be afraid about drawing and calling yourself an artist, even if you feel your art isn’t good enough, you are creating things! You are an artist!

2. It’s alright to make mistakes, I don’t mean just in the art field but in general and in life. We all learn from mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes help us to improve and get better at something or be a better person with someone. We are all here to learn but still to be kind!

3. Young aspiring artists; please learn the fundamentals of art if you want to make art as a living one day! Trust me, fundamentals are the bases for you to develop an art style and will make your art-life much easier.

4. Making art that people can relate to. Helps you create a connection and bond with your audience. Either something personal or an advice, which happened to me during my Timeskip drawing, I didn’t expect many people to actually relate to it!

And basically; have fun! Even if you feel like worrying about the numbers in your followers, likes, reblogs, etc. You are here to have fun and enjoy art.

4. timeskip
Time Skip

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual ♥   I’m sex-repulsed and actually not interested in that at all. And kids? I have my cats already haha

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

I have, mostly within my family and two friends I don’t talk to anymore irl. I told them about me being asexual, and they answer with the common thing of;

“You just haven’t found the right person yet”, “You’ll change your mind when you meet someone”, “Its only time what you need” etc.

Mostly it’s my mom and my older brother in the family whom says that, talk about “how much I’m missing in life”, but life isn’t all about sex! And tbh I gave up trying to explain things to them because they simply wouldn’t understand or try to.

I decided to let them think whatever they want, what matters is how I feel and what I know; and I know I’m asexual and that there is nothing wrong with it, it’s how I feel.

7. Garden
Garden

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

OHH boi, I once in a conversation got told: Do you reproduce by asexual reproduction?? Is that normal? That isn’t real!”

But really, there’s a lot of misconception about asexuality. Being asexual doesn’t mean that you are repulsed or hate to be touched, like a hug or a poke, etc. It’s… it’s not… I really don’t know where that came from and people think asexuals are that.

That “You can’t find love-a partner while being asexual”, this whole statement is wrong, being asexual doesn’t make it impossible for someone to find love, and it’s not a disability.

6. red girluuhh
Red Girluuhh

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

There’s no rush for you to find your orientation or label yourself. Take your time, make your research and just know how you feel. I’m really not the best to ask this I think, but just know how you feel. Don’t let anyone tell you that you are wrong, you are never alone.

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

These are some places where you can find my art / some helpful art tips and tutorials, or even supporting my art:
Instagram: https://instagram.com/dreachie
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/dreachie
Twitter: https://twitter.com/dreachie
Also to find the rest of my art and links, they are all listed here! https://linktr.ee/dreachie

5. Fairy
Fairy

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

Interview: Cipher

Today we’re joined by Cipher. Cipher is a wonderful writer and digital artist who specializes in fantasy and supernatural stories. She’s currently working on a couple different stories at the moment, all of which sound absolutely fascinating. When she’s not writing, Cipher does some digital art, mostly character design. It’s very obvious that she’s a very dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. rheet1ttt
Rheet

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m primarily a hobbyist writer, but I draw stuff on occasion, usually when I have an exam coming up or an assignment due. I tend to write stuff geared more towards fantasy or supernatural, as I love a story with something magical in it.

My current WIP is about a pretty gold merman, pirates, and fairies (in the background). The main character is of Middle-Eastern ethnicity, and is asexual! His merman boyfriend is whatever the merman equivalent of pansexual is, and one of two primary antagonists specifically a sex-repulsed asexual man. The story features characters of many different nationalities (as far as I can make that happen with a fantasy world) such as African, British (Scottish and English), Irish, Indian, Middle-Eastern, Caribbean, and French! It deals with some potentially triggering themes at times, but it’s also a story about accepting people for who they are, and accepting that your first impression of someone may not be that accurate. Also pirates!

I also have a vampire story planned, which will contain a single father main character with a tiny child because why not! I have a secret “other account” that I use to write self-indulgent fanfiction because I have to entertain myself SOMEHOW. My niche tends to be more in writing gay romantic relationships or very close platonic friendships with a kind of found-family vibe.

Any art I draw tends to be really ridiculous and silly, or it’ll be art for my own stories or someone else’s.

2. Felix2
Felix

What inspires you?

Everything inspires me. My own experiences and emotions, music, my friends, other content I view. Sometimes I just really want to indulge in a particular thing, and if I can’t find it out there, I write it myself! With the merman story, I kind of inspired myself? I had originally written a short series of novels which I wanted to do a spin-off for. And I was getting really into merpeople at the time, so I wanted to include one in this spin-off. The merman character I created and his human boyfriend wound up being way more interesting than what I was already writing, so I scrapped the spin-off and started telling their story instead! I have specific songs I listen to for this story, and I also tend to watch YouTube videos (check out Stella the Siren!) of people in costumes swimming around as merpeople.

One of the big themes in this story is being trapped somewhere and not being able to leave, even though logically, it should be easy. Another theme is prejudice, another is acceptance (or the lack thereof, in some cases). I drew these themes heavily from my own life, and I feel that in some roundabout way, some of the themes in this story are an accurate metaphor for the experiences some people have with their asexuality. This wasn’t my intention when writing it, but this has wound up being the result.

3. Iris
Iris

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

I can remember wanting to be a writer when I was younger. I had big dreams of wanting to be a best-selling author like J. K. Rowling, I wanted to be famous for it, I wanted to earn lots of money! And it was primarily the Harry Potter books that got me interested in that. My first story ever was a (badly) illustrated retelling of Disney’s The Little Mermaid (ha, I’ve come full circle!). As I grew up, I made friends with similar interests. We all wanted to be writers, we all liked to draw. Since then, I’ve decided I actually NEVER want to be published as I’m content with sharing my works for free online where I can interact with readers on a more personal level. And my digital art is really just a hobby. I’d love to develop my skill enough to do graphic novels or webcomics, maybe open up a Patreon. But again, it’s nothing I want to pursue professionally.

4. Penelope1
Penelope

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?

Not that I know of? I guess when I write, I throw a lot of myself and my own emotions into the writing, and I NEVER intend for this to happen. It can sometimes make me feel very exposed when posting a new chapter, as I realise (though readers may not) that some of my deepest emotions and thoughts are out there for everyone to see.

5. azandkaensfinal1222
Az and Kaens

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Of course it’s important to improve your craft, whatever it may be. But NEVER let anyone tell you that your work is “cliché” or “unoriginal”. Guess what? NOTHING is original. Everything has been done before in some way at some point. What matters is that you have fun creating it, is that you enjoy what you do. You should have fun coming up with plots or ideas for drawings, you should have fun creating characters and giving them tragic backstories or smart mouths or the perfect physique, or whatever else it is that people like to make fun of others for. Indulge in yourself. When people constantly criticize you, and make you feel like you aren’t good enough to the point where you no longer want to create your art, THEY are in the wrong. You can’t please everyone. I once had someone complain that my 18-year-old Middle-Easter male character’s facial hair made him look less cute, and she would rather he didn’t have it. Like, I’m sorry my boy doesn’t fit your ideal “uke” aesthetic. My best friend drew a picture of him with a full giant beard and moustache as retaliation for me 😀

So first and foremost, make sure YOU are happy with what you create. Create primarily for yourself and not for others. Constructive or polite criticism, take it with a polite smile and a “thank you”, but learn to recognize when someone is genuinely just being mean. Remember that everyone advances at different speeds, and not everyone is perfect at everything.

Never let anyone, not even yourself, make your art less fun for you.

Some more writing-specific advice! In my opinion, a story is made up of three components. Writing, characters, and plot. Ideally, you want at least two of these things to be good to make for a story people will like! But in my experience, good characters are what work! They could be walking down the stairs for breakfast in the morning, but if your characterization is strong and done well, people will care about it. Pay special attention to your characters and creating them, and showing who they are in your writing, and giving them reasons for doing the things they do. Plot can be whatever you want it to be. Writing improves with time. Read a lot (professionally published works, really terribly-written fanfictions, the works!). Learn what you like in another’s style and what you don’t like. Utilize and borrow these things in order to refine your own craft.

Be kind to yourself! You’re creating art!

8. 64287995-256-k202908
Book Cover drawn by limey-art (on Tumblr), text added by shirokaneki (on Tumblr)

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual, panromantic.

6. azzwefgth
Az

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

Not that I can think of. A fellow writer did once tell me that she really “didn’t get all that crap”, however given her own upbringing and where she’s from, it didn’t bother me too much. I also had a rather rude person leave a comment on my story about sex in the story’s future, and when I explained there would be none because my main character is asexual (and his love interest is half FISH), she became very blasé, laughed about asexuality, kind of implied she didn’t think it was a real thing. I offered to explain it in more depth to her, and how it specifically affects this main character versus the sex-repulsed villain, but she never responded xD

Most of the ignorance tends to stem from people simply not knowing what asexuality is – they’ve either never heard of it, or they have misconceptions about what it is. And that’s fine, because I myself knew nothing about it until only a year or two ago. The best way I deal with THAT is to tell them that it’s okay if they don’t know or understand. I give a little explanation, and offer to go more in depth with them if they want, or I offer to point them to resources. Most people I’ve encountered have been very pleasant about it. Those who aren’t, just don’t talk to them. And remember to use that block button if necessary!

7. Slade
Slade

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

The most common one I’ve personally encountered is that people assume I’m afraid of sex. They assume this is the case, and they think I say I’m asexual so I either won’t have to have sex, or it’s an excuse so I don’t have to admit I’m afraid. Generally speaking, this is not the case at all. I’ve also had people think I don’t want sex, or “there must be something wrong” with me because “everyone wants sex!”. And finally, my number one FAVOURITE – “you just haven’t met the right person yet! That will change when you meet The One!” You know what, maybe it WILL change if I meet The One. Maybe I’m specifically demi-sexual. Maybe I just haven’t met my type yet. But for someone to try to invalidate my current sexuality like that is NOT okay. I never have felt, nor do I think I ever WILL feel sexual attraction. This, however, does NOT prevent me from having relationships, from having sex (physically, thoughts, “alone time”, etc) or from living a perfectly fulfilling life.

9. Az & Kae (Anni)
Az and Kae (drawn by fairygodpiggy on Tumblr)

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

That honestly depends on why they are struggling. The main thing to remember, I think, is that you know yourself best. If you think you’re asexual, call yourself asexual. If it’s dangerous for you to “come out” you are under NO obligation to do so. Ace positivity is everywhere on the internet, which is fantastic! However, you are no less ace if you choose not to participate or contribute, or if you choose never to talk about it. Your pride doesn’t have to be loud. You are no less ace if you only SOMETIMES feel ace, or if you used to not be, but now you are. There are resources out there where you can find a more specific term for your sexuality if you wish, but if you think you are ace, then that is what you are and no one can tell you any differently. There is nothing WRONG with you. Hundreds of thousands of us have thought the same thing. “I must be straight by default” or “I don’t understand why she’d cheat on him” or “sex isn’t that great”.

Asexuality is such a broad spectrum that of course everybody has different experiences. Different circumstances, different emotions, different actions, etc. Just because you’re not like another asexual person, that doesn’t mean you are less asexual. You can absolutely know if you’re ace whether you’ve had sex or not. I knew from about age 11 or 12 that I was ace, I just didn’t know the term for it at the time.

And for those of you who, like me for a while, wished you WEREN’T asexual, I have this to say: you are who you are. You feel what you feel. I hope you can come to accept yourself and realise that there is nothing wrong with being asexual. There are people out there who love and support you, and fellow ace people like myself are always here to chat should you need it ❤ Remember, the world in general still doesn’t understand a lot about asexuality. We’re still trying to get them to figure out that being gay is a real and normal thing! For many of us, being ace isn’t always easy. But we’ll get there. Just have pride in who you are, avoid Ace Discourse, and live your life!

10. Az (Limey)
Az drawn by limey-art (on Tumblr)

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

You can find my writing here on Wattpad as well as an artbook that I update sometimes: https://www.wattpad.com/user/Ciphertext

I’m also on Tumblr where I sometimes post art, but mostly I reblog fandom stuff, memes, and Vine compilations: https://ciphertext-x.tumblr.com/

11. the future
The Future, drawn by roboticspacecase (on Tumblr)

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

Interview: Sahar

Today we’re joined by Sahar, who also goes by sinamonroll draws. Sahar is a phenomenal visual artist and writer. They write a lot of poetry and have started dabbling in prose. For visual art, they specialize in character art with lots of color and dynamic lighting. Sahar hopes to one day combine their visual art and writing into a webcomic. It’s very clear they’re a dedicated and talented artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Architecture Study
Architecture Study

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a writer and a visual artist, specializing in character art. I love using a lot of colors and dynamic lighting in my art, and drawing and creating stories about diverse people in fantasy settings. For writing, I mainly write poetry, but dabble in prose. Sometime in the future, I plan to combine my drawing and writing skills to create a webcomic or graphic novel, but that’s a long way away.

What inspires you?

Over the past year, I’ve been super into reading webomics, gobbling up new ones whenever I can. I used to read a lot of regular books, but I hardly have time anymore and webcomics are my way of satiating that need for reading and imagination, while also getting to check out really cool art in the process. I also tend to be really inspired by TV shows I enjoy, like Steven Universe and Avatar, or music I listen to (especially musicals). Oddly enough, science and the natural world are also incredibly inspirational to me. I’ve always been super into science and physics and astronomy and things like that, and the weird stuff that exists out there is a huge inspiration when it comes to worldbuilding, fantasy creatures, and even poetry that I make.

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

I don’t actually want to be an artist, at least not professionally, when I get older. I have been interested in writing and creating fictional worlds ever since I can remember, and towards the end of middle school, which was a pretty tough time in my life, I took up drawing as a means for me to escape the reality I was in. Today, it still serves that purpose, as well as just being something that’s incredibly fun for me to do. While like I said I do want to make a webcomic someday, I don’t necessarily plan on making writing or drawing a full time job, just because I’m more interested in studying physics and engineering.

Liya Character Design
Liya Character Design

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?

Not really that I know! I’ve been told that I have a unique use of lighting and color, but I wouldn’t really say I do. In my writing, I like taking existing clichés/metaphors/phrases and upending them, but I don’t know how successful I am at doing so.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I think the most important thing for artists in any field is to know your limits, and then challenge them. Constantly. Practicing your craft is incredibly important, but what’s even more important in my opinion is practicing efficiently – learning where you need improvement and actively working in those areas to achieve that improvement.

Reo Character Art
Reo Character Art

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m an aromantic asexual.

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

It’s not really been in my field, but I’ve encountered my share of ace-exclusionists or just general queerphobes on social media, as you do. I was forcibly outed to my mom and we’ve come a long way, but at first she was very confused and put off by it.

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

That it’s just, like, a “neutral” identity that goes away in the presence of another identity. Like homoromantic aces are “just gay” or heteroromantic aces are “just straight.” It’s really frustrating because it feels like asexuality is just being entirely ignored and shoved aside, like it’s not a valid identity in and of itself. Also the idea that it’s “just a phase” or something that can be easily fixed by “finding the right person” or taking medicine or whatever.

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

You’re not alone! It’s okay to want or not want sex and romance, it’s okay to identify as whatever you feel most comfortable with and it’s okay to change your identity if you feel like you need to. You’re not broken or wrong or weird.

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

I have a Tumblr (https://sinamonroll-draws.tumblr.com/) and an Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/sinamonroll.draws/), where you can follow me or message me for commissions. I also have a Redbubble (https://www.redbubble.com/people/sinamonroll) if you’re interested in purchasing my art.

SU Screencap Redraw
SU Screencap Redraw

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

Interview: Mxnim

Today we’re joined by Mxnim. Mxnim is an absolutely wonderful visual artist who does a lot of digital art and comics. She mostly does character art, but also enjoys writing life comics. Their work shows an extraordinary imagination and their comics are adorable. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

dear boi
Dear Boi

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Hello! I make digital art and comics! I make paintings and other crafts occasionally. My digital art consists just of character art and concept art for a comic I want to make. In between, I dabble my own life comics!

What inspires you?

Animated movies/shows and music.

Watching the movies I love really inspires me to create stories and draw! My favorites are some of Ghibli’s movies and the old Disney movies!

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

I wanted to be an animator when I was growing up! I watched Disney movies and Pokemon as a kid and I loved how the pieces of art were moving!! Characters had voices and were so real!! But I slowly realized that I don’t have enough energy for animation so comics were a close second! So I pursued comics to tell my stories and to hopefully bridge the gap between a single piece of paper to a million pieces of paper!

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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 draw short haired androgynist people when I’m passively drawing. So if a person were to dig through all of my old art you would see a lot of that! There’s where a lot of my characters stemmed from and became variants.

Also all of my characters at first have a single trait but as I continue to develop them, they become pretty melancholy and thoughtful. I honestly don’t do this on purpose but I don’t mind that it turns out this way.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Even if you don’t think you’re drawing a lot, a circle or a line is sometimes enough!! Keep that up and you’ll be drawing in no time!

Also, you might be compelled to feel bad when looking at other people’s art, but did you know that everyone felt that way! Don’t despair! Just use that really good piece of art as inspiration and a goal to get better (and might even surpass)!

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Music

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual panromantic!

I realized I was asexual when I wasn’t sexually interested in people as my peers, but it wasn’t by choice so I couldn’t say I was celibate. It took me a long time to realize where I fit in, but through some digging through the sexual spectrum I realized that asexual and demisexual existed and there were people like me! It stuck immediately when I found out.

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

I don’t really have people come up to me and ask what my sexuality is. I feel because since I don’t sway Gay or Lesbian, people don’t bother with my indifference.

DOGS ARE THE WROST
Dogs are the Worst

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

People often don’t know that asexuality exist and sometimes when I tried to explain it to my cousin she said “Sounds like you’re celibate”. Which only bothers me because, calling someone celibate erases their asexuality and also implies that sex/being sexual is the default.

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

For those who are struggling, I do hope that you have at least a safe space or supporting friends where you can wind down! Dealing with people who pressure you or refuse to accept your sexuality is tiring and you don’t want to be worn down by that! Always have a “treat-yo-self” day or thing! And one day I hope you get into an entirely supportive community! It’s going to be okay!

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

You can find me on my Tumblr (http://mxnim.tumblr.com/) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/mxnim/)!

space kaddet
Space Kaddet

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

Interview: Hannah King

Today we’re joined by Hannah King. Hannah is a phenomenal visual artist who works in a wide variety of media. They’re currently attending university again to become an art teacher. Hannah hasn’t met a medium they don’t like and has this amazing enthusiasm for visual art. They do illustration, mixed-media fine art, abstract photography, and a variety of other things (as you’ll soon read). There’s an amazing eye for detail demonstrated in the images Hannah sent and it’s very apparent they’re amazingly talented. 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 have three different styles I work in. I’m a Fine Artist and an Illustrator, with training in both, as well as a lot of self-directed study in other styles and media.

My first and most often seen style is my illustrative western-comic’s influenced style. With this I tend to do character art, concept art, book illustrations and comics. I use both traditional media – pen and ink – and digital media – anything from Photoshop to PaintTool Sai and MediBang to Corel Painter – to create these images.

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My second is mixed-media fine art, in which I use every media I can get my hands on, including everything from stamping-ink to acrylic, fine-line pens to sewing, dried flowers/leaves to hand-made papers, and even found objects. I work mostly on canvas for this art, but sometimes I use hand-made paper. My fine art is either figurative, architectural or non-representational abstract.

My third is a recent foray into abstract photography, using the medium of Instagram. I have a deep and abiding love for texture, so I collect photographs of those textures I discover in my daily life – often these are crumbling walls, peeling paint, shattered concrete and so on – and I have started using these photographs to create abstract images.

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My passion is the human figure in all its shapes, colours and configurations. So a lot of my work tends to focus on people, whether characters from novels/tv shows/films/etc or models I have had sit for me or drawn/painted from photographs. I have been making myself work on my non-figurative work, though, so I’ve started having fun with architectural art.

I am also a huge fan of fantasy. A lot of my work, including my fine art, incorporates fantastical elements or is fantasy illustration outright.

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What inspires you?

It’s a little cliché to say ‘everything’ but that really is the most correct answer. To get a little more in depth, I guess the human figure inspires me. And well written fantasy. Folk tales. Myths and legends. Painted concrete walls where the weather and age has conspired to peel the paint in interesting ways. Abstract art. Songs with meaningful lyrics. A pretty face. A complicated hairstyle. My own emotions. Ancient, neglected and rusty farm equipment. Weird and wonderful fashion. Tattoos and scars and body modification. I could go on.

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

I come from a fairly arty-crafty family. My mother dabbles in abstract art, sewing, knitting and scrap-booking. My father makes dioramas and scale models of armed forces vehicles. My maternal grandfather was an architect and painter, maternal grandmother was into hand crafting, knitting, crocheting, drawing. My paternal grandfather was an architect, paternal grandmother is into sewing and knitting.

So when I first started showing signs of wanting to be creative it was encouraged. Even when I drew and painted murals on my walls, ceiling and the back of my bedroom door, I wasn’t reprimanded, just told to keep it to my bedroom. My maternal grandmother taught me all sorts of crafty things – like collage and stained-glass painting – and my maternal grandfather got me started on the basics of perspective.

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I first got into comics when I was 11 or 12, and that obsessions lead to my wanting to be a comic artist and an illustrator, which in turn lead to me taking fine art at college and illustration at university. I do now work with a couple of writer friends on some webcomics – not yet published, but looking to get them up soon.

In more recent years I discovered a love for teaching, so now I’m about to go back to university for a post-grad degree in teaching art to 11 – 17 year olds.

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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?

Because I’m heavily influenced by the likes of Klimt, Mucha, Shiele, Yoshitako Amano and comic artists like Dave McKean, David Mack and J.M. Linsner, my work tends to have a lot of idiosyncratic marks in it.

Normally this shows up in my Fine Art or personal illustrative art. Most often, the marks are tiny squares picking out a checkerboard pattern, sometimes it’s circles picked out in tiny triangles, or negative space filled with interlocking circles or even dotwork.

I try not to do this in commissioned character art, but even then, Mucha’s influence shows out strongly in the way I draw hair and folded clothing. Dotwork sometimes also makes an appearance in my commissioned character art, but I try to restrain it.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Life Drawing.

Seriously.

Do as much Life Drawing as you possibly can – not only does it fill out your portfolio and make University professors very happy indeed, it also very quickly builds up your ability to not only draw the human figure but also your ability to SEE.

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Once you know how to draw a person, once you’ve learned the anatomy underlying how the body works, you can start breaking rules and developing a style of your very own. And once you’ve trained yourself to actually SEE what’s there, rather than draw what you EXPECT is there, you can draw just about anything.

Basically, draw from life as often as you can, even if that means taking a sketchbook out to a public place and drawing what’s around you (you don’t HAVE to go to an actual class to do this!)

Draw everything. Draw all the time. Learn how to see what’s there.

You’ll thank yourself for doing it. Trust me.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Celibate Asexual, Pan-Demi-Romantic – I’m sex indifferent and mostly find it boring, but I am willing to have it with a partner if they want it. I have been celibate for 5 years and single – with the occasional date – for most of them.

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

Thankfully not so much prejudice in my particular experience, though there has been some ignorance, mostly in the form of misunderstanding where I’m coming from on certain projects.

I have ended up having some interesting conversations with other artists about the difference between sexual and aesthetic attraction. I think what has helped in my case is that many of the artists I know are also LGBT+ or allies so they have at least some idea of things to start from when they learn of my asexuality.

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

That I just haven’t had good enough sex, or sex with the right partner yet. Which is extremely condescending and annoying. Often when this is said to me I’ll give them an abbreviated list of all my sexual partners and the various fetishes I have tried out with them all. Normally this makes them shut up, so I can then give them a basic Asexuality 101 class.

I wouldn’t recommend this for everyone, I only get away with it because I’m in my 30s and I’m normally talking to other people my own age; I also discovered my asexuality late, after a series of relationships, so I actually have a laundry-list of info to dump on people who say this.

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

I discovered asexuality very late – I was 28 – and it took me both by surprise and as a huge relief, it explained so many things that had been confusing me and causing stress and anxiety for most of my post-pubescent life. It’s been amazing to know that what I experience is actually a thing, that there is a community I can become part of, that there is a name for me to use.

My advice is to own it.

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Read up on it, talk to other asexuals, get to know the community, find your particular flavor of asexuality and own the hell out of it. There are haters – as we’ve seen in the Tumblr community – but they’re not as many as Tumblr makes it look like, I promise, Tumblr’s just a very noisy place, so you can ignore them fairly easily in the real world.

Accept that the majority of the world is sexually oriented, accept that you’ll have to deal with annoying advertising and friend and family comments and opinions. It’s difficult, but it’s not insurmountable, I promise. There are people who get it, who are like you, or who will accept you. There are even people – even non-asexual! – who will date and love you just as you want (if you want! I’ve been mostly single for 5 years now and I have been thoroughly happy!)

There is a place in the world for you, for us, and we are absolutely allowed to take it, on our own terms, whatever they are. So go ahead, own it.

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

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hannahlkingart/

Website: http://hannahlking.wix.com/hannahlkingart

Tumblr: http://hannahkingart.tumblr.com/

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