Interview: Connor

Today we’re joined by Connor. Connor is a wonderful artist I met at ACE Comic Con Chicago. He’s a visual artist who specializes in character design, both original characters and fanart. He works in mostly traditional mediums. It’s clear he’s a passionate and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art consists of characters both original and already existent ones. I enjoy creating things from video game or fandom characters, to more animated self-portraits and original characters with unique traits. I’m fairly skilled in creating sad pieces, though I also like making happier ones with two or three characters, too. I’ve stuck almost strictly to traditional art, but I have done a few digital on a preloaded desktop application. Traditional is more preferable, though.

What inspires you?

Things that inspire me may vary, but sometimes my inspiration comes from boredom, emotions I’m feeling at the moment, or even from random thoughts. I can sketch blankly, but the higher quality art comes from the things I think more thoroughly of. If I’m extremely dedicated to one of the pieces, I will take hours to add detail and make sure it looks decent at the very least. Sometimes others inspire me as well! Something they say that’s funny or neat could give me a click to create something.

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

I believe I’ve always wanted to be in some sort of art field, though I guess it’d be more of a hobby than a job. I’m not sure about selling commissions just yet. I’ve done art since quite a young age, so that may tie into the progress I’ve had with tuning and bettering myself with what I draw.

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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 used to create my signature with large first letters for my first and last name, but lately it’s either been a mixture of all capitals or simply small cursive. I’ve been told that my cursive is small enough to resemble chicken scratch, which I do find pretty funny! But, even that’s honed to look better over the years. Once in a while I’ll add tiny hearts or a smile next to my signature, but it varies.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

For advice, I’d like to tell young artists that guidelines are important! No matter what you draw, try to make it mandatory that you plan your piece! It may take some time to try and get used to it, but it will help with proportions and spacing. It’ll look pretty neat in the end, I’m sure of it! Be sure to make guidelines softly on pages (or in a light colour if using digital) so as not to see them as much whenever you go over it with a better outline.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

As of now, I’m currently a questioning, panromantic, transgender male!

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

Sadly enough, I have. I try to tune it out unless directed towards me. Then, sometimes I’ll ask them about why they’ve said what they did to try and understand them. If they become ignorant, I try to leave it at that.

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

The most common things I’ve heard would tie into the biology topic with the whole “you cannot multiply with yourself” or “you have to like one or the other, that’s how it is.”

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

I would try to get them comfortable with themselves and mention that I’m willing to support them. I’d try to also remember to let them know that their orientation is okay to be and that they’re fine the way they are.

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

In regards to art, I post mainly on Instagram on my art/cosplay account (timaeusterror0), though I haven’t managed to keep a regular posting schedule. I have some older works on my Tumblr (frickonfanta), too!

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

Interview: NW

Today we’re joined by NW. NW is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in fanart. She does mostly digital art, though she does occasionally dabbles in traditional media. NW does a lot of costume and character design. She enjoys doing mostly fanart, but will occasionally do original art. It’s clear she’s a passionate and dedicated artist who loves what she does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

meeeeee

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

So, a lot of my work right now is done digitally — that is to say I don’t have an aversion to traditional media, it’s just more accessible to me at the moment — and usually it’s of people. Ranging from character or costume design, fan art, and a lot of my original artwork I don’t get to post. I love drawing portraits and faces, so right now, I guess the majority (that I post, anyway) is of that. I’m mostly self-taught; I’ve learned through practicing, studying classical paintings, and even watching Bob Ross as a little girl. I’ve had the traditional drawing courses (you know, still lives of apples or shapes) in addition to a lot of experimentation software like Paint Tool SAI, Adobe Photoshop, and Procreate.

I don’t particularly stick to one “style”; I don’t really like doing line art, I find it too time-consuming and I have issues with tremor, no thanks to my medication I take. So my style is very “paintery”, if you like. What I’ve learned in painting courses (and, again, Bob Ross) and I paint over my mistakes. When I do traditional media, I usually go back to the pencil or watercolors. I’m a visual person and I love coloring and colors. My favorite thing about creating art is eventually coloring it.

What inspires you?

A lot of things inspire me.

Art has been a therapeutic thing for me and I’ve gone back and added my own feelings in them. I’m very guilty of day-dreaming and since I was a kid, those day dreams inspire art. I think of stories and they become my pieces. Things I see in real life, whether it be color combinations, fashion, or images I pass, I try to hold onto that visual memory and bring it back.  Nowadays, I carry my iPad and stop to at least get it out before it goes. Movies definitely do—I hadn’t realized how much movies affected my stories and images until I got older.

Other artists most definitely do, which is why I’m Tumblr a lot. Most of the blogs I follow are other artists. There are also a few blogs that post traditional and classical artwork that I love. And, really, the music I listen to also is a huge influence on me and I always listen to certain bands and artists to try and captivate a mood in my pieces. My usernames “ofborrowedlight” and “rainbowillness” actually come from one band that I listen to a lot when I do artwork, Wolves in the Throne Room. They’re titles to two songs, “Rainbow Illness” and “Queen of the Borrowed Light”. For my personal “project”, I listen to them quite a bit.

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

Well, I’ve been holding a pencil since I had an Etch-a-Sketch and I cannot recall the rest. And I keep bringing up Bob Ross for a reason—I watched him religiously as a little girl. I’d say that he was actually the first influence that wanted me to get into the field. By the age of five, my mind was made up: I wanted to be an artist. I struggled with dyslexia and bullying and art was my constant companion for me. Having that man on television taught me so much about color and composition at an early age and his attitude of “there are no accidents, only happy mistakes” is such a positive thing to have and he’s really still pushing me, to this day, with that attitude. If you ask me now, yeah, I still want to draw and create for a living. It hasn’t been easy working full-time and trying to earn money, though, but I have not given up. I still try to draw every day; unfortunately, I get really shy posting stuff online or I’m spending more time on it than I wanted to.

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 in particularly? At least I don’t think so; maybe my coloring?

Maybe the closest to it if anyone notices that I incorporate a wave or a flow around my figures, sometimes. That comes from how Gustav Kilmt, Alphonse Mucha, and some traditional Japanese paintings that seem to have a special way to draw smoke and water. I can’t really write it, but anyone can find it in my sketches. But flat out, there’s no real unique symbolism, usually. If there is, it’s with my original stuff with little hints, but no one is going to know context, it’s just me, because I haven’t really presented the world with that story yet. It’s an inside joke with me, I guess.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep drawing, draw as much as you can, and don’t be afraid to expand your style. I was like a lot of artists out here on Tumblr; I’d print Sailor Moon illustrations and copied them. It’s good to do that to get up on your feet, but don’t allow that to be a dependency. Don’t be afraid to get books for the sake of illustrations—I still do. And don’t feel bad about your level of technique doesn’t match your friends or other artists out there. Art is all about your interpretation. While I can go on hours how stupid still lives and contour drawing is, they are essential to getting better. Take classic courses; if they’re not accessible to you, check out Udemy or Coursea.

With digital art, it’s a lot of practice. You just need to play around with features in software and you’ll find some really cool effects to enhance your coloring. Transitioning from a sketchbook to a drawing tablet is weird and don’t feel bad about not getting it; it took me years to get it and I’m still trying to play around with it. You’ll find a favorite program that you love! And even then, I would encourage you to have more than one digital art program. I hop around Paint Tool SAI, Photoshop, and Procreate all the time.

And really, I can’t stress it enough: don’t give up. You’re in an age where more of these things are accessible to you and it wasn’t when I was a kid. Keep drawing, draw more, and draw whatever you want.

versussmall
Versus

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Heteromantic asexual but more often gray-sexual. I think men are handsome, that’s about it. I’m not bothered by it and I really don’t care about relationships. Finding a man attractive is the furthest I’ll go; I don’t want much interaction after that.

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

The closest I’ve experienced any sort of misconception have been at concerts, anime, or comic conventions (surprise, I draw there too) and having to really push back men that have approached me for a date or my number. If they really can’t take the hint or accept “no” for an answer, I’ll get up and leave. A few times I’ve had men at just concerts or gatherings telling me they can “fix” me or change my mind. Then I’ll just tell them to fuck right the hell off, literally.

However, the most prejudice and ignorance I experience is outside of art and I experience it more with my family. It’s an odd mix of Irish and Mexican Catholicism where most of the women in my family married young (we’re talking 17-19) and they think there’s something wrong with me because I have no kids and I’m not married. No matter how many times I tell them “I don’t care, I don’t find anyone attractive” or “sex doesn’t interest me”, it doesn’t seem to sink in. Even when I told them there’s a community of other asexuals, one said “well, they must all be very depressed”. I make jokes about things like “this is why I don’t date” and use it to reiterate I don’t care about relationships.

So I’d say the run of the mill crap—“you haven’t found the right man”, “you’ll change your mind someday”, or “you must be very lonely”. I just shrug it off because I’ve had this conversation so many times with my family.

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

I’m not sure if this is common, but my father believed it was the same as bisexuality—I’m just glad he recognizes that even if I’m not!

One thing I’ve seen is people assume its celibacy and then I have to explain there is a huge difference between the two. It does get tiring having to explain it’s a lack of physical attraction and a desire for it and no, I am not going to change, I’m not worried about not being married, and I’m well over 20 years old and it’s not likely I’m having second thoughts. I am, myself, sex-repulsed, but other asexual people are not and that’s usually one assumption that people go with. Having other people chime in and say they aren’t hleps.

Unfortunately, I will say that because I struggle with PTSD from abuse, therapists assume that the asexuality may be a cause of it. I’m sure it’s a contribution, but more along the lines I just find general touch revolting, though I’m confident that it’s not the ultimate reason why I’m asexual. I feel like psychology needs to learn more about it because I am tired of that assumption is because its due to trauma. I don’t think it’s asking too much that therapists and psychiatrists learn about asexuality. We’re not all like this, not every asexual person is like that due to trauma. And this thinking let me believe that I was really, really destroyed for years when I was not.

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

If you also had a past of trauma like me, I’d say check out Aven and other communities geared towards asexuality so that you will know you’re not broken. I feel like this isn’t really talked about that much and it’s a shame. This isn’t part of PTSD or other forms of mental illness; you are not mentally ill if you’re asexual. When I first heard asexual at 18, I didn’t know about these things and I’m so happy other people have this access. Even now, at Pridefest here in Denver, there are asexuals and I haven’t seen them not even five years ago. My present employer, Ikea, even had “asexuality” listed on their diversity and inclusion talks—that’s really awesome.

There’s a lot of research and groups, there’s a whole world out there. But if you get the same spiel as I do, I think at this point, all we can do is just poke fun at it. Nothing makes me feel better than mocking these conceptions with other aces, it’s a nice reassurance. And if you’re in the same boat with me and family, yeah, post a link on Facebook or just print it off and be like “read this”. I don’t feel like we have the same level of resistance to people that are gay, lesbian, bi, and trans, so we need to also understand that. Watching a family member bullied out of the closet was horrific; I still couldn’t draw comparisons to their situation. Ours seems like a lot of people just can’t comprehend a life without physical attraction, I think. I just hope people remember that, especially.

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

Most of my stuff is posted on Rainbowillness.com, which is hooked up to Tumblr. If you’re in the American McGee’s Alice fandom, you know me, I’m sure you’ve seen my stuff. I’m also on Instagram under “ofborrowedlight”; sometimes I will post WIPs (works in progress) on my personal Tumblr, “ofborrowedlight”, but I urge everyone just go on my site and follow me there.

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

Interview: Anna

Today we’re joined by Anna. Anna is the phenomenal visual artist and writer behind the webcomic, Last Living Souls. Her webcomic is about a man who wakes up with no memory of what happened to him and journeys to the nearest town for help, but instead finds a town of the living dead and he’s one of them. It’s an intriguing premise and definitely worth looking up. Anna has also recently gotten into creating visual novels. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and talented artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Hey there! I’m a webcomic artist and I’ve been writing and illustrating Last Living Souls since 2011. During that time I’ve been also picking up visual novel development as it’s a great way to tell other stories without the huge time commitment.

As a webcomic and VN dev I have to wear a lot of hats; character design, script writing, backgrounds, and more. I think that’s what’s my favorite part about those two mediums is you get to personally bring your entire story to life in a bunch of different ways, not to mention I get to grow as an artist that much more.

What inspires you?

I’m a huge fan of the horror genre, especially indie or older horror games. If a work is able to simultaneously make you so uncomfortable that you don’t want to continue yet you’re so intrigued about the story you WANT to continue, that’s the incredible sweet spot that makes me want to create myself.  I really enjoy emotional or interesting pieces in general even if they aren’t horror, I like Shonen anime and sci fi movies.

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

I got into drawing as a child because I loved drawing silly joke comics or doodles starring some of my favorite characters from video games or cartoons. There was something so fun about making something that could make my friends laugh and a way I could express things I liked. Eventually, it developed into trying to draw more of my own characters and stories and I simply never stopped since, comics were an especially interesting field for me given they allow you to create such dynamic scenes and tell entire stories. While my career path never took me towards being a professional artist, I think I was always going to have art somewhere in my life.

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?

Haha, some might joke that “Way too many of my characters are missing an eye, or some body part,” which is an unintentional detail choice that crops up from time to time. But, one I’m more aware of or more direct about is my desire to include subhuman characters in my works. Things ranging from monsters to robots to mutants, there’s a lot of interesting moral dilemmas and character interactions that naturally develop from including characters that are different from ourselves. I suppose these types of characters also lend themselves well to the types of stories I like to create which usually feature some kind of horror theme or some scary situations.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

You’re probably going to find a lot of art boring and hard and intimidating especially the “ART” that your high school teacher is making you create. But art doesn’t have to be only about that; practicing, learning, observing, if you make it into homework it’s going to feel like homework. Find that part about art that seems the most fun to you: is it building giant worlds? Drawing lots of different outfits? Setting up scenes with your favorite character? Coloring in a big page of lineart? Find that part of art that excites you and focus in on it, let it fill you with that energy to draw and draw and draw. Because you will be practicing, and learning when you’re drawing a whole lot! But you won’t feel like it, and that’s when art is amazing!

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a demisexual individual, with a fairly low libido. I will experience some sexual attraction to those that I’m very emotionally close to.

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

Thankfully, most of my artistic peers are understanding (and sometimes ace themselves) and growing up my friends just thought of me as “naive” and never really treated me disrespectfully.

Joking or prejudice was fairly mild, to my fortune.

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

Asexuals hate sex, or must have had some kind of traumatic experience with sex previously. Allosexuals seem to make it into an us vs them situation, where asexuals “hate” sex and any sexual individuals.

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

It may feel like you’re a “late bloomer” and all your peers seem to be a part of some kind of club you’re not in, with talk about porn and sex and all sorts of things that just don’t interest you. It’s okay if you never become interested in it. It’s okay if you find that only that special person becomes interesting. You’re not slower than anyone else to mature, you know exactly what you like or don’t, and you might just need to find the right word to describe that and suddenly it’ll all make so much sense!

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

If a comic about undead creatures regaining their souls and trying to adapt to their new existence sounds right up your alley feel free to read Last Living Souls!

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

Interview: Liv

Today we’re joined by Liv. Liv is a fantastic visual artist who specializes in illustration and character design. She draws in a variety of styles and illustrates various subjects. Her work is amazing in its attention to detail and color. She’s a remarkably talented artist, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

dragon scene
Dragon Scene

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My work is mainly illustrations. I do a lot of character designs, backgrounds … story boards ‘n such. I like working in pastel shades and bright colors, but I also like making more low-key stuff. Dark blues … greens … Color and design are usually the main focus in my work, even if I’m drawing portraits I try to pay very close attention to color. I don’t know though; my stuff is pretty varied. I make a lot of different types of art. I make semi-realistic work, characters, portraits, landscapes, buildings … I do whatever I can to improve myself as an artist.

What inspires you?

Music. For sure music. I need to right song before I start. The usual music consists of James Blake, Joji, Tyler the Creator … A lot of low key music. Oh! I also love Tame Impala. I’m also inspired by studio Ghibli movies and other artists. Other artists online really push my work to be better.

pointilism portrait
Pointilism Portrait

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

My mom gave me this fairytale book when I was six. It had her doodles in it when she was my age, and I was really taken by them. (They weren’t great, they were made by six-year-old mom) but at the time it was crazy to me that anyone could just … make stuff. I passively drew for a few more years, then got really serious about it when I was 12.

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?

Umm haha I have one thing. I don’t sign my work very often, (which I should do) but when I do, I make it look like a rose. I noticed my initials naturally made this curve that looked like a flower, so I added a little flare for the stem.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I have a few things actually. I’ll bullet them so they’re easier to read.

  • Don’t immediately shut down advice. It can feel like people are attacking your work, your baby, but they aren’t trying to. It helps to hear them out. (if they are trying to put it down though just remember it isn’t about you, it’s about that person trying to be entertaining or whatever) You will get critiques, some harsher than others, always remember that it isn’t meant to be personal.
  • Don’t immediately accept it either. Trust your gut. If someone suggests something, and your first instinct is “that’s a terrible idea” then maybe listen to
  • Don’t be so hard on yourself. I know it’s difficult, but sometimes it’s best to try to ignore that small voice in your head that constantly puts you down. Analyze your work, learn from it. But do not put it down too much.
  • Let yourself make bad art. It’s still practice!! Even if you don’t like it, you’re using those low moments to improve! And that’s always good. Even if you hate making it the whole time because you hate the piece so much, just finish it and learn from it. It helps, I swear.
  • Take time to do things you enjoy. Sometimes you need a break from art. DO NOT feel guilty for needing a break. Drink some water, play a videogame. You’ve earned it.
  • Don’t let anyone say you can’t make a job out of it. Not even your family. I mean there’s a huge industry for the arts, if you care enough and are dedicated to it, you can make a job out of it. Even if your friends or family say you can’t.
portrait
Portrait

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I don’t feel any sexual attraction to any gender. So, I guess just asexual.

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

I’ve only come out to my friends, who are all “SJWs” haha. They’ve been super accepting. I did, however, come out to someone I was interested in. They replied with “then how do you know you like me? Like more than friends?” the question was annoying in my opinion, but I knew it was just his insecurities speaking and not really him. Well… I would mean that if he hadn’t led me on then dated one of my best friends behind my back. I haven’t experienced anything other than that. Almost everyone in my school is pretty cool with that stuff. I just haven’t come out yet because I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. If people wanna know I’ll tell ‘em, but I don’t think advertising it is very… me.

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

Biggest one I’ve encountered is media portraying asexuals as cold, psychopaths. People seem to go along with that portrayal.  That’s why it’s nice seeing characters like Todd from Bojack Horseman. It’s great to see a funny, generous, insightful person in a TV show be asexual.

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

Lay low. It’s OK. I swear you’ll get through it. Take some time to figure your crap out… Just slow down a little. Remember you aren’t alone, and take some time to yourself to relax and think over things. Thinking does wonders sometimes.

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

I have an art Instagram account called “living.in.yellow” I post a lot of my work there, though the posting gets pretty infrequent every now and then.

priness mononoke
Princess Mononoke

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

Interview: Alex

Today we’re joined by Alex. Alex is a wonderful young  visual artist who does both digital and traditional art. They mainly do fanart and character design. Alex does a lot of drawing and painting, taking inspiration from the world around them. They are clearly a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

bandit on the couch
Bandit on the Couch

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I do a lot of digital and traditional art, mainly fan art or character design, though I’ve been trying to branch out a little more. I’m a big fan of taking things like animals, plants, or even songs, and turning them into characters. I really like picking out little details from whatever I studying and adding them into the design, even if no one but me notices them.

cd cover
CD Cover

What inspires you?

There are a lot of different things that inspire me. A lot of times it’s a song, or a bit from a song, a piece of conversation with a friend, a particular color or color palette, or even just a landscape or a small thought. For my fanart, a lot of times I get inspiration from other works, other people, or the other things I mentioned. A lot of time it’s music though. I listen to music a lot, both when I draw, and much of the other time. It really sets the mood for my day, and for what I draw

chasm
Chasm

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

I started drawing when I was really little, and have always been interested in art, though I never really wanted to be an artist seriously until I started drawing more and more seriously (I wanted to be a geneticist when I was little, how funny is that). I started doodling whenever I could, and developed a consistent style, which ended up changing a lot over a short time. They were all doodles, but I really enjoyed it. I’ve begun drawing even more seriously, building up more materials, and expanding my horizons

contest-northern downpour
Northern Downpour

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 do little swirlies on my characters cheeks, shoulders, elbows, and knees, as well as highlights in the hair. I think that adds to part of my aesthetic around my art. this, as well as the highlight in the eyes, which, while usually a star, can also help me express the characters mood. These are some of the more recognizable stylistic things that I use in my drawings that I really enjoy.

drawing prompts book 1
Drawing Prompts Book 1

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep practicing! I know I sound like a broken record, because this what everyone says, but it’s really true! Only through practice will you be able to find your own style, and then be able to develop it! It’s really quite amazing how much improvement your art can go through if you just draw something every day! You can also try expanding your horizons by challenging yourself. There are many different artist challenges that can really help, with either coloring, or just to help develop your style as well! You can study other artists’ art, and through that, improve your own art. You can also identify what you need to work on with your art, and challenge yourself to improve on that. For me, it’s things like posing and backgrounds, and challenging myself to work on them is both really interesting and fun, but also really beneficial for your art

flower cat
Flower Cat

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m more towards the sex repulsed side of the ace spectrum. I’m still trying to figure out the romantic stuff, but I’m pretty sure I’m panromantic. I think having a partner would be nice, but I don’t want to do anything more than cuddle and stuff.

jellyfish ocean contest for lavendertowne amino
Jellyfish Ocean Contest

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

I don’t really know about prejudice, per say. When I came out to my parents, they told me that I should keep an open mind when it came to everything that I told them. It was kind of a mental shove, and kind of led for me to tumble down a mental set of stairs. For a week or two I laid at the bottom of that flight of stairs. It wasn’t their fault at all, but it really set me back. I haven’t come out to many people, only about 6 or 7 outside my immediate family. my friends have been really supportive though, and that has really been helpful. Because of that, my sexuality has really become cemented, and has become a constant, which I’m immensely grateful for (though I still am open to any changes, I don’t think they’ll happen)

light witch
Light Witch

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

As I said earlier, I really haven’t come out to many people, and so the only misconceptions I’ve really seen are online. I haven’t really seen much hate either, the only misconceptions I’ve seen are In posts from aesexual people about aesexuality, and defending aesexuality against those misconceptions, if that makes any sense. I’ve been really lucky to have people support me, I know this, and I’m so grateful.

personified phonix
Personified Phonix

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

I’m not really too good with advice, or with advice about identity and that sort of thing, but I guess that they should take a break from thinking about it. This is coming from me, a hypocrite, who can’t go one minute without thinking about it, and who, before they came out to people, was constantly questioning everything. You shouldn’t let thinking and questioning things consume you. Take a walk, draw a picture, read a book, listen to music. Do something. Let your mind take a break. Take a mental deep breath. As I said, I’m not too good with advice, and freak out whenever someone says they look up to me, but I hope that some of this can help!

plant people
Plant People

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

I’m definitely most active on my Instagram, but anyone can find me pretty much anywhere with at screaming_pinepples (Tumblr, DeviantArt, RedBubble)

I hope you enjoy my art! And I hope that you like what I’ve had to say!

suzy
Suzy

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

Interview: Hana Golden

Today we’re joined by Hana Golden. Hana is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in digital art but also works in traditional mediums as well. She does character design, capturing expressions and emotions through a masterful use of detail. Hana also frequently draws canines and her ability to capture dog’s personalities with color and lines is amazing. She’s an incredibly talented artist, 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 mostly a digital artist, but still work with a variety of traditional mediums. I enjoy watercoloring, spraypainting, stippling, and simple illustration work. I like to focus on expression cartooning, character design, and heavily enjoy fanart as well. Canines specifically have also always been a go-to for me and is one of the things I’ve always been known for. I also like to create my own custom Funko Pop figures as another side hobby.

For my art, I’d say that I like to focus heavily on expressions and making you feel what the character is feeling. When someone feels the same emotion I’m drawing by looking at it, that’s the best thing. Either way, I love drawing faces and just sketching in general.

fifth

What inspires you?

Let’s see … kinda tough question cause there’s so much that inspires me. From an early age, my oldest sister was an artist, and my biggest inspiration and drive to improve. Now, I’d say that Disney/DreamWorks is my biggest inspiration. Watching certain films and shorts just make me want to push myself more and more. From the character design to the emotional feelings you get when you look at a scene, that’s what I want to create. I want to capture that one moment that made my heart pound, where I pause the scene and just stare at the characters face for a long time. It was that face that gave me a feeling, and I have to be able to do it too. I can get pretty obsessed about it actually, haha. I’m just super into animation, and hope to animate again. I use to do it a lot as a kid.

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

Like I had stated above, my oldest sister was the one who got me into drawing. I wanted have that one thing in common that we could do together. Watching anything animated/cartoon pushed me to draw those characters constantly. I remember being in my room drawing the covers of old VHS Disney movies, drawing Pokémon cards, really anything I could get my hands on. I was just drawing all the time.

I’ve been drawing since I could hold a pencil, like most everyone else, but I’m not sure to be honest. It never really occurred to me that I could partake in making these movies, or designing these characters. I’m not sure why, I guess it was never pushed on me or talked about as something I could potentially be a part of, not even by my teachers.  I knew I loved to draw and wanted to do it all the time, but I never pursued it the way I feel like I should have. My mentality about it was all wrong compared to how to feel about it now, and I wish I had pursued it more seriously. For the simple short answer, yes, I have always wanted to be an artist.

first

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?

Honestly, there’s really nothing this deep in anything I do haha. I have a simple signature that if it’s not out in the obvious, then it’s small and hidden in the picture. I’ve never been a fan of putting my signature on my work, but since I had multiple works stolen, I’ve gotten to the habit of hiding it in the picture so it couldn’t be erased haha.

When I work on commissions, I really try to pull the person’s personality (or animals) out on paper. I want people to see their pet, s/o, or themselves in my work. I want them to feel like their personality is right there. That’s really important to me.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Please, just don’t give up. I know it’s what everyone says, but it’s so true. Too many people I know who use to draw and loved it, don’t do it anymore cause they said they were intimidated by other artists, or just got too down on themselves and came to a stop. It takes work, and you just have to push past all that stuff and focus on you. Compare your work to your own, not someone else’s. Look at how far you’ve come and embrace that. Just keep going.

Also, don’t be afraid of referencing/copying when starting out. That’s how you’re going to learn such a variety of things and all the different styles and types of art out there. You’ll develop your own style eventually by dropping things that don’t work for what you visually like, and picking up parts of others that you do and adding it to your own. Drawing from life is important though to learn proper proportions, lighting, color, etc. Don’t rely fully on cartoons or anime to teach you that stuff haha. It’s okay to copy other people’s work as long as you’re not claiming it as your own, just give credit where credit is due. A good rule of thumb I always worked from was if you copied it, keep it to yourself. If you had help from another artist’s work, credit it.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as Asexual. I’m not super sure if I lean towards gray or not, but I’m comfortable just using the term Ace. Finding out there was a word for how I was feeling, and that others were like me, was one of the most important parts of my life. I can still remember how I felt the minute I typed that word into Google and discovered its meaning haha.

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

Not really to be honest, at least not to my face. If anything, with some people I just got a feeling that they didn’t truly believe me or fully understand. It’s tough, because I want to have a family someday. I’ve always wanted children, and people who know me, know that. When I told them that I was ace, most of them will point out “You know how to get children, right?” I hate when people say that because I’m not stupid, yes I know about sex, I understand how it works, but I don’t like it, and don’t want it.

I even went to go see an Endocrinologist (a hormone doctor) cause I do actually have an issue with my hormones. I asked her about my libido and stuff like that (before I identified as ace, I thought my hormones were the problem) and she told me that with the way my hormones are, I should have a high sex drive and crazy libido. I laughed and cried the whole way home, because that wasn’t me, and I still got no answers.

second

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

That we don’t want a family, a significant other, or refuse to have sex in general. That’s not true for many people who identify in this orientation, and for some, it is. There are many asexual people who want their own children, want to be in a relationship, and even like having sex. All of that is okay, being Asexual just means that you don’t feel sexual attraction.

For me personally, I still struggle time to time. I want to be in a relationship, cuddle, hold hands, and I want a family. I just don’t want to have sex so it’s tough when I tell people that cause they don’t understand. Most people just tell me that when the time comes, I just need to “suck it up and do it” if I want kids.

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

Don’t just ignore your own feelings and please teach others. I went to great lengths to get an answer as to why I was afraid to be close with my boyfriend, or why I didn’t feel anything when it came to kissing or avoiding situations that would make the other feel like we could take the next step in our relationship. It was awful, and not fair to either of us. It was hard to admit to people I get more of a love feeling walking into an art store or watching an animated movie, and then I got going on a date. In the end, it wasn’t a doctor that helped me, but a person that I follow online who just happened to use the word asexual in a sentence, and I decided to google it. I wish that I was exposed to the idea that you don’t need to have sex. It can be scary when all of your friends and people you are exposed to daily are all talking about something you just can’t relate too. You look at your own life and see how old you’re getting, and you haven’t had sex yet. It’s normal, and it’s okay to not want that in your life.  Just talk, educate others, and be open about it! It’s important to teach people to listen to your own body, and don’t do something because you feel you have too.

You’re valid and important, talk about it openly, because it will help you to be more comfortable with who you are.

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

Sorry this got lengthy! I like writing. I post my art mostly on my Instagram! You can also follow me on my Facebook page, Sebatticus, and my Tumblr Sebatticus as well 🙂

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

Interview: Broeckchen

Today we’re joined by Broeckchen. Broeckchen is a phenomenally talented visual artist who works in mostly digital mediums. She mostly does character design but has an incredible passion for any kind of drawing. Her work shows a masterful use of color and extraordinary detail that just pulls the viewer in, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. A Whole New World
A Whole New World

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My main focus is on character design, but enjoy illustrations of all kinds and even some crafts like bookbinding. Most of what I create is digital art.

2. Taste in Style
Taste in Style

What inspires you?

I’m strongly inspired by the aesthetics of animated stories and by art nouveau in terms of style, while mythology is one of my main inputs when it comes to the contents of my art. For example, I love creating variations of well-known mythological beings to go for an unusual and fresh look!

3. Rosemama
Rosemama

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

Sailor Moon! I always wanted to be able to draw, but different from many other kids I was extremely self-critical with what I created and got frustrated with my pictures very easily. Discovering Sailor Moon was what first gave me a really strong drive to push through that frustration and get better at art. I would probably still have given up very early on if my Mom hadn’t taught me how to trace from the magazines I owned – that was how I started actually studying the art I admired. From that point on though, yeah, I always wanted to work as an artist! I briefly wavered after graduating from school because everyone told me I couldn’t live off art, but then I soon discovered that there was nothing worth having art behind for either.

4. Harpy
Harpy

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?

Yes! It looks like two lines with a diamond symbol in between, often followed by the last two digits of the year I drew the image in.

5. Round KingfisherGriff
Round KingfisherGriff

I chose this symbol because it consists of my initials and incorporates that diamond-shape. At the time when I thought of that symbol, my best friend was a huge fan of the rapper Diam’s, and once told me that the rapper chose that name for herself inspired by the dictionary definition of a diamond: “The hardest substance known to man, a diamond can only be cut by another diamond.” It was a statement about perseverance and resonated so strongly with me and what I want to be that I felt it should be part of my identity.

6. Round PeacockGriff
Round PeacockGriff

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Learn to be forgiving and appreciative and do not stop. One of the most positive things I ever did was learning to look at a half-finished picture, realising it wasn’t exactly what I wanted it to be, and then just finishing and putting it out there anyways. More often than not, other people ended up seeing the beauty in it that I was blind to because I was too close. Sometimes a small miracle happens and it turns out that the half-finished work just happened to look worse than it did at any other stage, with the final result being incredibly pretty. But many people drop a piece or even the craft at large when they bump into that wall of “damn, this is not what I wanted at all!” and never get to find out how good and positive their work would actually turn out to be.

7. Round Cloudicorn
Round Cloudicorn
8. Round Furycorn
Round Furycorn

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as demisexual and panromantic.

9. Pearl
Pearl

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

I actually don’t tell people about my exact identity too often. Since both labels I most strongly identify with are pretty obscure where I live, I tend to dread the conversation a little. I am also exceptionally lucky, though – where I live, most people are pretty progressive, and the number seems to shoot up even further when you go to an art school.

I am trying to open up about being demisexual more though ever since I realised that younger people with the same identity could probably really benefit of noticing that someone older and (hopefully at some point?) more established identifies that way, too.

10. Garnet
Garnet

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

The “But isn’t that normal?” one that follows demisexuals around a lot. I always have to explain to those saying it that while the emotional bond I need often appears alongside romantic feelings, it doesn’t always. I’ve felt attracted to close friends I had otherwise exclusively platonic feelings for, and I have been head over heels romantically for people but we never arrived at that specific bond I needed to feel physically attracted to them.

11. Amethyst
Amethyst

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

First off, it’s okay to take your time with figuring things out. Anyone who demands of you to have a firm and established label within a short deadline is just being a butt about it, you’re free to think about it, experiment, gather experience and even to reject specific labels altogether. And secondly, you’re a gift to everyone who shares your experience and is still searching for themselves. Whenever I wasn’t sure about continuing to grasp for my goals for my own benefit, that helped me out a lot. Knowing that I’m one more person in my field who improves all of our chances to become more visible and provide a future generation with more stability some day.

12. Alien
Alien

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

While my artblog at broeckchen is one of the most complete collections of my current work, I also have a nice hub-page at http://linktr.ee/broeckchen89 where people can see more different places to potentially follow me instead.

13. Rosa's Pumpkin
Rosa’s Pumpkin

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