Interview: Nev

Today we’re joined by Nev. Nev is a wonderful French visual artist who specializes in comics. She’s currently taking a break from her studies to travel. Nev makes excellent use of vivid colors in order to draw the viewer in and her attention to detail is extraordinary. It’s clear she’s a passionate artist with an incredibly bright future. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a baby comic artist who is taking a pause during her studies to travel after three years of comics studies in Belgium. I have two webcomics (in French, sorry), too which I try update frequently. I make a lot of comics and illustrations zines beaucoup I love to have a real and concrete object in my hands.

I love telling stories and drawing them, and I love to draw things related to my aesthetics (like vaporwaves things) too.

What inspires you?

I think all can be an inspiration. I’m really inspired by everyday life, and the people I talk too. But also to the things who I find aesthetic and that make strong images for me.

Also, I have a lot of inspiration which come from comics, cartoons, mangas, and a lot from the zine and underground culture and the internet and webcomics culture. I love to see what artists does near to the industry.

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

I love drawing and telling stories, so… comics were for me. I love to think about how I can compose my comics pages, how to transfer a feeling, an atmosphere, a rhythm in a story. And drawing what you had in your head is so pleasing.

I always draw and… telling stories. When I was 3 years old, I was even making sort of child zines, about a hero porcupine who was saving animals. But I know that I wanted to be an artist when I was 11/12 years old I think.

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

Not really, and that’s a real shame! I always forgot to sign.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Training about your lack of skills to progress, but let you time to just doing your comfort zone too. Read and see a lot of different things to be inspired by a lot of things. Take the time, even I know how it’s can be difficult. And try to be nice with yourself and take pauses, it’s important.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a heteroromantic asexual between sex-favorable and sex indifferent.

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

Yes. Not a lot, because I’m out about this only with people who are understanding about that, but even with that, sometime, people don’t really know the subject and does some errors. I’m in relationship with someone who isn’t asexual, and I discovered my asexuality during the beginning of our relationship, so… it was kind of difficult at the beginning. No mean intentions, but the ignorance can create a lot of misconceptions.

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

Maybe that I’m sort of sick and that hormones can heal me. But, it’s not a question of hormones at all (and aces are not sick, thanks).

Also, that you can’t be ace and be in a relationship, and have maybe sexual interactions. Having sex doesn’t disqualify someone from being asexual, actions are not attraction (but this is not a reason to make additional pressure to aces who don’t have sex).

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

It’s okay to be lost and to have doubts, and that don’t make you any legitimate at all. When I was younger, I was really lost about my asexuality, and what I feel about it. I repressed it a lot of time, because, well, sex pressure and society, and after, because I didn’t feel legitimate because I didn’t find myself in a lot of testimonies. But you are who you are, and only you can know what you feel and if you’re attracted of not. And, really, you’re not broken.

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

They can find my work on Tumblr, here: https://la-nev.tumblr.com/, or on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nev_photos/.

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

Interview: Sara

Today we’re joined by Sara. Sara is a phenomenal visual artist who does a lot of illustrations. She also dabbles in a few crafts, but illustration and designing stationary is where her passion lies. She’s also going to be running a conference session in London about archaeology and the history of gaming (which was signal boosted on this site a few weeks ago). It’s clear she’s a passionate and talented artist who loves what she does, 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.

I do illustration and comic strips and I design stationery. I sometimes wander into graphics or various sewing projects but I’m mostly an illustrator.

What inspires you?

My friends ^_^ usually my best work starts with me thinking of something I want to draw for someone and then getting so excited I can’t stop till I’ve got in down on paper. The thought of how happy it will make them sustains me. Aside from that, the artists who really inspire me are often comic artists and colourists. There’s something about how economical comic art has to be and how much it communicates that I really love. My favourites are probably Erica Henderson, Fiona Staples, David Aja, Ed Brubaker, Matt Hollingsworth, Cliff Chiang, Matt Wilson and Adrian Alphona.

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

I always drew as a kid. My mum drew too and she took me to the park to draw one day and did the whole ‘draw what you see, not what you know’ lesson and from there I was hooked. I mostly drew from life when I was younger because I wasn’t confident about having a style of my own but eventually started experimenting. I was always imagining the inventions or clothes or stationery or musicals I would design. I had big dreams! I really got into stationery when I was a teenager and discovered Artbox (the South Korean stationery brand). I loved the idea that you could have something so small and simple but the details and colours and the character in the designs could make it really beautiful. In stationery simple images with a lot of personality work the best. I’d say that alongside being an inventor, author and philosopher, being an artist is one of the first things I ever wanted to be.

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 guess I use a lot of block colours. The symbols I use on my personal work are a blue postbox with teeth and a flying apple with an eyepatch but they don’t really show up in stuff I post online…

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t worry about developing a style and sticking to it. It’s ok to be trying something totally different or using things you’ve seen other people do. Your style is a side effect of all the people’s work you’ve seen and imitated and absorbed bits of and rejected other bits of. It will just happen without you noticing it. The link is you. If you’re doing it, it’s your style. And don’t just be passionate about art, be passionate about other things, learn about them, get excited. That’s where the ideas come from.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual and aromantic!

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

Not in art because I mostly work with people who are my friends already. But I have in my day jobs. I’ve met people who took it as a challenge, someone followed me home from work once trying to convince me that having sex with him would change my mind (that was hella scary… if someone does that to you, call the police!). Other people were perfectly nice in most ways but just flat out failed to believe me. Most people are lovely about it though, if slightly confused! Usually my reaction is just to stay cheerful but firm. If people try to speak over me or deny my experiences I keep explaining and don’t let up.

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

That we’re not queer enough!

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

Sometimes it feels scary not having a map in life, even if it’s freeing at the same time. Other people seem to shape their lives around their sexual relationships so much and doing your own thing without all those rules to follow can make you feel pretty lost. I still find that scary so I can’t say for sure it gets better but I can say there are a lot of us and we’re all getting through day by day and making a future by living it even if sometimes we can’t look ahead and see our future clearly. Even when you’re lost, you’re not alone. Everything you are is real.

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

Tumblr: theamazingsaraman
Instagram: lilibetbob

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

Interview: Bere Weillschmidt

Today we’re joined by Bere Weillschmidt. Bere is a wonderful Mexican artist who writes a comic entitled “Love Afternoon Tea”, which is about a gay ace couple and their lives. It’s clear he loves what he does and is a driven 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 work is all about gay pairings, or sometimes polyamorous trios. I draw a lot of fan art but since I graduated, I’ve focused on my comics. I write Love Afternoon Tea (https://tapas.io/series/Love-Afternoon-Tea), which explores a homosexual asexual relationship between a cis man and a trans man.

What inspires you?

I’ve never been in a relationship before but the excitement I get from reading fanfic gets me going. Also, I grew up when everything was a bromance, instead of a canon relationship, so that possibility was a thing that sparked the inspiration inside me.

I’m really shy and sometimes that stops me from posting, but the people that comment are truly appreciated because this is something that pushes me to keep on working hard on everything I do.

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

Well, to be completely honest, no. I was always told that artists starved, and when I was younger I wanted to be filthy rich. On high school I started having a lot of troubles and I was about to not to get into college when my two best friends pushed me into graphic design. Three years later, I switched to animation and I since I enjoyed my career too much, I graduated with honours.

It’s something that has to interest you so much so that in the most difficult times… you keep on going because there’s no other thing you see yourself doing. By the way, I am not starving and I am quite happy by teaching others how to do this.

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

My signature is really simple that on my ID people scoff at seeing it. But they never know what it means since it’s an alias.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Fight for what you truly believe in. If you don’t have the means to get into art school, don’t worry: most of the stuff is on the Internet. You can do it. Never be afraid to reach out to other artists, I think everyone is happy to help on what they know!

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Aromantic Asexual.

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

Yes, I suppose is very common that people struggle with being a virgin because there’s always the questions and judgement from others. Mostly when you’re over 25.

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

That we are really innocent (?) I hate that.

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

I just accepted myself. It took me a lot to do it because I thought I was just a “late bloomer”, but as a tip I’d say… talk with other asexuals. You’ll get to see how much you have in common and how comfortable you start being in an asexual space.

Don’t rush yourself into figuring it out, sexuality is a spectrum after all… and it might change in time.

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

https://www.instagram.com/bereweillschmidt/
https://twitter.com/bereweilschmidt
http://weillschmidtdoodles.tumblr.com

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

Interview: Sarah Neila Elkins

Today we’re joined by Sarah Neila Elkins. Sarah is a phenomenal writer and visual artist who specializes in novels and comics. She enjoys writing the speculative genres and her work features asexual protagonists. It’s clear she’s a talented artist who loves what she does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

 

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Please, tell us about your art.

I make fantasy, horror, and sci-fi novels and comics featuring asexual protagonists. Since 2015 I have been more active writing novels than creating comics due to having angio fibro dysplasia, a type of chronic ossifying tennis elbow that kept me from using my right hand for almost a year. I had to relearn how to draw as a result.

What inspires you?

I want to make stories that I want to read. I’m asexual but didn’t know that was a thing until I was an adult and I have tons of queer friends but, although it is more common to see LGBTQIA+ characters in stories it’s less common to see them in fantasy and horror. I want to write the kinds of tense, action-filled books and comics I like to read but with queer characters.

I also really like Nikola Tesla, so working him or things related to him in stories is fun. I guess it’s like writing fanfiction though I’ve never been good about sticking with anything else for that. Every time I tried writing proper fanfiction whatever I wrote turned into something original without any characters or worlds from whatever the fanfic was supposed to be based on.

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

I’ve been writing and drawing since I was a kid. I daydreamed, a lot. Probably more than was healthy to be honest. Eventually I started writing those daydreams down as a film script because I wanted to make movies. Then I did research on the screenwriter’s guild and realized that would never happen. Granted, that was before indie films got bigger. I decided that I could just draw whatever story I wanted to make so I got into making comics. When my elbow tendons essentially turned to bone I had to give up my comic flatting job, my comic inking job, and comics altogether for a while. It broke my heart but I was able to use a keyboard with my left hand and wrote a novel to deal with the stress and depression I was feeling from losing my only source of income and the only real job I had ever known. That book, Psychic Underground: The Facility is available now from Ninestar Press. Thankfully, I have recovered enough to draw again and even want to make a graphic novel. I’m still writing prose novels and the second book in the Psychic Underground series should come out later this year (2019.)

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?

Nikola Tesla. If he’s not mentioned out-right he or something related to him is in there be it a street name or invention. It’s like ‘Where’s Waldo’ except sometimes I make it very obvious. I also like to put my favorite number in things, 8, as well as Tesla’s favorite numbers 3, 6, and 9.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Be mindful of your body and health. If your arms or hands start hurting try to skip ahead and see an orthopedic surgeon instead of a general doctor. If I had done that I would have skipped about six months of terrible pain and one ER visit. Also, remember that just because someone gets a job or opportunity you wanted that comics and prose writing isn’t Highlander. There’s plenty of room. If you get knocked down, get back up.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am alloromantic asexual.

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

In my field? Years ago a friend who helped me get a big flatting job said something to the effect of “asexuals aren’t queer” but then she worked with another friend of mine who is asexual on a queer anthology that the ace friend told me was welcoming to aces, so maybe her view changed. To be honest she kinda hasn’t talked to me much since the whole incident where she said she thought ace’s weren’t queer and that bothers me. I don’t like not having closure if a friendship is over, you know?

Otherwise I dated an artist for years and when I tried to explain to them I’m asexual and sex-repulsed/genophobic they didn’t take it well. I thought they’d take it better since the main character of their then pretty popular webcomic was aromantic asexual. We wound up breaking up and tried to stay friends but the friendship imploded when my arm trouble got bad. They said some things to me during the relationship that made me doubt myself and they continued to do that when my arm was causing me excruciating pain. I know I wish they would apologize someday but I’ll never get that closure either. I’m not sure if that counts but they were a colleague I looked up to a lot.

Beyond those two instances I have been out of the creative game for a few years due to my arm so I’m just now getting back where I can pursue jobs in both writing and comics. I have little doubt I’ll run across more pronounced cases of ace prejudice and ignorance in the future.

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

The most common misconception about asexuality I’ve encountered is that all asexuals are aromantic, celibate, and sex repulsed or that they want to prevent someone else from having sex. I am celibate but not aromantic. I am sex repulsed and genophobic but I don’t want to prevent others from having sex. I just can’t talk about or see sex for long without having an anxiety attack.

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

You are not alone. You are not broken. Asexuality is a vast spectrum within the queer spectrum. You don’t have to be anything but ace to be queer, either. There’s no real rule that says “you must be asexual AND anything else also queer to qualify as queer.” You can just be asexual and qualify as queer. Anyone who’s not cis heterosexual qualifies as queer. If you’re asexual then by definition you’re not heterosexual. Don’t listen to anyone who claims you’re faking your identity. You are the only person who gets to define who you are.

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

I just launched a personal website: https://www.sarahneilaelkins.com/
I still haunt the hell out of Twitter: https://twitter.com/NeilaK20
I mirror posts on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SarahNeilaElkins/
And on Mastodon: https://mastodon.social/@NeilaK20
And I’m trying to use Instagram more: https://www.instagram.com/neilak20/

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

Interview: Mushki

Today we’re joined by Mushki. Mushki is a wonderful visual artist who specializes in comics. She has recently finished a comic specifically about asexuality. She has a running manga-style comic entitled Peripety. Aside from that, she also does mini comics, random illustrations, and fanart. It’s clear 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.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I make comics! I got one long manga-style comic called Peripety that I hope will reach about FMA length. And many mini comics and random illustrations/fanart.

What inspires you?

Stories that are about found families, adventure, brotherhood…psychology, compassion, human depravity mixed with human beauty…etc.

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

Reading stories or playing video games with compelling stories – that’s the language I understand, and I guess I just couldn’t help it when I started speaking that language as well. So yeah. I’ve kind of always wanted to do it in some way, though at first I thought I wanted to be a novelist instead.

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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?

Ummm… When it comes to stories, I guess, I’m always putting secret symbols in my stuff. Flowers, motifs, animal parts, etc. Things that represent certain things or mean something to a certain culture.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Make LOTS of stuff, make lots of BAD stuff, keep good posture, and have FUN.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Ace / Aro

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

Not so much about my work. But when people want to show me their work, and it has sexual content in it, some berate me and tease me about me being ace. I really just ignore that? And give them a solid critique anyway. I find kindness is the best way to make people feel bad.

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

That I just haven’t found the right person. That I need to try it. Many people who express this have good intentions, but seem unable to understand that not desiring sex or romance is even possible.

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

Don’t be pressured into things. There’s a difference between getting out of your comfort zone, and doing things you don’t want to. When people tell you to try things, ask yourself if you actually WANT what they’re suggesting. If you don’t, that’s okay. It doesn’t mean your denying an opportunity for growth.

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

I post my comics on Tapastic, (https://tapas.io/MushkiKizou) and I sell my art on Etsy! (https://www.etsy.com/shop/MushkikizouArt) Still working on a good way to sell my comics online, but you can bet it’ll be on Etsy someday.

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Sepas Hoard of Boys

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

Interview: KelbremDusk

Today we’re joined by KelbremDusk. KelbremDusk is a wonderful visual artist who specializes in digital art. She does a bit of everything, including webcomics. Her work is eerie and interesting to look at. It’s clear she’s a passionate individual who loves to create, 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.

I’m a digital artist, I’ve been working with a tablet for about 11 years now. I was never big on traditional art, even when I didn’t have access to a tablet but recently I’ve been trying to get into oil painting and so far it’s been kinda fun.

I draw everything from original to fanart and even in comics. I have a webcomic which is unfortunately in hiatus right now but I also make short comics for my various characters and worlds.

On the side I’m currently working on a novel, which I hope to finish this year (or at least early next year) called Black Sun Rising. Four friends on a post apocalypse roadtrip with no main character romance.

What inspires you?

I get inspiration from everything. Stories, movies, illustrations, photographs, everyday objects. It’s wild. The more abstract I can make something that would normally be mundane and boring, the more fun it is to work with.

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

This was never really a plan of mine. I just kinda started drawing around 2004, I drew a lot before that but something just made me keep going. Boredom, the need for a creative outlet. I didn’t have a lot of friends, didn’t go out much. Mostly stayed at home in front of the TV. So I needed something to do.

I guess Anime was the thing that really made me keep going. Especially Inuyasha and Wedding Peach and Doremi.

And the new novel writing stuff, that also just kinda happened. I’ve been working on that story in my head for about 4 years at that point and I wanted to make it into a comic first but that would have taken ages and it got really demotivating. So one day at work, while my boss was out, I just opened up word and kept writing and writing. By the end of the day I had the prologue done.

Sometimes things just happen I guess???

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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?

Oh boy, if I were to reveal more of my stories, you’d certainly see a pattern in them. Especially when it comes to family. Lots of single parents … or no parents at all.

Another thing would be about two characters which show up in every story in some way. Either as an actual character, a background character, the name of a cafe, a street name etc. Look out for that.

And my unique signature you might even be able to see on the pictures featured in this interview. The winged skull wearing a crown. No real symbolism behind it other than 1. Skulls are cool, 2. Crowns are dope and 3. I only added the wings to make the logo rectangular.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Find a medium that suits you and go nuts with it. If you suck at watercolor, even after countless hours and desperately trying, watercolor might not be your thing and that’s ok! “Practice makes perfect” but sometimes you just gotta acknowledge that you can’t be the best in every medium.

Look at references! Poses, faces, buildings, plants. You are not obligated to draw everything from memory. Nobody is going to come for you for drawing from a reference. The old masters did it, so you’re allowed do it as well!

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am an Aromantic Asexual. I dabbled in many different identities in my search to find the right one and about 4 years ago, after lots of back and forth and self-reflection, I settled on this.

It was a long journey to come to this conclusion. I spent my entire school life thinking something is wrong with me for never falling in love with anyone, while my friends and classmates had boyfriends and girlfriends. This continues into my time at trade school. Where I even had people telling me that they’re interested in me romantically but for me it was just … never an option. I don’t know how to behave around such people. I’d have to let them touch me and they’d want to be around me and my social battery is just not capable for that amount of affection.

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

Most prejudice and ignorance I get is not at work cuz my coworkers or boss doesn’t care. It was from classmates and trade school and my own family (mostly my dad).

“What do you mean you don’t want to have children?” and “Oh you just haven’t found the right one yet” are the most common. I never outright day that I’m asexual, to avoid awkward conversations, but I say “I don’t date” and for some reason that really grinds people’s gears???

Like I said, my dad is the worst one. He’d constantly ask me when I’d bring my boyfriend over and it made me so uncomfortable. Or whenever I had a good announcement he’s ask “Are you pregnant?” He thankfully stopped doing that for now thanks to his new wife (who is super lovely and really understanding). Whenever he brought up the topic I’d just roll my eyes and tell him to shut up.

I was never able to tell my mom about my asexuality before she died, but I’m positive that she would be understanding as well. She already accepted that I never brought home any boyfriends and didn’t even ask or pester me about it. So I feel like she knew.

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

According to some, all asexuals are just plants and have no libido. Wrong, there’s different types of aces just like there’s different types of gays and lesbians and bi people. Some aces are sex repulsed, but not all. Some aces enjoy a good wank at the end of the day and some don’t. People are different and you can’t throw them all in the same drawer.

“Oh you’re just saying you’re asexual because you can’t find anyone to date you!”

Fam, no, that is the complete opposite of what I’m telling you. I don’t want to “find anyone to date” I don’t date. It’s simple as that.

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

You will feel alone, you’ll feel pain, you’ll feel like there’s nobody in the world who feels like you but I will tell you now that that’s not true. Don’t force yourself to do things you don’t want to do just because you think you might be broken. You’re not broken, you never were.

Go into yourself, find yourself, acknowledge and cherish the things that make you happy.

I still feel extremely alone, I haven’t found many people who feel like me yet but I’m hoping that through this I can reach out to some of them.

I can always lend an ear for anything.

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

Here’s a bunch of links you can find me on and look through more of my work.

Tumblr: http://kelbremdusk.tumblr.com
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1NaDNqgbf5SN5HnfYiOR-A
Twitter (although there’s barely anything): https://twitter.com/eatshitdr0pdead
My webcomic: https://tapas.io/Kelbremdusk
and my NSFW discord server (you can pm me for that one)

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

Signal Boost: Others Comic

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Hey all!

I’m still alive (interviews will resume next week. I’ve been traveling).

Over the weekend, I was at ACE Comic Con in Arizona and I was table neighbors with some really amazing people. One of them told me about this extraordinary project about stories about the LGBTQ+ community. It’s a fantastic project and Mr. Vernon is always looking for stories and would like to feature more ace stories. I recommend checking it out and definitely consider submitting if you’re so inclined.

Link: http://theothers.webcomic.ws