Interview: Allyzah Allene

Today we’re joined by Allyzah Allene, who also goes by Ani or Ani Fangor. Allyzah is a phenomenal visual artist who works with in digital and traditional mediums. They haven’t met a material they didn’t like and work with just about everything. Their work is brimming with detail and a masterful use of lines and colors. They’re incredibly dedicated, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Self2017
Self 2017

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am an artist that likes to dabble in just about everything I can afford. I have worked with traditional mediums like pencils (graphites, colored pencils), charcoals, markers, paints (acrylic, watercolor, oil) and digital mediums (limited photoediting, mostly digital art). My goal is to be able to learn as many mediums as I can because I want to teach art. I also occasionally write, and recently began posting my comic on Tapas.

While many other artists have a “deeper meaning” behind their artworks, or a consistent theme, I find art to be most enjoyable when it is “whatever I feel like.” I don’t like stressing over incorporating hidden meanings and “how it may be interpreted,” but rather getting the idea out of my head. My art blog and my art tag ends up being full of random half done pieces and concepts because it’s not always about finishing, but expressing my ideas. (Perhaps not the best rule to live by, but as a student, it’s enough for me.)

What inspires you?

Most of the time, the deadline. Otherwise it’s usually whatever I find aesthetically appealing enough to draw!

For my writing and my comic, though, that was inspired by the lack of diversity in the media I consumed. I got tired of the same old “boy meets girl” plot/subplot found in most things I read, and especially, the lack of characters who even vaguely looked like me. Growing up, the books I read often degraded characters that shared my race or ethnicity, and I struggled with my identity until I was 16 (a mere four years ago). I hated who I was because I wasn’t white, and I thought that I would only be successful if I were like the white characters in my books—even then, that could be a stretch, as there were very few books with girls as the lead. I didn’t find out that I wasn’t cishet until I was about 15, and by then I barely read outside of the class readings, so I wasn’t as bothered by the lack of LGBT+ positive books just yet. In my junior year, I had my “if no one else is going to do it, I will” moment and decided I would make a comic featuring a diverse cast in both ethnicity, gender identity, and sexual/romantic orientation. It took a while, but I finally decided I had put it off long enough and started publishing pages early July 2017 as my 20th birthday gift to myself.

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

When I was in the second grade, my school’s art teacher brought a guest artist to speak to everyone. I don’t remember the name of the artist, but I remember being so intrigued—it was one thing to learn about Van Gogh and Picasso in class, and a completely different thing to see someone live at work that wasn’t my teacher. The way he worked was by covering a canvas with black charcoal, and slowly erasing it away to create an image. My art teacher later caught me trying to do the same thing while waiting for my dad to pick me up, and asked me if I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. It wasn’t something I had thought of before, but I remember being so happy that she thought I could, and I said yes. Since then, I have been on a quest to learn as much as I can about art so that I can help as many people as possible when I become a teacher.

As for writing, we have a rocky relationship. During elementary school, I had a pattern: I would love writing one year, and hate it the next. I didn’t really take it seriously for a while, even when I started writing and posting fanfiction. I found out about NaNoWriMo in middle school, and became serious about writing original work, although the passion and motivation is not nearly as consistent as with art.

Death Lingers_Allyzah Cabugao
Death Lingers

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 know if I’ve been consistent enough with anything to have one of those! The closest thing is the stamp I use to sign my artwork (when I have it). I visited China two years ago as part of an exchange program, and the Chinese students gave me an approximate phonetic translation of my name so that I could have a “Chinese name.” I bought a stamp with that name on it to remember them and the trip, and I use it as half of my artist signature.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Besides the ever present “keep practicing,” I’d say “if you can’t figure out what’s wrong with it, put it on pause and work on something different; it’ll come to you sooner than if you keep focusing on it.” If it’s art, that one part will still be waiting for you to come back, and if it’s writing, you can always just type in something like “akdguhos” or “[COME BACK TO THIS]” and continue. (Just make sure that you go back to it before you publish it or turn it in!) You don’t have to finish everything in one go. Take a break, let your creative juices recharge.

Something specifically for visual art: we tend to hyperfixate on the small area that we’re currently working on. Every now and then, remember to step back (or, if digitally, zoom out) and look at the piece as a whole. Something might look okay while zoomed in… and then you look at the whole picture and realize that it’s completely misaligned or maybe the color palette doesn’t match the rest. I’ve worked on several semi-realistic pieces and realized that the “perfect nose” was too far right, or that it looked like the neck didn’t come from the same body as the head, because I didn’t look at the whole picture as much as I should have.

Lumos114
Lumos

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual sex-repulsed, and demi-panromantic. (As well as agender/non-binary.)

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

I’ve been lucky enough not to encounter any prejudice in my major related classes yet, but that’s partially because I don’t know anyone well enough to actually care what they say, partly because I have headphones in during class almost all the time. I have had people try to get “creative” with their flirting though, automatically assuming that because I’m an artist, I draw nude people, and that I’d want to draw them … How I respond to them depends on how rude they’re being.

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

Ohh boy, there’s so many that I spent three years researching asexuality in order to academically debunk misconceptions and presented speeches about asexuality to just about any academic platform I could reach. (I’m no longer doing competitive speech as I switch to the coaching side of things, but I’m still ready to spread asexual awareness.)

The one that I hate the most is when people think asexuals are being childish if they state that they have no sexual attraction, especially if they say that they’re a sex-repulsed ace. I’ve had people say that I’ll eventually “grow up and want sex,” and when I literally had an anxiety attack due to a class assigned movie (marked UnRated and with no CW/TW in the film description, nor from the professor) that featured multiple explicit sex scenes and nudity, I was told to grow up and realize that “sex is an art form. You’re an artist, why can’t you appreciate that?” It’s frustrating that sex is seen as a major turning point in your life, the time you’ve “finally reached adulthood,” when there’s plenty of us who can live without it.

Southern Belle_Allyzah Cabugao
Southern Belle

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

Most importantly: you are not broken. Your orientation doesn’t make you any less valid than anyone else! Remember, for every person that takes you down, there’ll be many ready to help lift you back up again.

Also, it doesn’t matter if you fit some of the stereotypes or misconceptions of asexuality or not, you can still identify as ace. Things like “you can’t know if you’re ace if you’re a virgin,” “it’s just a hormonal imbalance,” “it’s because of PTSD/similar,” it doesn’t matter if these are true or not for you. If you feel like asexuality is the best label for your orientation, then you’re ace.

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

I post my work on Tumblr with the tag “#ani amount of art” on both aniamountofart.tumblr.com and aniamountofsketches.tumblr.com; on Instagram/Twitter tagged #aniamountofart on artisticAllyzah; and my comic can be found at tapas.io/series/OMNI!

Marco the Mallard
Marco the Mallard

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

Interview: Brittany Granville

Today we’re joined by Brittany Granville. Brittany is a phenomenal visual artist and writer from Kentucky. She’s currently working on a webcomic entitled Cirque du Royale, which she both writes and draws. Cirque du Royale is all about a family of circus performers and it looks so amazing. Brittany’s work is incredibly unique and her characters are so expressive they practically pop off the screen. It’s clear that she’s a passionate and amazingly talented artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

artvartist
Art v. Artist

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I draw cartoons, comics, do graphic design and write. I’ve been drawing my whole life and have a Bachelors of Arts in visual communication design. I do freelance when it’s offered, but I’m still looking for a full-time job. I spend most of my time writing and drawing my own comic called Cirque Du Royale. It’s a slice-of-life comic about a family of circus performers. I love cartoony styles and silly expressions.

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Callaloo Event

What inspires you?

Hahaha! Depression and money! I need to feed my dog and keep myself in clearance nail polish, so that’s a big motivator when it comes to freelance. When it comes to my own work, I just need to have something to focus on other than sadness and crying. That’s actually why I started Cirque Du Royale. It was a distraction from job hunting and all the rejection. Basically, I could worry about the last interview or I could write about a health-nut strongman and draw funny expressions!

On a less cynical note: I like stories and I like making up my own stories. It’s all an effort to try and communicate. Growing up, I had a hard time making friends and really communicating with people, but I’d make up characters and found that I liked spending time in their world rather than mine.

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Bearded Cupcake Circus Poster

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

I grew up watching a lot of TV and reading a lot of books. Cartoons were big for me. I watched a lot of The Simpsons, The Flintstones, Rugrats, Looney Tunes, Powerpuff Girls, and Dexter’s Lab, and would copy the styles of those shows. I was fascinated by cartoons and the way they worked. When I was really little, I wore out our VHS copy of Bambi because I would pause and start it over and over to look at each frame of a scene.

I also read a lot of comic strips as a kid. At about 8 or 9, I started drawing my own comic strips. I shared them with friends and classmates, and they liked them, so I kept drawing them!

When I was older, I got more interested in illustration and graphic commercial art. I’m still nowhere near where I thought I would be at this point in my life.

cast2017_2
Cast 2017

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?

Both my art and design work tend to be very colorful and rounded, but I can’t see any real style signatures. :/

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“Cirque Du Royale,” episode 3

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Like a lot of artists say, practice a lot, it’s very important to build skills. Draw from life and practice realistic anatomy. I see many young artists get annoyed that their teachers want them to draw still-lifes or models rather than anime or cartoons. But it’s good to know how to draw the real thing, that way it looks more believable when it’s simplified (for example hands). If you’re in school and want to draw anime or cartoons, just get a separate sketchbook for your own personal work and one for studies!

In addition, try different things, when it comes to art and life. It’s good to find a hobby outside of art; it keeps you well rounded and to gives you something to do when you don’t feel like or can’t drawing. For example, I write, cook, read, make jewelry and stuffed animals from time to time, and am in a local civil rights organization.

Furthermore, art is great but your physical and mental health is more important. Try to at least get a walk in everyday, so that your body doesn’t break down on you. And take breaks at least every 2 hours.

itme_mod
It’s Me

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m asexual and aromantic. I know that people can have different romantic and sexual attractions simultaneously, but I can’t split mine. If you want to get more specific, I’m also sex repulsed. Like, I think consenting adults should have sex if they want. Cool. Good for them. But anyone touching or kissing me in a sexual way makes me want to barf!

I found out about asexuality when I was 18 after a dude at college kissed me. I was so disgusted, I googled to see what was wrong with me. Cause everyone likes kissing, right? This was in 2010, a little before Tumblr and more widely available material on asexuality, but I managed to find Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) and videos by Julie Sondra Decker (aka Swankivy) on YouTube. I was so happy to find out that what I was feeling was a real thing with a name. I’m so glad I’m aroace. Because, honesty, romantic/sexual relationships have always seemed really annoying to me…

tomatobisque_Twitter
Tomato Bisque (Twitter)

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

No, but I’m not really out to people IRL, but I’m also not hiding it. The only problem is when men try to flirt with me or when my older relatives try to talk to me about dating. Bleh!

I have had a comment or 2 on my comic that an ace character couldn’t be ace because he’s 13 and that it’s just a phase. Like, bruh, that was literally a joke in the comic. I just ignore it. I think it’s funny. :p

claudette poser
Claudette Poster

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

Ha! I might be people’s idea of what an asexual is. I’m asexual, aromantic, and sex-repulsed. I’m also autistic, and asexuality is commonly seen as a trait of autism…:/ The perfect storm. But some people, especially people new to asexuality, don’t realize that not all aces are like me. Aces can be hetero, homo, pan, bi, etc. romantic. And guess what, some aces actually have sex and like it! I help moderate the asexual blog, Asexual-Society, and one of the most common questions we get is “Am I still asexual if I have sex or if porn or something sexual turns me on?” Like, yes baby. You’re still a human person with a libido, it’s just not directed at anyone in particular. There’s no wrong way to be ace, kids.

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Fish Fryday (Facebook)

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

You’re not too young to know your sexual orientation. You also don’t have to rush to figure it out. There’s no hurry. Just don’t do anything that you’re not comfortable with. No one knows you better than you do.

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

My art Tumblr: http://bgranville.tumblr.com/
My portfolio website: http://www.brittanygranville.com/

Cirque Du Royale:

Tumblr: http://cirqueduroyale.tumblr.com/
Tapas: https://tapas.io/series/Cirque-Du-Royale
Smackjeeves: http://www.smackjeeves.com/comicprofile.php?id=167570

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Pride ’17

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

Interview: Grace Procella

Today we’re joined by Grace Procella. Grace is a member of P4 Comics, a group of queer artists that do a variety of things. Ve does mostly comics but also some character design and illustration. Grace takes a lot of inspiration from anime and is very dedicated to vis art. Ve is incredibly passionate about creating, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to vis for participating in this interview.

P4 Job Search
P4 Job Search

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

We are a group of queer (but mostly asexual) artists that do comics, videos and other content with the intent of spreading positivity and education about Asexuality. Personally, as it stands, most of my art involves comics, but I do a few character designs/illustrations here and there. Most of it is all anime inspired, as that’s what got me back into art in the first place, but I try to diversify a little here and there. Matter of fact, we run a weekly series where we feature different asexual perspectives. Since I let them tell me how they want to be portrayed, sometimes I run into some lovely challenges. From coyote shaped cakes to panda wizards, we’ve had an interesting variation of characters thus far.

What inspires you?

What originally inspired me was the works of Sophie Labelle, Serpentenial, Kate Leth and several other astounding comic artists. I really thought I had a neat experience being aporagender and asexual, so I thought sharing my experiences might make people feel like they’re not alone. Nowadays though, it’s the fans that inspire me, their passion for the message and for this community really brings about some interesting concepts and dialogues.

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

Was a total doodler when I was in school, always drawing stuff in the margins, but it never really expanded from there. When I suddenly got into anime in university, it was jumpstarted and I realized that, that was the art I wanted to do. I think I’ve always had the artsy spirit and drive in me, just some bumps along the way made me lose track of it. (Most notably, high school studio art killed the enjoyment for me originally).

4Kind 1
4 Kind 1

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 lord, I have bad habits, like I always use a certain hand positions, but when it really comes down to it, I think my signature would be how character interact with the dialogue bubbles and my framing. There’s a certain level of 4th wall breaking in all my work that really pops the story out on to your lap. Having character openly reference annoying dialogue bubbles or look over into other frames. It’s fun to conceptualize, draw, and read!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

A while back I made a lovely little info-graphic about this. When it really comes down to it, the main thing is to just start. Art takes lots of refinement, practice and passion. With enough directed practice, anyone can become an artist.

To be more specific, if you’re looking to be a comic artist like me, I think the best thing I could tell you is not to be afraid of sharing your stuff. You see an LGBTQ+ page that posts memes about queer stuff. Share/post it to their page, tag them, whatever. When you reach out and tap into existing communities, you’ll find it’s much easier to grow.

Trigger Happy
Trigger Happy

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a romantic asexual, more specifically a biromantic asexual. Sex negative/apathetic, somewhere there. I just don’t like it.

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

Actually I’ve encountered more prejudice FROM aces rather than naysayers. We have a way of questioning ideas on the right and left, which can sometimes draw some angry crowds. But whenever I run into prejudice or ignorance I have a conversation with that person. See what their opinions all about. Overall it usually end up with both of us coming away disagreement, but a little bit wiser.

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

Oh lord, most definitely that attraction = desire. Even when it’s so easily explained to people. You desire acts and feelings. You’re attracted to people. But everyone seems quite ignorant to these ideas. Other than that, often people will think your asexuality was caused by trauma, which I’ve always found odd. That’s ones fairly commonplace.

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

Be you. That’s all I can really say. We have an ongoing series about Gate Keepers, and the catch is always, that he can only make you think you’re not allowed in. But he can’t actually stop you from going through the gate. You know who you are better than anyone, so don’t let others tell you who you are and where you belong.

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

Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Patreon, all at P4 Comics or Perplexingly Purple Pride Potatoes. If you like food porn, you can also follow us at p4_potatogram on Instagram!

P4 Logo with background
P4 Logo with background

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

Interview: Will Hernandez

Today we’re joined by Will Hernandez. Will is a phenomenal and versatile visual artist. He specializes in drawing, both in traditional and digital mediums. Will does both illustrations and comics, as well as regular drawing. When he’s not drawing, Will also dabbles in sculpting, photography, and even animation. It’s clear he has an admirable amount of passion as well as talent, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Acomic2

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a visual artist. I enjoy drawing, inking, and watercolor painting both traditionally and digitally. I illustrate as well as make comics from time to time, and I mostly enjoy doing so in a more “cartoony” style. From time to time I’ll sculpt, photograph, and even animate, but just plain ol’ drawing is where my heart’s at.

What inspires you?

Honestly, science is what inspires most of my work. Nature, robotics, physics, astronomy, all these concepts and more are what really interest me. When you look closely at them you can really come to appreciate the universe we live in a little better. You learn that reality really is stranger than fiction. And you also realize that some of the biggest surprises are a lot closer than you think.

Forestwalkcolor
Forest Walk

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

I honestly hadn’t considered pursuing art as a career until I entered high school. Earlier in my life art was nothing more than a personal endeavor, more of a hobby. It wasn’t until I enrolled in a video class, and met my video teacher, which was when I really started to pick up art as a life goal. He was very kind and supportive to all his students, especially when it came to those who showed artistic ability. He suggested I look into doing cartooning or animation as a career, which was the first time I had even though about my artwork as something profitable. But aside from that, I’ve always loved to draw, paint, sculpt, and just create in general. I just hadn’t considered myself an “artist” until later.

ForestwalkGif
Forest Walk

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?

Aside from my main signature (which is present on most of my artwork) not really.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you ever ask anyone how to get better at art and they tell you to do a lot of it, that really is the answer, the one and only answer. Do a lot of art, and never give up if you really love it. Also, be sure to look for like minds, make friends with other artists because it will really help you stay motivated. It’s a long and often times difficult road to travel, but what you get out of it in the end makes it all worth it. And be sure to keep past artwork, you’ll want to see how much you progress as time goes by 😉

Mermay (COLOR)
Mermay

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual, though I’ll develop romantic attractions from time to time depending on the person. Also I’m not really sex repulsed, it’s actually a curiosity of mine, but more in a science way than in a “do it” sort of way. But in general I try to use my labels lightly. We’ve all got our own unique point on the spectrum of things, a place that nobody has or ever will again occupy. For the sake of explaining an experience labels are great, but I don’t think that we should be confined to them because subtly that separates us from each other, which simply isn’t the case. I’m asexual yes, but more importantly I’m me and I’ve got my own unique experiences.

mmm (COLOR)
Mmm

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

Luckily for me most people have been so kind and understanding whenever I choose to bring it up. Though from time to time there may be some misunderstandings which I can typically explain away with ease (yes I know what “the sex thing” is)

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

Like I said, I know what sex is, it’s not like I don’t…

Robot Aestetic (Color)
Robot Aestetic

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

DUUUDE! DO WHAT YOU’RE LITTLE QUESTIONING HEART FEELS IS RIGHT! AND BE THE BEST YOU YOU CAN POSSIBLY BE! I know that’s kinda blunt but it’s really what it all boils down to 🙂

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

You can find my work on my main art blog at willhernandezdraws
Or you can find my slice o’ life comics at willhernandezcomics
And if you like you can support me at https://ko-fi.com/willhernandezdraws

I can’t wait to meet you all!
See you around 😉

WATCHME
Watch Me

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

Interview: EJ Anderson

Today we’re joined by EJ Anderson. EJ is a wonderful writer and visual artist who is the creator of Gecko Jehovah, a webcomic that prominently features a m/m couple. The webcomic has been running since June 2015. EJ is an incredibly passionate and dedicated artist who has been drawing for years. Her enthusiasm is admirable, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

poster-small

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’ve had a lot of different projects but right now I write and draw a long-form webcomic called Gecko Jehovah, which I’ve been publishing since June 2015. It’s my very first adventure in digital drawing and also my first exercise in drawing (almost) every day since high school.

What inspires you?

Good comedy, good dialogue, observational writing in general. And then lot of the basic concepts and main characters in my ‘verse come from dreams because I used to be very diligent about writing down my dreams, but I’m less consistent with that these days.

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

Yep. I’ve been drawing since I was a little kid and I went to an arts magnet high school and then majored in art at university ever since then. I’m impaired in math so I wasn’t able to pursue any of my more scientific interests because of that.

I’ve only been drawing “seriously” – as in, almost every day and with the explicit goal of improvement – since August 2014, though. And I started doing this at the encouragement of a dear friend who thought I might have a grain of a cool story in the universe I’d created when I was much younger.

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’m big on Easter eggs and I slip them in whenever I can, and it’s not really important to me whether anyone finds them, it’s just a fun thing that keeps the process interesting.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep plugging away, I know it’s cliché but it works. And sometimes you’re going to feel like you’ve plateaued or even that your skills are getting worse. This is a normal part of the process, because seeing and actually drawing are two separate skillsets that can sometimes get out of sync with each other. So sometimes you’ll be better at seeing your mistakes than you are at correcting them, and when this happens you just have to keep drawing and eventually your brain will sort itself out.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Just asexual.

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

Within my artistic field? Nah, not really. In fact I think every time I’ve asked if asexual artists are included in calls for LGBT-produced comics, the answer has been yes, which is wonderfully refreshing.

Outside of comics, on the larger internet as a whole, though? There’s a lot of it. I typically handle it by using filters and blockers to hide upsetting content from myself but honestly I’m quite bad at that and I get into arguments pretty regularly.

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

That asexual people with opposite-sex partners are “just straight”. I’d say this isn’t so much a misconception as it is an informed opinion that I fundamentally reject, though.

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

First off, that it’s okay to shed the asexual label if you find it no longer applies to you. Labels are tools and it’s perfectly fine to stop using them when they stop working. I say this because I’ve known very young people who assumed they were asexual when in fact they were just developing an interest in sex at a later age than their peers, and this can create an identity crisis. So know that it’s absolutely fine to change your label at any time and it doesn’t mean you were faking or lying before, it just means you’re learning new things about yourself.

And second, and this is a big one: know that you don’t have to have sex. Ever. You don’t have to go skydiving, you don’t have to climb Mt. Everest, you don’t have to hike the Appalachian Trail, you don’t have to kiss the Blarney Stone, and you don’t have to have sex. Just because it’s on most people’s bucket list doesn’t mean it has to be on yours.

And if you’re romantic but sex-repulsed, know that it’s absolutely possible to have a happy, healthy, long-term relationship where sex is simply not on the table. I know it’s cheesy to say “there’s a lid for every pot” but the human species is insanely diverse, the internet has given us access to so many types of people, and you (yes you) can meet somebody. Don’t give up hope.

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

I publish my comic at http://geckojehovah.com/ and my other doodles and side projects can be found on http://sideshowratt.deviantart.com/. Thanks for looking!

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

Interview: Will

Today we’re joined by Will, who also goes by Parzifals Judgement online. Will is an amazing visual artist who does a lot of stylized illustrations and small comics. His work is brimming with vibrant colors and remarkable expressions. Will is a very passionate artist who loves what he does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Meet the Artist 2017
Meet the Artist 2017

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I mostly draw stylized illustrations and small comics. I really enjoy digital art’s flat colors and bold lines, and traditionally I like using markers and soft blending. I can also do some small craft things, like make sketchbooks, though that’s more of a new thing.

What inspires you?

I love fairy tales, villains, pastel gore, mythology, monsters, Arthurian legend, and fantasy. I also draw a lot of inspiration from modern superhero comics and deconstruction stories! It’s just really fun to explore the limits of certain ideas, and I enjoy putting it all into comic form, because it tells a long, involved story.

Capra Spring Banner
Capra Spring Banner

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

I didn’t really start drawing seriously until I was 14, and funny enough, theater and self-inserts got me into that. I really started making stories and characters back then and hardcore got into the idea of having my own stories to tell then. After that, I didn’t really know I wanted to be a visual artist until I was in college- I thought I wanted to be a writer, but I just kept drawing as a hobby and eventually after my senior project was a comic, I realized that I really enjoyed drawing comics as an art form.

Lam's new fireproof armor
Lam’s New Fireproof Armor

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 know if I have anything special, but I have a watermark and signature that I use that’s a combination of a P and a J. It’s honestly not the most creative thing, but I enjoy drawing it.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I could say blah blah, learn your foundations, follow your dreams, blah blah, do what you love, but I think my first advice is if you have a thing that you enjoy doing with your art, whether it’s making speedpaint videos, or selling prints on RedBubble, or making sketchbook videos, or making a webcomic, whatever it is. Start early. Start now. Having a strong foundation early on really helps, and it’ll give you a goal to work towards. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but if you start now, you can get good habits earlier.

Will Icon 2017
Will Icon 2017

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

It’s complicated. My general labels are asexual aromantic, but I’m pretty sure I’m some sort of male-leaning demi-grey-something for both, so I also just use queer.

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

I don’t … really understand the latest anti-ace discourse, especially from within the LGBTQ+ community. It really confuses me and I don’t really understand it, and people always seem to wonder what my thoughts as an ace person are on the issue. I tend to just avoid that specific discourse and say that I’m not going to share my opinion on it, but it saddens me to see infighting.

Luke Ranger Ribbon
Luke Ranger Ribbon

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

Asexual people don’t belong in the LGBTQ community, currently, but before that, it was “A in LGBTQIA+ Stands for Ally.” Honestly, besides those two, people around me just don’t seem to understand it as a concept, so for better or worse, I don’t get many other irritating misconceptions about asexuality.

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

It’s okay to not know right now. It’s okay to not know for a while. Labels are something to help you, personally, not a thing you have to keep for your entire life. Maybe you won’t be ace tomorrow. Maybe you’ll keep that label forever. Either way, It’s okay.

War Machine Star Garnet
War Machine Star Garnet

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

I have an art blog here on Tumblr at http://will2draw.tumblr.com/  a Deviantart at http://parzifalsjudgment.deviantart.com/ and an Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/parzifalsjudgement/

Light on the Sea
Light on the Sea

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

Interview: Nilah Magruder

Today we’re joined by Nilah Magruder. Nilah is a brilliant visual artist and writer who I met at Capricon. She moderated a great panel that I was on about friendships in SFF and I was ecstatic to find out she was a fellow ace creator. Nilah’s work is absolutely gorgeous and I’m so excited to check out her new projects. Her upcoming graphic novel, M.F.K., looks particularly intriguing. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

By day, I’m a storyboard artist in the animation industry. In my free time, I make comics and children’s books. My most recent projects are HOW TO FIND A FOX, a picture book about exploring the outdoors and perseverance, and M.F.K., originally a fantasy webcomic that will be hitting bookstores in graphic novel form in September.

What inspires you?

Life! Stories! Observing the world, its nature, its people, its politics is a huge inspiration. I also get inspiration from other people’s art.

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

I saw the pencil tests for The Lion King for the first time when I was twelve (I’m old, and The Lion King was still under production at this point) and from that moment I wanted to work in animation. I’d loved drawing from a young age, but I don’t think I ever considered it a serious profession. I had no concept of how to become an animator; it was more a pipe dream than anything. So at first I was interested in pursuing music, writing, or something more practical like accounting. It wasn’t until I was applying to colleges that I found out you could study animation, and it rekindled my interest.

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?

Nothing unique or consistent like that. My work is kind of all over the place, actually, because I’m always trying new things. If there’s anything, I guess I draw a lot of girls.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Work on the fundamentals. Explore styles and influences. Be a sponge. Work hard, but don’t work yourself sick. Your health and life are important. Take breaks, stretch, exercise, eat well, sleep, enjoy the world around you, and learn to say “no” when you need to.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual and aromantic.

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

I guess ace erasure is what I encounter most commonly. Most people don’t seem to have a concept of what asexuality is, so there’s very little representation in animation and comics. I’m trying to be more open about my own sexuality, but in the meantime, I include asexual characters in my work. The main characters of M.F.K. are asexual. In my own canon, asexuality is always present.

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

I’ve been hearing the “asexuals are just straight people who wish they were queer” rhetoric a lot lately. And also the idea that it’s the same thing as celibacy, like it’s a choice. It’s sad, and also annoying to have your identity and feelings treated as invalid… something that I’d think more people would relate to, honestly.

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

Asexuality is a fairly new term, but asexuals have always existed; we just used different language in the past. So don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t belong in the queer community. We’ve always been here.

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

I’m on Twitter (nilaffle) and Tumblr as nilaffle, and Instagram as nilaffles. My website is nilahmagruder.com. You can find M.F.K. at mfkcomic.com.

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