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.

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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.

Interview: Mxnim

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

dear boi
Dear Boi

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

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

What inspires you?

Animated movies/shows and music.

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

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

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

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

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

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

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

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

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

music
Music

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual panromantic!

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

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

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

DOGS ARE THE WROST
Dogs are the Worst

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

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

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

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

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

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

space kaddet
Space Kaddet

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

Interview: Rachael Peabody

Today we’re joined by Rachael Peabody. Rachael is an amazing visual artist who specializes in digital art. She’s a comics artist and is currently working on a romance comic that features an asexual character. She is incredibly passionate about her art, which always makes for a great interview. 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 mainly work with digital art (predominantly Adobe Illustrator) and create comics. I’m not professional but I am very passionate about comics and their creation. Currently I am working on a romance comic. This was more of a challenge until I thought it might be nice for it to feature one of the main characters as an Asexual. This will come into play in the second book since he hasn’t realized it yet.

What inspires you?

I get the biggest source of inspiration from music, but following my favorite creators on social media is always a great place to get strength. A lot of artists are willing to share their thoughts and ideas online. Granted no one should make their work a checklist of things to impress their role models, but you can see the world from a much broader perspective which is definitely something a creator needs. And, to be completely self-centered, hearing from my readers really gives me a boost to continue.

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

When I was little I actually wanted to be an Entomologist but my heart wasn’t in it. I fell into drawing and writing to deal with some issues going on with my family. While I was in college getting my BFA I started to pour hours and hours into comics. It went from a coping mechanism to an obsession and then a drive. I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t create.

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?

Uhm, I’m not sure. I’m always trying to add something to my work to make it stand out. I’d like to be someone who could be recognized by their style like some of my favorite comic creators. I have made it a point to never add highlighting to black areas other than hair (this is a leftover flip-of-the-bird to a really awful drawing professor I had in college who told me pure black doesn’t exist). I’ve been told many times that my expressions are awesome but no one has been able to pinpoint it, including myself.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

The best advice I ever got was when I was stuck in a rut with a previous story. I was talking to a comic writer at a comic convention. He said: “You’re a creator. Some people aren’t. There’s no reason you can’t just create something, even if it’s terrible. That’s something only you have and can control 100%. So do it.” There will be times when you feel blocked and miserable and guilty about not creating, or maybe you just can’t find the time with Life happening. It’s okay. You’re a creator. You will find the time and the place and when you do, breathe life into something. Until then, just take care of yourself.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I came out as a Hetero-romantic Asexual a few years ago to my friends and online mutuals. I had been dealing with some very serious depression for my whole life; most of it was centered on my inability to find a partner because while I knew I wasn’t gay, my dating experiences ranged from brief and confusing for the guy to awkward and uncomfortable for me. I felt some weird need to prove to the planet that ‘hey look at me a normal functioning heterosexual beep boop’. I discovered an ocean of orientations being talked about online and suddenly the word Asexual hit me. I fit it so perfectly. When I found out who I was and that I was not broken my life became so much more enjoyable. Even my depression is easier to deal with.

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

So far only one person has given me any guff for it, but they are in their 60’s and pretty resistant to new information. It’s just strange that this individual is also a Homosexual – I had kind of hoped he’d be more understanding or accepting. This is partially the same reason I haven’t come out to my parents. When it comes to comics, however, people are wide-mouthed and ready for diverse characters, creators and situations. I want to be able to create an Ace character to help with representation just like the creators who are making Gay, Trans, and Nonbinary stories. If I had had exposure to the concept of Asexuality when I was in my teens I have no doubt that things would’ve been much easier for me.

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

The biggest issue I have with coming out to people is that I’ve never had sex or a serious relationship and they seem to think I need those experiences to PROVE to them that I’m Asexual. While I do desire a close relationship with another person romantically or at least affectionately, I have had only bad experiences with Heterosexual men. There is an expectation that I can’t fulfill. My body goes into panic mode, alarms are going off, I immediately go into a flight response and, in about a week, there is a very frustrated and angry guy calling me a tease or a Lesbian. You don’t need to have sex or even a long-term relationship to know your own body. The idea that you need to be clawed to pieces by a tiger to know you don’t like being clawed to pieces by a tiger is just as stupid.

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

If you don’t feel like you fit any one aspect of the Ace spectrum, please know YOU AREN’T BROKEN. And you DEFINITELY don’t need to prove anything to anyone. Join or at least follow as many Asexual information sources that you can. Consider that you might change at some point. If you do desire a relationship find someone who loves you and not your junk. Be comfortable and open about who you are because you might, without knowing it, give strength to someone who is just as lost as I was. Follow some Asexual humor blogs, too – sometimes they have the best comebacks for people who are being really intolerant about your orientation.

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

My main Tumblr blog is tlaloc4kids.tumblr.com and my comic is posted on ilikeyoucomic.tumblr.com. I also have a Twitter where I post random sneak peeks of the finished pages and other odd things. You can find me there (at) rlpeabody.

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

Interview: Morgan Lees

Today we’re joined by Morgan Lees. Morgan is a wonderful artist who specializes in fantasy art and illustration. They’re have an ongoing comic entitled Corner the Maze, which is delightful urban fantasy about a racing driver who winds up in a different dimension. Aside from the comic, Morgan also does a lot of freelance illustration and has done some theater (including stage combat) in the past. Their work is beautiful and the detail is extraordinary, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I draw, paint, write, and do theater – some of those things more than the others. I’ve been focusing primarily on my comic of late, and I’m a freelance illustrator. My comic work is done in pen and ink, and I’ve been working with pencil on toned paper a lot lately for other art. I haven’t done much with theater aside from stage combat lately, but I’m hoping to get into it more again when I have more time (which I’ve been saying for years now, so who knows when that will be). I guess the common thread is that I like telling stories with art in one form or another.

My comic is called Corner the Maze, and it follows the adventures of a racing driver who finds himself inadvertently trapped in another dimension after falling into a strange portal during a race. It ties into the same setting as the books I’m writing, and some of the characters end up appearing in both, but I’m making sure that they both work well as standalone things, too.

What inspires you?

Mostly I have a lot of story and character ideas jostling about in my head, and I want to get those out and in some form where other people can (hopefully) enjoy them. I’m also inspired by music, nature, and rather unpredictable flashes of insight coming from seemingly random sources. So, I guess mostly it’s whatever happens to set my imagination off, which isn’t very predictable.

Roleplaying games have also been a big source of inspiration for me since I was really little. A great percentage of everything I’ve ever drawn has been one of my characters or another, either in pen and paper games or from CRPGs, and that probably had something to do with getting me thinking about characterization and storytelling so much as well.

Stylistically, again with the roleplaying games, I always really liked the black and white illustrations found in the RPG books I grew up with – first edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, and then Middle-earth Roleplaying/Rolemaster – and I’m sure that had some effect on my pen and ink style. Same goes for Choose Your Own Adventure type books.

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

I’ve been drawing since I could hold a pencil, but I didn’t get serious about it until I was eighteen or so. For some reason, both drawing and writing as career options seemed out of reach to me when I was younger, but then I decided that I was going to give it my best shot and see if I could make it work. I was actually more focused on theater (directing and lighting design especially) when I was younger, but the amount of travel that would end up being necessary for that put me off in the end – that, and what I really want to be doing more than anything is telling my own stories. That’s what led me to the comic, and what inspired me to get my writing in shape.

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! I sign my work with my initials and the date, but that’s about it.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t stop practicing. Whenever you’ve got time, as much as you can possibly stand it, practice. When I look back and see the difference between where I am with my work and where I want to be, and look at the people who are where I want to be, the single greatest difference is always that they were more dedicated earlier on. I goofed off a lot when I was a kid and a teenager – there were plenty of whole weeks where I didn’t draw at all. There are lots of different ways to learn, and there’s no one piece of advice there that will work for everyone, but practice is universal.

morganlees_nerevarine
Nerevarine

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m aromantic and asexual. I’ve simply never had the slightest sort of romantic or sexual interest in anyone else. It took me an oddly long time to realize that’s not how most people are, and once I realized that, it “only” took me another few years to realize the rest of it.

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

The worst I’ve encountered is people thinking I’m weird, but then, the place I’ve generally spent the most time with other people in my life is in the theater – and it is true that people tend to get less flak for being seen as different there than in some other places. I was also home-schooled until I went to college, so overall I’ve had a lot less opportunity to encounter prejudice than many people. I did deal with some in college, but again, pretty mild and not directed at me (I hadn’t yet quite realized that I was asexual at the time). It made me uncomfortable, but that’s about it.

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

I did get a lot of people telling me I would grow out of it when I was younger (although that was only when I expressed a lack of interest, since I didn’t identify as asexual yet), but nothing in that vein for the last six or seven years. Again, I’m probably lucky with my circle of acquaintances in this regard; they tend to be rather reasonable and open-minded people.

morganlees_shadowofmurder
Shadow of Murder

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

There’s nothing wrong with you, and if you’re happy with yourself, that’s what matters. There’s no one recipe for happiness, so don’t let anybody tell you that there is. You don’t need to have a romantic relationship or have sex to have a great life (although of course neither of those things will stop you from it either), and being unusual isn’t worse in any way, just different.

I wish I had more useful advice, but I just went about happily assuming that nobody else actually cared about those things either until I was already in my twenties, so… yeah. I’m kind of oblivious about things sometimes, especially where people are concerned.

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

My comic can be found at http://cornerthemaze.net/ and updates every Tuesday and Thursday, my illustration portfolio is at http://morganelees.com/ (which is also where my writing stuff will be, when I get any of that up again), and I generally post all my art to my DeviantArt account at http://remmirath-ml.deviantart.com/. I try to keep those all just about as much up to date, but if anything’s going to fall behind, it’s usually DeviantArt.

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Turn Away

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

Interview: Bethany Heim

Today we’re joined by Bethany Heim. Bethany is an amazing and versatile artist who hasn’t met a medium she doesn’t like. She writes, she draws comics, and she does quite a lot of Girl Genius fanart. Bethany is quite popular for her tea blends, which she sells on Etsy. She’s an incredibly passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

invincible
Invincible

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m pretty much constantly creating something. I draw two ongoing comics, I write prose fiction, and I dabble in cosplay and other textile arts. Around these parts, though, I think I’m mostly known for making the Girl Genius tea blends.

What inspires you?

My brain doesn’t sit still. If I have to a mindless repetitive task, then I guarantee I’m writing in my head. Sometimes I’m just plotting major events in a story, but I’ve actually had to memorize entire paragraphs of dialogue because I wrote them while driving.

If I’m terribly honest, anger and spite also give my work a major boost. I’m currently writing a novel that would not exist without spite.

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

Oddly enough, I’ve drawn for as long as I can remember, and I first developed a serious interest in writing when I was about ten or eleven, but I was in my early twenties before it occurred to me that I could combine the two by drawing comics.

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 monochrome. My comics are black and white. I also do a lot of ink wash style fanart in single colors (I tend to favor burgundy and brick shades for those).

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Never stop trying new things. You don’t know what your next Big Project will be.

sfynn-tea
Sfynn Tea

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Aro/ace. 100%

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

At my day job, the bosses tend to treat me like I’m a lot younger than I am because I neither have nor want a “significant other”. When work friends complain about their love lives and I try to contribute to the conversation, I get told: “You wouldn’t understand.” Then I blow off steam by angrily writing healthy relationships in my fiction.

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

I was about to say that it’s the old “You just haven’t met the right person” nonsense, but actually, I hear “You wouldn’t understand” so much more. I’m a writer. I observe people professionally. I may not understand wanting to be in a relationship from personal experience any more than I know what it’s like to fight Vikings, but that doesn’t mean I can’t use my imagination to put myself in someone else’s shoes.

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

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. It’s okay if you’re thirty, forty, fifty years old and you still don’t know. Just take your time and get to know yourself. I promise, you’re valid, and there’s nothing wrong with you.

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

My two comics (which will be coming off hiatus in February) are outside-in.thecomicseries.com and discord.thecomiciseries.com, and a small excerpt from the novel I’m working on, as well as quite a lot of Girl Genius fanfiction, can be found on my fiction blog at overlord-off-record.tumblr.com. My main blog, bethany-sensei.tumblr.com, is a mess of art and reblogs. Oh, and those teas I mentioned can be found at etsy.com/shop/bethanysarts.

wolfbros
Wolf Bros

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