Interview: Lucy Cyclone

Today we’re joined by Lucy Cyclone. Lucy is a wonderful visual artist and fanartist. She mostly uses digital mediums although she also dabbles in traditional ones as well. Lucy enjoys drawing comics and animations, which allows her to convey more emotions in her work. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate artist with a lot of enthusiasm, 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 draw mostly digitally nowadays, rarely finishing sketches I do on paper. I like to tell stories with my drawings, and am very attracted to comics and animation, as those can convey a lot of feelings more efficiently than a single picture.

Externally I live to learn and can appear sturdy, while art is my vent of things I don’t trust to show in company as well as sources of enjoyment I can’t possibly show any other way.

I also suffer from the very common Can’t Draw Properly With A Tablet 2 At Pm But Definitely Will Make A Realistic Portrait At Midnight With A Ball Point On Lined Notebook Paper syndrome.

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What inspires you?

Music, random ideas, other fanwork and personal thoughts. My biggest muse would be sitting up late while staring at the ceiling, and Sleeping at Last’s music. Currently really into Transformers comics and Boku no Hero Academia as well.

Once I get a good idea it tends to completely overwhelm me. I don’t finish a lot of them because I always find myself caught up in something else before I do. It takes a while for me to set foot on solid ground and decide that I want and I will do something.

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

Currently – art is a hobby. I drew while young but only took it seriously around two years ago, when I started practicing more often. When I was 12 I got dragged into cartoons – most notably My Little Pony at the time – and I suddenly wanted to create more and more visions of fictional worlds – and create my own.

My appreciation for animation and expression grew from thereon. I still struggle with some human anatomy aspects (legs-) but overall I’ve come a really long way in the past years.

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 settle on having my signature being legible. With style being the subject, I prefer to pander to natural proportions as much as I am able to. Big fan of Disney and western styles, and while I do refrain from anime and chibi, I do try to replicate the styles of eastern animation work I enjoy.

Even though chibi is always a go-to when I am tired and just want to draw something cute.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t take criticism personally, tracing is superb as long as you credit the original, and studies of photos do miracles

Also don’t be like me and spend 3 years of your life drawing almost exclusively cartoon horses. Ultimately it helps with general quadriped anatomy but… just don’t.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Ace and Bi – I prefer not to directly use SAM unless someone insists.

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

Luckily, no so far! Asexuality isn’t widely known (which I personally don’t mind) and I like to be hopeful enough to dare to say a lot of the young generation in the connected world doesn’t really care about which way one swings. We’ve come a long way!

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

Being somewhat young, I can understand people suggesting it is just a phase, and I accept that as a possibility, but I notice that a lot of other aces experience this as well. Whether or not it is a phase, if the shoe fits I’ll wear it.

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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 not to know and never okay to hurry! Take some time to know yourself, it’s a very long way and ultimately has meaning only to you, but can still affect others, so keep your head cool. Reason is the best road.

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

On Tumblr, I post my work at lucy-cyclone, and I try to post at least once per week. I plan to reboot my DeviantArt soon, though this is enough for now.

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

Interview: Jules

Today we’re joined by Jules. Jules is a phenomenal visual artist and writer who specializes in visual storytelling. They currently have a webcomic called Surface that regularly updates and revolves around the adventures of three lizard-like kids. They have done a number of smaller projects and are currently planning a large project for the near future. It’s clear they’re an incredibly passionate artist who loves what they do, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

The five expeditioners of By the Lantern Light.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art is very much based around narrative. I guess the first thing to talk about would be my webcomic, Surface. It’s about these three lizard-like kids who are trying to get back home after sneaking out in the middle of the night. As of June 2018, it started its second chapter, and updates every week on Thursdays!

I have another big project that I’m working on, too. It’s in the development phase and will probably start up after Surface, or after I graduate college, haha. It’s about these five people — experts in their fields — who go on an expedition into the Shadowed Lands and find out what is causing the ever-spreading darkness. I share the concept work for this pretty frequently.

Other smaller things I’ve done include a mini comic called Space Bear (science fantasy comedy about a bear goes to space to look for bees), a series of supernatural travel guides for real places, and a zine called I Am Not a Girl (about my own discovery of my identity).

I’m always working on a comic or some other visual narrative! It’s what I love to do the most.

What inspires you?

Stories that I love! I know it might seem a bit silly, but watching my favorite shows or reading my favorite books or playing my favorite video games makes me want to make my own things! Those are the biggest things, but to be completely honest, almost anything inspires me. I love animals and plants and cool sounds and clouds and the feeling of rain, I love meeting people, I love so much about life!

My characters and stories feel just as real and important to me as all of those things, too. So when I think about how happy I get when I interact with the world around me, it encourages me to work on my own things. I love my characters and worlds! I want to share them with other people!

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

When I was very young, I wanted to be a veterinarian, but then I realized that would involve stuff like performing surgery on them or sometimes putting animals down, so I stopped wanting that.

I’ve pretty much always loved storytelling, and I loved drawing. Put them together, and you can get comics! While my medium has shifted sometimes, the storytelling aspect has been consistent.

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?

The closest things I can think of are tropes and themes that I love to incorporate in my comics. Found family, queer romance, soft apocalypse, botany, animals, self-sacrifice… My stories are about people and animals who overcome the odds to find happiness. I also tend to draw a lot of glowy things for some reason, lol.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Try to find out why you want to make art, and remember it! My personal reason for making art and stories is because I think that anyone can be a hero, that anyone can do wonderful things. This is what drives me, and it keeps me going. Even if I get frustrated, even if I feel like nobody sees my work, thinking about that helps me press forward. So if you find that you’re struggling to find motivation or ideas, thinking about why you create in the first place might help.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

As asexual as one could possibly be, I think. I honestly thought sexual attraction was made up until I was 18 and went to college! I’m also aromantic and agender.

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

I guess the most that I see are people ignoring aces. Just generally not including them, either because they think we’re boring or robotic, or they just don’t think about it. I haven’t met any webcomic artists who purposefully hate on aces, though. But with regards to the general invisibility in comics, I think the most I can do is make my own! Most of my characters are queer, and a lot of them are asexual. I think it’s important to show that queer people (and especially ace people) are just as diverse as any other group. I also try to be open about my own experience as an asexual, aromantic, and agender person, hoping that openness will help.

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

Probably that if someone is asexual, that means they’re like a child. Innocent, naive, unaware. Some people are like that, but being asexual doesn’t really have anything to do with it. Just as common as that, in my experience, is the idea that an asexual person doesn’t love anyone at all. I love lots of people! I’m full of love! Friends, family, animals, nature. Just because it isn’t sexual, many people think it doesn’t count.

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

If you can, try to find at least one good friend who can relate to your experiences. There’s nothing wrong with you, just like there’s nothing wrong with someone who is gay or bisexual or trans or lesbian or anything else. And you don’t have to force yourself to be in any relationship that you don’t want. I’ve been there, and it never goes well.

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

My webcomic, Surface, can be found at surfacecomic.tumblr.com.
My website is julesdrawing.com
Patreon is patreon.com/julescomics
Art tumblr is julesdrawing.tumblr.com
Twitter is julesdrawing, Instagram is jules.larsen.drawing.

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

Interview: Megan

Today we’re joined by Megan. Megan is a phenomenal visual artist who is starting out in writing as well. They are an illustrator and comic artist from the Kansas City area, who focuses mainly on storytelling and narratives. They do a lot of narrative illustrations and comics. For writing, they’re interested in writing fantasy and prose. They’re clearly an incredibly dedicated and talented artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

EmmalineTwist
Emmaline Twist

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am an illustrator and writer, working full time as a production artist to pay the bills, and then working on comics and illustrations with narrative components on the side. I primarily work digitally, employing both a comic-y inking style, as well as a realistic sort of oil-painting style, all either on my computer and display tablet, or on programs on my iPad. As a writer I love to write fantasy and other prose fiction, and have started efforts to build a portfolio and work towards getting published, both short stories and future novels.

What inspires you?

The first place I usually look for some sort of inspiration is anything Neil Gaiman has said. He has given many speeches and written many essays on the importance of story and art in the world, and those- as well as his words on imposter syndrome- give me strength.

But I’m also fascinated by people. Humans are capable of amazing things like constructing massive skyscrapers and engineering microscopic movies; surviving under dangerous conditions, and getting together to hold festivals full of color and light. Traveling to different countries and being exposed to new cultures has been eye-opening for me and is a never-ending resource for inspiration and creativity.

As of late, Dungeons and Dragons has also been stimulating for me, from the components like dice and figurines to the stories people tell through the witty and clever characters they (and I) create. Who doesn’t love goblins and magic?

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

I always enjoyed drawing and painting, although I was never really good at it. I loved getting new paint kits and sitting down to paint a little teapot or planter, but what really got me into art was my obsession with a particular video game. I was a high school sophomore, just starting part-time in college with the intent of pursuing a medical degree, and bored. My dad worked at my school, so I would sit in his office after class and wait til he could take me home. I vividly remember one day sitting in his office, and instead of doing homework, I started writing a fanfiction, pen on paper, that I had started rolling around in my head. Art had also sprung out of this video game obsession, where I discovered the concept of fanart on DeviantART (I was a sheltered homeschooled child). It made me honestly, truly happy to write and draw and see the progress I was making, and to see other people enjoying what I had made. When I took a college drawing course a year later, I only became more passionate and ditched the medical school plans for art, and never looked back.

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?

One thing I like to do is that whenever I have to draw a crowd scene, I like to sneak in some of my characters from other places- Dungeons and Dragons, or old fanfiction characters- just subtly enough that not many would see anything different, but if you know the character, you could find them. I hope someday it becomes a bit of a ‘Where’s Waldo’ game.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Have fun, and take care of yourself.

These two tasks seem so arbitrary but they really mean the difference for physical and mental wellbeing. Drawing can seem like a chore sometimes, especially when you’re only drawing or writing something to pay bills, but when you have free time to draw whatever you want, you should draw what you want to draw. Write what you want to write. If you go in with the idea that whatever you make has to be ‘good enough’ to be printed or published, you’re going to hit a lot of brick walls in the process that only give you headaches. But if you have fun with it, you’re more likely to finish your project, and just finishing is half the battle.

But taking care of yourself is vital as well, and I wish it was emphasized more in educational settings. You NEED rest, you NEED food and water, and though I realize the idea of the ‘depressed artist working 16 hour days’ is fairly romanticized, it’s actually incredibly debilitating to work like that, if you can work at all. You can’t make your best work while you’re exhausted, and pushing yourself too hard will end up destroying your mind and body. Seriously. Take a break. Right now, go stretch and drink a glass of water.

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Oasis

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as Asexual as a broad term, and I’ve definitely hovered over different labels and questioned myself several times, but I’m most comfortable for the time being with the umbrella term of ‘Ace’. I believe I may be demiromantic, but I’ve never had a relationship and don’t intend to explore that area just yet. Someday though.

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

I’m not really out about my identity, so I’ve avoided it. There aren’t many aces that I’m aware of in my field, so I haven’t seen anything. I’m sure there’s prejudice out there though, people are unfortunately afraid of things that are different.

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

That asexuals don’t like sex! I think that it could be more difficult for some to get into the mood, but Asexuality is defined as having a lack of sexual attraction to people, not the lack of desire for sex. An ace person could still be romanced for sure, or maybe they just really enjoy some self-love!

(Also, the A stands for Asexual, not Ally!!)

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

Nothing is set in stone, your identity is going to change as you explore and experiment. And that’s fine, most people try several different labels and have various experiences before they settle into something that ‘fits’. And sometimes, maybe you don’t find something that fits, and that’s okay, too. You’ll always be You.

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

You can find my artwork here, and my little baby blog is here!

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

Interview: S.R. Hunt

Today we’re joined by S.R. Hunt. S.R. is a phenomenal fanartist who creates art for a variety of fandoms. She specializes in hand-drawn sketches and animatics, which I highly recommend visiting her blog to check out because they’re really cool (some examples: Guns and Ships, Farmer Refuted, Coco animatic, Coco animatic 2, It’s Quiet Uptown). Her work is brimming with color and an extraordinary amount of detail. It’s clear she’s a passionate and talented artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a fan artist, mostly. I create hand-drawn sketches, comics, animatics, and occasionally I dabble in photography and cosplay. I strive to improve my craft every time I get inspired by a different piece of medium, often times stepping outside my comfort zone just to get better (I mean, how can you get better if you don’t step outside your safe, artist bubble?).

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What inspires you?

Tons of things! Most recently, I’ve created fan art for Pixar’s Coco, Hamilton, DuckTales, Darkwing Duck, and the occasional Pokemon drawing. But if I had to pinpoint a specific inspiration, I’d have to say the animated works of Disney and Pixar. I grew up with those movies, I was born a hop, skip, and a jump away from Disneyland, and Finding Nemo was the first movie I saw in theaters. When I was 15, I sent a letter to Pixar, telling them that I wanted to work there when I grew up, and they actually replied back! They sent me a letter telling me to become an intern when I reached college, and they included an autographed photo of Finding Nemo signed by the film’s director, Andrew Stanton, and the film’s producer, John Lasseter! I carried that letter with me every day for the rest of my high school career as a reminder of what I want to do with my life; create something that moves people. So, I draw, I create storyboards and comics, and I try to improve so that one day I can walk into that building and create something that’ll inspire and move millions of people.

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

I started drawing in elementary school. Just simple comics drawn on notebook paper starring Pokemon and Neopets. I was never much of a writer (I’m still not), but it gave me something to do when no one wanted to talk to me. My doodling habit continued all throughout  junior high and high school, and even though I wasn’t as good as the other young artists in my class, I just kept chugging along. When I decided I wanted to join the animation field, I didn’t really have a specific job in mind. I wanted to animate, but I lack the nifty wacom tablets and photoshop tools that every other animator on YouTube has. I’m also not very detailed when it comes to my drawings (I’ve described my drawing style as “glorified stick figures”). That’s when it hit me; storyboarding, the blueprint for animation. So, with a pencil and sketchbook in hand, I began making animatics. I began by making animatics set to songs from Hamilton, then silly little gags with the cast of Coco. They aren’t as polished as other animatics, but they get the job done.

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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…that’s a toughie…I’ve never really thought about it…I guess it’s that my drawings are very round. There aren’t many sharp edges. Even my signature is very round.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Draw what you want. Don’t let people tell you what to draw. If they request something you don’t feel comfortable with, it’s your right as an artist to say “no”. Don’t worry about the number of likes, comments, notes, reblogs or whatever. If people like what you do and it gets popular, great! Just don’t let that be the driving force for your art. When I create, the thought of “will this be popular?” or “gotta keep the fans happy!” never crosses my mind. I make it for me, and I make what I want to see. And finally, work with what you got. I wanted to create animatics, but instead of sighing and saying “I don’t have the technology to do such a thing…” I worked with what I had. And what I had was a pencil, a sketchbook, an iPhone with a free movie editor app, and an idea in my brain. Don’t let your financial situation hold you back.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m not sure what the technical terms are (my apologies), but I’m interested in having a partner with no sexual interaction. Kissing is fine, but no…ya know. I’ve never had a boyfriend or girlfriend in order to learn my boundaries, so that’s where I stand at the moment.

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

I haven’t, actually, because it never really comes up. I can only think of one moment where I brought up that I was asexual to a classmate in high school, and he was very supportive. He said that he never met someone like me, and that he was interested that such people exist. I’ll show my support for my LGBTQ friends and fellow artists who are open about their sexual orientation, but I don’t bring up my asexuality that often.

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

Probably that I’m not interested in a romantic relationship. Like, I’m not interested in dating or getting married. That’s not really the case. I would like to date, and I’d like to get married, but only with the right guy (or gal, ya never know). I’m just not comfortable with…ahem “getting it on”. There’s sort of a reason behind that, but I’ll spare you the details.

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

Don’t listen to the people who tell you being single sucks or that being a virgin is dumb. It’s your body, and your life, and it’s okay if you aren’t interested in a sexual relationship.

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

I have a Tumblr (judgechaos), a DeviantArt (JudgeChaos), an Instagram (s.r._hunt), and a YouTube channel (S.R. Hunt). Those are the main places I post my art and animatics, so feel free to say “hi!”

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

Interview: DarkChibiShadow

Today we’re joined by DarkChibiShadow, who also goes by DCS. DCS is a fantastic visual artist, writer, and game developer who specializes in erotica comics. They are very interested in erotica and sexuality, which informs much of their work. DCS strives to make things that everyone can enjoy, but are particularly dedicated to making things ace people can enjoy. Their stories include a wide variety of ace and aro spectrum characters. DCS also makes a copious amount of SFW comics and games as well. They have recently started SofDelux with their friend Nami, who was interviewed yesterday. The pair of them are a powerhouse, collaborating to make some truly awesome visual novels and games. It’s clear DCS is a passionate and talented artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Hey! I’m DCS, otherwise known as DarkChibiShadow!

When it comes to my art — it’s my life! It has been for so long, ever since I was little.

I would say I mainly make comics with a heaping side of visual novels right now — as well as a ton of different kinds of commissions! I’m basically always working on something!

Right now my biggest focuses are my webcomic, Space School, and my various erotica comics! I update both once a week; with my erotica comics rotating between a cast of characters and stories.

Good ‘ol Space School has been going on for a long while now — and it’s had it’s ups and downs cuz of that. It started out as a really silly RP idea that I then grew super attached to and wanted to make a comic of. (Little did I know at the time just how attached I’d get, haha!)

The main character, Zeggy, is a reflection of me as a teenager struggling to find acceptance among people my age — I was rowdy and way outspoken about my interest in sexuality and I think it drove some people around me batty. (Sorry everyone I hung out with!) Needless to say I uh, understand boundaries a lot better now and am always glad seeing when readers of mine relate to Zeggy in the same way. Plus, it’s got a great ‘lil ace bird boy named Joe, who is very outspoken and a lot of fun. Oh! Alkaline (the love interest) is demisexual as well — with a few other background characters also being on the ace spectrum but they don’t get into it as much during the main plotline.

The comic is very old now — with the beginning being…made by me in my late high school years; but I still love it, and want to finish it one day even if it takes me another five years, haha.

1. DCS Space School [2017]
DCS Space School [2017]
My other passion is my Erotica Comics! They focus on a few different stories and set of characters; and right now it’s featured me and my girlfriend’s characters, Dennis and Booker.

I’ve made a ton of erotica comics thanks to my Patrons (Love ya! You know who you are!) and I’m always super excited to explore new worlds and characters and see how they fall in love and get down ‘n dirty.

Porn and sexuality have always been a huge thing for me; and something that I always wanted to create. There was just…not a lot of porn out there that made me feel good — despite my interest in it. I’ve just always wanted to create my own little corner of the internet where I could enjoy fun porn and invite people in to enjoy with me.

I’m always really excited and happy when there’s ace people who reach out to me and say they like my porn. Knowing my stuff can help other ace people feels great, honestly! It’s all I ever wanted! I just want to make stuff that’s fun and focuses on characters and romance and having a good time, having a laugh!

Agh — if I go on I’ll definitely write a whole essay about it. Needless to say; I really enjoy erotica and I’m passionate about making more comfortable and fun stuff for me and my fans.

2. Solanaceae, Ch.2 (2016)
Solanaceae, Ch.2 (2016)

And lastly — but certainly not least — I make visual novels now too!

I believe I started making visual novels in 2016 (around this time of year, actually) with some short fan-games and then went from there.

I had dabbled in making games a bit when I was a teenager but never thought I would be fit for finishing any? I guess I just never thought I’d have an idea that would fit — but once I started thinking of ideas specifically JUST for games; it became a lot easier.

Going from comics to visual novels was actually pretty easy since both involve lots of pictures, and lots of words — but there were definitely things in either that were easier or harder to do depending on the medium.

It’s only been 2 years but I’ve already released or help release a bunch of VN’s! It’s been awesome!

The ones I’m most proud of are Tomai, Disaster Log C, and Mermaid Splash: Passion Festival!

3. Sofdelux Studio, Disaster Log C (2017)
Sofdelux Studio, Disaster Log C (2017)

They were all collabs and all super fun and I’m so proud of the final product — check ‘em out if you like stuff that’s goofy, romantic, and not-too-long, haha.

In 2018 I’m expecting to release the first of four games in my “One-Eyed Lee” series of games, titled, “One-Eyed Lee and the Dinner Party” as well as helping release, A Werewolf Oppunirty, Obviously; which has a massive 30k word count demo out right now. As you can tell by the name, it’s a queer werewolf dating sim and it’s awesome. Check ‘em out!

And as a side note — I always try to include PG-13 options in any game I make so that people who are not comfortable with sexual stuff can avoid it entirely!

I’m really excited to be making visual novels and I’m pumped to make more in the future.

Shout-out to Nami who has taught me basically all there is to know about making games in Ren’py and is probably the sole reason I can keep making them. Love you!!!

What inspires you?

There’s so much that inspires me! My friends, nature, animals, mythology, games, comics, movies, shows — so much!

I’ve always been big into the look of PS2 games and am always kind of searching to emulate that in my style — I think. Games like Shadow of the Colossus, Okage: Shadow King, the Katamari line of games, Dark Cloud, Space Channel 5, Kingdom Hearts — all of those things really inspired me when I was young and still continue to do so!

Right now a BUNCH of indie-games inspire me! Just seeing other game devs go for it and make stuff is…so awesome! Whenever Nami shows me her WIPs I always get excited to work on my own games — and vice versa! Any game that really feels like it was made by a team or person who is really passionate about it shine through to me so much…it’s such a good feeling!

Not to mention all of the good comics out there!

I’ve always been a huge fan of Full Metal Alchemist and for a long time Jojo’s Bizzare Adventure was a huge influence too. (I got into it back in…2008? I think? I was a Junior in High School and BUDDY, was it hard to get back then. Anime fans have it good right now!)

And then as I got into my twenties I finally got into One Piece and it’s soooo good! Plus it’s great that Luffy is basically confirmed as ace-aro, hell yeah!

Other comics like Mushi-shi, Franken Fran, Nana to Kaoru, and a hand full of smaller or one-shot comics have also been a huge influence.

Not to mention all of the doujins and porn and movies and TV shows I like…there’s so much!

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Overwatch, a BUNCH of documentaries — AGH! It’s just all so interesting and exciting!

Every new thing I see and learn about just gives me another fun idea for something to work on! Again, if I keep writing I’ll never stop — there’s too much fun stuff! It’s all so good! I’m so glad people create things!

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

I’ve always been an artist — and I don’t remember a time I wasn’t drawing?

I’ve been making comics more “seriously” since the 5th grade and I started posting my comics online when I was a freshmen in High School. Back then, I had a comic I used to update every day! I don’t know how I did it. I was wild.

For a while I wasn’t convinced I could do art full-time just because (at the time) the internet wasn’t where it was right now for freelancers and because so many people around me told me that being an artist wasn’t viable.

So I originally went to community college thinking I would maybe go abroad — but once I saw my girlfriend, Niku, going to art school and doing her best I thought, “If I don’t at least TRY to do what I love for a living won’t I end up regretting it later on?”

So I said fuck it and started on my way to full-time art!

I was really lucky though. My parents are together still and I’ve got a great support system of family and friends — and not to mention I already had a following from posting my comics back in High School — so I think the stars were just aligned for me. I’ve still got a long way to go!

I think anyone can do what I do! All it takes is working a lot, honestly! As long as you’re finishing work and communicating with people; I think it’s possible!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep at it! If you’re feeling like your art will never find it’s audience — just keep at it!

These things take time — so much time!

I’ve struggled for so long to find people who connect with my art, but I know even more are out there and I just gotta work even harder to find them.

If you draw it…they will come…

You can too! You can make your thing, you can find your people!

Also; try not to be a perfectionist, mmkay?

Finishing your thing is more important than it being “perfect” and often times people will not notice the flaws you do — so just look at that finish line and get to it.

Getting your thing out there and in front of people will make it that much easier to get working on your next project and get better and better.

You got this!

To inspire you, here’s some of my first Webcomic art from 2007:

4. Wires
Wires

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am demisexual~! I also identify as queer, since it’s a nice blanket term for “not straight” and because I’m interested in so many types of people and bodies.

(I’m also genderfluid; but my gender has always been much harder for me than my sexuality, ugh.)

For me– knowing a character, knowing a person is…it’s everything.

I find myself totally not caring about a character until I get to know them, see them, fall in love with them in a way? Then suddenly I’m SO invested in all of the little things they might like to do in bed. Stuff I wasn’t even remotely interested in before I can become interested in because it’s what that character is into — and for me, that’s everything…

When I found out what being demisexual was — it was such a relief; because it perfectly described me and how I felt towards other people and characters. I wish I had known about it when I was a teen!

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

Hmm, in the past I’ve gotten some hate from random people but I think every artist has that to some point. Some people just don’t like your work and…well, that’s really that!

It sucks, and I hate it, but knowing it happens to just about everyone makes it easier!

Otherwise — I have had people question whether “being ace is a thing” in terms of some of my characters; which is annoying but hey!

I’ve also seen some rather un-kind things said in articles about ace-focused media — it sucks!

Typically I tend to keep to my own lane and just focus on my work; that tends to be the easiest way to go about it all.

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

That every ace person ever hates sex and anything to do with it!

Being ace, like being anything, is a spectrum! There’s a ton of ace people who like porn and there’s a ton who don’t and I think being able to make spaces for either is a good thing!

I’ve personally had some friends who weren’t interested in porn at all (and were actually kind of repulsed by it) turn a new leaf because they found out porn ISN’T ALL just the typical hentai stuff — it’s a whole range of things! Seeing someone find their kind of porn is so sweet!

It sucks for me knowing that there are people struggling balancing being ace with liking porn or liking sexuality — because I think those two things can totally live in harmony!

Nothing breaks my heart like seeing someone who is ace get asked questions like, “You still like porn? Aren’t you ace?” and “Are you really ace if you like porn?”

Because of COURSE SOMEONE IS STILL ACE IF THEY LIKE PORN! AAAAH!

I’m super interested in porn, in the sexuality of a character — but I am just not that interested in having sex. When I’m super in love with someone — there’s interest — but even then, not that much?! And I think a lot of people feel this way and think maybe it’s not right?! But it’s totally fine!

Also; it’s tough when people expect everyone who is ace to also be aro. It’s seperate!

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

Don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t real and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t be loud and proud!

And don’t let anyone tell you it’s a “PHASE” either — even if you eventually find the label isn’t for you — someone saying this to you is bullshit!

Yell you are ace as loud as you want! Put it all over your profile if you want — dye your hair like the ace flag — do it all! BE LOUD, BE PROUD, BE ACE! YEAH!

I’m so proud of you for being you!

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

I’ve got a lot of different sites — some include R18 work and some STRICTLY DON’T so I will organize them as such down below:

PG-13/SFW:
SFW Art Blog
Deviantart
Space School Comic
Sofdelux Studio

R-18/NSFW:
R18 Art Blog
Weasyl
Furaffinity
Comics Masterpost

A mix of PG-13/R-18:
My Itch.io
(My Itch.io includes stuff that is R18 but nothing explicit is shown and everything has a content warning before downloading.)
My Twitter
(I don’t post anything NSFW, but sometimes I like suggestive things and with the way Twitter currently works– that can sometimes be a problem!)

Or, if you want to support me monetarily, here’s some ways!

My Erotica Patreon My Space School Patreon My Ko-fi

Commission me!Hire me for your game!

Any follows, reblogs, retweets, anything like that– always help a ton and keep me making new free stuff for everyone!

Thanks a ton for reading my interview! I hope you found something new you liked!

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

Interview: NomnomNami

Today we’re joined by NomnomNami. NomnomNami is a phenomenal game-maker and author. With her friend DarkChibiShadow, a fellow ace, she has a game studio SofDelux. NomnomNami makes a number of games with numerous ace characters in them. She specializes in wlw characters and is very passionate about greater visibility for aces. NomnomNami is an incredibly talented and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Clever Fox Moxie

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I make stories about girls who like girls! I mostly like designing femme and androgynous characters who are all excessively adorable. I’m currently doing a variety of visual novels and RPG maker games, but I’ve also done comics and some animation every now and then.

What inspires you?

Gotta say the Disgaea series! I’ve been a huge fan since childhood, and a lot of my storytelling is really just me trying to emulate the feeling I get from those games. Looking back, the series is actually really ace-friendly so it’s no wonder I fell in love with it so easily, haha.

First Kiss at a Spooky Soiree

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

Pretty much! I’ve always loved games, cartoons, and comics, so I just ended up drawing a lot to express that. I remember in middle school I told my class I wanted to be a mangaka — and although it turned out comics weren’t really my passion, I still get to do storytelling through drawings! So I feel like I pretty much had the right idea, even back then.

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?

Hmm… just cute girls loving cute girls. Nothing secret about that 🙂

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t let anyone tell you drawing anime will get you nowhere, and don’t let them stop you from drawing fan art either — HAVE FUN DRAWING WHAT YOU WANT THE WAY YOU WANT TO!

Friendly Bunny Mochi

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I consider myself gray ace!

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

Definitely ignorance, but I’ve never had any kind of negative interaction over it. Anyone I can think of that I’ve had to explain things to has been very open to listen and ask questions in very non-intrusive ways.

Lonely Wolf Treat

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

Hmm, it’s hard to think of any I’ve run into a lot personally. This is gonna be a NSFW answer, but a big one is definitely the idea that ace spectrum folks can’t be interested in porn. Some of us absolutely are!! Sex is a really interesting facet of relationships between fictional characters — there are a lot of people who love exploring those sorts of ideas without any desire to be involved in it themselves. Like, for me, it’s about the strong emotional connection between the characters. There’s a lot of great, really emotional porn out there if you know where to look! Heck, I’VE released a comic like that!! I even got comments from ace spectrum friends telling me it was one of the few NSFW things they’ve enjoyed/felt safe reading. I want to provide more stuff like that. Just, comfortable Yuri!! I’m very passionate about this.

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

IN THE END, it’s up to you what you are. Don’t hold yourself to others’ standards. You’re not weird or wrong for being whatever way you are. Love yourself!! ❤

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

All my games are available free on Itchio: https://nomnomnami.itch.io/
And I have an art blog for doodles and finished works: http://nomnomnamiart.tumblr.com/
And a personal Twitter! For updates and yelling about my favorite things: https://twitter.com/nomnomnami.

Syrup and the Ultimate Sweet

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

Interview: Enzouke

Today we’re joined by Enzouke, who also goes by Enzou. Enzou is a wonderful visual artist who does both traditional and digital art. They’re heavily inspired by anime and a lot of their work reflects this. They enjoy drawing comics, illustrations, and even do some animation. Enzou is a talented and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

01

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Oh boy, where do I start! I guess one thing that does stand out about my artwork is that it’s all over the place. I enjoy using a variety of mediums, styles and types of art. I can do both traditional and digital artwork, but my passion lies more with digital. I also love drawing comics, making illustrations, and creating animation. There are just so many types of things I want to try, that I end up doing a little bit of everything. My art style is very anime-influenced, and while I draw a majority of “cute” things in my gallery, I enjoy drawing dark/guro content. If I were to describe my art in two words, it would probably be “always changing,” since I can never sit still with what I make and I’m constantly striving to improve.

What inspires you?

Fashion, monster kids, dark themes, and anime inspire me! Most of my character designs aren’t too complex, but I enjoy being inspired by a plethora of clothing that other people wear. Anime and dark themes are pretty obvious, since I’m just really into that stuff (sweats nervously). Anime is pretty broad, but my favorite types include shounen, horror, and psychological genres. I no longer enjoy romance as much as I used to back in middle school, because the protagonist and side characters always had strange logic when it came to falling in love. That’s why I’m making my own drama/romance webcomic, so I can delve deeper into the character motivations and mostly to satisfy myself, haha! Oops, I’m sure I went off tangent there! But I guess things I don’t like/hate also inspire me to make something better!

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

When I was a kid I used to draw a lot and I think I unconsciously did want to become an artist, even when I was telling my friends and family “I want to become a teacher/vet/etc.!” I only continued to draw because all my classmates, friend, and my parents said I was really good. Their praise is what kept me motivated to create and I’m very thankful for that (because looking back at my old art … oh wow … please don’t stare at it for too long … it’s embarrassing…)

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 a pretty lame artist, so I don’t have anything cool like that (sighs sadly). I think the only feature I include in all my artwork is a 3/4th view of the character facing to the left. These are my true masterpieces.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Jokes aside, practice a whole damn lot, as if your hand is going to melt by all the heat you’re creating, due to the friction of your pencil and paper (or tablet and tablet pen). There are days, or probably every day if I’m being honest, that I just don’t want to draw because I have zero motivation. But if you don’t draw, how will you improve? I’ve already sold my soul to Satan for a lifetime supply of Costco ice cream bars (how dare they discontinue them), so I guess the only way to improve my art is to actually draw daily. Another piece of advice that isn’t practice, is to BE CONFIDENT IN WHAT YOU CREATE and DON’T BE COMPLACENT WITH YOUR CURRENT ART. Keep your head high and keep improving! If you get rejected for certain projects or events, don’t get discouraged! That just means there’s more room for improvement. If you ever find yourself getting stuck, find something NEW to draw! My university professor made us draw dinosaurs one time, and I thought I would hate it but it was fun and now I know how to draw dinosaurs. One last thing, one thing I regret, is not listening to my high school teacher to draw realism. If I had practiced it early on, I would be so much better today. You may find it boring, but you’ll easily see how much your art will improve if you practice realism! Sorry if I blabbered on for too long, but I hope these will help any aspiring artists, like it has helped me in my own art journey.

02

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a panromantic asexual. Sex doesn’t interest me, but I do crave love and attention.

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

Unfortunately, I’m a closet asexual and even on the internet, I don’t usually tell people what I identify as, unless I’m asked. Maybe this is one reason why I haven’t encountered or noticed any prejudice against aces. I’m also a very oblivious person, so this could’ve also played a part (laughs nervously).

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

I’ve encountered a lot of people who tell me that “it’s just a phase / I’m too young to know”. It’s very aggravating to hear this, simply because they can’t fathom someone being uninterested in sex. It’s very hard to convince someone otherwise, so I usually just smile and change the topic.

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

There will always be a trial-and-error sort of thing when you’re trying to figure yourself out. Personally, I switched from bisexual, to pansexual, to demi-sexual before figuring out I was asexual. This took me yearsss to figure out, so don’t rush it. Also, since no one around me was asexual, I felt like I had to conform to a sexuality that wasn’t myself, mostly because I didn’t want to be so alone. However, with the help of the internet, I’ve been able to meet so many other asexuals and feel less lonely. Stay true to yourself. Even if it’s not now, later in life you’ll find out you’re not really alone.

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

If you actually enjoy my work (or my personality based on this interview winkwink), consider visiting my website: enzouke.com! My social media can be found through there, too~ I’m a lot more consistent with my comic updates (shameless plug incoming), so if you want to see more art from me, consider checking it out here: https://tapas.io/enzouke! Thank you very much for reading! I’m sending you all my warm, abundant love. Please allow 2-3 business days for it to arrive. ❤

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