Interview: Tina Speece

Today we’re joined by Tina Speece, who also goes by tinadrawsstuff. Tina is a wonderful visual artist who specializes in pinups and portraits. She mostly does black and white and grayscale. Her work is beautiful and has an extraordinary amount of detail. It’s clear she’s a talented and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. Pink Pop Dress
Pink Pop Dress

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My name is Tina, and I’m multimedia artist-illustrator with a deep love of stories and storytelling. I love color, but I wind up working in black and white and grayscale a lot for reasons I still haven’t figured out. Pinups and portraits are my bread-and-butter and I take a lot of pride in making things “cute”.

What inspires you?

Stories!  Especially the way themes cycle and recycle and how we relate to those themes.  Cautionary tales disguised as kids’ bedtime stories, campfire scare stories that you know by heart but still a net a scream in the right atmosphere, stories “you think you know BUT” with some aspect changed [anything sympathetic to the monstrous is my favorite in this category]–there are patterns and beats that are older than time, but they still draw us in and we still keep going to those themes no matter what the world is like, and that’s so amazing to me!

2. Flapper Carmilla
Flapper Carmilla

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

Funny story: my 4th grade art teacher told me I had no talent for art and needed to pick a new elective, which as a highly impressionable child pretty much destroyed any confidence I could’ve had at any point as a kid.  I switched to vocal music and theater and didn’t really make any art for a long time after that.  I was still fascinated by visual arts but since I “had no talent” for it, I settled for watching tons of movies and cartoons and writing fanfiction, and telling myself “This is good, this is fine”.

Then I got to college, and was planning to go on as an English major.  My first semester (like most everybody’s first semester) was a hodgepodge of “required” Gen. Ed classes that didn’t have anything to do with what I wanted to be doing but I had to do it.  I had some really good friends in my Japanese class, and to practice both the writing and our vocab, we started making silly little comics with the characters in our book (the illustrations in GENKI! were really easy to copy). Because we were all doing little comics and we were all friends, there wasn’t pressure to be “great” at it? They were just silly little things that we made, that I enjoyed making–that I drew during other lectures because I have always needed to do something while listening to something else so I could focus.

So I was sitting in Philosophy one day, doodling the ongoing love-triangle between Mary, Susan, and Takashi and listening to the lecture when it hit me [we’re talking a metaphorical punch to the face]: I like language, I don’t like it enough to sit and analyse it to this kind of depth for the next four years.  I called my mom, told her I didn’t want to study English, I wanted to study art, no I don’t know what I’m going to do, but it’s more right than anything I’ve thought about studying.

Fortunately for me, my mom was (and still is) super supportive.

I graduated with a BFA in 2013 and after a year of not being sure what to do (because freelancing is hard and art-focused opportunities in my area wanted more degree than I had), I applied and got into the Masters program at Columbus College of Art & Design in Ohio, finished THAT in 2017 and am still freelancing but now with a much better idea of what I’m doing. I honestly can’t imagine having gone in any other direction at this point in my life, and I only regret not drawing for so long between 4th grade and college.

4. Deep Sea [3x3, acrylic pour]
Deep Sea (acrylic pour)
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 try to remember to sign everything, but I like a small unobtrusive signature, so I tuck a TS somewhere in just about everything.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

1. You are going to make some really, really, really ugly things.  Sometimes you’ll be proud of those ugly things for a while, but they’re still gonna be ugly.  And that’s a good thing: you have to make ugly to understand what it is and whether you want to use it actively.

2. Do your best to purge the pop-culture expectation of an artist from your brain.  That way lies the path of disappointment and being really freaking annoying, not to mention it takes a lot of energy to namedrop and fake ennui.

3. Don’t fear the “art block”.  It’s your friend in the long run, because it lets you know something’s not working–either your mental health needs some attention and that’s why you’re not making, or you’ve stopped actively trying to hone your skills and have gotten lazy and your brain is bored and that means you need to get out of your comfort zone for a while, or that you need to take a break from the thing you’re currently doing and go do something else; even if that “something else” has nothing to do with art–everyone needs a break regularly.

3. Glow Up 2007-2019
Glow Up 2007-2019

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a demisexual bi!

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

Oh yeah–I get it two-fold for being both demi and multi-attracted.  I usually get asked if the figures and character I’m drawing are ideal sexual partners or if my conflict and discomfort with another person in my field is because deep down I just want “bang them”.

The subject question is easy to displace, I just start ranting about the lack of variation in character design and that kills almost all follow-up.  The second question I usually just shut down with a face-melting stare because sometimes it’s not a judicious moment to ask someone if they’re a friggin idiot.

5. Penguin [3x3, acrylic pour]
Penguin (acrylic pour)
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That it’s something that can be “fixed” by an encounter with “the right person” and you’ll know in an instant

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

1. How you feel does have a name, and there are other people who feel the way you do.

2. You’re not alone, and that’s important.

3. You’re not broken, you’re not stupid, and you can’t just “pretend to be normal” because there’s nothing abnormal about you.

4. Most of the people you try to explain this to probably won’t get it, and they’ll say things that hurt because they mean well.  You have every right to correct them, you have every right to defend yourself; don’t feel bad when you do, because you deserve that respect, even from people who generally mean well.

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

My portfolio
My studio Instagram
The Facebook page
Ownable, hard copies of work here, here, or here!

6. Valentine [Silicone] 9x12
Valentine (silicone)
Thank you, Tina, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Melissa Wilkinson

Today we’re joined by Melissa Wilkinson, who also goes by Art by Little Miss Luna. Melissa is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in digital art. She frequently draws cutesy characters. For the most part, she has been drawing anime stuff for artist alleys but has recently branched out and done some drawings of plants. It’s clear she’s a talented and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1_101817

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m an unabashed anime fan, so I tend to draw cutesy stuff. I’m working on refining my style and branching out into other areas but I always come back to cute because, ultimately, it’s what I like. I’ve learned I don’t need to apologize for it. I’m a mostly digital artist but lately I’m trying to learn watercolors!

What inspires you?

I draw a lot of fan art so I love taking inspiration from cartoons, especially ones like “Steven Universe” that are mature beyond their core audience. Outside of fiction I take a lot of my inspiration from food. There’s so many colors and textures present in the edible!

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

I took a graphic design class in eighth grade and I’ve liked digital art ever since. I gave up on it to study hospitality when I went to college, but ultimately I came back to it and got a degree in graphic design, too. I didn’t always want to be an artist but I was always interested in creative things like cooking and writing.

commish example

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

I used to have a silly little symbol I’d stamp in the corner of all my drawings of a heart with bat wings. Now I just have a logo I use on my business cards.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

The best advice I can give is when you’re working on something and you’re starting to get frustrated, walk away. Take a break, take a nap, breathe. You won’t produce any good work if you’re angry so come back to it when you’re calm again. You can look at it with fresh eyes and try to figure out what’s going wrong.

hamham
Hamham

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I used to identify as alloromantic but currently I’m going by demisexual.

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

Not from other artists, no, but from my family, certainly. Most of what I hear is that I’m confused or I just haven’t figured myself out yet. Ultimately, I just have to accept that not everyone in my life is going to understand me and that’s ok. It doesn’t really matter if they don’t get it so long as I feel comfortable with who I am.

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

That it’s just a phase and that the internet has poisoned my mind and made me think I’m a “special snowflake.”

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

Once, during Thanksgiving break from college, I was hanging out with my friends from high school. They all started talking about their sexual experience from their first semester in college and I felt so utterly uncomfortable that I kept sneaking off into the bathroom, hoping that when I got back they would have moved on to something else. Eventually I left and went home and cried in my mother’s lap. I had no idea why I felt such a disconnect, why I felt so lost. A year later I read about asexuality on Tumblr and I realized that there was a word for why I was the way I was, and that there were other people like me. The internet is your friend. You are not alone. Arm yourself with knowledge and know that you are perfectly normal and there are people who will support you. I’m one of them. Shoot me a message on any of my social media accounts and I’ll be happy to talk things over! Ace artists have to look out for one another.

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

Lately I’ve been mostly using my Instagram (at artbylittlemissluna) but I also upload things to my DeviantArt (Little-Miss-Luna) and my Facebook (at artbylittlemissluna) and Twitter (at art_by_LML). I also have an Etsy store (at artbylittlemissluna) if you want to see the products I make and sell with my art!

yuri on ice cream 2
Yuri on Ice Cream

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

Interview: Haylee Scribner

Today we’re joined by Haylee Scribner. Haylee is a phenomenally talented visual artist who enjoys drawing in the cartoon and cute style. She also dabbles in writing. It’s obvious that Haylee has a great love for the creative arts, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

To myself personally I do not think I’m that great at this art, but my art is more in the drawing area. I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember and I have improved drastically over the years. I usually stick to the cartoonish and cute looking styles than the more realistic ones that they teach in art classes at schools. Even though I’m constantly in art blocks I still do doodle from time to time, and most of the time I’m doodling my own characters that I had made or I’m doodling my friends or what they had requested. I have also drawn a few pictures for covers of stories, like Golden Blood on Quotev. I still have a great amount of room for improvement and I’m always willing to take criticism. I started drawing because my wonderful cousin was always drawing and I always thought her art was beautiful, and it still is beyond beautiful, but I would always look at her pictures and try to redraw them. A lot of the time I gave up very quickly and put myself down and said that I’d never be great at drawing, but I’d always pick up my pencil again and start over.

What inspires you?

Most the time I have no idea what inspired me to begin drawing, but I know one thing that inspires me is my cousin Jayc. She was, and still is, amazing at drawing and I had always wished to be as great as her. But because she always kept pushing me to keep drawing whenever I self-doubted myself I got so far in learning new things, like how to draw people and how hind legs on cats work! If it weren’t for her I don’t think I could have made it this far.

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

From the previous answer, my cousin Jayc got me interested. She was always drawing when we were younger and she comes up with many creative designs and color schemes that blend very well together, and besides that she is good with anatomy and just body shapes in general. And as for the second part, I’m not sure if I always wanted to be an artist. I knew that drawing was just a fun way of expressing myself but I never really took it into consideration that maybe I’d grow up with it as my passion.

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 believe I have any special or unique signature or symbol for my work, but I guess I have a unique feature to it. On Instagram I had asked what the most noticeable thing in my art style was and Jayc had replied saying that the most noticeable thing was that I put a lot of emotion into my art. I don’t know if this is considered a unique feature but to me it has some uniqueness to it.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

My advice would be to just be yourself and stay positive. Don’t let what other people say get to you and don’t compare yourself to others. Just do you and don’t be afraid to ask for help!

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as panromantic asexual and I prefer the she/her pronouns.

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

In my short life so far I have yet to actually encounter these problems. Everyone has just accepted me for who I was and never said any rude or hurtful things to me about it.

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

I haven’t heard many surprisingly. But a few weeks ago one of my friends has asked me. “You’re asexual right? So that means you don’t want to have sex. Then how are you going to have kids?” and I simply told them that I didn’t intend on giving birth to my own offspring because the thought of having sex bothered me and that I just simply wasn’t interested.

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

Do what you think is best for yourself and don’t worry about what others say. Make sure your feel comfortable before coming out and don’t worry if you question yourself! I used to think I was straight until I met a certain friend who will remain unnamed and then I identified as bisexual, but then my girlfriend Melinda told me what panromantic and asexual were and I realized I identified more with those two things then I did with any others.

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

You can find me on Instagram! My Instagram name is haylee_scribbles and I post my artwork there, but advanced warning I mostly post rants and randomness before any art is actually posted… But if you want to see my others works then my drawings you can find me on Quotev! I write my own stories though they aren’t as good as Melinda’s. My Quotev user name is Writer of Fandom. If you want to follow my Tumblr my user is haylee-scribbles!

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