Interview: Senta

Today we’re joined by Senta. Senta is a phenomenal illustrator who works mostly in digital mediums. He does enjoy using ballpoint pen on occasion. He has his own style, but can also adapt to a variety of other styles. It’s clear he’s an incredibly passionate artist who loves to create, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. CU2

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I draw, mostly digitally but sometimes I like drawing with ballpoint pen. My personal style is kind of muted colors and darker settings, but I do lots of other stuff depending on the vibe I’m trying to show. I take a bit of pride on the fact that I can cater to people’s interests, that’s especially useful in my line of work, I’m an illustrator 😉

What inspires you?

People inspire me, mostly fictional characters to be honest, but I love to draw people, I love to create characters and create stories for them. I do a lot of fan art of whatever I’m interested in the moment, or whatever catches my eye. Sometimes it’s just a photo or something that gives me a vibe for a character and then I have to draw them.

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

I honestly don’t know how I started drawing, but I’ve been doing in since I can remember. I used to draw with chalk on paper when I was a kid cause my kindergarten didn’t have pencils for all of us. I’ve always wanted to work in the field, yes, but I wasn’t sure what would I do exactly, I wanted to be a graphic designer for a long time until I realized what that was and that I couldn’t really draw much, then I went and studied to be an Illustrator 🙂

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 sign all my work as Senta, but someday I will come up with a tiny character or something to hide in all my work, I really want to do that, but I’m not sure what. I follow at least 3 artists that do that and I loooove it, I love to search for the little Easter egg in all their art.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I’m not great with advice, but I would say PRACTICE! Practice a lot, and surround yourself with people and things that inspire you to create. Nice supporting friends that share your passion for art are truly special, whether is online or IRL. Also, really practice! Nobody is born knowing how to so stuff, all those awesome artists that you love? Those people busted their butts off to get there.

3. John
John

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as ace and quasiromantic bi (that label is pretty recent 😉 ) but I usually go with queer, it’s shorter.

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

Not necessarily on my field. I’ve encountered it online, where I post my art, or in fandoms I make art of, but it’s never about the art itself (thankfully). Either way I try to let it go and not let it affect me too much. People are ignorant, a lot of people are, and if I offer some education and they deny it by being close minded then there’s nothing I can do about it… That said, it does affect me sometimes, and then I just go and talk to supportive people, I vent a little and then I usually forget why I was upset in the first place.

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

I’ve had a lot of “being asexual is basically being straight”, some “you have to be attracted to someone”, and a few people invalidating queerplatonic relationships and saying they’re “basically just friendships”… As I said, ignorant people ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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

Look, I’m the kind of person who loves labels, I looove having a word to explain how I feel, to know that there’s someone out there who feels the same, so I hate it when people say “you don’t have to label yourself, just be you”. But as much as I hate it, they do have a point… cause even if you don’t find a label, it doesn’t mean you’re alone, there’s so many people in the world I’m 100% sure there’s at least 50 more people who feel the same.

Specially in the asexual community, we talk more openly about it being a spectrum, so it’s hard to find your place in it, and it might even move around, but it’s ok, take your time. I’d say don’t rush anything, don’t pressure yourself to know everything, it’s ok not to know. And don’t be afraid to change your mind, that doesn’t mean you’re fake, you’re just figuring things out, and to be honest, we all are… Be patient with yourself, be kind, and don’t let anyone define you, only you can decide your labels (if you decide they’re for you 😉 )

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

I’m on Tumblr: sentaart (and the-doctor-is-ace is my personal blog) and Instagram: senta_art

4. Miranda
Miranda

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

Interview: Jaime Hawkins

Today we’re joined by Jaime Hawkins. Jaime is a phenomenal visual artist who has a company called Queen Cheetah Designs, which sells enamel pins that she designs. Aside from making enamel pins, Jaime also does quite a lot of fine art. She’s heavily inspired by nature, which shows in her work. It’s clear she’s a driven and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I graduated with a degree in Graphic Design and Printmaking. I’ve always loved learning any type of art I could get my hands on – drawing, painting, digital art – you name it! When I have the time, I enjoy drawing on my tablet and taking on small freelance design jobs. My biggest endeavor, however, is my merchandise company Queen Cheetah Designs. Last year the trend of “Enamel Pins” came back around full force, and I decided to try my hand at designing some! I started out with moths, and have since branched out to beetles, spiders, and other nature inspired pins. It makes me really happy to see my designs come to life as physical merchandise that people like to wear, and it makes me feel like an accomplished artist! My designs did so well that I kept making them, and now I have a pretty successful side job running Queen Cheetah Designs. I hope to branch out in the future to apparel and other merch!

2. beetle_collage
Beetle Collage

What inspires you?

I think animals and nature have served to be my most important source of inspiration for my drawing and my merchandise design. It’s a subject I have always loved, and there is endless beauty and creativity that can be found in creatures, plants, and our other surroundings. From striking color palettes to unique patterns, as an artist I feel like I can learn so much from what already exists in nature, and apply it to my fine art and design work.

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

From a very young age, I was interested in art. I would doodle on my homework and draw mash ups of animals to play as during recess. I took art lessons with another girl at a local framing shop for a few years, where I learned most of the basics of fine art.

I can’t quite remember how, but “design” specifically caught my eye around middle school. Packaging design, logo design – I found it all really fascinating how much thought went into a design and the finished result. It’s been my driving passion ever since.

4. atlas group photo
Atlas Group Photo

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 wish I could say I had a signature style, but that is something I still struggle with as an artist. I do tend to enjoy drawing somewhere in between realistic with a fantasy flair thrown in. I’d like to refine this over the next few years, but developing anything in art takes time and practice!

6. Swift edited
Swift

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Drawing – Most of what you create will not be for profit, or even for other people. There is a lot of pressure nowadays to instantly start creating and making money, but it’s important to take the time to draw for yourself. Learn what you like to draw and how you want to draw it. It should be fun, not something you feel pressured to do. And no matter what level you are now – just keep going. Practice as often as you can. (DRAW THOSE BACKGROUNDS). Think of how proud younger you would be of your talent now, and strive to make them proud.

Making Merchandise/ Pins – It takes more than an idea to be successful at selling merchandise. It is a tough and tiring job. You have to be your own manager, designer, PR person, and salesman. Kickstarters are a great way to fund a potential design, but be careful that you are prepared to handle the responsibility of ordering your merchandise and fulfilling orders. Don’t jump into it – take time to plan. But if you feel prepared, it can be a very rewarding endeavor!

3. Moth_collage
Moth collage

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as Asexual, Panromantic.

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

Relating to the art/ design field specifically? I would say not really, but then again my art usually doesn’t relate to my sexuality. But there are plenty of individuals you interact with online who are outspoken with the fact that they think it’s “not real” or that “we’ve just had bad experiences”. I try to educate where I can, and when it seems like the people might be receptive. A lot of ideas about asexuality spring from ignorance. Some folks just don’t want to understand though, and sometimes you just have to brush it off and move on. Find solace with others who share your experiences.

7. Divided edited
Divided

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

That all asexual people are sex repulsed, and hate all types of physical contact. I’m what you would call a sex apathetic asexual. I have no interest in it, and have no desire to seek it out, but it doesn’t bother me. It’s a light switch that stays off.

It does become a problem when I desire other attention from partners that traditionally leads to sex. Like making out, or cuddling – it’s either all or nothing. This leads to a very frustrated ace that doesn’t feel cherished but feels hypocritical asking for more physical contact “as an ace person”.

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

Asexuality is a spectrum, and everyone experiences it in their own way. Being Ace is really hard at times, especially when it comes to finding a partner. It is important to find someone who respects your comfort levels and communicates with you to find out how to approach that part of your relationship. It’s tempting to push your own comfort levels aside to make them happy, because it may make you feel desired – but it will breed resentment in time if there is no respect for your likes and dislikes as well. For people like us it is especially important to make friends and not rely entirely on having a partner to feel fulfilled.

If you find someone, make sure they love you AS someone who is asexual, not DESPITE the fact you are asexual.

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

You can find all my enamel pins and current merchandise on my Etsy shop -> https://www.etsy.com/shop/QueenCheetahDesigns. You can also follow me on Twitter at Jaime_Hawkins or on Instagram under Jaime_Hawkins_Design to stay up to date on my art and any upcoming designs.

Thank you so much!

8. Rainbow TVhead
Rainbow TVhead

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

Interview: Chloe

Today we’re joined by Chloe. Chloe is a wonderful young artist who is just starting out. She’s a writer and visual artist. She does both digital and traditional art. For writing, she writes fanfiction, poetry, and occasionally original fiction. It’s clear she’s a dedicated artist with a bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

eleanor

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am both a writer and an artist. I do digital and traditional works as well as writing fanfiction, poems, and the occasional original fiction piece. I’ve always been pretty creative, finding enjoyment in expressing myself through the hobbies I love. My artwork and writing certainly aren’t of any professional quality, but I believe they’re good enough to qualify me as an artist of sorts, even if no art has any real qualifications.

What inspires you?

Often times, I find inspiration in other works. It might be an idea, a color, a theme: if it catches my eye, I try to incorporate it in a creative way. On top of that, I also find inspiration in lyrics and sometimes even in everyday experiences!

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

When I was younger, I drew occasionally, but I never really felt like it was something for me. By the time I was 10 years old, though, I was writing stories often and trying to teach myself to draw! There wasn’t anything that really brought it on – I just thought that art was cool and I loved reading stories made by other people. On top of that, I was (and still am) an anime fan, so the art style inspired me. I just thought it was pretty, and I went off of that to develop my own artistic style. Well, its not complete in any means, but it’s something.

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?

Well, I have a literal signature, which you’ll see on nearly all of my drawings. Other than that, though, I don’t believe there’s anything unique in my art or writing that tells it apart from another’s. I wish I could say it’s unique to me. I excessively use adverbs (a habit I’m trying to break) and I draw in an anime-influenced style, but my work is hardly the only type of it’s kind, unfortunately.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do not give up. If it’s your dream, go for it. Power through. Learn. Create. Your art is your art, whatever that may be. The world is cruel – people are cruel! – don’t let that change you. Your life is your life: pursue it.

promise

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m demisexual. Sort of in the middle, I guess.

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

Yeah. I’m a part of a lot of communities, but prejudice is especially present on Tumblr. Asexuals are definitely discriminated against, but it almost seems worse for demisexuals. I’ve seen many people – artists – say that demisexuality is not real, that it’s just a preference. It really gets me upset sometimes because it makes me feel unwelcome and ‘wrong.’ People are so unaccepting of what they don’t understand. I’m afraid that if I express myself completely that I’ll only end up hurt. Often, I’m afraid to even mention that I am demisexual. Most of the time, I just say I’m heterosexual for fear of backlash.

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

I’ve heard people assume that asexual people do not have a sex drive and such, but that isn’t always the case. Though, as for demisexuality, many people assume that we only have intercourse with people we get to know, or as they describe: “are not a hoe.” They assume that our sexuality is the norm for everyone, so it must not really exist. However, that’s a misunderstanding. Demisexuality is the lack of sexual attraction unless a close emotional bond is formed. In other words, I won’t find an attractive celebrity ‘hot’ because I don’t know them well or even at all. People aren’t aware of this.

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

You’re not broken. You’re not wrong. You are who you are and some people may mock you. Some won’t accept you. It’ll be hard sometimes, but we’re here. Your identity is valid. Your feelings are valid. People are cruel, but I promise you that what you’re feeling is so, so okay. What you feel is your business and it is perfectly okay. You’re doing just fine – amazing, even. Nothing you feel is wrong. Don’t let people convince you otherwise. They don’t know how you feel; people can’t understand what they don’t feel. It’s okay. I promise.

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

You can check my Tumblr or DeviantArt page! I’m more active on Tumblr, but I still post all complete artwork on DeviantArt. My DeviantArt username is cofstars, as well as my Tumblr url. They’re my most active platforms. Though, my Tumblr page had a lot more info than the latter!

received_243701573168280

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

Interview: KelbremDusk

Today we’re joined by KelbremDusk. KelbremDusk is a wonderful visual artist who specializes in digital art. She does a bit of everything, including webcomics. Her work is eerie and interesting to look at. It’s clear she’s a passionate individual who loves to create, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

12-13x

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

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

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

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

What inspires you?

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

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

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

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

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

Sometimes things just happen I guess???

aceincubiclub

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

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

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

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

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

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

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

cherubim

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

persona FC_eulenspiegel

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

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

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

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

True fire obsidian

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

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

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

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

I can always lend an ear for anything.

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

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

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

life

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

Interview: Zen

Today we’re joined by Zen. Zen is a wonderful visual artist who specializes in watercolors. They mostly paint landscapes. Aside from watercolor, Zen has been dabbling in a number of other mediums and fields, including fashion design. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. concept i

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Primarily I am a watercolour artist, and I usually create landscape paintings. I also dabble in digital art. Currently, I’m working on a 5 painting series titled ‘Night in London’.

I am also trying to get into fashion, designing and making my own clothes. I have an ace shirt up for sale in my Etsy store, and I’m working on creating more asexual merch.

Aside from that, I am attempting to get a full-time job in games design, amongst other ventures.

I’m probably biting off more than I can chew, but surrounding myself with work motivates me to do said work, so I’m not planning to stop.

What inspires you?

Life. Music and nature. Pretty much everything to be honest.

I once got an idea for a piece (that is waiting in a queue to be made) while tying my shoelaces. The night in London series came to me while walking around London in the evening. I have another series called Shangri-La (unfinished) that was inspired by a song called ‘Shangri-La’.

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

I started at a very young age because a close friend of mine started taking art classes, and I didn’t want to be left out. In the subsequent years, I kept going to classes even after we moved countries.

I am ashamed to say that after developing depression at the age of 12, I stopped doing art unless it was for homework. I still kept picking art electives and going to art studios after school, but I never really put much effort into it. I only did it because it was expected of me.

It was in year 12 (I was 17) that I started to get back into painting. I realised how nice it is when my paintings made other people happy. I really got into it while in college (not uni), which is when I started posting on Instagram.

I now create not only because I want to make other people happy, but I am also starting to regain the enjoyment I felt while creating.

Honestly, I’m still not sure if this what I want to do with my life, but I’m only 21, I’ve got plenty of time to figure it out.

dav

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

Aside from my signature, unfortunately, I don’t have anything like that.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep going. Keep creating. Observe the universe.

However obviously don’t force it, don’t push yourself to the brink. Take breaks if you need to.

dav

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual and currently questioning my romantic orientation, I currently identify as biromantic

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

I have been lucky so far not to encounter anything like that.

If I did, I’d probably try to explain it once and if that didn’t change anything then I’d just ignore them.

dav

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

Most of my friends identify as members of the LGBT+ community, with only a couple being straight. While they are very accepting of me, they do however always mistakenly assume that because I’m ace, I don’t want to have sex, ever.

I feel like I should just print the explanation on a card somewhere because explaining it, does get annoying.

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

You are valid and anyone who says otherwise is wrong.

If you are not certain, that is perfectly fine. If your label ends up changing over the years, it is OK. You are valid no matter what.

I went from being lesbian to bi and then pan, to then finally learning about asexuality. It’s a journey. You’ll get there.

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

My main Instagram where I post my watercolour work: https://instagram.com/paperstaradventure/
My fashion Instagram where I post fashion sketches, thou currently it’s mainly just selfies: https://www.instagram.com/straystarlights/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/paperstaradvent
Tumblr: https://paperstaradventure.tumblr.com
Art Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/paperstaradventure
Fashion Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/paperstaradventure

dav

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

Interview: Aodhan

Today we’re joined by Aodhan. Aodhan is a phenomenal visual artist who is a first for asexual artists. His works involves a lot of rotational symmetry and either extremely light or heavy contrast between them. I was studying the work he sent with his interview and there’s something almost hypnotic about it. His work is incredibly interesting to look at and it draws the viewer in. It’s clear he’s a very passionate artist who enjoys what he does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I do mostly visual art that deals with colors, gradients, and rotational symmetry. It’s all done digitally through mirroring and color changing software. The main stylistic choices that I use are very soft and very heavy contrast with minimal blur, or sometimes forgoing some levels of symmetry for a level of blending or shadows.

Most of my base pictures are pictures I take or random gradients. Sometimes I use random memes or just odd pictures just for the level of fun I get from realizing that I just turned some random image from my gallery into a piece of art.

2

What inspires you?

My main inspirations were funnily enough my cat Cider, eyes, and many types of butterflies and moths. I was always fascinated my cat’s fur and the patterns in it despite how minimal they could be, and wanted to recreate them in digital art. When it came to eyes, I was always enthralled by how they looked, especially the iris. Then for butterflies, well they were pretty and symmetrical, what more was there to like?

3

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

Oddly enough, I started doing it for the sheer purpose of messing with people and using it to add more “pylons” to a picture. The meme of “You must construct additional pylons,” was one that I enjoyed, and someone bet that I couldn’t make a bunch of copies of the Starcraft pylon in an image look pretty. I took this challenge in stride, made five dollars, and found a passion in creating these odd pieces. As one could guess, I wasn’t always too keen on becoming an artist. However when I found a medium I enjoyed, it kind of just sparked.

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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?

Well they’re usually symmetrical as the term rotational symmetry implies, but other than that there is no real signature that can be found.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

For life, I’d say to find and do what makes you happy. When it comes to art, I’d suggest to try weird styles and challenge yourself in weird ways. You may just find exactly what you love doing.

7

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a homoromantic asexual.

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

Only once, and it was with a friend who did not know what the term meant. He acted rudely at first but thankfully he’s an accepting person and with an explanation of how it worked, he understood and became rather nice about it. In general, if it would happen again, I’d just explain the details and if it doesn’t help, I’d back off and recognize that it wasn’t working.

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

That we identify as asexual because we can’t find someone to have sex with.

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

You aren’t broken, you weren’t made incorrectly, and most importantly you are absolutely valid however you express yourself or identify.

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

You can find some of my work at my Tumblr at tripping-ace where I sometimes post art but usually drop some stupid humor.

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

Interview: Runesael Johansson

Today we’re joined by Runesael Johansson. Runesael is a wonderful digital artist who specializes in character design. He works mostly in roleplaying games like Dungeons and Dragons. He has recently gotten into drawing World of Warcraft characters too. It’s clear he’s a dedicated and 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.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Most of my work these days centers around Dungeons and Dragons player characters and NPCs, alongside other TTRPGs and roleplaying games. I’ve also done a fair amount of people’s characters from World of Warcraft.

I work almost exclusively in Photoshop CS-6 or Procreate.

What inspires you?

Primarily, stories. One of my absolute favorite things about doing the work that I do has to be hearing other people’s stories about their characters and the adventures they’ve had with others. There’s such a broad variety of individuals and experiences across the TTRPG community, so every character I ever get to draw tends to be unique or unusual in some way. Even if you have two chaotic good fighters from a small village who’ve sworn an oath to protect their friends, say, those two fighters can and often will be radically different people.

The TTRPG and WoW communities are both enormously creative, and getting to see all of the various ideas that people come up with is something I’m really grateful for and honored to be able to help bring to life.

Additionally, music – I can’t paint without it!

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

I began drawing because I wanted people to be able to see the characters and places I described in my stories as a kid. However, it was never really anything more than a serious hobby until about 2016.

As obnoxious as this might sound, I’ve never not been an artist, so I’m not sure what it’s like to want to be one. I’ve been drawing since I could hold a crayon.

My original career was in music performance. An injury exacerbated by overuse and stress pulled me out of a performance career, and I kind of spent my twenties wandering around with absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with myself or my life. I was really lost. I’d gotten a full scholarship to a small school, and figured I’d make my way through a four year degree before going on to pursue a masters. That did not happen.

During my late teens and twenties, I was also a volunteer storm chaser with ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Services), and working emergency telecommunications. I loved the work, but it stopped being fun after I realized the extent of the impact that natural and man-made disasters had on the human lives around me. Though the work was fulfilling, I knew I didn’t want to do it for the rest of my life.

There were a few attempts at other careers. Honestly, all they ever taught me was about all of the things I didn’t want to do with my life. The last one being that I wanted to become a French translator and a linguist.

As a sort of last hurrah, I posted a thread on Reddit in 2015 offering to draw people’s World of Warcraft characters. There, I met a handful of really incredible people who brought me into the WoW art community, and from there I got into Critical Role and started becoming increasingly engaged with the TTRPG community. The rest, as they say, is history.

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?

Most of my work these days is done for other people, so you’re not going to find much of my own personal motifs in the majority of my portfolio.

The signature that I put on my artwork is the text symbol for “thunderstorm.” (It looks like this: ☈) It’s a play on my first name and it’s a nod to the work I’ve done in the past. Also a reminder to myself – if it’s not a tornado, it’s probably not worth getting super worked up about.

I use a lot of blue and gold – they’re my favorite colours, mostly because I’m from a coastal town in Florida and have always loved the water.

There’s so much music in my work, to the point where all of my Inktober pieces this year were just based on songs.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

There’s enough tutorials and technical advice these days on the internet that I feel like anything I could say on those subjects has already been said. So, instead, here’s some lessons I learned the hard way.

First of all. Don’t be an asshole. It does not matter if you are the most skilled artist in your particular field, if you treat people like garbage, no one will want to work with you. This includes being vocally critical of other artists. This includes treating the artists around you as competition or as enemies, rather than potential friends or coworkers. This includes being a sarcastic, sardonic shit about everything. Cynicism doesn’t make you cool. It doesn’t make you some enlightened sage of the ages, it makes you a prick. Empathy, kindness, understanding and patience will get you far, far further than raw skill alone. Praise others in public, critique if asked in private. Don’t be an ass to younger artists, they’re doing their best.

Second. Art is extremely hard work. There is nothing cute or fluffy about being a creative of any sort. You don’t get to float around waiting for inspiration, or depending on some “muse” to bring your ideas. If you do you’ll never get anything done, and you’ll never get better.

When you first start making stuff, you will suck at it. You’ll suck at it for a while. It’s normal, don’t stress. Art isn’t something you master overnight or in a year or even in ten years. You will be fighting a continual, uphill fight for most victories and breakthroughs. When you “level up” as an artist, it will be because you worked your ass off. The answers to the problems you face will not be written out for you in books. You will need to find those answers for yourself. If that doesn’t sound like a good idea to you, don’t be an artist.

Third. Talent is a myth and an excuse. There is no bullshit force in the universe that ~magically~ gives you the ability to create anything. There is the only the work, the desire to do it, and the determination to keep doing it when it gets hard. That’s all. You get better by practicing and studying your craft.

Fourth. Art is for everyone. See number three. Art is not for special talented people who have ~the gift~. The arts in general, creative work – they are for everyone and anyone. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If someone says you’re talented, say, “Thank you, I work very hard.” They mean well, take the compliment.

Fifth. There are a bunch of people who will tell you in kind ways and not-so-kind ways that the arts are for fools who can’t manage a “real” career. What they do not and perhaps cannot understand is that not being an artist when you want to be simply leads to a chain of unfulfilling and meaningless careers that you never fully commit to or enjoy. Life is far too short to go through it longing.

Sixth: Don’t be alone. Involve yourself in a community. Isolation is death for artists. Surrounding yourself with artists of all different skill levels will teach you more than any class ever can. A good community will raise you up when you’re struggling, and will keep you grounded. There will always be someone better than you, don’t let that discourage you or inhibit your progress.

Seventh: Rest. If it hurts, stop. If you’re frustrated, take a break. If you need help, ask. Don’t let pain and exhaustion be a point of pride and don’t work yourself to death. Sitting in front of your tablet or easel for sixteen hours a day without eating or drinking is going to fuck you sideways when you get older. It doesn’t say that you’re devoted and hardworking, it says you don’t take care of yourself and don’t manage your time properly. Eat regularly, take your medication, make sure you drink water. Don’t survive on sleep deprivation and energy drinks. Your work suffers when you suffer.

On that note. Great art does not come from great suffering. If you create beautiful things from pain, imagine the things you could make when you’re safe and okay.

Tragedy, trauma, angst, anger and sadness don’t make you interesting. They inhibit your feelings, keep you from growing, they keep you from forming good and healthy relationships with the people around you. They keep you from becoming the person you want to be. Don’t wear your sorrow like a trophy, because it isn’t. The fact you survived it makes you strong. What will make you interesting – and your work interesting – is how you recovered and grew beyond those circumstances.

You are worth more than the things you produce. Don’t tie your self-worth and self-esteem to your craft.

Stay humble. Work hard, be sincere in your passions and in your relationships with others. Be as good to the people around you as you can be, and if you can’t say anything kind, shut the actual fuck up because no one needs your bullshit.  The most important thing in this world that we can be is kind. Life is difficult. Life as a creative is even harder. Do not be the reason someone else decides to quit doing what they love. Everyone has something amazing about them, be receptive to finding it.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m demisexual.

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

Personally, no. I don’t talk about it much as I’m a pretty private person about my romantic relationships.

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

That asexual people are sex-repulsed. That we’re frigid or cold. That we don’t actually enjoy any form of physical contact whatsoever. That we’re broken or defective.

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

“Even if it gets hard

don’t lose that light.”

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

http://www.twitter.com/runesael

http://runesael.squarespace.com/

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