Interview: Emmy

Today we’re joined by Emmy. Emmy is a wonderful writer, fanartist, and visual artist. She writes a lot of fanfiction, but she’s also currently working on an original novel with a fascinating premise. When she’s not writing, Emmy does a lot of digital drawing. She hopes to one day to write and draw a graphic novel. It’s clear Emmy’s both a passionate and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. lionfishrhett
Lion Fishrhett

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I write mostly fan fiction, however I’m working on writing an original novel! It’s a story about a salty, magicless witch named Felix, who lives with his aunts and older sister – powerful witches who keep the peace between all of the magical creatures in their coastal town of Hagstone Grove. When an obnoxious vampire named Rhett comes along, Felix tries to ignore his flirtatious advances while dealing with all the other vampires that seem to have followed him into town.

Other than writing, I enjoy doing digital art to relax. I draw most anything that’s suggested to me and more often than not I draw silly things for friends. I would love to develop my art enough to do a graphic novel someday as well so that my writing and art can come together to make something amazing!

2. birbboiwifhimbigwings
Birb Boi with his Big Wings

What inspires you?

My inspiration comes from life in general. My friends and family, music, other content, etc. I’m inspired most when I talk to people who read my stuff because sharing my stories with them is a lot of fun!

Doing fan fiction helped inspire me a lot in the beginning too, because there’s usually a community behind it and you’ll often get feedback soon after posting. Plus, it’s easy to bounce ideas of your own off of the original content to get you started and spark up some creativity!

3. blacksea
Black Sea

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

I first started writing when I was about eleven. I had a cool dream I wanted to share with people, so I wrote it and other things that came to mind. I didn’t think of it as my calling then and it took me a few years of writing on and off before I realized that I really love it. I went through a quite few career choices during that time, jumping from psychologist to baker and everything in between.

5. TEETH
TEETH

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 put a lot of myself into everything I do. Whether it’s a large trait I share with a main character or a similar problem we face in our lives, I do what I can to connect myself with the story and people in it. To me, it helps make them feel more like real people, which in turn makes them easier to write.

6. hawkwardfelix
Hawkward Felix

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

This is going to sound cheesy, but never give up! You’ll hear it a million times, probably to a point where you think it’s stupid advice, but it’s true! There will be many –many– times you feel like giving up, or even times people will tell you to give up, but getting through those is unfortunately part of the process. If you truly want to be an artist those are things you have to power through. Just find the parts about it you love the most, hold onto them like your life depends on it, and you’ll make it through all the other crap just fine.

7. mudblood
Mudblood

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m demisexual biromantic

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

Not personally, whoever I’ve heard some people suggest that Asexuals can’t properly write anything on the…E-rated side of things because they, “don’t know how”. I think we all know how it works, even if someone doesn’t want it for themselves, thanks.

Sure, experience can help you write a scene, but I’ve written about demons and magic. I didn’t/can’t have experience with those and I did just fine.

8. wiiitchboi
Wiiitch Boi

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

A lot of people don’t seem to know about the spectrum and how everyone is different. Even though someone identifies as Asexual, that doesn’t mean they’re sex-repulsed or are prudes.

9. Kae
Kae

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

It’s okay not to know. It’s okay to never know for sure. Sometimes in life we never settle, and it’s perfectly okay to never pick a label if you don’t find one that’s right for you.

If you feel like having a specific label will help, then do some self-searching and read up on some to see where you might fit best. Remember, you’re not a puzzle piece designed to fit perfectly in place, you are clay meant to be molded into whatever shape you want. If you don’t 100% fit under a label, just find what’s closest and stick with that until you find something better.

If it’s a matter of wanting to be able to explain it to others, try to narrow it down into a few bullet points. Leave any of the super specific things aside at first and get out the main bits. If they still don’t understand, it may be best to just point them to the internet where they can Google these things for themselves. Don’t stress over other people not understanding because sometimes they just can’t/won’t.

10. hug
Hug

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

My fan fictions and original novel can be read in their first-draft forms as I write the chapters on my Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/roboticspacecase

For anything else, I often post my art and writing updates on my Tumblr, which is here: http://roboticspacecase.tumblr.com/

4. Felixmagic
Felix Magic

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

Interview: Dreachie

Today we’re joined by Dreachie. Dreachie is a phenomenal visual artist who works with digital mediums. She’s an illustrator and her work has a very dreamy appearance and feel to it. Most of her drawings fall into the fantasy genre. There’s an amazing attention to detail that pulls the viewer in and holds their attention, as you’ll soon see. It’s clear Dreachie is an incredibly talented and dedicated artist. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. Meet the artist new
Meet the Artist

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a digital artist and I focus into creating dreamy & fantasy illustrations but I also love to draw original characters, girls and try to evoke some sort of feeling to people through my art.

Now I’m trying to work on my own project about things that make people happy even though I still don’t have a name for it.

It’s basically a collection of things my followers and people have told me that make them happy and that I want to transform from words into illustrations, as a reminder to people that even in bad days or how bad things seem to be, there are always things that make us happy, even the smallest thing can bring a smile to someone.

2. Heavenly 2
Heavenly

What inspires you?

Ahh, I’m mostly inspired by things that happen in dreams. When you wake up from a dream and the first thing you do is write them down, or well draw them… But I don’t know how many people do that but I like to write down my dreams even as weird they might be, they are very inspiring and you are creating worlds in those dreams as well.

But of course, being inspired by other simple things such as the colours of the sky, aesthetic boards and that book you read not long time ago, as long as they seem… unusual!

3. Star sketch girl
Star Sketch Girl

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

Since I was a little kid and my parents gave me my first paper and crayons, I’ve always enjoyed drawing, oh and paint the walls of the kitchen with my brother!

But you know when you get the common question at school of “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and as a kid saying you wanted to be an artist, people wouldn’t actually take you serious haha.

Way back when I was 10 years I discovered, like many, Deviantart and the many amazing artists and art but it wasn’t until I was 16 that I actually started to take art more serious, to actually become an artist and after having to drop school at my senior year that I had more time to practice my art and things actually started to change and improve! So yeah, I’ve always wanted to be an artist!

8. maybe tears
Maybe Tears

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

I like to include to all my drawings, no matter the character’s race, colour, alien or human, or rock… some sparkling/starry freckles, plus some details in the eyelashes. But it’s not just that, I love to play with vibrant colours, sparkles and add a lot of “dreamy vibes” in my art!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

1. Don’t be afraid about drawing and calling yourself an artist, even if you feel your art isn’t good enough, you are creating things! You are an artist!

2. It’s alright to make mistakes, I don’t mean just in the art field but in general and in life. We all learn from mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes help us to improve and get better at something or be a better person with someone. We are all here to learn but still to be kind!

3. Young aspiring artists; please learn the fundamentals of art if you want to make art as a living one day! Trust me, fundamentals are the bases for you to develop an art style and will make your art-life much easier.

4. Making art that people can relate to. Helps you create a connection and bond with your audience. Either something personal or an advice, which happened to me during my Timeskip drawing, I didn’t expect many people to actually relate to it!

And basically; have fun! Even if you feel like worrying about the numbers in your followers, likes, reblogs, etc. You are here to have fun and enjoy art.

4. timeskip
Time Skip

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual ♥   I’m sex-repulsed and actually not interested in that at all. And kids? I have my cats already haha

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

I have, mostly within my family and two friends I don’t talk to anymore irl. I told them about me being asexual, and they answer with the common thing of;

“You just haven’t found the right person yet”, “You’ll change your mind when you meet someone”, “Its only time what you need” etc.

Mostly it’s my mom and my older brother in the family whom says that, talk about “how much I’m missing in life”, but life isn’t all about sex! And tbh I gave up trying to explain things to them because they simply wouldn’t understand or try to.

I decided to let them think whatever they want, what matters is how I feel and what I know; and I know I’m asexual and that there is nothing wrong with it, it’s how I feel.

7. Garden
Garden

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

OHH boi, I once in a conversation got told: Do you reproduce by asexual reproduction?? Is that normal? That isn’t real!”

But really, there’s a lot of misconception about asexuality. Being asexual doesn’t mean that you are repulsed or hate to be touched, like a hug or a poke, etc. It’s… it’s not… I really don’t know where that came from and people think asexuals are that.

That “You can’t find love-a partner while being asexual”, this whole statement is wrong, being asexual doesn’t make it impossible for someone to find love, and it’s not a disability.

6. red girluuhh
Red Girluuhh

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

There’s no rush for you to find your orientation or label yourself. Take your time, make your research and just know how you feel. I’m really not the best to ask this I think, but just know how you feel. Don’t let anyone tell you that you are wrong, you are never alone.

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

These are some places where you can find my art / some helpful art tips and tutorials, or even supporting my art:
Instagram: https://instagram.com/dreachie
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/dreachie
Twitter: https://twitter.com/dreachie
Also to find the rest of my art and links, they are all listed here! https://linktr.ee/dreachie

5. Fairy
Fairy

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

Interview: Cipher

Today we’re joined by Cipher. Cipher is a wonderful writer and digital artist who specializes in fantasy and supernatural stories. She’s currently working on a couple different stories at the moment, all of which sound absolutely fascinating. When she’s not writing, Cipher does some digital art, mostly character design. It’s very obvious that she’s a very dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. rheet1ttt
Rheet

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m primarily a hobbyist writer, but I draw stuff on occasion, usually when I have an exam coming up or an assignment due. I tend to write stuff geared more towards fantasy or supernatural, as I love a story with something magical in it.

My current WIP is about a pretty gold merman, pirates, and fairies (in the background). The main character is of Middle-Eastern ethnicity, and is asexual! His merman boyfriend is whatever the merman equivalent of pansexual is, and one of two primary antagonists specifically a sex-repulsed asexual man. The story features characters of many different nationalities (as far as I can make that happen with a fantasy world) such as African, British (Scottish and English), Irish, Indian, Middle-Eastern, Caribbean, and French! It deals with some potentially triggering themes at times, but it’s also a story about accepting people for who they are, and accepting that your first impression of someone may not be that accurate. Also pirates!

I also have a vampire story planned, which will contain a single father main character with a tiny child because why not! I have a secret “other account” that I use to write self-indulgent fanfiction because I have to entertain myself SOMEHOW. My niche tends to be more in writing gay romantic relationships or very close platonic friendships with a kind of found-family vibe.

Any art I draw tends to be really ridiculous and silly, or it’ll be art for my own stories or someone else’s.

2. Felix2
Felix

What inspires you?

Everything inspires me. My own experiences and emotions, music, my friends, other content I view. Sometimes I just really want to indulge in a particular thing, and if I can’t find it out there, I write it myself! With the merman story, I kind of inspired myself? I had originally written a short series of novels which I wanted to do a spin-off for. And I was getting really into merpeople at the time, so I wanted to include one in this spin-off. The merman character I created and his human boyfriend wound up being way more interesting than what I was already writing, so I scrapped the spin-off and started telling their story instead! I have specific songs I listen to for this story, and I also tend to watch YouTube videos (check out Stella the Siren!) of people in costumes swimming around as merpeople.

One of the big themes in this story is being trapped somewhere and not being able to leave, even though logically, it should be easy. Another theme is prejudice, another is acceptance (or the lack thereof, in some cases). I drew these themes heavily from my own life, and I feel that in some roundabout way, some of the themes in this story are an accurate metaphor for the experiences some people have with their asexuality. This wasn’t my intention when writing it, but this has wound up being the result.

3. Iris
Iris

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

I can remember wanting to be a writer when I was younger. I had big dreams of wanting to be a best-selling author like J. K. Rowling, I wanted to be famous for it, I wanted to earn lots of money! And it was primarily the Harry Potter books that got me interested in that. My first story ever was a (badly) illustrated retelling of Disney’s The Little Mermaid (ha, I’ve come full circle!). As I grew up, I made friends with similar interests. We all wanted to be writers, we all liked to draw. Since then, I’ve decided I actually NEVER want to be published as I’m content with sharing my works for free online where I can interact with readers on a more personal level. And my digital art is really just a hobby. I’d love to develop my skill enough to do graphic novels or webcomics, maybe open up a Patreon. But again, it’s nothing I want to pursue professionally.

4. Penelope1
Penelope

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

Not that I know of? I guess when I write, I throw a lot of myself and my own emotions into the writing, and I NEVER intend for this to happen. It can sometimes make me feel very exposed when posting a new chapter, as I realise (though readers may not) that some of my deepest emotions and thoughts are out there for everyone to see.

5. azandkaensfinal1222
Az and Kaens

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Of course it’s important to improve your craft, whatever it may be. But NEVER let anyone tell you that your work is “cliché” or “unoriginal”. Guess what? NOTHING is original. Everything has been done before in some way at some point. What matters is that you have fun creating it, is that you enjoy what you do. You should have fun coming up with plots or ideas for drawings, you should have fun creating characters and giving them tragic backstories or smart mouths or the perfect physique, or whatever else it is that people like to make fun of others for. Indulge in yourself. When people constantly criticize you, and make you feel like you aren’t good enough to the point where you no longer want to create your art, THEY are in the wrong. You can’t please everyone. I once had someone complain that my 18-year-old Middle-Easter male character’s facial hair made him look less cute, and she would rather he didn’t have it. Like, I’m sorry my boy doesn’t fit your ideal “uke” aesthetic. My best friend drew a picture of him with a full giant beard and moustache as retaliation for me 😀

So first and foremost, make sure YOU are happy with what you create. Create primarily for yourself and not for others. Constructive or polite criticism, take it with a polite smile and a “thank you”, but learn to recognize when someone is genuinely just being mean. Remember that everyone advances at different speeds, and not everyone is perfect at everything.

Never let anyone, not even yourself, make your art less fun for you.

Some more writing-specific advice! In my opinion, a story is made up of three components. Writing, characters, and plot. Ideally, you want at least two of these things to be good to make for a story people will like! But in my experience, good characters are what work! They could be walking down the stairs for breakfast in the morning, but if your characterization is strong and done well, people will care about it. Pay special attention to your characters and creating them, and showing who they are in your writing, and giving them reasons for doing the things they do. Plot can be whatever you want it to be. Writing improves with time. Read a lot (professionally published works, really terribly-written fanfictions, the works!). Learn what you like in another’s style and what you don’t like. Utilize and borrow these things in order to refine your own craft.

Be kind to yourself! You’re creating art!

8. 64287995-256-k202908
Book Cover drawn by limey-art (on Tumblr), text added by shirokaneki (on Tumblr)

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual, panromantic.

6. azzwefgth
Az

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

Not that I can think of. A fellow writer did once tell me that she really “didn’t get all that crap”, however given her own upbringing and where she’s from, it didn’t bother me too much. I also had a rather rude person leave a comment on my story about sex in the story’s future, and when I explained there would be none because my main character is asexual (and his love interest is half FISH), she became very blasé, laughed about asexuality, kind of implied she didn’t think it was a real thing. I offered to explain it in more depth to her, and how it specifically affects this main character versus the sex-repulsed villain, but she never responded xD

Most of the ignorance tends to stem from people simply not knowing what asexuality is – they’ve either never heard of it, or they have misconceptions about what it is. And that’s fine, because I myself knew nothing about it until only a year or two ago. The best way I deal with THAT is to tell them that it’s okay if they don’t know or understand. I give a little explanation, and offer to go more in depth with them if they want, or I offer to point them to resources. Most people I’ve encountered have been very pleasant about it. Those who aren’t, just don’t talk to them. And remember to use that block button if necessary!

7. Slade
Slade

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

The most common one I’ve personally encountered is that people assume I’m afraid of sex. They assume this is the case, and they think I say I’m asexual so I either won’t have to have sex, or it’s an excuse so I don’t have to admit I’m afraid. Generally speaking, this is not the case at all. I’ve also had people think I don’t want sex, or “there must be something wrong” with me because “everyone wants sex!”. And finally, my number one FAVOURITE – “you just haven’t met the right person yet! That will change when you meet The One!” You know what, maybe it WILL change if I meet The One. Maybe I’m specifically demi-sexual. Maybe I just haven’t met my type yet. But for someone to try to invalidate my current sexuality like that is NOT okay. I never have felt, nor do I think I ever WILL feel sexual attraction. This, however, does NOT prevent me from having relationships, from having sex (physically, thoughts, “alone time”, etc) or from living a perfectly fulfilling life.

9. Az & Kae (Anni)
Az and Kae (drawn by fairygodpiggy on Tumblr)

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

That honestly depends on why they are struggling. The main thing to remember, I think, is that you know yourself best. If you think you’re asexual, call yourself asexual. If it’s dangerous for you to “come out” you are under NO obligation to do so. Ace positivity is everywhere on the internet, which is fantastic! However, you are no less ace if you choose not to participate or contribute, or if you choose never to talk about it. Your pride doesn’t have to be loud. You are no less ace if you only SOMETIMES feel ace, or if you used to not be, but now you are. There are resources out there where you can find a more specific term for your sexuality if you wish, but if you think you are ace, then that is what you are and no one can tell you any differently. There is nothing WRONG with you. Hundreds of thousands of us have thought the same thing. “I must be straight by default” or “I don’t understand why she’d cheat on him” or “sex isn’t that great”.

Asexuality is such a broad spectrum that of course everybody has different experiences. Different circumstances, different emotions, different actions, etc. Just because you’re not like another asexual person, that doesn’t mean you are less asexual. You can absolutely know if you’re ace whether you’ve had sex or not. I knew from about age 11 or 12 that I was ace, I just didn’t know the term for it at the time.

And for those of you who, like me for a while, wished you WEREN’T asexual, I have this to say: you are who you are. You feel what you feel. I hope you can come to accept yourself and realise that there is nothing wrong with being asexual. There are people out there who love and support you, and fellow ace people like myself are always here to chat should you need it ❤ Remember, the world in general still doesn’t understand a lot about asexuality. We’re still trying to get them to figure out that being gay is a real and normal thing! For many of us, being ace isn’t always easy. But we’ll get there. Just have pride in who you are, avoid Ace Discourse, and live your life!

10. Az (Limey)
Az drawn by limey-art (on Tumblr)

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

You can find my writing here on Wattpad as well as an artbook that I update sometimes: https://www.wattpad.com/user/Ciphertext

I’m also on Tumblr where I sometimes post art, but mostly I reblog fandom stuff, memes, and Vine compilations: https://ciphertext-x.tumblr.com/

11. the future
The Future, drawn by roboticspacecase (on Tumblr)

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

Interview: Teloka Berry

Today we’re joined by Teloka Berry. Teloka is a phenomenally talented visual artist from Australia. She’s a digital artist and specializes in comics. She also does portraits, original characters, and fanart. Aside from that, Teloka also does crafts. It’s very clear that she’s an incredibly dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

aceinterview_01

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a digital artist, and primarily a character illustrator and story-teller. I do stuff like portraits, comics, original characters and fan-art, and sell crafts and merch like stickers.

aceinterview_02

My very favourite things to do are comics, both short ones and long form ones! I like stories with a strong focus on acearo, queer and neuroatypical characters who are just having adventures in various genres, and my personal schtick leans heavily towards acearo girls who want to form lasting commitments and have relationships with other girls.

I have two long-haul projects. Let’s Celebrate!, my queer magical girl themed webcomic has been live for almost three years now, and features an acearo lead and a bunch of silly festive super powers. It’s very lighthearted but still explores various celebrations from around the world, mental illness and communication, and features a bunch of monsters that the girls/guys/nb-pals fight with improbable weapons like giant candy canes. You can see it here: http://letscelebrate-comic.tumblr.com/

My second long haul project is collaborative with my girlfriend which we’re hoping to release early next year, and it will be an online graphic novel in installments. It’s a supernatural, Lovecraftian kind of adventure-thriller, structured around the Great Australian Road-Trip in rural Queensland. It follows an established acearo f/f couple, who accidentally enter an outback region they can’t leave filled with frightening “Locals” and those long roads that go on “forever”.

aceinterview_03

What inspires you?

I’m going to sound super cheesy when I say this but… my girlfriend? Haha, I’m pretty inspired by personal experiences and personal interests, I suppose. I spend a lot of time drawing and illustrating stuff based on things we’ve done together or concepts we talked about and came up with together.

Maybe also like … spite, to be honest. I’m kind of tired of heteronormative stories and the same straight white male leads who fight the Big Bad and get the girl with very little actual effort. I love to write and see stories about girls, especially queer and neurodivergent girls, doing cool stuff and saving the day and being in genres they’re generally sidelined in, like action stuff or zombies.

aceinterview_04

That aside I find music and bright cheerful colour palettes quite inspiring, and use both of them a lot in my work. And the work of other artists who I look up to, of course! I’m pretty visual so if I see something that is just aesthetically pleasing to me (like some architecture, a posing angle, fairy lights in a shop window) I’ll probably think about how to incorporate it into an art piece sooner or later.

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

I’ve always been really crafty and drawn or scribbled stuff, so I guess so? I got serious about artwork at about 13, when I entered high school and fell in with fellow artsy-sorts who enabled the habit. I started out like most teens on DeviantArt back then with an anthro fursona, and made more friends online that encouraged me, and so I just… persisted with it. I don’t think I ever had particular plans to be an artist, or to be anything for that matter, but it’s probably my stand out skill now. I draw every day and love my stories and characters a lot!

aceinterview_05

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?

Probably like I mentioned in that first long ramble I did, I have a really strong narrative interest in queer stories, and especially a focus on acearo mentally ill girls and healthy relationships. Artistically/Stylistically though… no, haha, I have absolutely zero consistency in my work, I’m so bad at that!

Usually when I pitch it to other people they’ll say stuff like “sparkles!” or “colours!” or “same face syndrome!”, so maybe that’s the answer here? I like colours a lot and playing around with harsh lighting. I also draw a lot of birds, because… birb.

aceinterview_06a

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

1. Give it a go! If you want to do it, just do it. It’s worthwhile, even if all it ever does is bring you happiness or relaxation to create; that’s super important and you deserve it.

2. Quite difficult, but don’t compare your creation to other peoples work negatively. Be critical of your own work, sure, and always, always strive to improve. But your work is not anyone else’s but your own, so try not to be disheartened if it doesn’t look like something else you wanted it to look like. It looks like it’s yours, and that’s the best thing it could be.

3. This one is for minority groups in storytelling especially (I figure relevant here on an ace positive blog), and something I’ve struggled with a lot but: Tell that story about your own experiences/preferences if you want to tell it. Create your own representation if you can and want to.

It’s not self-centered, it’s not “too much”, it’s not unpalatable, it’s not boring, and it’s not cheesy. Don’t feel like you can only put one character from a minority group in your story, and don’t feel like you can’t have characters who you relate to or have traits like you in your story. You do not have to write in something for “someone else” to relate to or have straight white men in your story for it to be “acceptable”, regardless of what popular media seems to be trying to say.

For example, when we started on the roadtrip story I mentioned earlier, we thought “is two whole acearo girls in a story… too many? should one of them at least… be bi?” and while scripting I’ve often wondered ”is this chronically anxious character having too many anxiety attacks…? should I just have them handle this thing better so that their mental illness is showing less?”. And the answer to those things is obviously no. Show that mental illness. Have only acearo leads. Have a whole cast of POC. There’s no such thing as “too much” representation of your minority characters and stories, and if they’re based on your personal experiences or desires- great. Because nobody else can tell that for you; it’s yours.

aceinterview_07

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a cis girl (she/hers) and I identify as asexual and aromantic, though I might more accurately be quoiromantic as I don’t really understand the difference between platonic and romantic relationships, though I absolutely don’t experience attraction regardless. I previously considered myself panromantic because I “want to be emotionally intimate” with friends quite intensely and have close relationships, but I later realized that I don’t experience romantic attraction so… aromantic-spec it is.

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

I’ve actually experienced very little ace prejudice. I’ve found straight people to be confused and commit some naïve-microaggressions at best, and mostly they just want me to explain what it meant and expressed general confusion about how I could not feel sexual attraction. (except for those dudes, you know, the: “well you just haven’t been with ­me yet” narcissists.)

I also had an abuser who ID’d on the ace spectrum, who would constantly guilt me about my orientation and say I would be a disappointment to my partner/s, that I was “broken”, or that I was just “trying to be holier than thou” and all kinds of toxic shit. So it really can come from anywhere.

The absolute worst ongoing prejudice I’ve seen has been from gatekeepers in the gay and lesbian communities. No surprises there. So many “sapphic safe place” blogs will reblog artwork of my girlfriend and I, which is clearly f/f and I get the lovely gift of seeing their acephobic descriptions on how ace people don’t belong in the queer community and queer is a slur, while they profit from artwork literally featuring two acearo girls.

aceinterview_08

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

Lately there’s plenty of stuff going around tumblr especially about how asexuality doesn’t equal celibacy, and that it’s not a choice. True, absolutely! But I still very often see asexuality conflated with sex repulsion, or a lack of libido (and aromance with a lack of interest in close intimate relationships at all).

Sure, it can be that way, but it’s not universal for all aces or aros. Just like any orientation, asexual people can sit anywhere on the libido and/or repulsed spectrums. They are not the same at all, and it’s super toxic that it has become popularly interchangeable, because I’m often seeing ace characters who “hate to be touched” and it just…

Ace people can be sex positive and interested in intimacy.

Allosexual people can be sex repulsed or simply disinterested.

And sex repulsed people of any orientation can also still be highly sensual and have a libido and still really want to have sex (that’s me!).

All these things are separate experiences. Neither drive nor repulsion are intrinsically tied to each other or to asexuality, which is the lack of sexual attraction, and not the lack of desire for touch.

I think that’s a super important distinction that’s often lost. My stories focus on this a lot, and almost all of my comics and stories feature acearo characters who still actively seek close emotional intimacy- because aro people are not unfeeling robots- and who also like to experiment or be close to their partners physically- because ace doesn’t necessarily mean no libido or interest.

And it’s super alienating to sensual or libido aces to see the narrative that “to be ace means you can’t ever want to have sex with someone else” perpetuated. It feels like something that, in years to come, is going to segue into Ace-Gatekeeping-v2.0, and I’d like to see communication and compassion stop that before it happens.

aceinterview_09

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

Auuhhh… uhmmm I’m really not an ideal person to put in like… advice giving roles. I’m still learning stuff myself; the Living Experience is pretty enormous! But perhaps the best thing I found (for me) was to have close friends who I could talk to about being ace and aro. If you have other friends who are already knowledgeable or confident in their own sexuality and ID on the acearo spec then that is probably the safest way, and they can explain things to you and answer questions.

There are also a variety of previously linked ace-help blogs and websites, and probably honestly… a lot of the artists featured on this blog would probably be happy to answer anon-questions and stuff about their experiences if you get in touch? I’d be happy to, for sure. That might be good for anyone who feels isolated or confused and doesn’t want to have a name attached to their questions!

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

You can find my artblog, where I post most of my art and links and updates on the above mentioned projects here: http://berryartistic.tumblr.com. I should warn that there are some suggestive works on there and it’s pretty heavy on the f/f content. There’s nothing graphic and no actual nudity, mostly just implications of intimacy and some power dynamics, but it might be a bit much for some minors or anyone intimacy-repulsed, so take it with a grain of salt.

Let’s Celebrate! is completely PG and can be found here: http://letscelebrate-comic.tumblr.com/ which has links offsite to places like Tapastic.

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

Interview: Broeckchen

Today we’re joined by Broeckchen. Broeckchen is a phenomenally talented visual artist who works in mostly digital mediums. She mostly does character design but has an incredible passion for any kind of drawing. Her work shows a masterful use of color and extraordinary detail that just pulls the viewer in, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. A Whole New World
A Whole New World

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My main focus is on character design, but enjoy illustrations of all kinds and even some crafts like bookbinding. Most of what I create is digital art.

2. Taste in Style
Taste in Style

What inspires you?

I’m strongly inspired by the aesthetics of animated stories and by art nouveau in terms of style, while mythology is one of my main inputs when it comes to the contents of my art. For example, I love creating variations of well-known mythological beings to go for an unusual and fresh look!

3. Rosemama
Rosemama

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

Sailor Moon! I always wanted to be able to draw, but different from many other kids I was extremely self-critical with what I created and got frustrated with my pictures very easily. Discovering Sailor Moon was what first gave me a really strong drive to push through that frustration and get better at art. I would probably still have given up very early on if my Mom hadn’t taught me how to trace from the magazines I owned – that was how I started actually studying the art I admired. From that point on though, yeah, I always wanted to work as an artist! I briefly wavered after graduating from school because everyone told me I couldn’t live off art, but then I soon discovered that there was nothing worth having art behind for either.

4. Harpy
Harpy

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?

Yes! It looks like two lines with a diamond symbol in between, often followed by the last two digits of the year I drew the image in.

5. Round KingfisherGriff
Round KingfisherGriff

I chose this symbol because it consists of my initials and incorporates that diamond-shape. At the time when I thought of that symbol, my best friend was a huge fan of the rapper Diam’s, and once told me that the rapper chose that name for herself inspired by the dictionary definition of a diamond: “The hardest substance known to man, a diamond can only be cut by another diamond.” It was a statement about perseverance and resonated so strongly with me and what I want to be that I felt it should be part of my identity.

6. Round PeacockGriff
Round PeacockGriff

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Learn to be forgiving and appreciative and do not stop. One of the most positive things I ever did was learning to look at a half-finished picture, realising it wasn’t exactly what I wanted it to be, and then just finishing and putting it out there anyways. More often than not, other people ended up seeing the beauty in it that I was blind to because I was too close. Sometimes a small miracle happens and it turns out that the half-finished work just happened to look worse than it did at any other stage, with the final result being incredibly pretty. But many people drop a piece or even the craft at large when they bump into that wall of “damn, this is not what I wanted at all!” and never get to find out how good and positive their work would actually turn out to be.

7. Round Cloudicorn
Round Cloudicorn
8. Round Furycorn
Round Furycorn

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as demisexual and panromantic.

9. Pearl
Pearl

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

I actually don’t tell people about my exact identity too often. Since both labels I most strongly identify with are pretty obscure where I live, I tend to dread the conversation a little. I am also exceptionally lucky, though – where I live, most people are pretty progressive, and the number seems to shoot up even further when you go to an art school.

I am trying to open up about being demisexual more though ever since I realised that younger people with the same identity could probably really benefit of noticing that someone older and (hopefully at some point?) more established identifies that way, too.

10. Garnet
Garnet

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

The “But isn’t that normal?” one that follows demisexuals around a lot. I always have to explain to those saying it that while the emotional bond I need often appears alongside romantic feelings, it doesn’t always. I’ve felt attracted to close friends I had otherwise exclusively platonic feelings for, and I have been head over heels romantically for people but we never arrived at that specific bond I needed to feel physically attracted to them.

11. Amethyst
Amethyst

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

First off, it’s okay to take your time with figuring things out. Anyone who demands of you to have a firm and established label within a short deadline is just being a butt about it, you’re free to think about it, experiment, gather experience and even to reject specific labels altogether. And secondly, you’re a gift to everyone who shares your experience and is still searching for themselves. Whenever I wasn’t sure about continuing to grasp for my goals for my own benefit, that helped me out a lot. Knowing that I’m one more person in my field who improves all of our chances to become more visible and provide a future generation with more stability some day.

12. Alien
Alien

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

While my artblog at broeckchen is one of the most complete collections of my current work, I also have a nice hub-page at http://linktr.ee/broeckchen89 where people can see more different places to potentially follow me instead.

13. Rosa's Pumpkin
Rosa’s Pumpkin

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

Interview: Mies Nestor M

Today we’re joined by Mies Nestor M. Mies is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in drawing characters, both their own and fanart. They started out doing mostly traditional art, but have recently started doing digital. They have an incredible amount of talent. The amount of detail in their drawings is extraordinary, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

a family photo
A Family Photo

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a cartoon artist on Instagram. I did majorly traditional art in the past but due to minimal amount of space in college dorms for art supplies, I have only really been doing digital art mainly for the last few months. I enjoy making both fan art and art of my own characters. Making characters is one of my favorite things about drawing. I don’t write about them a lot, but I am very passionate about making unique and diverse characters, though I laugh to myself that most of them are asexual.

What inspires you?

I have always been a fan of cartoons and anime, mostly shows that are peaceful and revolve around characters and character relations, but mostly in the way of friendships and family. Within the last year I’ve really gotten into Dungeons and Dragons and I’m very inspired by both the campaigns I am in as well as the ones I watch online. I feel like the parties that are made in those games show great and loving friendships that are different from usual media.

Fate
Fate

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

I actually hated drawing when I was young. I had a very “if I’m not good at it now I’m not going to do it” mentality. I always enjoyed cartoons and the like and eventually got around to drawing. I also had ideas for characters and I couldn’t help but want to draw them.

IMG_1221

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 sucker for symbolism and wordplay. I tend to have characters wear joke t-shirts as well as have color codes for certain characters of my own. It’s nothing too big, but I love having little callouts to certain aspects of a character

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep practicing. It’s an oldie but a goodie. Anything you want to do will take time to get good at. Surround yourself with people to share your art with too. There’s nothing that makes me want to draw more than my friends telling me they enjoy my stuff.

IMG_2098

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a Aromantic Asexual. I have never had any attraction I guess haha.

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

I’ve only really had an audience of younger artists following me, so I’ve never had any pushes to do anything I’m uncomfortable with in my art, thankfully. As well as that, my art style is rather cutesy and “innocent”, so I’ve never gotten any inappropriate comments or questions. I’ve talked about my identity on livestreams, but everyone has been fairly kind.

momhouse
Momhouse

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

Offline, I’ve definitely gotten a lot of the “you’ll find the right person one day” stuff. I rarely explicitly state my identity, but I often say “I’m not interested in dating/sex” and gotten quite a few confused and, while well-meaning, demeaning responses. People seem to expect everyone to experience attraction, and get confused and act sorry when you express that you don’t.

persona glasses
Persona Glasses

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

What you’re feeling is normal, and there are people out there just like you.You don’t need to follow everyone’s expectations of what you should be and take all the time you need to figure out how you identify and you are always allowed to change whatever labels you use if you find a new one that fits better or figure something out about yourself. That doesn’t mean you were faking it or wrong, figuring out yourself is a process and it’s okay to take your time.

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

I post on Instagram! My main account is ShadowGingerdapple and I talk about my own characters on ShadowOCdapple. If you want to find me on Tumblr I’m at ShadowSnowdapple!

Radiant Soul
Radiant Soul

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

Interview: SilverStarStrike

Today we’re joined by SilverStarStrike. SilverStarStrike is a phenomenal aspiring visual artist who works with both traditional and digital mediums. She’s currently experimenting with a variety of styles and does take commissions. SilverStarStrike is a dedicated and passionate artist with a very bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Well, I have been drawing actively for about 4 years. I mostly draw digital art but I can work with traditional mediums. I am seeking to expand my horizons with realism, 3D art, and other styles. I also take commissions and don’t draw absolutely for free.

What inspires you?

Almost everything really, but I take inspiration mostly from music and video games. As of right now, the game “Hollow Knight” is a huge drive for inspiration. My previous biggest inspirations are “Wreck-It Ralph” and “Ori and the Blind Forest.”

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

I haven’t always wanted to be an artist. I actually wanted to be a paleontologist and a chef, but my interests in those fields died. Then when I discovered “Wreck-It Ralph” it drove me to create characters and ever since then, I have been drawing more actively.

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 not entirely sure what you mean, but I do sign most of my own works with my own signature. I also don’t have a logo, but I do have a pretty common style that’s somewhat unique to myself, at least in my eyes.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep practicing, and don’t give up. You’ll definitely improve if you put a lot of effort, love, and care into your work. If you just want art to be just a hobby, that’s fine as well, but that doesn’t mean your art is worth less than anybody else’s. Your art is wonderful, beautiful, and just downright gorgeous.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I kinda personally lean on more of the asexual spectrum. I don’t experience a lot of sexual arousal to anything, and honestly I even find myself sex-repulsive and I don’t feel so good when I think about sex. Usually results include nausea and just disgusting feelings in general. I don’t even wish to have children in the future.

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

I have not yet actually, since I’m somewhat closeted about it. I do post asexual relating posts that I honestly can relate to, and my sexuality and pronouns are shown on my Deviantart profile. So far, everybody seems pretty accepting of my orientation.

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

That asexuals are “broken.” I don’t believe in that. If they don’t want to have sex or any of the sort, then that’s fine with me. They’re all human beings, just like us.

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

Don’t try fretting over it, and take your time thinking about it. Remember, your orientation is only just a part of who you are, and doesn’t entirely define you. Whether you’re bi, het, homo, or even ace, you’re special and beautiful.

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

Outside of Tumblr, I have a Deviantart account with the same name, SilverStarStrike. I also have a YouTube channel named Starflight LunaSpirit.

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