Interview: Enzouke

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

01

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

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

What inspires you?

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

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

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

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

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

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

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

02

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interview: Jocelyn Lyric Saravia

Today we’re joined by Jocelyn “Lyric” Saravia. Jocelyn is a phenomenally talented visual artist. They do a lot of fanart, using mostly digital mediums to create their art. When they’re not drawing fanart, Jocelyn does a lot of art for school and hopes one day to be a professional animator. It’s very clear they’re an artist with an incredibly bright future, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I usually do the art that is for the fandom such as Ouran High School Host Club, and I also do the art that’s required for school and lastly, the digital art. Also, I am an artist for furry fandom, not the dark side. I just usually draw the cute stuff.

I love to take art classes at any chances I get. You could say that I am kinda like a doujinshi artist and a student artist aiming to be in professional animator field

What inspires you?

My inspiration is around me. It could be my friends, my parents, my disability, or any theme that I am very passionate in. When I usually draw, I feel the sense of the passion to inform people what I felt or thought about in that time.

FullSizeRender

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

I have to tell the story about that. Haha, when I was in second grade, I had the some unusual dream. It showed the infamous Mona Lisa art in dark black room, and I was standing there in my pajamas. I felt some urge to create the art that could be great as her artist did. But I never finished it in my dream. When I woke up, I knew I wanted to be an artist. I always have been an artist for years. I am still chasing that dream to complete my art until my death.

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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, I don’t usually have the special or unique signature or etc, but I usually hide the subtle theme that people with mental illness or disability could relate and feel that they are connected to me and I want to really connect with them.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Remember, the old phrase worked for me: practice makes the work perfect (not literally, but you know what I am saying!) :D<

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Greyromantic Asexual , that’s where I identify!

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

Yeah, it’s hard. Some people tend to tell me that I am missing out the greatest opportunity that I could create work out of it or something. But that was the thing I ignore continuously.

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

The most common misconception about asexuality is that people feel that I don’t want a relationship, while I am actively look for one.

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

Hey, one thing I thought that I was broken or just had mental illness associated with that, that we are not broken or just have something that influence, that’s okay. That’s something we can try to cope or live in the style.

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

You can visit my work at Instagram in two separate accounts: at kagehime_sama for student artwork and the human stuff that you can totally relate and at lyricmelodysart for furry art and fun things and cute stuff. Or visit me at the professional website that I created on my own to showcase my works I did in school. :D<

Here’s the link: http://the-pragmatic-one-s-arts.webnode.com/.

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

Interview: Alanna

Today we’re joined by Alanna. Alanna is a phenomenal mixed media artist who dabbles in a bit of everything. She specializes in digital art and animation. When not drawing, Alanna enjoys creating comics. Her work is beautiful and eerie, reflecting her enjoyment of the weird and the macabre. She also loves using intense colors and lighting. It’s clear that she’s a passionate and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

BUNBUN
Bunbun

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a bit of a mixed media digital artist; I animate, illustrate, make comics, write, do 3D, and even dabble in music. I never like staying in one style, I always like adopting a new trick or tip into my art and varying it up for each project I choose so I never get stale with what I do. What is consistent is my obsession with the weird and the macabre and my love for intense colors and lighting (and seals!)

Melanistic Seals
Melanistic Seals

What inspires you?

Surreal garbage! Bizarre trash! Anything strange and jarring interests me, fuels my creativity to create something new and unseen. Outside of the strange I really can find inspiration practically everywhere. Anything that tickles my fancy will give me an idea for something unique.

Snow City
Snow City

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

My mom was an artist so I guess it rubbed off on me. I was thinking about maybe becoming a scientist but I kind of had a drive for art since it didn’t require the brainpower haha…

Girl 3D Model
Girl 3D Model

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 have a thing about my art where colors and objects play a strong role in categorizing things. Certain areas and characters usually have an extremely distinct color or shape to them, so much so it’s bordering onto obsession to keep things looking the same.

Goat Robot
Goat Robot

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Practice, practice, practice! Never ever think little of yourself because you need to improve, many artists take forever to get their art right, being bad is always the first step to being good. Always, always draw from life, photos, anatomy books, etc. CONSTANTLY. I made the bad decision of not doing that as a kid and your work suffers because of that. Also taking art as a profession is something you really need to think about in the long run. Find a field with work in it and decide if its really want you want to do. Make sure to always have a back up plan and understand how this is going to impact you in the long run.

Comic
Comic

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m both Aromantic and Asexual.

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

I usually tell my identity to people I know and trust very well so my colleagues finding out would be happenstance. As for outside of my field I completely understand and know my identity is far beyond anything close to mainstream. Whatever backhand comments I get I understand people have no idea what this identity is and I’m fine with that even if it is a little annoying. I relate this back to my digital art because I know too well people believe I will my art into existence by pressing a button or I can somehow “draw” a 3D model into existence. People just don’t know and that’s fine for me, it’s going to take a many years before being ace is even recognized as much as being gay is. People telling me my identity is fake and that I must have issues on the other hand I don’t take as lightly.

Snow
Snow

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

Oh, damn, too many, both perpetrated by non-aces and aces alike, which frankly scares me. I consider asexuality a lack of an orientation or lack of attraction to genders and many LGBT places do use this too as a definition though still too many asexual sites list asexuality as having to do with sex, libido or interest in sex. Shame because being a non sex-repulsed ace I feel I’m not “ace enough” to be fully asexual because of this stigma. Asexuality has nothing to do with sex but it doesn’t stop people from believing that.

Spirit
Spirit

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

Be patient and realize coming out of the closet is not a one-time experience; it takes years, maybe even decades to fully realize yourself. Never force yourself into anything, never let anyone decide your orientation for you, its all up to you in the end. If in the end you realize you are ace or not that’s fine too, you’re no less valid no matter what label you find. Also know that it’s even harder for people around you to understand you right away, parents, friends and relatives may take years, decades to understand coming out of the closet is but what matters is they love you even if you feel they don’t “get” what asexuality is. And remember if you feel you’re in an abusive/neglectful home, you don’t have to tell your parents your orientation, tell people you know you can trust and when you can, move out. Safety is more important than wanting acceptance from people who won’t give it. I’ve met people who were kicked out of their homes and this is the best advice I’ve gotten if you’re not sure about your situation.

Swamp
Swamp

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

I have a Tumblr: http://indagold-orchid.tumblr.com/
Various comics I’ve worked on: https://tapas.io/indagold/series
And my Twitter: https://twitter.com/BunSeals.

Girl and Shield
Girl and Shield

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

Interview: Hana Golden

Today we’re joined by Hana Golden. Hana is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in digital art but also works in traditional mediums as well. She does character design, capturing expressions and emotions through a masterful use of detail. Hana also frequently draws canines and her ability to capture dog’s personalities with color and lines is amazing. She’s an incredibly talented artist, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m mostly a digital artist, but still work with a variety of traditional mediums. I enjoy watercoloring, spraypainting, stippling, and simple illustration work. I like to focus on expression cartooning, character design, and heavily enjoy fanart as well. Canines specifically have also always been a go-to for me and is one of the things I’ve always been known for. I also like to create my own custom Funko Pop figures as another side hobby.

For my art, I’d say that I like to focus heavily on expressions and making you feel what the character is feeling. When someone feels the same emotion I’m drawing by looking at it, that’s the best thing. Either way, I love drawing faces and just sketching in general.

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What inspires you?

Let’s see … kinda tough question cause there’s so much that inspires me. From an early age, my oldest sister was an artist, and my biggest inspiration and drive to improve. Now, I’d say that Disney/DreamWorks is my biggest inspiration. Watching certain films and shorts just make me want to push myself more and more. From the character design to the emotional feelings you get when you look at a scene, that’s what I want to create. I want to capture that one moment that made my heart pound, where I pause the scene and just stare at the characters face for a long time. It was that face that gave me a feeling, and I have to be able to do it too. I can get pretty obsessed about it actually, haha. I’m just super into animation, and hope to animate again. I use to do it a lot as a kid.

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

Like I had stated above, my oldest sister was the one who got me into drawing. I wanted have that one thing in common that we could do together. Watching anything animated/cartoon pushed me to draw those characters constantly. I remember being in my room drawing the covers of old VHS Disney movies, drawing Pokémon cards, really anything I could get my hands on. I was just drawing all the time.

I’ve been drawing since I could hold a pencil, like most everyone else, but I’m not sure to be honest. It never really occurred to me that I could partake in making these movies, or designing these characters. I’m not sure why, I guess it was never pushed on me or talked about as something I could potentially be a part of, not even by my teachers.  I knew I loved to draw and wanted to do it all the time, but I never pursued it the way I feel like I should have. My mentality about it was all wrong compared to how to feel about it now, and I wish I had pursued it more seriously. For the simple short answer, yes, I have always wanted to be an artist.

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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?

Honestly, there’s really nothing this deep in anything I do haha. I have a simple signature that if it’s not out in the obvious, then it’s small and hidden in the picture. I’ve never been a fan of putting my signature on my work, but since I had multiple works stolen, I’ve gotten to the habit of hiding it in the picture so it couldn’t be erased haha.

When I work on commissions, I really try to pull the person’s personality (or animals) out on paper. I want people to see their pet, s/o, or themselves in my work. I want them to feel like their personality is right there. That’s really important to me.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Please, just don’t give up. I know it’s what everyone says, but it’s so true. Too many people I know who use to draw and loved it, don’t do it anymore cause they said they were intimidated by other artists, or just got too down on themselves and came to a stop. It takes work, and you just have to push past all that stuff and focus on you. Compare your work to your own, not someone else’s. Look at how far you’ve come and embrace that. Just keep going.

Also, don’t be afraid of referencing/copying when starting out. That’s how you’re going to learn such a variety of things and all the different styles and types of art out there. You’ll develop your own style eventually by dropping things that don’t work for what you visually like, and picking up parts of others that you do and adding it to your own. Drawing from life is important though to learn proper proportions, lighting, color, etc. Don’t rely fully on cartoons or anime to teach you that stuff haha. It’s okay to copy other people’s work as long as you’re not claiming it as your own, just give credit where credit is due. A good rule of thumb I always worked from was if you copied it, keep it to yourself. If you had help from another artist’s work, credit it.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as Asexual. I’m not super sure if I lean towards gray or not, but I’m comfortable just using the term Ace. Finding out there was a word for how I was feeling, and that others were like me, was one of the most important parts of my life. I can still remember how I felt the minute I typed that word into Google and discovered its meaning haha.

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

Not really to be honest, at least not to my face. If anything, with some people I just got a feeling that they didn’t truly believe me or fully understand. It’s tough, because I want to have a family someday. I’ve always wanted children, and people who know me, know that. When I told them that I was ace, most of them will point out “You know how to get children, right?” I hate when people say that because I’m not stupid, yes I know about sex, I understand how it works, but I don’t like it, and don’t want it.

I even went to go see an Endocrinologist (a hormone doctor) cause I do actually have an issue with my hormones. I asked her about my libido and stuff like that (before I identified as ace, I thought my hormones were the problem) and she told me that with the way my hormones are, I should have a high sex drive and crazy libido. I laughed and cried the whole way home, because that wasn’t me, and I still got no answers.

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

That we don’t want a family, a significant other, or refuse to have sex in general. That’s not true for many people who identify in this orientation, and for some, it is. There are many asexual people who want their own children, want to be in a relationship, and even like having sex. All of that is okay, being Asexual just means that you don’t feel sexual attraction.

For me personally, I still struggle time to time. I want to be in a relationship, cuddle, hold hands, and I want a family. I just don’t want to have sex so it’s tough when I tell people that cause they don’t understand. Most people just tell me that when the time comes, I just need to “suck it up and do it” if I want kids.

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

Don’t just ignore your own feelings and please teach others. I went to great lengths to get an answer as to why I was afraid to be close with my boyfriend, or why I didn’t feel anything when it came to kissing or avoiding situations that would make the other feel like we could take the next step in our relationship. It was awful, and not fair to either of us. It was hard to admit to people I get more of a love feeling walking into an art store or watching an animated movie, and then I got going on a date. In the end, it wasn’t a doctor that helped me, but a person that I follow online who just happened to use the word asexual in a sentence, and I decided to google it. I wish that I was exposed to the idea that you don’t need to have sex. It can be scary when all of your friends and people you are exposed to daily are all talking about something you just can’t relate too. You look at your own life and see how old you’re getting, and you haven’t had sex yet. It’s normal, and it’s okay to not want that in your life.  Just talk, educate others, and be open about it! It’s important to teach people to listen to your own body, and don’t do something because you feel you have too.

You’re valid and important, talk about it openly, because it will help you to be more comfortable with who you are.

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

Sorry this got lengthy! I like writing. I post my art mostly on my Instagram! You can also follow me on my Facebook page, Sebatticus, and my Tumblr Sebatticus as well 🙂

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

Interview: Victoria Jeon

Today we’re joined by Victoria Jeon. Victoria is a phenomenally talented writer and visual artist who specializes in webcomics. Most of her work falls under dark fantasy, though she explores many themes and ideas through her art. Victoria currently has a webcomic entitled Perfection Engine, which has just the most fascinating premise. She’s clearly a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read and see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. Lucifer
Lucifer

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a digital illustrator and a webcomic artist. I mostly draw original character art, although I’ve drawn and sold some fanart in the past and recently started to participate in fanzines. My art often involves dark fantasy, symbolism and wordplay, philosophical subjects, and I strive to make works that look like traditional, oil paintings.

My current webcomic project is “Perfection Engine,” a fantasy webcomic that involves an angelic race in a seemingly perfect society, devoted to bringing back their beloved Maker. It is meant to be a shorter webcomic before I start some of my longer stories, but it’s a dark satire that hopefully comes across with a lot of insight and symbolism.

I am actually also a first year law student, meaning I am effectively living a double life with the beginnings of my legal career and my art. My art, whether I am painting illustrations or making webcomic pages definitely is a source of joy and comfort when I’m burnt out from law school work. It’s a huge challenge keeping up with both, but when both are in balance, I get fulfillment from both sides of my life.

2. Perfection Engine Cast
Perfection Engine Cast

What inspires you?

As far as my art style goes, I primarily draw inspiration from Blaze Wu, Yoshitaka Amano, Ayami Kojima, and Minori. I also tend to draw inspiration from baroque paintings, rococo paintings, and impressionist paintings, although it’s really hard to pinpoint a favorite or several from there!

Fashion also is a huge inspiration for me as well. I’ve been involved with Japanese fashion styles (i.e. Lolita fashion, Shironuri, and Mori fashion) for quite some time, so some of my characters naturally have designs similar to those fashion styles. I’ve been looking a bit more towards Haute Couture and up and coming fashion designers for inspiration too. Lately, I’ve been looking towards Comme de Garçons, Alice Auaa, Alexander McQueen, Linda Friesen, and more.

Subject matter for my stories is a lot darker, haha. I take from fairy tales, world history, philosophy, real life events, my life, and general observations about human nature and society. For example, one of my future projects brings a question, “What would it be like to search for truths people have taken to the grave?” Another explores the question, “What’s the point of all that power in your hands if you cannot reach for help?” Perfection Engine, my current webcomic, explores, in part, the question, “What if a God does not want to be worshipped?” and is very loosely based on a toxic relationship I’ve had in my past. A lot of my stories thus tend to lean to a tragic atmosphere, although I do hope people get some food for thought in the process of exploring them! It’d be good if some people got good out of what spite or anger I may feel against real life.

Aside from fairy tales, history, philosophy, and just reality in general, video games, movies and TV shows inspire me greatly as well. I take great amount of inspiration from Yoko Taro (Drakengard/Nier series), Final Fantasy 10, Dark Souls, Revolutionary Girl Utena, Pan’s Labyrinth, Project Itoh (Empire of Corpses, Harmony), and more.

Lastly, close friends are always an inspiration, even if we have very different philosophies and inspirations for our respective works. They help provide the drive and the food and drinks when all the visual and material inspirations cannot. Literally.

3. Golden - Self Portrait
Golden – Self Portrait

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

It’s a bit embarrassing to say, but I got into drawing a while after writing terrible fanfiction of video games when I was ten. At first, it was drawing fanart and self-inserts. Then it was a bunch of RP characters. I eventually got introduced to DeviantArt when I was 14, at which point I started to devote serious time and effort into drawing, writing stories, making characters, and improving my craft. I think I always enjoyed drawing, but it wasn’t up until this point that I seriously considered a path in art.

Due to a variety of personal reasons, circumstances and other interests in my life, I’ve ended up going to law school instead. I definitely was not going to give up art just because I was going into an entirely different field altogether though. I still have some stories I want to tell and endless things I want to illustrate.

4. Conjoined Souls
Conjoined Souls

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

The penname “Alberloze” is a word in a fictional language that spans across almost all of my current stories. It means “White Rose,” but it colloquially means “True Love.” This is not restricted to romantic love either; it could be true love between friends, family, and so on. As for certain symbols and features, I tend to use a lot of flower, animal, and divine symbolisms. I also adore wordplay (namely palindromes, dual-meanings, and anagrams), and use them where I can.

It’s probably worth noting that a lot of my stories involve the soul in some form or another. I can’t exactly divulge how so as some of these stories are not published yet, but the human soul has always fascinated me. So many people define the soul in vastly different ways. Some do not believe in souls or anything spiritual, that it is a fictional concept. Some believe humanity and souls are the same thing. Some believe the soul is made of our thoughts and feelings. Some believe it is our will. Some believe souls straight-up cannot be comprehended.

My stories also tend to revolve around a theme. For my current project, Perfection Engine, for example, the theme is “Obsession.” Another story’s is “Truth.” Another story’s is “Vengeance.” And the last in that sequence of stories is “Karma.” I’m aiming to make stories with the theme of “Hope” or “Dreams” eventually too — something a lot happier and lighthearted. I’m contemplating on a magical girl series or a series of fairy tale retellings.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Take some time to figure out who you are. Your artwork will seem a lot more genuine and interesting when you take time to figure out what you like, what stories you have to tell, and who you are as a person. Think of it like going to an isolated mountain and meditating to become stronger like in kung-fu movies.

Always be open to experimenting. I found that experimenting is a sure way to get out of your comfort zone and discover art styles and work styles that you wouldn’t have discovered for yourself otherwise.

And lastly, do not be discouraged by other people. This ranges from societal expectations, to disapproving family members, to perhaps artists that you think are above and beyond where you are currently. It could be hard, that drawing in and of itself in those circumstances could feel like rebellion, but if you fight the good fight, I promise you will be satisfied with yourself in the long run.

5. Deficient Heaven
Deficient Heaven

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a cisgender woman (she/her), although sometimes I do question whether I really am cisgender as opposed to say, being genderfluid or genderless; I am also totally fine with they/them pronouns and allow people to use she/they interchangeably.

I am also biromantic asexual. I’d say I sit somewhere between sex-neutral to sex-negative asexuality, meaning I’d likely only volunteer to sexual activity under very narrow circumstances (with a significant other and after much deliberation and communication probably).

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

I have not experienced ace prejudice in my field yet —in law school and in art—, although I’ve seen quite a lot of people become confused about it. I am a part of the executive board in my law school’s OUTlaw group (LGBTQ+ lawyers group), and I’ve simply been doing what I can to accept any and all orientations that come in. As far as in the art field, I try to add more ace/aro representation with my characters. Many of them fall into the ace/aro spectrum, whether they are ace, aro, both, gray, or demi.

The one notable “prejudice” I’ve had was outside my field, in my personal life. After I’ve decided to come out as ace, I’ve had a conversation as to how my allosexual significant other (at the time) and I were going to “work something out” in light of me coming out as ace. Was it an attempt to “fix” my orientation, or was it trying to open up communication? I could not quite tell from the tone and facial expression. In the worst-case scenario, it was certainly prejudice of sorts. Other than that, I’ve been fortunate since my family and friends have been general accepting after I’ve explained how asexuality works.

6. Starkest Contrast
Starkest Contrast

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

There’s two in my case. The first is that asexual individuals are cold or antisocial. The second is that because we are ace, we are suddenly for some reason not allowed to enjoy certain aesthetics.

On the first count, asexual individuals are not abstaining because they haven’t found the right person or otherwise have committed to celibacy! They just simply don’t experience sexual attraction. Just because they don’t experience sexual attraction doesn’t mean that they don’t also want to avoid human interaction.

On the second count, aesthetic attraction/appreciation are very different from being sexual attraction. I’ve had a couple times in which I was looking at some risqué fashion (i.e. corsetry and lingerie) for designing and inspiration, and someone else asking me,

“Wait, aren’t you ace?”

“Yes but do you see the quality of that design?!”

7. Full Bloom
Full Bloom

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

Just remember that your identity is valid and you are not alone. It’s also worth remembering that a part of why a lot of asexuals are insecure of their own identity is because society really loves emphasizing sex and advertising it where they can. That is society’s inclination, and you can stand on your own against it to live out your own life. Better yet, you can find other asexual individuals, which can give you a sense of solidarity too!

8. Perfection Engine 2-3
Perfection Engine 2-3

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

You can find my current webcomic, Perfection Engine, on Tapas (https://tapas.io/series/Perfection-Engine). You can also find me on Twitter, Tumblr, Artstation, Redbubble, and Instagram under “Alberloze.” Tumblr and Artstation are the best places to find my best works, although I post doodles and completed works first on Twitter.

9. Blood Oath - 5
Blood Oath – 5

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

Interview: August

Today we’re joined by August. August is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in drawing people. They focus on body diversity, drawing bodies in a variety of shapes and sizes. They also enjoy drawing transgender and nonbinary characters as well. They have a very refreshing approach to art and believe people can be beautiful without being oversexualized or fetishized. Their work is gorgeous, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to them for taking part in this interview.

1

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Hello! My name is August and I use the pronouns They/Them. I’m currently a university student working on my BA for Multimedia. My art is more often digital and focuses on women of color. I also really enjoy drawing transgender and nonbinary characters as well. It wasn’t always my focus, but the reason I shifted to drawing this particular genre is because I myself am a person of color and it’s hard to find artwork that doesn’t just fetishize our bodies, but empowers us. With that said, my main focus is heavier set bodies that fit “media standards”. Bodies are beautiful and I want to be able to portray a love for every shape and size with honor and dignity. I’ve heard people describe my mission as “political” but I don’t think it’s political to want a female body to appear beautiful without oversexualization.

2

What inspires you?

What inspires me on a regular basis is music. Music is such a big part of my life and with all of my anxiety, it does a wonderful job of keeping me grounded. It doesn’t happen with every song I listen to, but every now and again I’ll listen to something and it will paint such a vivid image in my mind that I have to grab a sketchbook and start a new piece. It isn’t always immediately obvious how music inspires each piece, but I think that’s something I can hold for myself and not feel like I have to explain to anyone. It’s a personal experience, after all.

3

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

I wouldn’t say I always wanted to be a visual artist. But for as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to create something. In middle school I was part of the after school newspaper, and wrote stories for each issue. Sometimes I wrote poetry and most other times I would sit alone and draw in a notebook. What eventually stuck with me the most was my visual artistry and ever since then I’ve been dedicated to improving my craft.

I suppose one of the main reasons I became interested in the arts is the fact that I was born with a physical disability that prevented me from being incredibly active. Art was one of the few things I could do that didn’t involve running around and it really means a lot to me in terms of expressing myself. Everyone deserves an outlet, whatever that may mean to them and for me, that is art.

4

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

Nothing that I’ve intentionally kept secret! I do have one quirk though and that is I only draw four fingers per hand. I don’t have a particular reason why and sometimes people will point it out, thinking I made a mistake. I suppose it dates back to when I started really focusing on drawing people. There were some artists I followed that drew in a cartoonish style and their characters all had four fingers per hand. I adopted that style and since then it’s just always been a thing of mine. I think it’s cute!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

The biggest piece of advice I can give is to never compare yourself to others. Everyone is on their own path and it’s not fair to judge your progress by theirs. You’re not trying to be exactly like them, so why does their own talent matter to you?

If anything, I would say compare yourself to yourself. On days where I feel frustrated with my art for whatever reason, I look back on past pieces I’ve done. It always helps me, because I can see what I’ve improved on and where I used to be before. Something else I’d also like to offer is that if you draw every day, or even every now and again, you have a talent. You have an artistic bone inside you and the only way it can grow is practice and repetition. Anyone can be an artist if they put time and energy into their craft.

5

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual. It’s something I’ve struggled with my whole life and it’s only been recently that I felt the term “asexual” described my feelings. So far, it’s been working just fine!

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

Sometimes when I create characters, people like to know their romantic backstories. I always get a confused look when I tell them a certain character isn’t really interested in the sexual aspect of a relationship. Normally I just shrug off any off hand opinion. It’s my art, my character and my choice.

6

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

The most common, which I think anyone under the umbrella can relate to, is that people assume I’m just confused about sex and that I shouldn’t judge it if I haven’t tried it. Another one is that I’ve been told it isn’t real love if you don’t have sex. Which I think is a ridiculous assumption to make and only exists to pressure someone into sexual activity against their personal comfort. If anyone tries to pressure you into a sexual situation and you’re not comfortable, leave. You’re not a bad person for taking control of your body.

7

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

Everything is okay. You’re okay. I’m someone who likes to be labeled, because I’ve lived so long without knowing who I was and why I was feeling the way I was that I felt lost and confused. Sometimes I convinced myself it was a phase and I’d grow out of it eventually. But labels help me understand who I am and what I’m about. Other people hate labels. They don’t want to fit into another box and decide that whatever they feel is good enough without a name. And that’s okay too. If you want a label, keep doing research and talking to various members of the queer community. If you don’t want a label, then simply learn to be comfortable with just existing and focus on what makes you happy. There’s no time limit and if it take another week or 5 years to figure yourself out, that’s okay too. And don’t forget, labels change. You aren’t a liar if you chose one label today and another tomorrow. It’s part of the learning process.

I believe in you my friend.

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

I’m hoping to establish an online presence again soon, but for now, a few of my pieces can be found on my personal Tumblr: blackjackink.tumblr.com

It’s a bit of a mess, but like I said, I’m going to try and create a personal space for my art. Stay tuned!

8

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

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.