Interview: Keam

Today we’re joined by Keam. Keam is a wonderful fanartist who is currently most active in the Doctor Who fandom. They write fanfictions, mostly one-shots, and also some long-running projects. When they’re not writing, Keam does a lot of visual art, including recolouring and photo edits. It’s clear they’re a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Well, I write fanfiction and occasionally draw fanart, as well as making a wide variety of picture edits, icons and recolouring black and white photos. I’m mainly in the Doctor Who fandom at the moment, but have been around in several other book and TV series fandoms before. Most of my fanfics are one shots, but I also got a couple of long running projects. My drawings are always hand drawn and coloured in with ink/crayons/coloured markers or regular pencil.

What inspires you?

My never ending mind. Due to having ADHD, I got a mind that never slows down. When I get into it, I can be thinking about a show or book 24/7. It also means that there’s always new ideas appearing, encouraging me to draw something new or write a new story. It never ends, and I don’t want it to.

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

I suppose I partly have it from my family. My mum is a self-published author who’s currently written 5 books, and both my grandmothers are talented at painting and drawing. I’ve never really intended to be an artist in any professional manner, but as I’ve matured as a fanfic author the idea of writing an original book seem more and more appealing.

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

I don’t think I particularly have any special thing that represents my writing like that. I am told I have a bit of a unique pattern in my writing, which I think comes from not being native to the language and there for using a vocabulary and word combinations you wouldn’t see used by a native writer.

Otherwise, I always try to include a tall, blond haired person in my fanfics. That’s me by the way. The author standing there and enjoying her own work. Just a little symbol of my emotional investment in my own writing.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t give up. It sounds so cheesy, but is there something I’ve learned it is that it’s absolutely true. I’m not native to English, you see, and when I wrote my first fanfic I still did not know how to string two words together. I was 13 and had five years of theoretically learning behind me.

I had a dream in my head and with some help from my mother I managed to put it on paper. It’s still published out there on the internet on fanfic site somewhere. A horrific, self-indulgent drabble about pastel ponies.  But even if it was bad it taught me the joys of writing.  Because after that, I kept writing, one year after another, and now I’m five years down the line from when I started. Today, I even spend more time writing than sleeping (it’s 10.30 PM as I write this!). And for all that work, I really think I’ve gotten better, too. Today I feel proud of myself. I read my fanfics and enjoy them and I get good reviews.

Just recently a work I’d done in collaboration with another friend actually got a comment from the actress behind one of the characters we were writing about. She loved it. Another of my fanfics  got published in a fan letter/ezine for an American Fanclub in my fandom back in February. I got a free PDF copy of the ezine as a thank you, and on the first page was a content section with the title of my name proudly displayed.

All this is a far cry from the pastel Pony drabble I wrote at age 13. And the reasons I’m here, the reason I’m 18 and growing more and more professional, getting more and more attention from people that you want attention from, is because I kept going. Because I kept going, and I didn’t give up. Giving up is the worst disadvantage you can give yourself, so please don’t!

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a Bi/Quoiromantic Asexual who is partially sex repulsed.

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

Well, as a part of the Doctor Who fandom, Asexuality is always a hot topic. The show has 36 seasons, and during the majority of the 26 first seasons the main character appears as though they are asexual. A lot of people try to bypass this by referring to the character not acting in such a way in the ten newest seasons after they rebooted the show. There are a lot of fights over the fact that newer fans gladly write smut and ship the character as of old with characters from the newer episodes, completely ignoring the implied asexuality of the character back then, which is hurtful. Mostly, I just ignore this and instead look up content creators that treat the character fairly and knows to be aware of the characters implied asexuality.

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

That we’re incapable of having loving relationships, and that if you’re asexual it means aromantic as well. Naturally, aro aces exist – I’m an aspec ace myself – but it feels very ignorant and prejudiced to assume such things.

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

Relax. Take it easy. It is fine to be uncertain. The Ace community is very open and inclusive, and we’re ready to welcome everyone – even if you’re still questioning or not quite comfortable yet. We’ll give you some friendly cuddles and advice and it’ll be alright.

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

I have several social media accounts!

My Tumblr is at Gemvictorfromtheponyverse
My AO3 & Ff.net is Pearlislove
My Instagram is at aesteticfandomdreams.

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

Interview: Mirella

Today we’re joined by Mirella. Mirella is a phenomenal fanartist who started out writing fanfiction in the Doctor Who and Sherlock fandoms. She has recently gotten into drawing and draws a lot of art in the Celtic Thunder (a musical group) fandom. Her work is beautiful, brimming with vivid color and detail, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Lady Alaidhrm Gallaher and Rowan Caleraine in Forest of Fir Lí (1)
Lady Alaidhrm Gallaher and Rowan Caleraine in Forest of Fir Lí

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Historically I have always written fan fiction about Doctor Who/Sherlock, but recently I have taken to drawing on Adobe Sketch. I’m still very much in the process of developing my style and skill, but I’m working on making it much more realistic.

What inspires you?

My art is all fan art inspired by a show called Celtic Thunder: Storm. Celtic Thunder is an Irish singing group who normally perform just their songs in any random sequence with anecdotal bits every few songs – basically just a normal concert, but for this one show did a musical theatre style performance. Each member of the group played a character and each song – either a solo or group number – developed a story, but there was no dialogue. I’ve been working on a fan fiction based on Celtic Thunder: Storm so the fan art is also just productive procrastination for that. I develop potential story lines through the drawings, but the more I draw, the less I write.

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

I became interested in fanfic through Tumblr. I always wrote stories and poems for competitions, so writing stories about already established characters was a really easy step to take. I’ve always wanted to write, and am trying to write something good enough to be published professionally, or even just self-published on iBooks or something like that. I became interested in drawing through a friend of mine who was always drawing at school. I wanted to be able to draw like her so as soon as I got a decent iPad, I started experimenting. She’s been really helpful in giving me general tips and encouraging me even though she’s far beyond my level.

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?

Because I’m basing my drawing off Celtic Thunder: Storm, I try to stay as true as I can to the original characters I’m using (I add a lot of original characters due to expansion of my fanfic) while adding a lot of Irish and generally Celtic motifs. The colour green is a nice colour to draw with so I use a lot of that and add Celtic knots or symbols to my drawings.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just keep doing whatever you enjoy, even if you feel you’re terrible. Don’t feel like you need to master seriously advanced techniques that the professionals are using early on to try and improve the quality of what you’re producing. Even if you do the same thing the same way 1000 times, you will improve noticeably in your confidence and style.

Lady Alaidhrm Gallaher and Rowan Caleraine in Forest of Fir Lí (2)
Lady Alaidhrm Gallaher and Rowan Caleraine in Forest of Fir Lí

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as both asexual and aromantic.

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

I’ve encountered general ignorance about asexuality on Tumblr, but not in the circles where I draw art or write fan fiction. God, sometimes people really have no idea what asexuality is and when in that ignorance, they bash it within an inch of its life, I get quite upset. I’m thankful for all the brave people online who speak calmly and logically about it, so that the truth can be told, rather than spreading misinformation.

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

That we hate sex, and that by refusing sex to a potential partner, it’s a form of abuse. This one gets me really upset. I’m entirely sex-repulsed, so the thought of even holding someone’s hand is not a pleasant one, but I know that it’s entirely within the realms of asexuality to have sex and enjoy sex but still identify as asexual. So people who argue that asexuals are inherently abusive towards any partners because we refuse sex have not only mis-identified what asexuality is, but also seek to do us harm.

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

Find a group of people who can support you, even if they’re strangers online or some looney people on kik, and try and find a way to be confident in what you identify as. I thought for a while I was demisexual, and I might still be, but without ever having had a relationship it was too hard to tell at the age of 14 or whatever I was, so I went with asexual. It’s okay and perfectly normal to have a bit of fluidity in your sexuality. Even if in 20 years you go, “oh wait, I’m actually *insert different sexuality here*”, that is seriously and honestly okay. And if your support group doesn’t like that you’ve changed, screw them and get better friends. You need real people who will support you in all stages of life, not just when you match their narrow view of you.

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

You can read my *horrible, horrible attempts at* fan fiction on Archive of Our Own (AO3) under whovianlord and view my art on Tumblr under celticfangirl.

Princess Alaidhrm Ó_Braonáin and Rowan Caleraine Character Reference
Princess Alaidhrm Ó’Braonáin and Rowan Caleraine Character Reference

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