Interview: Diane Ramic

Today we’re joined by Diane Ramic. Diane is a phenomenal freelance illustrator who specializes in prehistory, science, fantasy, and science fiction. She does a ton of paleoart and dinosaurs are frequently in her work. Diane has also written a couple children’s books, including a coloring book of scientifically accurate dinosaurs. She has a passion for science and it shows, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a freelance illustrator and graphic designer, and my work tends to focus on prehistory, fantasy, and sci-fi. So, you’ll find plenty of dinosaurs, dragons and aliens in my art. I also illustrate children’s books, and have written a few of my own as well! I love combining art and science into a work, as those two fields have both captured my imagination since I was very young. Educational media is something I try to work on whenever I can.

What inspires you?

Nature for sure. Thinking about life that existed in the past, and life that may exist in the future, it just makes me want to design or re-create them through art. Astronomy is a huge inspiration for when I need to do alien designs, and just thinking of the cosmos gets me in the creating mode of thought.

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

Well, when I was seven, I wanted to be a Velociraptor. I even started walking on my toes, all hunched over and with my arms mimicking their folded up arms. When I found out being a Velociraptor was physically impossible (for now), my next goal was to be a paleontologist, and that turned into wanting to be a science-minded illustrator. Fossils are a fantastic base for knowing as much as we can about these extinct animals, but the only way we can really know what they looked like in life is through artists reconstructing them in their work. For most of the public, their first impressions on prehistoric animals comes from the media, be it in movie, toy, or book form. That’s why it’s important, when you’re working with paleoart, to incorporate the updated science in your work. It brings me great satisfaction to help contribute my work to the paleoart community, and help educate the public about the lives these wonderful animals lived.

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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?

Beyond designing aliens and their environments, I really, really enjoy doing the math for figuring out the planet’s mass and composition, atmospheric pressure, its place in the solar system, the mass and age of its star(s), how many other planets it shares the star(s) with, etc. Even if no one ever sees these things, it’s just very satisfying to have it all work out in your head and on paper.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I’m a visual artist, so this will be in that category of art. Study from life as often as you can. Once you’ve got a good grasp on the basics of how objects interact with one another and understand color theory, you can experiment with distorting and exaggerating figures, and play with color choice. A lot of online resources are free, and try to share what you’ve learned with others. There’s a lot of gatekeeping in the artist community, even though that doesn’t help anyone. You will most likely have to go through plenty of rejections, and that’s OK, too. Just pick yourself back up and keep going as best as you can. And whatever you do, don’t make fun of younger or less experienced artists’ work.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am definitely both ace and aro, and have felt this way as long as I can remember. I’m actually pretty relieved to not have developed any romantic or sexual feelings; I feel they would get in the way of me doing my work.

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

I think the most common thing is being told again and again that what I am doing is unnatural, and going against nature, the person’s gods, or “how it should be.” The “late bloomer” stuff can get kind of annoying, too. I’m about to be 23 as of this writing, I’m pretty sure if I was going to develop any other orientations, it would have been a thing by now. And if nothing else, I’m pretty sure there are plenty enough humans on this planet, the global population isn’t in danger of going extinct anytime soon, haha.

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

Probably that we are seen as cold, unfeeling robots. I understand a lot of ace people out there definitely have the same range of emotion as anyone else, and being compared to a robot is very dehumanizing. But as someone that also has a lack of emotion/empathy/etc. in general, I actually kind of like the description.

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

You are a valid and real person, and you know yourself better than anyone else can. You might be confused at first, thinking “Is something wrong with me?” or “Am I really like this?” and that’s ok. Sometimes feelings can shift over time and you may find yourself having a different experience than you do now, and this is normal. Part of what makes living things special is their ability to grow and change over time. You’re not alone. Do what makes you comfortable.

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

I have a website at http://dramic.wixsite.com/home, but more frequently post on my Tumblr at  http://dianeramic.tumblr.com. I’m always working on new projects, so I hope you stop by to see what’s new! I’ve also got an Amazon author page; feel free to check out what new books I have available!

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

Interview: Ash Roberts

Today we’re joined by Ash Roberts. Ash is a wonderful self-published author who specializes in young adult fiction, fantasy in particular. They’re currently working on a nine-book series, which they hope to find a traditional publisher for. They have an awesome amount of passion and enthusiasm, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Elves

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I write YA fantasy stories with strong female protagonists. There are usually dragons involved. I’m currently in the finishing stages of editing The Royal Dragon, which is the first book in a planned 9 book Dragoneer series. My goal is to get it published and then picked up by a TV channel like MTV or Freeform.

What inspires you?

Rick Riordan. I’ve been writing for a while, but when Hammer of Thor came out and had a genderfluid character, it suddenly made sense that I could do that too. I could work on the representation problem where nonbinaries and aces are almost completely non-existent, and still sell books.

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

When I was 14, a friend of the family loaned me a copy of Dragonriders of Pern. Two decades later, I still have it. Sorry, Cathy! Ever since then, I’ve been obsessed with dragons. I started writing a few months later.

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?

Wherever I go, dragons aren’t very far behind.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

There are some who will claim that art requires passion. “If you wake up and you can think of nothing but writing, then you are a writer.” That works for some people, but don’t beat yourself up if you have other interests and goals. If you create art, you are an artist.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I call myself gray, bit I guess technically, I am akiosexual. I experience attraction but don’t have any real desire to act on it.

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

Mostly, people seem to be pretty accepting. I polled a bunch of writers in a writing group I’m in and several people are already writing ace characters. But the wider world definitely doesn’t seem to consider asexuality to be a real phenomenon.

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

That we don’t exist. Most people just haven’t been exposed to a sexuality and even if they’ve heard of it, don’t think it’s real, because they haven’t seen asexuality in action. So they assume it’s not real.

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

Don’t let relationships define you. Being ace is perfectly valid, regardless of anything anyone might say.

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

I’m on Tumblr at http://dragoneer.tumblr.com.

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

Interview: Lindsey Alvord

Today we’re joined by Lindsey Alvord, who also goes by Mudora. Lindsey is an absolutely spectacular visual artist who creates some absolutely beautiful imagery. She specializes in fantasy and her elves and dragons are absolutely gorgeous. There’s so much character in her work and going through her portfolio, the viewer sees an amazing imagination as well as an incredibly skilled and enthusiastic artist who loves what she does. 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 a fantasy nut. Dragons, elves, magic, fantastical landscapes, you name it: I blame my wonderful mother for such things. Dungeons and Dragons and video games also add to the craziness.

I mostly do traditional sketching and digital painting, but I have backgrounds in watercolor and acrylic as well. I like fast mediums, as I work quickly. That likely adds a sense of impatience to my process… but there you are.

Forest Thicket
Forest Thicket

What inspires you?

My family for sure. They inspire in the encouraging and loving kind of way. I’m also SUPER inspired from videogames, other professional artists, the old masters, J.C. Leyendecker, nature, and a whole myriad of things. I would also say the Legend of Zelda inspired me back into art, so big kudos there.

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

I’ve been drawing since I could hold something remotely like a pencil in my hand. Since the age of 8, I knew I wanted to work in art. Later on down the road, I understood that I absolutely loved videogames, and that I wanted to design for them. And, I’m helping out game designers do that now!

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Lijering

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?

As far as I know, the only thing I add is a signature, but only to commissioned work. I used to sign everything, but I trailed off of that. Not sure why. Maybe I just don’t like my signature.

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Midna

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you want to be an artist, you can’t stop being one. What I mean by that is if you stop drawing because you feel like you’re not good enough, you’ll never reach the level you want. Don’t think that the masters ever stopped learning their craft. The only reason they were masters at all, was because they didn’t fall in the face of adversity.

Be patient with yourself. You will grow in time.

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Tarot Collection

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Totally and completely asexual: I am asexual and am sex repulsed. Totally love other people getting together though. Just keep it away from me!

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The Warden’s Return

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

Not yet, as I haven’t really talked to anyone about it unless they were already aware of what I meant. I have told my mother, who was very confused. But after a couple of times she understood what I was talking about.

So, as of now, I have dodged that particular ugliness.

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

The one I’ve encountered is the common, “Oh that’ll change when you find… THE ONE.”

I’ma tell you this, folks. I thought I was going to marry a guy, because I did love him. But, I was not sexually attracted in any way to him. It does not change when you find THE ONE. So, dodged a bullet there in that case.

Winter-Walk
Winter Walk

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

It’s okay to be sad about finding this out. Life puts a lot of expectations on you, and sometimes some of the things you thought were going to happen to you won’t as a result of finding out your orientation. I, for one, was accepting of it, but still have bitterness toward it. I’m not ‘normal’. It’s no longer easy for me to participate in conversations about relationships. Heck, I have to hide a major aspect about me to a majority of people still. There’s a lot of things that come with realizing who you are, and how you are. The hard part is learning to cope with the realization.

But in the end, I am happier to know what my body wants… or in this case, what it doesn’t want. And the fact that there is a name for it, that I’m not as alone as I thought I was, makes it better to embrace something new.

Wound
Wound

 

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

You can find me on here at mudora.tumblr.com. I also have a portfolio website: lindseya.portfoliobox.me. Tumblr is probably the best place to get to know me on a semi-personal level, though. If you don’t mind crazy folk, that is. Whatever you find there, I hope you enjoy! I aim to please.

The Forest Queen
The Forest Queen

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

Interview: Mirror

Today we’re joined by Mirror. Mirror is an amazing up and coming writer who specializes in blending sci-fi and fantasy. Her work features a lot of diverse characters and sounds really fantastic. She’s obviously an incredibly enthusiastic writer and her work sounds fantastic. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art is writing. I love to write, and I have ever since I was a young girl. I specialize in Sci-Fi and Fantasy, most of the time blending the two with some Catholic undertones for good measure.

What inspires you?

This may sound a tiny bit cliché, but space itself inspires me. I look out into the the universe, and I need to write. The emptiness of space, trying to imagine the reality of a star soundlessly burning for billions of years in the near infinite void of space…it inspires me. My religion, too, gives me a lot to write about, especially angels.

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

All my English classes as a school kid fostered my interest, but before I decided to pursue writing, I wanted to be an astronomer.

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?

Dragons are always in my stories in some form or fashion. For me, they symbolize infinity.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t put yourself in a box. Everyone always told me that I had to write about certain things because I’m an African American woman. They’re wrong. Your only limit is your imagination.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a bi-romantic asexual

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

Not in my field, luckily.

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

Most people I’ve encountered just don’t think that it’s possible to even be asexual, so overcoming that disbelief is the hardest part.

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

My advice would be to stay true to yourself. I know that sounds way corny, but it’s true. I didn’t accept my orientation until I was married and had two young kids, and when I tell you that I haven’t encountered anything so difficult in my life, believe it. There is a great amount of pain in being yourself around those who don’t like certain aspects of who you are, but what hurts infinitely more is betraying yourself to make someone else happy. Don’t do it.

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

If you find yourself interested in stars that turn into dragons and travel through space or in angels who come down from heaven to help humans (mainly POC) fight evil, then check out my blog timelordmirror on Tumblr.

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

Interview: Stacey

Today we’re joined by Stacey.  Stacey is an incredibly talented visual artist whose subject matter leans heavily towards traditional fantasy (be still my heart).  Looking through her work, I was struck by the attention to detail and wonderful use of color.  There’s an amazing sense of motion in a lot of the pictures she sent to go along with her interview.  I was truly awestruck.  My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Ana
Ana

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art consists mostly of traditional fantasy stuff. Wizards, dragons, mythical creatures etc. I have been working on finding a style I like, and have finally found one I think I enjoy that has a bit of a painterly style, and have really enjoyed playing around with it a lot.

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What inspires you?

I am mostly inspired by the D&D and Pathfinder games that I play. The worlds are rich and I have a solid group of friends to play with. I actually DM (or am the one in charge of) two games (one Pathfinder and the other Dungeons and Dragons 5e) and I’m playing in a D&D5e campaign right now, and it’s inspired lots of character designs and I’ve even started a comic version of the Pathfinder game I’m running right now. It’s currently on hiatus while I study comic paneling and visual storytelling, but it can be found on ComicFury if anybody is interested in checking it out! (http://shatteredstar.thecomicseries.com/comics/first)

Hunter - Adowyn
Hunter – Adowyn

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

Technically my field is private tutoring, but I have a degree in Mechanical Engineering, and I’ve been drawing for as long as I could hold a pencil in my hand. I don’t know that I’ve always wanted to be an artist, but I’m lucky to be able to make a living tutoring, so I can just do art because I want to.

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

I do! It’s an icon of a phoenix because I’m kind of obsessed with them.

Pfneix logo
Pfneix logo

My name comes from the Greek word Anastasius, which means “resurrection,” and I went through a personal life-up-in-flames-to-recovery about 6 years ago when my father died suddenly. So Phoenixes are basically my patronus. (Ironically, Dumbledore is also my fave character in the HP series)

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Draw every day. Even if it’s a sketch in your algebra or biology notebook or whatever. Just draw something every day. I also HIGHLY recommend joining art groups on Facebook or other social media. I am a part of the Daily Spitpaint group (which posts 4 new themes every day and challenges the members to spend 30 minutes working on a drawing of one of the themes. It’s SUPER stressful, but I’ve improved my speed and overall composition SO much with this group) and you can get great feedback!

If you’re looking to improve and have a group you can always get good critiques on, I also recommend the group Draw or Die on FB. They have monthly challenges with a theme and everybody that participates posts updates so that everybody can help them improve. There’s no prizes, so everybody’s always really good about pushing each other forward. This group is also great for any piece you’re having trouble with and has people from all over the world. They also do Google Hangouts where you can have other artists online to talk to and show them your work in real time to get instant feedback. It’s basically my favorite thing ever.

Jasmine and Rajah
Jasmine and Rajah

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m 100% ace, and strongly lean aro. I am also sex-repulsed.

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

Most of it’s just ignorance. I recently posted a note on FB for ace awareness week to invite people to send me questions anonymously (or publicly if they wanted) for a kind of Q&A for my friends and family on FB. They were all really cool about it.

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

I’m lucky to say that most of it that I’ve experienced is about just whether or not asexuality exists. And it’s pretty much always in the form of “oh, what’s that mean?” as opposed to challenging its existence.

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

This is true for more than just aces, but you are the only one that gets to define you. Like, I used to work in a copy center and we’d have a ton of people coming to print of genealogies and they were always super proud of where they came from because to them, that history defined them. Which is fine, but not something I’ve ever understood. I am me, and I choose what labels I want to use. If you don’t like a label, don’t use it. And if you don’t know what label fits you best, don’t worry about it. You are you, and ultimately that’s the most important thing. You are valuable because you are You. Not because you’re a boy or a girl, or because you’re straight or gay or trans or cis or whatever. Those don’t make or break your value. Use labels if you want to. Don’t use them if you don’t want to. And you can also change your mind later!

Mulan
Mulan

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

I have a gallery here on Tumblr (pfenixartwork.tumblr.com) and a gallery on DeviantArt (pfenixartwork.deviantart.com) and a Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PfenixArt/

I also have a commission post on my Tumblr if you’re interested (or if you know someone that might be) and I offer special discounts for characters that are POC or LGBTQIA+

Rhea
Rhea

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

Interview: Beth Murten

Today we’re joined by Beth Murten, who also goes under the URL hawkeyetoo.  Beth is an incredibly talented visual artist who makes the most adorable clay dragon sculptures.  The Peggy Carter and Angie Martinelli dragons are particularly adorable.  Beth works in a number of other mediums as well and her work is absolutely beautiful.  My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Mainly I make little polymer clay dragons, inspired by Chris d’Lacey’s Last Dragon Chronicles books. I’ve made Glinda and Elphaba dragons for some of the cast of Wicked (Louise Dearman has 2, Nikki Davis-Jones has 1, and I have a Glinda in reserve that I intend to give to Gina Beck when she performs at a town near me at the end of the year.) and I also gave Peggy Carter and Angie Martinelli dragons to Hayley Atwell. I’m very proud of that.

I do offer commissions for these dragons.

I also draw a lot. Often animals that I know. My cat is a regular model, as are some more exotic animals that I’ve had the pleasure of working with (I’ve been a Zoo Management student for the past 2 years and now I’m trying to get a job as a full time keeper.)

My boyfriend’s Mum also got me into papercutting. I’ve incorporated it into some of my drawings, creating windows from quotes and letting the pictures behind show through. Most often though I do regular papercuts. Sometimes from templates, sometimes inspired by pictures I’ve seen. I have a few ideas floating round my head at the minute, which I hope to work on soon.

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What inspires you?

I’m a Scout Leader, so I spend a lot of time outdoors, and even though I’m no good at landscapes and can’t draw the beautiful views I get to see, it still helps me come up with a lot of ideas. The scouts are some of my biggest fans, and I get a lot of encouragement from them. Quite a few own some of my dragons, and the Explorers (the 14-18 yr old section) are among the few who’ve seen my earlier drawings (I got a badge for that.)

I’m also really inspired by mythical creatures, hence the dragons. I love to give them bright colours and make them all unique. My little brother knows this, and often shows me cool pictures, or drags me downstairs to watch the Dragon cartoons. He also has a lot of my works. Mostly the earlier ones that didn’t work out how I’d hoped, but also some specially made for him.

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

I’ve always loved drawing and crafting, ever since I was old enough to actually do it. Art was always a subject I enjoyed at school, but I sometimes got frustrated that everyone seemed to be so much better at it than me. I think now it was just that I hadn’t figured out what was going on. I still haven’t, really.

My Grandma got me into papercrafts because she started cardmaking, which she’s bloody amazing at. She encouraged me to make cards for my parents and close friends, and I’d often use her scraps to make little pictures and stuff. Then Josh’s mum started papercutting (she’s really good at that too!) and I was curious, so she put together a starter set for me for Christmas.

The dragons were inspired by Chris d’Lacey’s Last Dragon Chronicles books, where one of the characters makes little clay dragons (whose names all begin with G, a tradition that I tend to keep with my dragons), which are secretly alive. The books caught my imagination, but it wasn’t until a few years after reading the first three, when I finally found them in a bookshop and finished the series, that I decided it’d be cool to make my own dragons. Sadly, mine don’t move or blow smoke rings when they’re annoyed, but they ARE very cute!

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

Not really. I’m trying to get into the habit of signing my work with a cute little dragon drawing, but I maybe need to simplify it a little bit first.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I’m still working on building myself up properly myself, but I’ve learnt a lot since high school. Mainly that practice really does help. I was terrible in high school, but I’m pretty good now.

Also, you might not be good at, let’s say drawing, but try your hand at other things and you’ll find something you’re great at. My dragons are a hell of a lot better than my portraits.

There’ll always be someone willing to give you praise and encourage you. And that helps more than making a couple of pieces that you’re proud of.

jaguar_by_bindah-d8kak78

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m asexual and biromantic

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

Not really. I don’t exactly hide my sexuality, but I don’t go around shouting it from the rooftops either, because I kind of think it’s nobody’s business. So only a few people, close friends and my boyfriend, know.

glow_by_bindah-d8hmi7r

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

A lot of people seem to be under the impression that Asexual people don’t want to have relationships at all. Sure, some people don’t. But I’ve been in a happy relationship for 4 years now, and I couldn’t imagine my life without Josh. See, it’s possible!

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

It really doesn’t matter! Sure, being able to put a word to how you feel is great, but it’s not the be all and end all. Your sexuality is not everything you are. And anyway, you’re not broken, sometimes people just feel this way. Just like sometimes people like boys, sometimes people like girls, sometimes people like both, or more than that. And sometimes, people don’t really like anyone. That doesn’t mean you’ll never have a partner. And there’s always that quote, which is always true: “Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

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

On the tag on my blog: http://hawkeyetoo.tumblr.com/tagged/beth%20draws%20stuff

On my dragon’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bethsdragons

And on my DeviantArt: http://bindah.deviantart.com/

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

Interview: Emerald

Today we’re joined by Emerald.  Emerald is an amazingly talented visual artist who specializes in drawing fantasy scenes.  She has an affinity for dragons in particular.  She also draws a number of animals.  Scrolling through her DeviantArt page, I was amazed at the striking imagery found in her work.  The detail is remarkable.  My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Well, what’s to tell … I’ve been drawing ever since my hands were dexterous enough to hold a pencil. I started out with wacky colour combinations in watercolour, then progressed to stick people, then to animals. I’ve been drawing animals and fantasy variants ever since.

These days, I’ve become most known for my dragons. Fantasy is my preferred genre because of the endless possibility…I never know what will show up next!

What inspires you?

The real question is: what doesn’t inspire me? I look outside and pretty much see everything I need there. Sun in the clouds, wind in the grass, moon reflecting off the world at midnight … everything in the natural world inspires me. Sometimes my pictures will be based on critters I see in dreams, and you can usually tell when. Those ones are pretty strange.

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

I don’t recall. It was a long time ago. I think I was born with the desire to create, and the outlet that manifested was visual art. These days, I’m fueled by the desire to paint what I feel and see with honesty, and to make the world a more beautiful place. I don’t really have a field per se, I’m just a hobbiest at this point.

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?

Hmm … if anything, it would be spirals. I seem to like spirals …

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t be an artist. ESPECIALLY not yourself. With artists, we are our own worst critics. It’s a constant battle to keep on top of your own internal censor, but trust me, the world wants to see what you have to offer, even if it may not feel like it.

Also, patience. It’s the name of the game. Nobody turns into Van Gogh or da Vinci overnight, it often takes a lifetime. Give yourself time. You’ll get there.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

That’s kind of in question for me right now, but I identify as an asexual hetero-romantic.

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

Relating to my art? Not usually. Being a fantasy and primarily animal artist, I don’t get pressured by commissioners or anyone else to do anything explicit. Sometimes, when I do draw people, I am extremely conscious about how I draw certain points of anatomy.

It’s not that I’m shy about it, having grown up seeing the paintings of my grandma who is almost exclusively a nude figure artist. I just feel like there’s a lot of pressure to make a human figure sexually appealing, and I try to push against that. To me, all bodies and forms are beautiful, in a purely aesthetic sense.

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

That we were either scarred by some past event, or that we literally reproduce without a partner. (Trust me, it’s more common than you might think!) Another one is that it’s simply a matter of “finding the right one”.

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

You are human. Don’t ever think you’re not. You are not broken. You are still worth as much as any other human life, yes, even in a society that worships and idealizes sex and romance.

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

On my trusty deviantART account! I’ve been there for 7 years, and most of my major work is there. Check it out!

http://elementalshifter.deviantart.com/

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