Interview: Jay Rubicon

Today we’re joined by Jay Rubicon. Jay is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in digital mediums. They dabble in a few other arts including cosplay, acting, and music, but drawing is what they mostly focus on. Jay has a love of fantasy and most of their work reflects this. They are best known for drawing dragons and birds. 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.

beefysmall
Beefy

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I do a lot of different things! But mostly I work on digital art. I specialise in dragons and birds, and bird-dragons, and any combination thereof.

What inspires you?

I’ve always been big into my fantasy. I love looking at other artists’ work and at nature. Clouds are especially good, because you can see things in them that might not appear otherwise. And people, the people around you are always good to inspire you to work harder. I know I’d probably never learn to draw elephants if my mum didn’t like them so much!

dragonbox
Dragon Box

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

I’ve been drawing since I was a tiny weeny thing, and I just – never stopped. I’ve known since I was that small that I had to do something creative, be it acting, writing, drawing – anything like that.

drawoverforfail
Draw Over for Fail

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?

Birds tend to come up a lot, and anything with wings gets drawn a lot. I do sign my work; it’s just more normal signature, but it’s got my ‘real’ surname on it, hence why I keep it fairly illegible!

Fenpng
Fen

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Practice!! Okay, so I know everyone gets sick of hearing that, but it’s true. If you feel like you’re stuck, study things. Practice isn’t drawing the same thing over and over. Find a bunch of pictures of something you suck at, look at them, and try to draw them. You’ll get better, and it’s the best feeling in the world being able to make something you couldn’t achieve before!

louis
Louis

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

After a lot (a LOT) of debate, I now identify as a panromantic asexual.

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

Generally I’m quite isolated in the work I do, and the friends I have are aware of it. Most of the issues I face are in day to day life, and it’s more ignorance – or people being unwilling to learn in the first place, who’s minds you’ll never change. It’s better to just accept that, and continue to be proud of yourself regardless, as hard as that may feel.

oddsonraptorhalfsize
Odds on Raptor

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

Either that we don’t really exist or that we don’t have sex. Obviously, we exist! And (not all of us, but most) are capable of having sex, just don’t want to for whatever reason – and any reason is valid.

rockboyhalfsize
Rock Boy

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

Give it time. You’ll work it out. I’ve been through a lot of things, from a heterosexual woman to where I am now, as a gender neutral panromantic ace. You might think you’re ace then realise you’re not, or the other way. But you’ll figure it out, and you’ll find the right people!

The old quote stands true;

“Those who matter won’t care, and those who care don’t matter.”

rockthirdhalfsize
Rock Third

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

Ooh, free advertising! (I kid.)

Most of my art is over on http://rubicon-art.tumblr.com

You can also find my work on DeviantART, which contains the majority of my bird-dragon stuff. http://rubicon-art.deviantart.com

Facebook is also under Rubicon-Art! That’s what I go by in most places.

Thanks for taking a look!

Vantadragon
Vanta Dragon

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

Signal Boost: The Blood Prince

Hi everyone!

I have a very exciting signal boost today. An ace author has just released her first novel and it sounds fantastic! Marie Blanchet was interviewed on this site a while back (WordPress & Tumblr) has just released The Blood Prince, the first in a fantasy trilogy entitled the Scale Hearts trilogy. It has an aro-ace main character and dragons! What more could you want? 🙂

1. cover1
Cover

Here’s what Marie has to say about it:

“Until two years ago, Rainbow was ruled by dragumens. Now, there’s a human Empress on the throne, and she rules with an iron fist. Breaking promises after promises, she controls the people with lies, taxes, and murder. Everywhere in the land, rebellion is brewing. Gangav, the fallen dragumen prince who wants nothing more than revenge, rallies humans and dragumens to his cause. Sasha, his best friend and fiercest supporter, is eager to help him and is spoiling for a fight. Alexander on the other hand never wanted to be a part of it, but finds himself with no other choice when tragedy strikes home, bringing the cruelty of the empress to his doorstep. When news of a spy amongst their ranks turns everything on its head and the sudden outbreak of a new illness threatens the safety of the rebels, the three of them must find a way to relocate their camp before they are discovered, or the rebellion may very well end before it even begins. The first book in the “Scale Hearts” trilogy, “The Blood Prince” is a story about dragons and rebellions, but also about inner strength and figuring out your place in the world.

It might interest readers of you blog to know that the main character Sasha is aromantic in the book, and has somewhat of a journey of self-discovery while working for the rebellion. Being ace but not aro myself, I have consulted with several aromantic betas to make sure that Sasha and her storyline was handled with care. 

The book can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/Blood-Prince-Scale-Hearts/dp/177511970X/

And here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/760868

I designed everything in the book, from the cover to several character illustrations inside to the page layout and the map.”

2. map
Map

Seriously, Blanchet’s artwork is absolutely beautiful:

alex
Alex
Anzuu
Anzuu
gangav
Gangav
Sasha
Sasha

So if you love fantasy and ace characters, this is definitely a book you want to pick up (and review and recommend).

Thanks, everybody!

Interview: Mark

Today we’re joined by Mark. Mark is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in digital art. They’re mostly into drawing, although they are working on some video game design and do craft work on occasion. They also draw the most gorgeous pride dragons. They’re work is remarkably beautiful, brimming with color and detail. It’s very clear Mark’s an incredibly talented and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Rexy Female White and Gold copy
Rexy Female White and Gold

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Umm, I draw things? XD Mostly I like to focus on digital drawing, but I also do some craft work and other things here and there for fun. Right now I’m working on a few different projects, the main ones being pride dragons (and eventually other pride animals), as well as working with a close friend on some game design.

What inspires you?

Anything and everything really. Other artists, movies, books, music, nature, friends… I can’t really pin inspiration down on any one thing.

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

I’ve been drawing pretty much as far back as I can remember, so it’s been an always thing that never went away. XD Honestly I can’t imagine NOT being an artist in some fashion.

earlydragon
Early Dragon

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

Not really? Nothing that I’m aware of at least.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

(Sorry this part is going to be a tad long.)

1. If you wanna art, then art. Do it because you want to do it.

2. Some people are gonna be assholes. It’s pretty hard to avoid running into them. It sucks and it can be super disheartening, but *don’t give up*. I’ve had my art featured on “look how shitty this art is” sites and have gotten some nasty comments that made me feel super close to giving up entirely. But in the end, I’d refer you back to point 1. If you want to art, *then KEEP DOING IT* Do it because you enjoy it. Do it for you, do it for the people who DO enjoy it.

3. You’re not going to improve overnight, but that’s ok. You’ll have good days and bad days with art and sometimes you might feel like you’re not getting anywhere, but as long as you don’t give up, you WILL improve over time.

4. Going along with that, try not to compare your art to others’ art. You need to compare you to you. Look at some of your old art compared to new stuff. Can you see improvement? Doesn’t matter if it’s just a little or a lot, improvement is improvement! Everyone goes at their own pace so don’t be discouraged if you’re not getting to where you want to be right away.

5. I love stylization. It’s fantastic. All sorts of cartoony styles and what not. But I will say, regardless of how styled you want to make your art, it’s best to learn from life first. If say, you learn how to draw dogs, study real dogs and realistic dog art, because then stylizing them later on will be WAY easier and produce better results.

6. TOTALLY experiment with different things! Maybe you’ll find something you like, maybe you’ll decide you don’t like certain things. But at least after trying you’ll know. Step outside your comfort zone, don’t worry if you can do something “good” or not. Just have fun and play with it! Wanna draw cars but think you can’t manage mechanical things? Draw some cars anyway! You have to start somewhere.

7. While you shouldn’t compare yourself to other artists, it can be nice to look around at numerous other artists’ styles and methods for inspiration. Many artists will make tutorials about their processes and techniques or general art advice and these can be super valuable learning tools. (Just remember of course to be respectful and never steal someone else’s work.)

I could probably go on and on, but I think that covers the basics. XD

tumblr_oe4vukQ5vl1r5nx00o1_1280

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am hella ace. XD Not demi or grey or anything. As for romantic orientation, I’m still figuring that out.

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

Sort of? In general I usually don’t get any of that stuff with just posting art and what not online, though I have had some not so cool things happen in person because of being ace. I don’t want to go too in detail. One of the people who did and said some nasty things is an artist as well, but reasons for their behavior were more on a personal level than because of anything art related. (Though they did rip off a bunch of art related things from me…) Handling it can be hard sometimes, but I’m lucky to have super supportive friends, and the ace community seems to be pretty awesome and supportive as well. Lots of nice positivity posts and comments going around.

tumblr_ovd1i6lN3G1r5nx00o1_1280

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

That it’s not real and aces are just lying or are late bloomers. Also that ace people are doomed to be forever alone or they’re only able to be in relationships with other aces.

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

It can be tough, I sure as heck have some hard times accepting it sometimes. But anyone out there struggling, remember that you are NOT broken or alone! Asexuality is totally a natural thing, it’s NOT something new (we just are finally starting to learn more about it and bring that information to light), and it’s not something to be ashamed of. Whether you want a romantic relationship, or just good friends, or whatever else, there are definitely people out there who will accept you for who you are and who won’t try to change you. (And don’t put up with people who think they can change you or that you need to be fixed. That’s a load of BS.) All you aces are totally awesome as is!

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

I post most of my work on my Tumblr account: http://markaleb.tumblr.com/

And I’ve started putting up a few things on a RedBubble account: https://www.redbubble.com/people/markaleb?asc=u

tumblr_orr46wCQi31r5nx00o1_1280

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

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.

10496099_1511802825699444_4682683114271124378_o

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.

DianeRamicColoringPages17

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.

f61ded_a9e7db4ed7fb459f8877336d24678281

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!

DiantimonySpino

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.

elves1
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.

Doc046

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!

Lijering copy
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.

Midna
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.

Tarot-Collection-1
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!

The Warden's Return copy 2
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.

tumblr_lw5li4zKHG1qdhq51o1_1280

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.