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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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/

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Felix Magic

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

Interview: Teloka Berry

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

aceinterview_01

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

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

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

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

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

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What inspires you?

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

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

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

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

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

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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?

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

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

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

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

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

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

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

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

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ace people can be sex positive and interested in intimacy.

Allosexual people can be sex repulsed or simply disinterested.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interview: Jana

Today we’re joined by Jana. Jana is a wonderful young artist who both writes and does visual art. Most of her writing is fantasy and historical fiction. When she’s not writing, Jana does a lot of painting and drawing. Her work shows a creative mind and it’s clear Jana is an incredibly dedicated artist, 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 write stories and also I draw and paint. Stories are usually fantasy or historical fiction, with dark motives, while my drawings are more positive. I sometimes draw illustrations for my stories but that is rare for me. I also draw Harry Potter fan arts, as I am big fan of the story (and also I have written some fanfics but they aren’t in English).

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What inspires you?

I don’t really know. The inspiration just appears out of somewhere. And then it leaves. Sometimes it’s a sentence I hear, sometimes an internet joke or when I see the view from my window. It can be anything. I have periods of time when I see inspiration literally everywhere and then it stops and I don’t have any inspiration at all.

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

I think so. I remember I liked to draw and paint since I was very little and I remember that in kindergarten I was usually drawing, instead of playing with other children. And I still draw when I have the time (also if I don’t have) and usually I choose drawing over chatting with friends in class. With writing, it’s similar. I write stories during lessons in school because it’s fun and teachers don’t tend to notice. They usually think that I’m just taking notes while I really am creating a story.

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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?

I always put my name on my drawings so no one can steal it from me (if it’s drawn on computer, it’s usually very big). That’s what almost everyone does I think. But other than that I don’t have anything like that. In my writings I don’t think I have something like that. My stories are dark and complicated, as are my characters, but that’s not that rare.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I am actually one of them, as I am sixteen, so to my fellow young artist: make art, do what you love and don’t give up. It can be hard but not giving up is worth it. If you love art, make it. Good luck to you (and to every artist here, you don’t have to be young).

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual.

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

Well, ignorance by my mum. I came out to here so I could make terrible jokes and puns but it has gone a bit wrong. Well, she didn’t believe me (she still doesn’t I think) and was quite rude about it, because “I am too young to know” and “I can’t be ace if I have a boyfriend”. A few months later she was trying to understand and was asking questions but I felt really uncomfortable so I just left. But now I think I am starting to be a bit more comfortable around her, like when we are watching some TV series and they mention something sexual or say that someone is hot, I usually make a disgusted face or ask “really??”. Apart from that, I’ve only seen it on social media and it wasn’t directed purely at me but on the whole community.

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

As I said before, it was what my mum said, that I am too young to know or that I can’t be ace if I have a boyfriend. Then of course things said on the internet and not aimed at me directly, like it is a disability or disorder or that we are plants. I like the last one the most.

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

To not try to unconditionally fit into a label. Take time. You don’t have to find it out right now, it’s okay not to know. I know it’s hard, I know it’s easier said than done. But don’t worry, you are not alone. There are many other people who feel the same and there are many people out there who will try to help you. Before I learned I was ace, I thought that I was lesbian (because women are cute), then that I was bi (because the sexual attraction I felt towards the two genders was equal – now I know it was zero).

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

I have an Instagram account but I don’t post much. I also am at Wattpad but I have only one English unfinished work published. I will try to be active on both social media (Wattpad is social media, isn’t it?) but I can’t really promise anything because I don’t know how much time will I have. On Instagram I am as Janethepurpleelf and on Wattpad as Fialová Víla.

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

Interview: Mies Nestor M

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

a family photo
A Family Photo

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

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

What inspires you?

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

Fate
Fate

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

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

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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?

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

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

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

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

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

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

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

momhouse
Momhouse

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

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

persona glasses
Persona Glasses

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

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

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

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

Radiant Soul
Radiant Soul

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

Interview: Gigi

Today we’re joined by Gigi. Gigi is a phenomenal and versatile artist who does a bit of everything. She writes a bit of poetry and she also has a running fan comic set in the Kirby universe. When she’s not writing, Gigi does a bit of visual art. She mostly does fanart, but she also does self-portraiture and some abstract drawings. It’s very clear that she’s a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I like to write mostly, and I’ve started with fanfiction. Ever since late 2010 I’ve worked on a fan comic called 20 Times Kirby, and my story with it is kinda funny. I started it just ’cause, literally, I had no expectations for it and I was only working on it due to boringness, but soon I grew attached to it, to a point where I actually started putting effort into it. The results are a pretty complex story with multiple characters, almost 1000 pages, and almost 7 years of work, with constant updates! In fact, the comic became more my own thing rather than just me exploring the Kirby universe; the elements of the series are there, but they aren’t extremely important. Looking back, this all is insane! But I love it; working on this comic is my passion. I even plan on rewriting it in the future, since I’ve made some mistakes in the past and I’d like to fix them.

I also like writing poems, both in English and in my first language (Brazilian Portuguese). They are literally about anything, and I write them when I suddenly feel inspired. I haven’t really published most of those, but I’m starting to think I should.

Another art thing I do is drawing, usually fan art, but sometimes self-portraits and some abstract drawings. Most of them end up as sketches only, however. I’ve also more recently started to learn to compose, but for now it’s mostly experimenting and trying to learn stuff.

What inspires you?

In general, videogames and music inspire me, but any kind of art may do the trick as well. When I see something that I can tell that was made with care and attention to detail, that motivates me to do something similar. Also, whenever I find something I really like in any kind of fiction, I try to make something similar to it happen in my stories, if possible of course.

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

Ever since I was a kid I’ve had a huge imagination and I would make countless stories in my head about literally everything. I would never write them down, however, apart for one or two Pokémon fanfictions I only drafted the beginning. Only when I started working in 20 Times Kirby, and got so attached to it, I stopped to think that maybe writing had be my secret passion all this time. That’s when I actually started to write stuff down, even if it’s just bullet points of a story. Seeing friends and other people do other art stuff like drawing motivated me to try these too, but writing will always be my main passion.

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 I think? Although I do love giving a meaning to everything that happens in any story I work on, and connect all events whenever possible too.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Never give up! Whatever the field of art you want to work with, it’s extremely unlikely you’ll be a master at it on your first tries, and this goes for everyone! I know that when you start, you already want to be very good like the artists you see around, but it’s actually a long road, and those people have travelled it. And you can do it too!

Also, don’t be afraid to rewrite stories, redraw drawings, remake your songs, and so on. If you think you can improve something you’ve already finished, you probably can, and you’ll learn more in the process!

Finally, don’t be afraid of criticism, it only helps, no matter how much it may hurt. Take it and try to learn with it, whoever commented about your work like that only wants to help you. However, if you notice someone commenting about your work only giving negative thoughts, looking like they aren’t trying to help, ignore them. Giving constructive criticism is one thing, giving hate is another, and learning the different between the two is very important.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m aromantic and asexual. Well, at least I think I am; these are the labels I identify with right now.

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

Not really directly, and I guess this is more aro related, but I do notice that lots of people comment a lot about shipping and have gotten disappointed when I didn’t really do any real romance in my comic (yes, even in a Kirby fan comic). Honestly… I just ignore them for most part. I don’t avoid romance completely but I rarely use it, I don’t think this kind of stuff is mandatory in a story.

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

The misconception that Asexuality is just a “phase”, and that it will change when you “find the right person”. That’s like telling a straight person they are going through a phase, and will realize they are actually bi when they find the right person of a gender they claim to not be attracted to. It makes no real sense and it’s just trying to erase who we are.

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

First of all, no matter what others say, your orientation is valid. You are valid. Don’t let others tell you otherwise.

Also, feel free to explore labels, if you think one doesn’t fit you completely. If you asked me a year ago what my romantic orientation was, I would have told you grayromantic, not aromantic. That’s because it took me a while to truly identify as aromantic, and identifying as grayro for a while helped me do that. Really, you don’t have to pick a label once and never change it, change your labels whenever you feel it’s the right thing. These labels exist to help us find more about ourselves!

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

20 Times Kirby can be found here: http://www.smackjeeves.com/comicprofile.php?id=91583

I also have a Tumblr where I sometimes post art, although I haven’t done that in a while. Either way, you can find it here: http://gigithoughts.tumblr.com/tagged/my-art. If I ever get around to post my other art stuff, I’ll post about it in my Tumblr, but let’s see.

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

Interview: Brie

Today we’re joined by Brie. Brie is a phenomenal young aspiring artist who specializes in visual art. She enjoys drawing people, including some original characters, and dabbles in fanart as well. Her work shows an incredible attention to detail and a sense of whimsy as well. Brie is a very enthusiastic and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Horned Beauty
Horned Beauty

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art is mainly people because, well that’s really what I know I can do. I like to draw specific people as well as making up and drawing my own characters!

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by the pits of hell I called my brain as well anything I see around my school and in my everyday life

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

To be completely honest when I was little I really wanted to be a fashion designer but I have always loved drawing and up until last year I hadn’t really done any drawing but then I got really bored in my math class and I started up again! I have honestly never been more thankful for a really boring teacher!

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 only thing that really comes to mind is that I always put my signature somewhere in my drawing, but other than that I can’t really find anything else.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Some advice that I could give any young artists would be, and although it sounds very cliché, but honestly don’t give up on what your working on, if you feel as if you have no good ideas just draw or write about it anyway, even if it turns out bad, DO IT ANYWAY!

Ophelia
Ophelia

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a homoromantic asexual

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

Sadly, I live in a very Christian family and my grandmother is quite homophobic, so I haven’t really told anyone save some of my close friends. Whenever I bring up any form of conversation about asexual stuff, I get told “no you’ll find someone” and stuff like that and honestly I have never had so many quick change conversations about food in my life.

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

The biggest misconception I find about asexuality is that most people think that people who are ace have no emotions, and anytime anyone askes me so you don’t have emotions right I just have to stare at them so a minute, then morph into a purple dragon and fly away form the stupidity.

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

Some advice I could give would probably be just go with what feels right, go with the one that makes you genuinely happy and see where it goes from there!

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

My art handle is mainly my Instagram at weirdonamedbrie. I’m planning on also posting some work on my Tumblr at weirdonamedbrie-art!

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

Interview: CJ

Today we’re joined by CJ. CJ is a wonderful artist who does a lot of work relating to the Hawkeye Initiative, which encourages artists to draw male characters in the ridiculous poses women are often in on the covers of comics. When they’re not drawing, CJ is also brushing up on their writing skills and hopes to be published one day. Their work is pretty amazing and really creative, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art? It’s low-quality garbage I produce in my free time.

The first art, writing, is a skill at which I am no means a master, though I am truly attempting to learn and improve.  I have several 200-page manuscripts that (thank God) will never see the light of day, but I am currently working on one that I think shows a little promise and a little improvement in my skills.  Someday I hope to publish and establish myself as an author.  For the moment, there is schoolwork in my way.

I guess I can include a sample of my writing for reference?

———–

“When did you find out?”  I ask.  I thought I’d hidden it so well.  I covered my tracks, deleted my emails and texts, and came up with clever excuses for every one of my absences—but now here she is, telling me she already knows.

“July, more or less.  And yes, I know you thought you hid the truth from me.  But you disappear for a day or two multiple times a month, you come back with a bunch of minor injuries and dirty laundry, and you’re wearing the necklace with the symbol of your bounty-hunting gang.  It’s not hard to figure out.”

Oh, Lord, be with me.  She knows.  She already knows too much.

I hang my head as if ashamed.  “I’m sorry.  I’ve been lying to you for so long, and that was wrong of me.  Can you forgive me?”

“Of course.  I wouldn’t want anyone to know either, if I was you.”

I try to make eye contact.  “Do you think you can…could you ever understand why I am like this?  Who I am? What I do and why I do it?”

She takes a deep breath, but she finally nods. “Yes.  I can understand what drives you to this.  And I want you to know that I still care about you, I still want to be friends, and yes, I do forgive you for everything I know you’ve done.”

The condolence is a nice thought, but it won’t stand.  I know her, and I know what she’s like.  It’s a miracle she’s managed to keep it quiet for this amount of time; I know no binding pledge could hold her.  Eventually the weight of the secret would crack her, and I would be ruined.

No.  She must fall, for I cannot.

I draw my pistol from the back of my belt and set the barrel on her forehead.  “Then I hope you can forgive me for this as well.”

———–

The other art I do is drawings for the Hawkeye Initiative.  If you haven’t heard before, it’s a project where authors take the ridiculous costumes and poses in which female characters are placed and swap them onto the male characters.  The point is to prove that sexualizing female characters isn’t empowering them but is instead demeaning them and removing their agency.

I do all my drawing pen/pencil and paper, as I have neither the programs nor the budget to do digital art yet.  Someday I will, but until then I’ll continue with traditional methods.

Below is one of my preliminary sketches, a drawing of Captain America in a Danger Girl pose.

And next is one of my finished pieces, a DC “Bombshells” cover where the girls are swapped with Iron Man, Captain America, and Hawkeye.

As you can see, I have a lot to learn about, including drawing backgrounds, drawing swishy fabrics, and shading.  I decided to go with more basic colorblocking for this one rather than accidentally ruin it by failing the shading.  Someday I’ll redo this and it will be better.

At one point, though, I did have PhotoShop access, and I came up with an asexual Captain America shield.

3

The love that Tumblr aces found for this image was a beautiful thing.

What inspires you?

The impact I have on other people is really what keeps me going.  I believe the Hawkeye Initiative has been really eye-opening for a lot of people, especially guy nerds.  We’re so used to seeing all the ladies being sexualized that we barely think of it, until all of a sudden there’s Hawkeye or Wolverine or Thor or Hulk or Iron Man in that same costume and we realize that there’s a huge difference between a usable superhero suit and the glorified underwear the ladies have been crammed into.  We’re so used to the binary gender standards in our society that we don’t even notice it anymore, and we have no thought for how harmful it must be to all the girls out there who are watching these same movies and reading these comics.  We’re teaching the little boys that it’s okay to see women as a piece of sex in spandex, and we’re teaching little girls that their value comes from how sexy they are.  Both of those teachings need to be demolished and spat on.

Of course, it’s not good to sexualize anybody.  I understand that my art walks that fine moral edge.  But I also believe that the absurdity of seeing these guys in bikinis points out the fact that this is how we’ve treated women for years.  Women are amazing human beings who have so much more to them than their body parts. It’s high time we started treating them as equals.

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

My dreams and ambitions are all over the place—in fact, I still don’t know what I want to be. The artistry thing has never been a dream—I just came across the Hawkeye Initiative and went, hey, this is a good thing that needs doing.

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?

There is almost always someone or something in the appropriate ace colors in every piece of art I do.  My pride is hidden, but it’s there.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t ever let anyone rain on your parade.  Don’t let anyone tell you you’re inferior, that your work is worthless, or that you’ll never succeed.  Don’t let anyone mistreat you like that.  And that “anyone” refers to you yourself, too.  You are your own worst critic.  While the other people are going “holy COW that is beautiful and I love the lines and the style,” you’re going “oh ew that color is wrong and I didn’t want that to look that way and the eyes are uneven ugh this is awful.”  That’s not accurate.  You’re not an accurate judge of your own skill.  You are almost always better than you think you are.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I just go by asexual.  I feel no need to break down my personal attraction any farther, because I simply swing in no particular direction and that is that.  I’m not straight, I’m not gay, I’m not bi, pan, skolio, or anything else. I’m ace.

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

The Tumblr “Ace Discourse” is a terrible thing that should never have started, ever. I’ll admit I didn’t handle it well at first—I picked fights, yelled, and was suicidal for a while.  Now I ignore it.  Like any hateful ideology, eventually it must collapse under the weight of the pain it causes.  There are other people who can fight it; I can’t sacrifice myself like that right now.

I also face prejudice from my church—they’ve openly told me they’d rather I be gay, anything but ace, because then I’d at least be having sex and obeying the Lord’s commands.  And my family at large would happily disown me if they knew I was anything but straight. They wouldn’t care even if I was a “cishet ace”—any deviation from “marry straight and procreate” and any ties to the queer community, and out I’d go.  Running this blog is dangerous for me, which is why I go by initials and can’t out myself.

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

Most common? I’m not sure.  There’s a lot.  I’m not so much bothered by the plant jokes and asexual reproduction puns—I’m bothered by the stuff that’s there to legitimately harm, scare, and hurt asexuals.

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

You are fine exactly the way you are.  Exactly. The way.  You are.

You’re not broken, confused, a fake, a poser, an attention whore, or whatever else you’ve been called.

And whatever labels seem to fit you now, use them.  You can change them.  They’re not set in concrete.  I’m not judging you for however you change now or in the future.  It is fine to change and fine to stay the same.

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

I run a Hawkeye Initiative sideblog at cj-does-art, where I post preliminary sketches and pieces of work as I inch toward completion.  I also have a main blog at hi-def-doritos, where I post garbage and entertain myself.  I have no particular writing blog, as I don’t want my writing stolen.  If you’d like to get in touch with me, feel free to drop a line!  I’d love to talk and I promise I don’t bite.

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