Interview: Kaitlyn Shepley

Today we’re joined by Kaitlyn Shepley. Kaitlyn is a phenomenally talented animator and musician from Canada. They’re an incredibly versatile artist who has dabbled in quite a few mediums. Their work is unbelievably gorgeous and totally adorable, as you’ll soon see. I was totally in awe of the animations they sent along. Kaitlyn is just a delightful artist who has a lot of enthusiasm for their work, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a full time animator working in children’s television, mostly shows for Disney or Nickelodeon. I like doing personal stuff after work at home. My dream is to be able to get to a point where I can work on my own stuff full time. I do illustration, short films, gifs, comics, music composition, fashion design, cosplay and sewing! I think my friends would describe my style as either cute, funny or, when I’m being serious, whimsical.

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What inspires you?

My friends in animation are all very talented artists and I think we spur each other on. I also get really inspired by indie developers, musicians and animators. Seeing them taking on big projects by themselves and getting it done makes me want to get my own ideas out there.

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AroAce Drip Tee

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

I’ve been drawing and making comics for as long as I remember. I loved Sailor Moon and Cardcaptors when I was younger and my interest in animation just grew with me. Things like Akira, Mind Game and Perfect Blue make me excited about being an animator.

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Silent Moon

I wrote my first song when I was 14 and made albums for my friends to listen to. I had been puttering away on my piano since I was very young. I would watch my dad play and he’d tell me how great his dad was at playing by ear. I found it became the best emotional outlet for me in high school. Now that I’ve switched to electronic music it’s just a fun creative outlet.

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Stun Fisk

I didn’t get into fashion until I was 17. There was a fashion show every year at my school and I’d been watching other people do it for 3 years until I told myself: I’m going to go for it. I made 3 designs from scratch that year and have continued to sew to this day. My biggest reason for sewing is to have more control over my fashion. Stores don’t usually sell what I want, so I make it myself!

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Bats Leggings

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 think my friends would say that my unique signature is the noodle people I do for my comics as well as my silly sharks. I really like drawing things that make people laugh.

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Devil Jho

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If there’s something you want to do, just do it. Don’t wait until you’re good enough. Don’t wait until you go to school for it. Start now. The sooner you start, the better you will get. Webcomics, as an example, are a great way to up your art skill. It demands you to approach lots of different angles and expressions and challenges you to make sure your characters stay on model. It’ll keep you drawing on a schedule and challenge you to work through artist’s block. It’ll also let you physically see your improvement over time. Don’t redraw old chapters. Just keep going!

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Big Boss Di

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m panromantic asexual! I also identify as agender.

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Earthbound

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

I’m largely invisible in my field. To others I appear heterosexual, especially because I work with my cishet partner. Co-workers have made a lot of uncomfortable assumptions about me. I try to come out and break the assumptions whenever I feel like the situation is appropriate. Co-workers so far seem curious and open minded. They might say offensive things, but not intentionally. Once I talk them through it, they seem to be still perplexed but understanding.

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Darth Kaethe

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

I think due to low visibility it’s really common for people to think that you just haven’t had good sex yet. They might think you were abused, or that you’re a late bloomer. Once people understand that it’s a thing, it’s common for people to ask me personal questions to learn more about asexuals. Aside from being invasive, these questions don’t help them to learn about how versatile asexuality is. By bringing the conversation away from me and telling them all of the different ways an asexual could feel about something, I think they end up learning more while I get to keep my privacy.

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Pastel Goth 1

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

It’s so easy to second guess your orientation. People will give you a million reasons why you can’t know for sure yet. Especially if someone’s pressuring you to have sex, nobody tells heterosexuals that they have to have sex with someone of the same sex before they can know for sure that they don’t want it. Don’t make yourself do anything you don’t want to do. Don’t be afraid of your label changing too. All you know is what you know now. You don’t have to know everything that will change in the future.

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Pastel Goth 2

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

My favourite spot is Tumblr: http://www.kaitlyn-shepley.tumblr.com, where I post art, animation and comics.

I’ve got a Storenvy: http://www.kitkatkatu.storenvy.com/, where I sell clothes and my electronic music is on Soundcloud: http://www.soundcloud.com/kitkatkatu.

I also put art and art updates on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kitkatkatu/, Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/kitkatkatu, DeviantArt: http://www.kit-kat-katu.deviantart.com/, and Blogspot: http://kaitlyn-shepley.blogspot.ca/.

I’ve got my cats and outfits on Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/kitkatkatu/.

Don’t be shy about messaging me about commissions or to talk!

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Dark Souls

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

Interview: Marcila Leslie

Today we’re joined by Marcila Leslie.  Marcila is a digital artist and an aspiring animator who is heading to college next year.  She makes quite a few GIFs and is obviously quite passionate about animation.  Judging by the work she sent and her enthusiasm, Marcila has an incredibly bright future ahead of her.  My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

The majority of my art is done through digital means. I mainly use MSPaint (for current lack of a better set up) and a Wacom Bamboo tablet to do my work. Most of my images right now are static but I do practice quite a bit making GIFs and working with animation tools seeing as how I want to become an animator, though most of this doesn’t get posted online. If I’m not drawing digitally then I’m sketching out characters or practicing drawing action movements via pen/pencil and paper.

What inspires you?

A bunch of things! My friends, other people’s works, movies and shows, music, the list is really long.

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

It took me quite a bit to figure out what I wanted to do exactly, but I’ve always known that it would have something to do with art. I went through a very long phase of depression where I lost all inspiration to do anything and I think that kind of set me back a bit, but when I sought help to get me out of the rut I met this little girl who just endlessly complimented my shabby art. Seeing her smile like that made me feel like I’d done something really good, it made me feel really good. I think that’s when i started to realize I wanted to be an animator, I wanted to do something to make a difference in people in the only way that I knew how, which was through drawing. I realized it was animation in specific that I was after when I tried it for the first time and felt some strange sense of being whole after seeing my character come to life on the screen and knowing it was me who did it.

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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?

I have my artist signature which is really just “Mar” connected in a poorly constructed scribble and an arrow at the end of the R, which is not meant to be the cliche devil’s tail, by the way. I tend to write the “M” in my name with an arrow at the end of it to look like the astral sign for Scorpio, for personal reasons, but it migrated over to the R in my signature since it’s all connected.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Practice. Please, practice. I know this is one of the first things that everyone in the history of anything ever says to people who ask for advice on art but when you start drawing and get to the point where you can compare your work now to work that you did one or two years ago you’re going to see the progress and it’s going to feel amazing. Seeing yourself progress is very important to artists I think because it lets you know that you’re not doing all of this for nothing.

Even if you’re not getting the attention you feel you deserve at any point or someone’s telling you that your art is trash you can still look back at everything you’ve done and look at what you can do now compared to then and know that they’re wrong and know that one day you’ll get there if you don’t give up.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am an asexual demipanromantic.

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

I’ve only ever had to deal with it personally once or twice (then again I’m not that open about it unless I can trust the person), and luckily for me it was just a couple of friends that didn’t really understand what it meant to be asexual and wanted to have me explain it. However, I have seen others deal with terrible abuse on the matter and it’s sickening, to say the least. Since it’s not happening to me directly, I don’t really have a way to “handle” it, but I will speak up for any asexual being told that their identity isn’t valid.

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

“Are you sure you’re asexual or are you just not ready to have sex?”

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

Please don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you’re not valid. I myself have been blessed enough that I haven’t had to deal with anyone telling me that what I identify as isn’t real, so I can’t really speak from experience and give you proper advice on how to work through those feelings, but I have been struggling to come to terms with the fact that I am Asexual for about 2 years. I can tell you that you do not under any circumstance need to rush the process of figuring yourself out, it takes time and yeah it is extremely frustrating but taking the time to slow down and take a few moments for yourself to try to figure out what it is you identify with is better than trying to conform to anyone else’s opinion, because in the end of it all your heart knows the truth no matter how much you tell yourself you’re something else and it’ll just make you depressed and anxious all the time.

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

My current works are always posted on http://mamrie.tumblr.com/, and my older work can be found on http://marganite.tumblr.com/search/marcie+draws! I have a webcomic that can be found at http://fireatwill.webcomic.ws/, but it’s at a standstill right now until I finish up my senior project in February.

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