Interview: Wolfie

Today we’re joined by Wolfie. Wolfie is a phenomenal makeup artist who uses makeup to create extraordinary looks. She has done a number of different things with makeup, from standard beauty to more fantasy and horror related looks. She has also done special FX makeup. Aside from makeup, Wolfie also dabbles in a couple other mediums as well. She’s a passionate and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

One of the things I do is makeup and special FX. Be it beauty, fantasy or horror. I mostly do whatever has caught my fancy that day or week. I have done photoshoots, short films and even a wedding or two with my makeup.

Which plays into my other mediums, such as drawing and painting. I have a ton of sketch books filled with art, some I give away and the same with my paintings.

Along with costuming which has been trial and error. As for my leather working I am still a beginner, which I was learning from my aunt and now my dad. Also have been dabbling into jewelry making.

What inspires you?

When I was a kid, fantasy (books, art etc.) and music played in a big part in my creativity.

Along with a rich family heritage that led to being a Pagan Witch, lets me see the beauty in magic and life that goes into my art.

My Aunt also who is deceased now, was also a big inspiration to me.

Being a writer and creative person herself, part of the LGBTQ+ community and Pagan, she always encouraged me to not give up and to pursue what I love.

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

Ever since I was little girl, I was always drawing and then moving onto other things as I got older. Heck, I even wanted to be a manga artist at some point!

As for my makeup and special FX, I give that one to my family. We have always been big on Halloween and doing creative costumes, which led to me eventually finding conventions in my late teens. It would also be my early 20’s to mid-20’s that I would go to makeup school for it.

Which I am always learning new and creative ways to improve.

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?

Mostly just my name and other account names I would hid in it, or just smack dab where you can see it.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just go for it. Self-doubt will happen where you think you art, or you’re not good enough.

But it will be, maybe not in your eyes.

But others will love your art even if you think they don’t.

Never compare yourself to another, each of us is unique and different. We go at our own pace and our artistic journey happen sometimes now or a little bit later.

3

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a proud Asexual Pan romantic 29 year old.

In my early 20’s I thought I was just Pansexual, but that didn’t seem right to me.

It wasn’t until my mid 20’s that talking with a friend, that they said “Uh Wolf, I think you may be Ace.”

So I looked it up and it started making more sense to me. While giving me a feeling of relief that I wasn’t “broken”.

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

Oh boy, in my makeup field I have, since it slipped out one time during class.

And mostly I just educated them, while being calm about it and maybe a ‘wee’ bit of Sass when they asked a personal/ignorant question. But mostly, I just refuse to apologize anymore for being who I am.

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

“Well, how can you be in a relationship if you don’t have sex?” Is probably the most common thing I get.

Again I just calmly answers/educate, or (at times) Sass back with a witty clap back that makes them go “Oh! I see! Sorry about that.”

But it is also just standing my ground and not letting other tell me “oh but you just haven’t met-”

“Or have you seen a doctor?” etc.

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

It may seem you’re alone and others tell you that you are broken, but you are not.

Don’t let anyone tell you differently, this is your journey of discovery and your identity is real.

For your community sees you and you are loved, valid in your right to not be silenced or harmed as you keep learning who you are.

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

My Instagram which I welcome anyone to join me! wolfie_shieldmaidenswitch

Deviantart: Moonlightwolfos

2

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

Interview: Anna

Today we’re joined by Anna. Anna is the phenomenal visual artist and writer behind the webcomic, Last Living Souls. Her webcomic is about a man who wakes up with no memory of what happened to him and journeys to the nearest town for help, but instead finds a town of the living dead and he’s one of them. It’s an intriguing premise and definitely worth looking up. Anna has also recently gotten into creating visual novels. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and talented artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. percyintro

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Hey there! I’m a webcomic artist and I’ve been writing and illustrating Last Living Souls since 2011. During that time I’ve been also picking up visual novel development as it’s a great way to tell other stories without the huge time commitment.

As a webcomic and VN dev I have to wear a lot of hats; character design, script writing, backgrounds, and more. I think that’s what’s my favorite part about those two mediums is you get to personally bring your entire story to life in a bunch of different ways, not to mention I get to grow as an artist that much more.

What inspires you?

I’m a huge fan of the horror genre, especially indie or older horror games. If a work is able to simultaneously make you so uncomfortable that you don’t want to continue yet you’re so intrigued about the story you WANT to continue, that’s the incredible sweet spot that makes me want to create myself.  I really enjoy emotional or interesting pieces in general even if they aren’t horror, I like Shonen anime and sci fi movies.

2. frontcover

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

I got into drawing as a child because I loved drawing silly joke comics or doodles starring some of my favorite characters from video games or cartoons. There was something so fun about making something that could make my friends laugh and a way I could express things I liked. Eventually, it developed into trying to draw more of my own characters and stories and I simply never stopped since, comics were an especially interesting field for me given they allow you to create such dynamic scenes and tell entire stories. While my career path never took me towards being a professional artist, I think I was always going to have art somewhere in my life.

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?

Haha, some might joke that “Way too many of my characters are missing an eye, or some body part,” which is an unintentional detail choice that crops up from time to time. But, one I’m more aware of or more direct about is my desire to include subhuman characters in my works. Things ranging from monsters to robots to mutants, there’s a lot of interesting moral dilemmas and character interactions that naturally develop from including characters that are different from ourselves. I suppose these types of characters also lend themselves well to the types of stories I like to create which usually feature some kind of horror theme or some scary situations.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

You’re probably going to find a lot of art boring and hard and intimidating especially the “ART” that your high school teacher is making you create. But art doesn’t have to be only about that; practicing, learning, observing, if you make it into homework it’s going to feel like homework. Find that part about art that seems the most fun to you: is it building giant worlds? Drawing lots of different outfits? Setting up scenes with your favorite character? Coloring in a big page of lineart? Find that part of art that excites you and focus in on it, let it fill you with that energy to draw and draw and draw. Because you will be practicing, and learning when you’re drawing a whole lot! But you won’t feel like it, and that’s when art is amazing!

3. ch8pg16

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a demisexual individual, with a fairly low libido. I will experience some sexual attraction to those that I’m very emotionally close to.

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

Thankfully, most of my artistic peers are understanding (and sometimes ace themselves) and growing up my friends just thought of me as “naive” and never really treated me disrespectfully.

Joking or prejudice was fairly mild, to my fortune.

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

Asexuals hate sex, or must have had some kind of traumatic experience with sex previously. Allosexuals seem to make it into an us vs them situation, where asexuals “hate” sex and any sexual individuals.

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

It may feel like you’re a “late bloomer” and all your peers seem to be a part of some kind of club you’re not in, with talk about porn and sex and all sorts of things that just don’t interest you. It’s okay if you never become interested in it. It’s okay if you find that only that special person becomes interesting. You’re not slower than anyone else to mature, you know exactly what you like or don’t, and you might just need to find the right word to describe that and suddenly it’ll all make so much sense!

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

If a comic about undead creatures regaining their souls and trying to adapt to their new existence sounds right up your alley feel free to read Last Living Souls!

4. danielcafe

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

Interview: Ollie Martin

Today we’re joined by Ollie Martin. Ollie is a young writer and visual artist. They have posted a 36 chapter trilogy entitled A Vampire’s Travels on their blog and they really want to be a screenwriter in the future. Aside from writing, Ollie is an avid visual artist and drew the art for A Vampire’s Travels. They favor a cartoon style when it comes to drawing. It’s clear they’re an incredibly enthusiastic and driven artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

tumblr_p0mjpk6vvm1t52fl0o1_500

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I do both art and writing. My art is mainly in cartoon style, simple but fun. I want to make TV shows and movies, and have to date written four TV shows and two movies. I stick to the horror, adventure, and superhero genres.

What inspires you?

My surroundings mostly. A lot of characters are based off of people I have seen while walking around my town (Eugene, Oregon) and my writing is based off of my own experiences. In terms of people and shows, I am heavily inspired by Rebecca Sugar, The Good Place, and 60s film (Hitchcock, Star Trek , cold war sci fi, etc.).

tumblr_o5cmvvqRm01t52fl0o1_500

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

I didn’t want to really be an artist until in 6th grade I got into drawing to impress a girl I had a crush on. I then discovered that I really liked drawing, and have been drawing ever since! As for writing, I have always written stories, but it never got serious until 9th grade. I wanted to make cartoon shows for a while, but then after watching Classic Star Trek , I wanted to make live action shows.

tumblr_o6fam2fMwa1t52fl0o1_500

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 used to sign with my initials, but a) they were OC, which confused people when I signed art of characters that weren’t mine and b) I am working on getting my name changed. I have yet to create a signature that I am happy with.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

For cartoonists, there are going to be plenty of crappy art teachers that are going to tell you that your art style isn’t real art, and they are completely wrong. For writers, you’re never going to know if your writing is good unless you start writing and learning

tumblr_oykafvnTvW1t52fl0o1_500

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual, I never want to have sex, as I find it gross. I still however want to a romantic relationship.

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

Where do I even begin? So many TV shows have a scene that goes from two characters arguing and cuts to them lying naked in bed together. I have never understood that. I find the show How I Met Your Mother especially acephobic because of how they had an episode saying that sex and romance are inseparable. Ace representation in TV shows is usually a person who is practically a robot/ is a robot and emotionless. My ace characters are vibrant and I can’t wait to put them on the screen.

tumblr_p0mjpk6vvm1t52fl0o2_400

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

That we’re aro as well. I was talking to a teacher about how I needed a partner like this one movie character to which she responded, “I thought you were asexual and didn’t want anyone.” I said that I just didn’t want to have sex but still wanted to have a romantic partner to which she said, “Well you’re a senior in high school, it’s okay for you to feel that way now .”

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

If someone tells you, “You’re too young to decide that you don’t want to have sex!” Or “You’ll change your mind later,” Ask them, “Would you tell me that if I was straight?” It catches them off guard every time. There are people who are not going to understand, but they don’t decide your sexuality, you do.

I remember that when I was younger and didn’t know what asexuality was, I thought I would have to force myself to have sex to please a partner. You never have to do that, ever. If you don’t feel sexual attraction but still want sex, you’re just as ace as the rest of us, welcome to the club of people who were made an outcast by their peers in 2014 for not finding Bendyman Crumpersnitch hot.

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

On my blog at film-focus-mind. I wrote a trilogy of novelettes called A Vampires Travels about an Italian vampire. The main characters are an aromantic man and a nonbinary person. I also have all of my art on there too, and if you go to the tags page you can find links

tumblr_p9mhye5KHb1t52fl0o1_500

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

Interview: Tanya Lisle

Today we’re joined by Tanya Lisle. Tanya is a phenomenal author who writes mainly supernatural YA fiction. She has a number of books available and is currently hard at work on a couple series. She loves the horror genre and there’s brushes of that in most of her work. It’s clear she’s an incredibly passionate artist who loves the written word, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

bio

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I tell stories, largely with a supernatural bent (Urban fantasy, superheroes, general supernatural elements) and with a horror edge to it, usually with some queer content as well.

Currently I’m working on two sequels to White Noise, which is an older YA series, and The Looking Glass Saga, which started as middle grade, but has gotten older as the characters age. I’m also looking at writing one more book for Tales from the Twisted Eden Sector, which is for an older audience, as well as the next book in Cloned Evil, which is more in the New Adult range.

citywithoutheroes

What inspires you?

A lot of things inspire me. I tend to get the majority of my ideas when my mind wanders during stressful periods of my life looking for that escape. Coming up with interesting concepts to explore always seems to happen when I’m neck-deep in the middle of another project, so I end up jotting the ideas down and come back to them later when I have more time to flesh them out.

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

I have been writing since I was little. Originally, it was asking teachers if I could write an essay or do a project as a story instead, or adding a narrative to the project in a way that still got the requirements across. When I got into high school, a friend of mine wanted to do a comic with a bunch of us in it and asked me for a backstory for my character, which she ended up really liking. After that, I just kept writing stories without needing the excuse of doing it for I have been writing since I was little. Originally, it was asking teachers if I could write an essay or do a project as a story instead, or adding a narrative to the project in a way that still got the requirements across. When I got into high school, a friend of mine wanted to do a comic with a bunch of us in it and asked me for a backstory for my character, which she ended up really liking. After that, I just kept writing stories without needing the excuse of doing it for homework!

ClonedEvil

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?

It doesn’t always make it into the final version, but every draft has a scene where a fridge is thrown. It’s a long standing joke and, if you know me, you know that I cannot let a joke die. And sometimes it ends up being necessary to the plot, so it’s not all bad! A little ridiculous, admittedly…

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

There’s already been a lot of great advice, so I’ll stick with this one: Know why you’re doing it and what success means to you. Your success might look different from other people’s and you don’t need to compare yourself to other people in order to determine if you’re on the right track for your artistic journey.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00002]

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m asexual aromantic. It took me a very long time (Until I was 26!) to figure out that was even an option, but once I did I was so happy I found something that fit!

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

It’s less prejudiced than it is a lack of representation. Like in other places, some people don’t think of it as legitimate, but I’ve also heard that it’s boring to have a story without romance. I’ve seen more books with asexual characters, but less on the aromantic side. There’s a sense that without that romantic subplot, a book won’t sell and therefore you must include some romance.

I’ve admittedly fallen into this trap as well. More recently, now that I’m getting more comfortable talking about my own asexuality, I’m starting to make it more of a point to make various character’s sexualities more explicit and to not walk so carefully around it in fear of not gaining that larger audience. The Looking Glass Saga is a series with an aro/ace lead that I’m going to be making more explicit, and I’m working to include more characters on the spectrum in upcoming projects.

syndicate

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

It’s either that I just haven’t find the right man yet (Because really you’re straight dontcha know?) or that it’s just that I don’t like sex.

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

It’s okay to not know exactly what words fit you, and sometimes it takes a while to figure those out. It’s a spectrum and you might not fall neatly into one box or another. And, of course, you may find out later that one word doesn’t fit you as well as you thought it did, and that’s fine too!

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

You can check out this link, which has all my books and will redirect you to the store of your preference: https://www.books2read.com/ap/nlzBXx/Tanya-Lisle

And if you would like a sampler of books, you can check out the mailing list here: https://mailchi.mp/506eec46f344/get-your-free-book-now

And, of course, the blog and social media links:

http://tanyalisle.com/
https://twitter.com/TanyaLisle
https://www.facebook.com/ScrapPaperEntertainment
https://www.instagram.com/tanyalisle/
http://tanyalisle.tumblr.com/

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00070]

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

Interview: Minerva Cerridwen

Today we’re joined by Minerva Cerridwen. Minerva is a phenomenal SFF author and visual artist. For writing, she has a story published in Unburied Fables and recently released her novella, The Dragon of Ynys (which features an aro-ace main character). Visual art is more of a hobby for her, though she does do commissions. Minerva does handlettering and draws, using traditional mediums such as pencils and ink. It’s clear she’s a very passionate and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

01 Bianca (own character) - pencil - 2017
Bianca (own character)

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’ve always loved writing, and to my great joy I can call myself a published author these days. I mainly write fantasy and science fiction and sometimes dabble in poetry and horror. So far I’ve got a short story in the queer fairy tale anthology Unburied Fables and my debut novella, The Dragon of Ynys, came out in May 2018.

The Dragon of Ynys is a light fantasy tale suitable for all ages, starring aro/ace main character Sir Violet, the knight of Ynys. He helps Holly, a trans woman, to find her missing wife, the baker. They suspect the ever-thieving dragon who lives near the village might have something to do with her disappearance…

02 Cover for 'The Dragon of Ynys' by Kirby Crow
Cover for ‘The Dragon of Ynys’ by Kirby Crow

I also love drawing and handlettering, using traditional materials—mainly because I haven’t had the time yet to learn more about digital art. I like to experiment with different techniques: I’ve been using pencils, watercolour, brushmarkers and ink, both for original works and fanart. I wouldn’t mind taking this to a professional level someday, but so far I’ve mainly been drawing for myself and my friends.

What inspires you?

I grew up with fairy tales, both the ones my mother read to me as a child and all the Disney movies I watched so many times. It’s no wonder that I love writing fairy tales myself. However, the big difference with the tales I consumed at a young age is that there will always be queer characters in my stories. It’s so important to be able to relate to characters when you’re trying to figure out your own identity, and I feel like it took too long before I finally experienced that moment myself. Once you’ve seen your identity validated in popular media, it’s so much easier to accept who you are, rather than to believe those who say you can’t feel the way you feel or be the way you are.

I hope that my writing will make it easier for future generations to find stories that tell them they’re not alone, not broken, and that teach them acceptance towards others as well. In that light, I write the stories that I would love to read myself, with all the dragons and magic and hopefully wittiness that I adore in the works of Pratchett, Rowling, Tolkien and other masters.

For more specific inspiration, my friend Fie and I started a project in 2013, inspired by Erin Morgenstern’s Flax-golden Tales. Every week, she took a picture for which I wrote a ten-sentence story. These days we’ve dialled it down to two photo-story combinations per month, but Paranatellonta is still going strong after five years! Getting random prompts from friends is a great way to stay inspired at all times.

When it comes to visual art, getting an Instagram account has definitely done wonders. There are a lot of awesome artists out there whose samples inspired me to try new techniques. Every month there are challenges going around in different themes, for any kind of art actually, but in my case those mainly influenced my handlettering. Practice really helps! I also finished Inktober last year. It once again proved that an inspiring prompt doesn’t need to be more than one word or one image. You can see my Inktober drawings if you scroll down a little on my Instagram.

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

I’ve been telling stories for as long as I can remember. As I said, my mother read fairy tales to me from a young age, and once I learned to read myself, my greatest joy was to discover more fun stories. There were never enough of them, so it only made sense that I wrote down my own as soon as I could. Surrounded by those fictional adventures, somewhere deep inside I knew what adventure I wanted to have myself, even when I was five years old: I wanted to be an author, like those wonderful people who’d given me all those beautiful tales to enjoy.

My drawing story is completely different. For a very long time I was convinced I couldn’t draw at all. I just didn’t have the talent. Looking back at art class in school, I feel like they never stressed the importance of studying references enough. I was always doodling in my school books for fun, but it never felt like that counted.

Fast-forward to when I’d finished university and my parents were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. I didn’t have much gift inspiration, and they joked about a “grown-up” child making a drawing for their parents—and the fact it was a joke tells you enough about how much the arts are respected unless you’re a Big Name. I often feel like our society expects people either to be a grand artist or talentless, and the fact that there must be a learning process in between is often completely neglected.

Anyway, I went through with it, and as I was drawing my parents from a reference photo, it turned out pretty okay (especially considering it was supposed to remind them of a child’s drawing). Most important of all, I had a lot of fun working on it. I’d been looking at a lot of art online since I’d last taken up a pencil, and combined with using a reference for the first time, I could see I’d massively improved since my last school drawing years earlier.

From that point on I let my more artsy friend Fie convince me to take part in courses on Skillshare to improve my drawing techniques and handlettering. Now, almost five years after that anniversary drawing, I actually feel like I’ve made some pretty things!

03 Fiery Mushroom - brush markers - 2017
Fiery Mushroom (brush markers)

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 I mentioned above, you’ll find many fairy tale elements and queer characters in my writing. More specifically, you’ll encounter a lot of dragons and spiders. The dragons are a more conscious choice than the spiders, who just always happen to show up… Just like in real life, I suppose.

I don’t think I have any recurring elements in my visual art, but I’ve been using a signature since late 2016. It’s made up of the initials of both my pen name and legal name.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I think it’s an important message that you can always learn and improve. That’s something I only truly learned from starting to draw. I’d always been “born” a writer: I started at a very young age and people told me I was talented. But I had to work to become better at visual art, and that made me realise that the reason why I’d loved writing all my life was that I’d been exposed to so many stories to learn from. Having played with words from a very young age, stories had never been the big “mystery” that a beautiful piece of art was. So what I mean to say is: people aren’t born a Grand Artist. They become them. And going down into history means you’ve worked hard, but also that you were lucky (or, in some cases, unlucky) enough to have your name picked up and talked about. But that luck, too, is something you can influence by promoting your work. Like doing interviews on awesome websites. 😉

04 Space Ace 2 for Tanouska - watercolour - 2018
Space Ace 2 (watercolour)

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m asexual and somewhere on the aromantic spectrum, but I usually go with “aro-spec” rather than a more specific label, because it’s difficult for me to figure that one out.

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

There’s certainly a lot of ignorance. Even in some queer organisations, it seems the A’s are often forgotten. I can only hope that my stories will spread more knowledge, while still being entertaining rather than feeling like a lecture.

05 Violet - ink - 2018
Violet (ink)

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

That asexuality would mean you never have sex. It can mean that, and I guess it does for me. There’s certainly nothing wrong with a life without sex. But for sex-positive aces it makes things all the more confusing to figure out their orientation when people keep asking: “But you’ve enjoyed having sex, how can you be ace?”

Aside from that, I think that asexuality and aromanticism are too often considered the same thing. This also makes it hard to find a label that fits you when you do experience romantic attraction but no sexual attraction, or the other way round. When different sources tell you that you need to feel things a certain, very specific way in order to identify as ace or aro, it can be a long search to find a label that fits. And of course not everyone needs to label their orientation, but in my own experience finding the names and other people who used them certainly helped to stop thinking I might be broken or wrong.

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

You’re not alone and you’re not broken. For me it was a massive help to enter queer spaces (in my case on Tumblr) and read experiences from other queer people. It made me discover terms (like asexual and aromantic) which I’d never heard of before I made a Tumblr account almost 10 years ago. It showed me that they weren’t some kind of theoretical concept, but a whole spectrum of people who experienced things in different ways—and some of their experiences were just like mine! Suddenly I was no longer “the weird one”. Which actually took me some time to adapt to, because I’d become quite used to being “just odd” and labelling myself that way 😛

However, in the long run, learning about all flavours of queer (be it through books, blogs, or directly talking to others) taught me to be more open-minded in general and made me more comfortable with myself.

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

My website is http://minervacerridwen.wordpress.com/. There you find everything about both my writing and drawings, with links to my social media. Feel free to follow me!

Paranatellonta, a flash fiction project inspired by my friend’s photography, can be found at http://paranatellonta.tumblr.com/. It updates twice a month and you can read all the stories and see all the pictures for free.

My visual art can be found here: https://www.instagram.com/minerva_cerridwen/. I’m posting pretty much everything I draw on Instagram, showing my learning process with both the pieces that worked out and the ones that didn’t. Mainly because I find it interesting to track my own evolution and learn from that in turn!

Other places you can find me:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/minerva_cerr
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/minervacerridwen/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15904760.Minerva_Cerridwen

And places to buy my stories:

– The Dragon of Ynys (Publisher | List of other retailers)
– Unburied Fables (Amazon)

06 Cats Rule the World for Ether - watercolour - 2017
Cats Rule the World (watercolour)

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

Interview: Kristen

Today we’re joined by Kristen. Kristen is a phenomenal author who self-publishes a series with her partner under the name Riley S. Keene. She enjoys writing speculative fiction: fantasy and horror mostly. In fact, the series they’re working on is LGBTQIA+ fantasy and it sounds fantastic from the summary. It’s clear that Kristen is a passionate and dedicated author, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

i-MFz2p9h-X2 (1)

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art of choice is writing—specifically LGBTQA+ and POC positive speculative fiction, including Fantasy, LitRPG, and Horror. I have been writing speculative fiction for way more years than I’d like to admit (somewhere upwards of 25 by now), but I only got serious about it in the last five years. Before I got serious about writing, I was an artist who took way too much influence from anime and manga.

What inspires you?

My biggest inspiration for Fantasy and LitRPG are table top games, like Dungeons and Dragons, Vampire the Masquerade, and Savage Worlds. I also take a lot of inspiration from video games, including Horizon Zero Dawn, the Final Fantasy series, and MMOs like Final Fantasy XI and World of Warcraft. I’m also greatly inspired by books, including the Dragonlance series, the first Fantasy books that showed me people could enjoy accessible Fantasy that didn’t need to copy Tolkien’s style.

For Horror, my biggest inspiration is my own anxiety. Thanks, brain. Maybe also the 80s and 90s horror movies I grew up with (before jump scares became the norm) and the work of Ania Ahlborn and Richard Laymon.

Lately though, my biggest inspiration has been knowing that self-publishing gives me a platform to share my words with others, to influence and inspire them, just like others have influenced and inspired me.

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

I was always a creative child. As far back as I can remember, I read books, played with art supplies, and enjoyed the Steno notebooks and typewriters that my grandmother had in her attic from her time as a secretary.

When I graduated from college, I decided to pursue art as a source of income (how I got into Engineering Marketing from Graphic Design is anyone’s guess) so I focused on writing for the fun stuff. I studied and studied and, you guessed it, studied some more. I have nearly a hundred how-to writing self-help books that I’ve collected over the last ten years, and all of them have helped me hone my craft. Or, you know, gather dust. Whichever.

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?

Nearly all of my stories feature a broken religion and/or government. I was born and raised in a very strict religion (purposefully not named to avoid upsetting anyone) and when I grew into an adult, much to the anger of my family, I renounced my religion to focus on the one religion that spoke to me as a person—Wiccan. I’ve since transitioned to just general Agnosticism. But it was the flaws in that first religion, the leaders and the way the believes were applied only when convenient, that made me realize that organized religion is a perfect vehicle for everything terrible I could do on large scale in Fantasy worlds.

All of my stories also feature LGBTQA+ and POC characters in worlds that don’t discriminate against them.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

My biggest advice to young, aspiring artists is to stop listening to anyone who tells you that you aren’t good enough. A lot of people in the world want to share negative thoughts, especially about the creation of art. With the internet—specifically crowdfunding and online marketplaces—there has never been a better time to become a creator. It doesn’t matter if you are writing, painting, filming, singing…you can share your art with the world. Be sure you are producing as professional of a product as possible, but nothing has to be perfect. And anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to crush your dreams just like someone else crushed theirs. Break the cycle. Make your art. Be happy.

Ancients - Resized

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a biromantic gray asexual cis woman. This is kind of new to me, as I always identified as bisexual and it wasn’t until the last year or so that I realized I am actually asexual. I am happily married to a wonderful, supportive cis straight man.

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

Absolutely. I’ve gotten feedback from readers that they don’t understand how a conventionally attractive character could be uninterested in sex. They always assume the character has suffered some sort of sexual assault or other trauma…which always elicits a sigh of exhaustion from me.

I haven’t yet had anyone come after ME specifically as an ace creator, but there is always a first for everything, right?

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

That the assault and trauma I’ve suffered has anything to do with my asexuality. Over the years, I’ve done a lot of soul searching and questioning about my views on sex. I’ve come to realize is that sexual assault is a much smaller factor than people really realize. But it still becomes the first question out of anyone’s mouth when I explain to them my thoughts on sex and sexuality.

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

The biggest thing that helped me come to terms with my orientation was research. I read a lot of articles and thought pieces and a lot (a lot a lot) of ace-positive blogs. I spoke to other ace individuals about their experiences, and then also talked to a lot of my bisexual and pansexual friends about their experiences with sex and thoughts on sexuality. It was at that point, that I realized I was a lot more like my ace friends than I was my bi friends. And a loooot of stuff made a looooot of sense.

Main takeaway I got from all of my research though was this—no one’s sexuality is set in stone. It can change, adapt, and be fluid. Just like gender. So be you, ignore the naysayers, and as long as you aren’t hurting yourself or others, do you. Or not, if that’s your thing.

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

I publish my books under a pen name, since I work with my partner. That pen name is Riley S. Keene, and you can find our work on Amazon (only for right now, sorry, KU is just so good for authors starting out!) or you can just find out more about us on our website at www.rileyskeene.com. We’re also on Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook at RileySKeene. Our Tumblr just has a lot of aesthetic/character inspo stuff with some light self-promo mixed in, Twitter is where I get to be my queer little self, and Facebook is all business all the time.

I’d love it if we could hang out sometime!

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

Interview: Li

Today we’re joined by Li. Li is a wonderful and talented aspiring author who has published a couple things in his school’s literary magazine. He writes mostly comedic poetry and short stories that fall under the horror genre. He’s a dedicated and passionate writer, as you’ll soon read, and undoubtedly has a bright future ahead of him. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m an aspiring writer and enjoy writing comedic poems and short horror stories. My writing style can be very hyperbolic when writing poetry, while with my horror it can be very uncomfortable. My writing style as a whole still hasn’t fully developed, as I began writing only two years ago (Infrequently, though I’ve been trying to write more as of late), and my writing reflects that, though it’s slowly becoming its own thing.

What inspires you?

A mixture of pop-culture, music, my hometown, and my friendships/acquaintanceships. A lot of my comedy is inspired from my town specifically, where I’ve met a lot of interesting folk alongside a lot of strange ones. I wrote a poem recently about a PTA mother writing to another one named Barbra; Barbra was an actual mother I knew, but I did use a different name for her.

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

I’ve been interested in writing since I was very young, though I became more intensely interested in it about two years ago. I only recently decided I would like to write, as before this I wanted to be an astrophysicist (Admittedly, I’m not that much good at math) but decided that wasn’t quite the right career for me. What got me interested in horror was a mixture of things; artists like Junji Ito and movies like Perfect Blue are what got me interested in writing horror, as I wanted to provide the same intense feelings that they are able to produce. I only just became interested in writing comedy, and no one in particular has inspired me- I write to make myself laugh, not others, though I want to be able to write well enough to write things that others will enjoy besides myself.

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 actually don’t have any sort of thing like that, though as I develop my writing skills, I would like to make one.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

There’s always that cliché of working hard, but it’s a cliché for a reason- work on your craft, and try to really make it your own. For writers specifically, there’re a lot of skills you’ll need to learn to help you further your writing and help get yourself out there (A video titled Skills You Never Thought You’d Need as a Writer by Jenna Moreci is a very good in-depth video that I would recommend checking out, as she explains things far better than I could.). It’s important to remember that, in general, to try to not compare your work to others. Where you are with your skills are different from others, and though it’s good to strive to continually better yourself, it’s important that you don’t drag yourself down as “not as good” or “not good enough.” Keep your passion for your art burning, and make sure you have other things you’re interested in to go to when you need a break from your art.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as aromantic and asexual. I’m sex-repulsed, and am open for a queer-platonic relationship, but will be perfectly happy if I never end up in one.

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

I haven’t experienced any sort of prejudice, but there’s definitely been a lot of ignorance my way. Most of it has been confusion as to what asexuality is, while some of it has been more vitriolic. Everyone who finds out I’m asexual asks what it is, and the more pleasant reactions included asking a lot of questions about it and what it means and so on, which I am always happy to oblige in. The more negative ones include being offered massages to see if that will “awaken” anything in me, getting sexual advances, butt/boob grabs to see if it will help me “get excited”, and being told I need to go see a psychiatrist to get medication to help “fix” me. For those who physically touch me, I cut off all contact with those people and warn others about them. For those who are just unaware of what asexuality is, I try to answer everything to the best of my ability.

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

One of the most common that I’ve personally received about being asexual is that I’m “a late bloomer” and that eventually I’ll begin to feel sexual feelings, and that I should try to get laid. For being aromantic, a lot of people think I’m just cynical about love and shouldn’t “give up on it” even if I express that I genuinely have no interest in it. In general, for both, people say that I’ll end up “alone and sad” because I don’t want a sexual/romantic relationship, alongside not wanting children. Just because I don’t want none of these, it doesn’t mean I’ll be alone and that I won’t have people who care about me- I’ll have friends and family (Plus my lovely pets), and that’s all I could ever ask for.

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

Remember that there isn’t anything wrong with you. Granted, there aren’t as many of us as there are gay, straight, or bi people, but that doesn’t mean your sexuality isn’t as real as anyone else’s and that you’re in any way dysfunctional because of it. Just because you don’t feel sexual/romantic attraction doesn’t mean you aren’t perfectly capable of being a whole human being, and as worthy being treated as well as everyone else.

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

I suppose the easiest place to find it would be my DeviantArt, Hid3AndS33k, as that’s the only place where a lot of my writing can be found.

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