Interview: Megan

Today we’re joined by Megan. Megan is a phenomenal visual artist who is starting out in writing as well. They are an illustrator and comic artist from the Kansas City area, who focuses mainly on storytelling and narratives. They do a lot of narrative illustrations and comics. For writing, they’re interested in writing fantasy and prose. They’re clearly an incredibly dedicated and talented artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

EmmalineTwist
Emmaline Twist

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am an illustrator and writer, working full time as a production artist to pay the bills, and then working on comics and illustrations with narrative components on the side. I primarily work digitally, employing both a comic-y inking style, as well as a realistic sort of oil-painting style, all either on my computer and display tablet, or on programs on my iPad. As a writer I love to write fantasy and other prose fiction, and have started efforts to build a portfolio and work towards getting published, both short stories and future novels.

What inspires you?

The first place I usually look for some sort of inspiration is anything Neil Gaiman has said. He has given many speeches and written many essays on the importance of story and art in the world, and those- as well as his words on imposter syndrome- give me strength.

But I’m also fascinated by people. Humans are capable of amazing things like constructing massive skyscrapers and engineering microscopic movies; surviving under dangerous conditions, and getting together to hold festivals full of color and light. Traveling to different countries and being exposed to new cultures has been eye-opening for me and is a never-ending resource for inspiration and creativity.

As of late, Dungeons and Dragons has also been stimulating for me, from the components like dice and figurines to the stories people tell through the witty and clever characters they (and I) create. Who doesn’t love goblins and magic?

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

I always enjoyed drawing and painting, although I was never really good at it. I loved getting new paint kits and sitting down to paint a little teapot or planter, but what really got me into art was my obsession with a particular video game. I was a high school sophomore, just starting part-time in college with the intent of pursuing a medical degree, and bored. My dad worked at my school, so I would sit in his office after class and wait til he could take me home. I vividly remember one day sitting in his office, and instead of doing homework, I started writing a fanfiction, pen on paper, that I had started rolling around in my head. Art had also sprung out of this video game obsession, where I discovered the concept of fanart on DeviantART (I was a sheltered homeschooled child). It made me honestly, truly happy to write and draw and see the progress I was making, and to see other people enjoying what I had made. When I took a college drawing course a year later, I only became more passionate and ditched the medical school plans for art, and never looked back.

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?

One thing I like to do is that whenever I have to draw a crowd scene, I like to sneak in some of my characters from other places- Dungeons and Dragons, or old fanfiction characters- just subtly enough that not many would see anything different, but if you know the character, you could find them. I hope someday it becomes a bit of a ‘Where’s Waldo’ game.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Have fun, and take care of yourself.

These two tasks seem so arbitrary but they really mean the difference for physical and mental wellbeing. Drawing can seem like a chore sometimes, especially when you’re only drawing or writing something to pay bills, but when you have free time to draw whatever you want, you should draw what you want to draw. Write what you want to write. If you go in with the idea that whatever you make has to be ‘good enough’ to be printed or published, you’re going to hit a lot of brick walls in the process that only give you headaches. But if you have fun with it, you’re more likely to finish your project, and just finishing is half the battle.

But taking care of yourself is vital as well, and I wish it was emphasized more in educational settings. You NEED rest, you NEED food and water, and though I realize the idea of the ‘depressed artist working 16 hour days’ is fairly romanticized, it’s actually incredibly debilitating to work like that, if you can work at all. You can’t make your best work while you’re exhausted, and pushing yourself too hard will end up destroying your mind and body. Seriously. Take a break. Right now, go stretch and drink a glass of water.

Oasis copy
Oasis

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as Asexual as a broad term, and I’ve definitely hovered over different labels and questioned myself several times, but I’m most comfortable for the time being with the umbrella term of ‘Ace’. I believe I may be demiromantic, but I’ve never had a relationship and don’t intend to explore that area just yet. Someday though.

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

I’m not really out about my identity, so I’ve avoided it. There aren’t many aces that I’m aware of in my field, so I haven’t seen anything. I’m sure there’s prejudice out there though, people are unfortunately afraid of things that are different.

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

That asexuals don’t like sex! I think that it could be more difficult for some to get into the mood, but Asexuality is defined as having a lack of sexual attraction to people, not the lack of desire for sex. An ace person could still be romanced for sure, or maybe they just really enjoy some self-love!

(Also, the A stands for Asexual, not Ally!!)

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

Nothing is set in stone, your identity is going to change as you explore and experiment. And that’s fine, most people try several different labels and have various experiences before they settle into something that ‘fits’. And sometimes, maybe you don’t find something that fits, and that’s okay, too. You’ll always be You.

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

You can find my artwork here, and my little baby blog is here!

tapas1

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

Interview: Wolfberry Studio

Today we’re joined by Jay at Wolfberry Studio. Jay is a phenomenal visual artist who works in digital illustration. Their work is mostly in the science fiction and fantasy genres and features people of color, who are underrepresented in such genres. Jay’s work shows extraordinary attention to detail and the images evoke such an amazing sense of imagination and beauty. It’s clear they’re a very dedicated and talented artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Kadal Kanni
Kadal Kanni

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a digital illustrator who works mostly in vector. My fantasy and sci-fi illustrations focus on people of color who are under-represented in these genres.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by legends and myths from around the world. I enjoy exploring the differences and similarities between stories from different cultures. Stylistic influences include Chinese classical painting and Japanese animation.

In addition to visiting museums and galleries regularly to gain exposure to a wide range of styles, I do live drawing outdoors. Nature can inspire, even if you are not a nature painter.

Cables
Cables

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

I’ve always enjoyed drawing. I was one of those kids who got reprimanded for doodling in class in elementary school. I saw drawing as a way to tell stories. I drew comics about my classmates.

As I grew older, I became increasingly aware of the role of visual art in disseminating social messages. I had observed the lack of diversity in certain genres. One day, I realized that instead of complaining about other artists not drawing what I want to see, maybe I should draw what I want to see. That was when I decided to pursue formal artistic training.

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?

My studio signature is consists of the Chinese characters for Wolfberry Studio.  Wolfberry is another name for goji berry.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

It is OK to feel disappointed with your work sometimes.  The fact that you are self-critical is a good thing. It shows that you are ready and willing to improve. In art school, I saw that the artists who improved their skills most quickly were the ones who were the most open to critique.

Regarding how to deal with the gap between where we are as creatives and where we want to be, Ira Glass of This American Life says it best in a 2009 interview:  (http://www.mcwade.com/DesignTalk/2011/04/nobody-tells-this-to-beginners/)

He was talking about video producers, but his comments can apply to just about any field.

We are all on a journey to getting better. It never ends.

Lattices
Lattices

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Gray-A. Aromantic.

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

Not in professional relationships, since the subject has never come up with clients.

I do want to say that I am pleased by the presence of out asexual artists of all levels in online communities. Their visibility paves the way for the rest of us.

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

Some people think that asexuality is pathological, and that aces would be happier if they weren’t asexual.

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

There is no need to fit yourself into someone else’s concept of a happy, fulfilling life.  What’s right for others might not be right for you. You are the only one who knows what’s right for you.

People shouldn’t be giving you a hard time for being asexual any more than you should be giving than a hard time for being allosexual, or for being a football fan, or liking ice cream, or being into whatever else they’re into but you’re not into.

You’re the only one who has to live your life. You’re not living it for anyone else. Seek out people who respect you and accept you the way you are.

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

https://wolfberry-j.deviantart.com/
https://wolfberrystudio.blogspot.com/
https://www.instagram.com/wolfberrystudio/
https://www.redbubble.com/people/WolfberryStudio/portfolio.

Autumn Kitten
Autumn Kitten

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

Interview: schattenmitternacht

Today we’re joined by schattenmitternacht. schattenmitternacht is a wonderful visual artist who specializes in ink drawings and watercolors. They have recently started working with gouache as well. schattenmitternacht draws inspiration from many different places and are clearly very passionate about art, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

IMG_20170809_175236

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I do simple ink drawings and occasionally paint with acrylics and watercolors. Recently, I have started to use gouache as well. Subject to my art can be anything; people, animals, things. I love to illustrate feelings and emotions as metaphors.

What inspires you?

The world around me. I believe that beauty is everywhere and I try to capture it for me and for others in my drawings and paintings. The works of fellow artists are also very inspiring.

I do create things inspired be my personal experiences (my diary is mostly drawings) but those are things I’m not always fond to share with people.

IMG_20171024_225006

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

I remember spending a lot of time at the drawing desk in kindergarten and going to exhibitions with my best friend’s grandmother. But only in middle school did I start to take art more seriously, when I got into manga thanks to a classmate. That’s when I wanted to get better at it.

To be honest, I never wanted to be a professional artist. It was always other people suggesting it to me and at one point in my life I thought it’s the only option available. I mean, I am an artist and I love being one and creating things but there are some aspects of being a professional artist that leave me uncomfortable with pursuing this career path. I’m afraid I won’t like drawing anymore when it’s what I have to do for a living.

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 a set of symbols that I use in my more personal artworks. Arrows for example. But you don’t really get to see a lot of them. Because personal.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Challenge yourself and set yourself a goal. I for example want to create more “finished” works this year and not just elaborate sketches.

I love to do challenges or make lists of projects I want to realize because when I don’t know what to draw, I already have some to work on and don’t have to spend time thinking of something.

IMG_20171230_222953_201

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m aro ace.

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

Not much actually.

My boyfriend asked me once if I was sure I am ace as he couldn’t understand that even though I like physical intimacy, I am still asexual. I explained to him that even if I don’t feel sexual attraction, I still like how it feels and that I think it’s fun.

I myself have never actually experienced prejudice or ignorance against aromanticism, but my friend has. Their mother keeps pressuring them to find a romantic relationship. So that’s something.

IMG_20180117_004556

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

That

  1. I don’t have,
  2. don’t want or enjoy and
  3. am not able to have sex.

A lot of people don’t have sex. This doesn’t make them automatically ace though.

Second, I can understand how someone could think that this is what it means being asexual, as it was something that kept me from calling myself ace for some time. I don’t really know how to put this in words but you can still want to or enjoy it to sleep with someone without finding them sexually attractive. Sex is something very intimate and wanting to share this intimacy with someone does not in any way conflict with being ace.

The last one… What has my lack of sexual attraction to do with my body? It’s just another way to say that we are “broken”.

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

You are not broken. Your needs are as valid as those of allosexual people and your boundaries are to be respected, don’t ever think they are not.

If you have a hard time telling different attractions apart, look up their definitions or people describing them.

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

I am the most active on Instagram. Then of course on Tumblr and on Amino. Actually, you can find me everywhere under schattenmitternacht.

IMG_20180118_143648

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

Interview: Ale

Today we’re joined by Ale, who also goes by Silveranchor online. Ale is a phenomenal illustrator who specializes in traditional mediums. She mostly does fanart and portraits. Ale’s work is bright and remarkably detailed, showing an artist with an amazing eye, as you’ll soon see. It’s clear she has an incredibly bright future ahead of her and is definitely an artist to watch. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. The Sun Summoner Alina Starkov from The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
The Sun Summoner: Alina Starkov from “The Grisha Trilogy” by Leigh Bardugo

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m an aspiring illustrator. I do traditional art, mostly fanart and portraits. I draw characters from books and some TV series. I work with graphite, coloring pencils and I’ve recently started trying with watercolors.

I also dabble a bit in writing and singing, but they’re not my main focus.

What inspires you?

Apart from books, people. I find inspiration in faces, bodies, features, and clothing. I love looking at different people around me and think about how I would draw their noses or their hair.

4. alestyle
Ale Style

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

When I first started getting into fantasy books, I spent a lot of time looking for fanart and I always felt moved by it. That made me want to do fanart of my own and that’s how I discovered that I liked drawing. It took a while for me to start doing original art and even more for me to realize that I wanted to pursue a career in illustration. I’ve only recently started looking into art schools, but I’m excited about the future.

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 still trying out new things and finding my style, so the only things my pieces have in common are that they’re all of people and they have my actual signature.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

To never give up or stop trying. Artistic talent is something you develop over time, so never feel discouraged if a piece doesn’t turn out exactly how you wanted. Getting better requires practice, so never stop creating.

3. Isobel masquerade
Isobel in her masquerade gown from “An Enchantment of Ravens” by Margaret Rogerson

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual. I’m pretty sure I’m on the aromantic spectrum, but I’m not 100% positive where do I fit, so I label myself as aro flux.

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

Not really. I’ve found that other artists are more open minded and accepting than most other people.

5. Karol Sevilla
Karol Sevilla

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

Probably that it isn’t an actual orientation. Most people think asexuals are just confused or repressed, or maybe even traumatized.

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

To love themselves and take it easy. Figuring yourself out is a process and it comes with time. I took a long while to figure out I was asexual and an even longer time being comfortable with labeling myself. It’s okay if you’re not there yet, a long as you feel good with yourself.

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

I post my pieces on my Tumblr and Instagram.
http://silveranchor.tumblr.com/tagged/my-art
https://www.instagram.com/silver_anchor4/

Also, some of my older work is in my DeviantArt
https://thatrockingfangirl.deviantart.com/.

2. A Butterfly on the Nose
A Butterfly on the Nose

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

Interview: Annie O’Quinn

Today we’re joined by Annie O’Quinn. Annie is a phenomenal visual artist who mainly paints for fun. She mostly does digital and fanart at the moment, though Annie is also a painting instructor. When she’s not doing visual art, Annie also writes. She hasn’t published anything just yet, but is currently working on a couple books, which feature asexual characters. It’s clear that she’s a very talented artist with a bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. steampunkdavis-cropsm
Steampunk Davis

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a fairly new artist, as far as finding my style, but I currently do illustrations for fun and I work as a painting instructor at one of those paint and wine places.

What inspires you?

STORIES. More than anything. I’m a writer as well, actually. Is it weird to say my own stories inspire me to draw? Although books, TV shows, movies — if they have a good story, I’m inspired for sure!

Also, of course…. Aesthetic. If it’s pretty, I want to draw it.

2. viktor-flat-crop-sm
Viktor

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

From a young age, yes! It’s actually kinda funny because, hah… I had a friend who did art and I wanted to be better than her. But I was a little kid, okay! I continued because I realized I loved it. However, I was barely able to do it because I kept being told it wouldn’t make me money. (Which might be true for now, but at least I’m happier even through the struggle!)

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?

Hah! I should say I’m not willing to reveal it just to cover up the fact I don’t have one.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t let others force you into other fields, but also don’t put so much stress on making money off of your art that you lose your inspiration in it. Never give up on a goal because someone out there is supporting you, no matter the struggle.

3. angel_painting
Angel Painting

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m panromantic asexual! I have zero sexual attraction, but I’m not repulsed by the idea. I’m in a great asexual relationship now!

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

Definitely ignorance. At work, I had a girl who actually almost started crying because I said I was actually okay with never being with anyone romantically, if that was how life took me. I had another girl tell me that I’d change my mind when I met the right person. Growing up, I had people tell me I was a prude and stuck up for not being active. I had a guy offer to help me “get to know the city” in school when he found out. The list goes on. I call them papercuts, but they can add up. Learning the term, which was just a few years ago, really helped me in accepting myself and the fact I didn’t have to compromise that part of myself to be with someone. But before I knew? Before I found a good support for it? I didn’t handle it that well. I ignored it and made sexual jokes or let people assume things without corrections. I don’t put up with it at all anymore, though. And I write about it a lot, actually!

5. ToiletCatAries
Toilet Cat Aries

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

That is means I can’t have a relationship with someone. I’m on the aromantic spectrum somewhere probably, but even that doesn’t mean I can’t have one. Along with people thinking that I’m judging them for loving sex. I am definitely not! If you have that attraction, great! It’s a pretty common thing to have and excuses aren’t needed. I would say those are the two things.

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

You don’t have to figure it out right now. You don’t have to rush it. It might even be different depending on the person you’re in a relationship with, your current live situation, or the phase of the moon… That’s okay. My mom discovered she was asexual and genderqueer when she was sixty-two. Just listen to yourself above what others tell you.

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

Aoqart.tumblr.com is my art Tumblr! Or you can see my art and my cats on Instagram, which is also aoqart. You might see me in artist allies occasionally! Thanks so much!

4. korrasami-sm
Korrasami

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

Interview: Liv

Today we’re joined by Liv. Liv is a fantastic visual artist who specializes in illustration and character design. She draws in a variety of styles and illustrates various subjects. Her work is amazing in its attention to detail and color. She’s a remarkably talented artist, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

dragon scene
Dragon Scene

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My work is mainly illustrations. I do a lot of character designs, backgrounds … story boards ‘n such. I like working in pastel shades and bright colors, but I also like making more low-key stuff. Dark blues … greens … Color and design are usually the main focus in my work, even if I’m drawing portraits I try to pay very close attention to color. I don’t know though; my stuff is pretty varied. I make a lot of different types of art. I make semi-realistic work, characters, portraits, landscapes, buildings … I do whatever I can to improve myself as an artist.

What inspires you?

Music. For sure music. I need to right song before I start. The usual music consists of James Blake, Joji, Tyler the Creator … A lot of low key music. Oh! I also love Tame Impala. I’m also inspired by studio Ghibli movies and other artists. Other artists online really push my work to be better.

pointilism portrait
Pointilism Portrait

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

My mom gave me this fairytale book when I was six. It had her doodles in it when she was my age, and I was really taken by them. (They weren’t great, they were made by six-year-old mom) but at the time it was crazy to me that anyone could just … make stuff. I passively drew for a few more years, then got really serious about it when I was 12.

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?

Umm haha I have one thing. I don’t sign my work very often, (which I should do) but when I do, I make it look like a rose. I noticed my initials naturally made this curve that looked like a flower, so I added a little flare for the stem.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I have a few things actually. I’ll bullet them so they’re easier to read.

  • Don’t immediately shut down advice. It can feel like people are attacking your work, your baby, but they aren’t trying to. It helps to hear them out. (if they are trying to put it down though just remember it isn’t about you, it’s about that person trying to be entertaining or whatever) You will get critiques, some harsher than others, always remember that it isn’t meant to be personal.
  • Don’t immediately accept it either. Trust your gut. If someone suggests something, and your first instinct is “that’s a terrible idea” then maybe listen to
  • Don’t be so hard on yourself. I know it’s difficult, but sometimes it’s best to try to ignore that small voice in your head that constantly puts you down. Analyze your work, learn from it. But do not put it down too much.
  • Let yourself make bad art. It’s still practice!! Even if you don’t like it, you’re using those low moments to improve! And that’s always good. Even if you hate making it the whole time because you hate the piece so much, just finish it and learn from it. It helps, I swear.
  • Take time to do things you enjoy. Sometimes you need a break from art. DO NOT feel guilty for needing a break. Drink some water, play a videogame. You’ve earned it.
  • Don’t let anyone say you can’t make a job out of it. Not even your family. I mean there’s a huge industry for the arts, if you care enough and are dedicated to it, you can make a job out of it. Even if your friends or family say you can’t.
portrait
Portrait

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I don’t feel any sexual attraction to any gender. So, I guess just asexual.

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

I’ve only come out to my friends, who are all “SJWs” haha. They’ve been super accepting. I did, however, come out to someone I was interested in. They replied with “then how do you know you like me? Like more than friends?” the question was annoying in my opinion, but I knew it was just his insecurities speaking and not really him. Well… I would mean that if he hadn’t led me on then dated one of my best friends behind my back. I haven’t experienced anything other than that. Almost everyone in my school is pretty cool with that stuff. I just haven’t come out yet because I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. If people wanna know I’ll tell ‘em, but I don’t think advertising it is very… me.

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

Biggest one I’ve encountered is media portraying asexuals as cold, psychopaths. People seem to go along with that portrayal.  That’s why it’s nice seeing characters like Todd from Bojack Horseman. It’s great to see a funny, generous, insightful person in a TV show be asexual.

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

Lay low. It’s OK. I swear you’ll get through it. Take some time to figure your crap out… Just slow down a little. Remember you aren’t alone, and take some time to yourself to relax and think over things. Thinking does wonders sometimes.

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

I have an art Instagram account called “living.in.yellow” I post a lot of my work there, though the posting gets pretty infrequent every now and then.

priness mononoke
Princess Mononoke

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

Interview: Alexa Baird

Today we’re joined by Alexa Baird. Alexa is a phenomenal visual artist and writer who is so ridiculously creative. They’re a fellow indie author who has self-published a number of novels and novelettes, which can be found on Amazon (look them up and supported a fellow ace). They also has a wonderful webcomic entitled Selfinsertale, which looks absolutely fascinating. Also, they’re a fellow Star Trek fan, which is awesome. Alexa is so passionate and dedicated, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. title page

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My main art is writing. I write and self-publish novels and novelettes about a wide cast of characters including humans, robots, and magical beings, sometimes all in the same book. I’ve even taken to illustrating some of my more recent novels though I’ve been creating visual art since childhood. I also like to create comics and started my current webcomic series in 2016.

What inspires you?

I always like to say that tea helps with my creative-tea, but a lot of my inspiration comes from conversations with my friends and the ideas we spark together about our characters, how various characters would interact, etc. A lot of my ideas come from the desire to see a specific audience reaction that I test run by sharing these ideas with my friends.

2. 20160830_191031

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

Starting in elementary school, my family and some of my teachers encouraged my artistic pursuits, though growing up I would jump from visual arts, to crafts, to music, to visual arts again, and also to writing. I used to hate writing as a result of the standardized tests I had to take when younger, but after being introduced to the concept of fan fiction and original characters I started to spend a lot of time in middle school creating my own stories as a coping mechanism. Over time I stuck with it and created more and more stories and characters until I got to where I am today with my novels and comics.

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’s subtle and not always consistent, but in a lot of my novels or series I try to fit in the word “trek” at some point in it as a nerdy, small reference to Star Trek.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t be afraid to try new types of art and don’t be afraid to change your mind on what sort of artist you are. Maybe you start out as a writer but you want to try making crafts and find you have more fun with crafts and don’t want to write any more. That’s fine! Do what makes you happier in the end. Or maybe you’re a musician who tries painting a few times but end up not liking it. That’s fine too! You gained experience just from trying something you don’t normally do. Or maybe you try all sorts of things and have several different types of art you like and want to pursue. More power to you then, buddy. Trying new things always gives you more insight, and if you find something you prefer to do over what you had been doing before then the insight you gained is one of exploring more about yourself and your desires.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m ace and aro.

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

I’ve mainly seen prejudice remarks said to others rather than to me directly but it’s always hurtful to see. I find the best way to handle it is to support those who deal with this ignorance to let them know they aren’t alone in their identity and to understand that while those who are hateful may be the loudest, they are not the majority and there are ultimately more kind people in the world than there are bad.

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

That asexual people don’t belong in the LGBT+ community, usually due to people insisting that asexual people are actually straight. The most common misconception I see is that a lack of sexual attraction can let a person pass as straight, or that it means they actually are straight, and therefore that we aren’t queer enough to be part this community.

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

Asexuality is a normal and valid thing, and there are more people out there who are also asexual than you can count. Though the common statistic is only one percent of the world is asexual, that would still mean 76 million people in this world are also asexual, and I don’t think this takes into account those who due to societal norms don’t realize they are asexual as well. There is a large community here that can help and support you, and even if you can’t reach out to them personally they are still here if you ever need them and will be willing to help you as well.

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

You can find my books on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/author/alexabaird and my webcomic at http://selfinsertale.smackjeeves.com/ and bonus content at my Patreon at http://www.patreon.com/alexabaird

My main Tumblr and my Instagram username is allislaughter. And my Twitter is allislaughterEX.

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