Interview: Diane Ramic

Today we’re joined by Diane Ramic. Diane is a phenomenal freelance illustrator who specializes in prehistory, science, fantasy, and science fiction. She does a ton of paleoart and dinosaurs are frequently in her work. Diane has also written a couple children’s books, including a coloring book of scientifically accurate dinosaurs. She has a passion for science and it shows, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

10496099_1511802825699444_4682683114271124378_o

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a freelance illustrator and graphic designer, and my work tends to focus on prehistory, fantasy, and sci-fi. So, you’ll find plenty of dinosaurs, dragons and aliens in my art. I also illustrate children’s books, and have written a few of my own as well! I love combining art and science into a work, as those two fields have both captured my imagination since I was very young. Educational media is something I try to work on whenever I can.

What inspires you?

Nature for sure. Thinking about life that existed in the past, and life that may exist in the future, it just makes me want to design or re-create them through art. Astronomy is a huge inspiration for when I need to do alien designs, and just thinking of the cosmos gets me in the creating mode of thought.

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

Well, when I was seven, I wanted to be a Velociraptor. I even started walking on my toes, all hunched over and with my arms mimicking their folded up arms. When I found out being a Velociraptor was physically impossible (for now), my next goal was to be a paleontologist, and that turned into wanting to be a science-minded illustrator. Fossils are a fantastic base for knowing as much as we can about these extinct animals, but the only way we can really know what they looked like in life is through artists reconstructing them in their work. For most of the public, their first impressions on prehistoric animals comes from the media, be it in movie, toy, or book form. That’s why it’s important, when you’re working with paleoart, to incorporate the updated science in your work. It brings me great satisfaction to help contribute my work to the paleoart community, and help educate the public about the lives these wonderful animals lived.

DianeRamicColoringPages17

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

Beyond designing aliens and their environments, I really, really enjoy doing the math for figuring out the planet’s mass and composition, atmospheric pressure, its place in the solar system, the mass and age of its star(s), how many other planets it shares the star(s) with, etc. Even if no one ever sees these things, it’s just very satisfying to have it all work out in your head and on paper.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I’m a visual artist, so this will be in that category of art. Study from life as often as you can. Once you’ve got a good grasp on the basics of how objects interact with one another and understand color theory, you can experiment with distorting and exaggerating figures, and play with color choice. A lot of online resources are free, and try to share what you’ve learned with others. There’s a lot of gatekeeping in the artist community, even though that doesn’t help anyone. You will most likely have to go through plenty of rejections, and that’s OK, too. Just pick yourself back up and keep going as best as you can. And whatever you do, don’t make fun of younger or less experienced artists’ work.

f61ded_a9e7db4ed7fb459f8877336d24678281

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am definitely both ace and aro, and have felt this way as long as I can remember. I’m actually pretty relieved to not have developed any romantic or sexual feelings; I feel they would get in the way of me doing my work.

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

I think the most common thing is being told again and again that what I am doing is unnatural, and going against nature, the person’s gods, or “how it should be.” The “late bloomer” stuff can get kind of annoying, too. I’m about to be 23 as of this writing, I’m pretty sure if I was going to develop any other orientations, it would have been a thing by now. And if nothing else, I’m pretty sure there are plenty enough humans on this planet, the global population isn’t in danger of going extinct anytime soon, haha.

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

Probably that we are seen as cold, unfeeling robots. I understand a lot of ace people out there definitely have the same range of emotion as anyone else, and being compared to a robot is very dehumanizing. But as someone that also has a lack of emotion/empathy/etc. in general, I actually kind of like the description.

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

You are a valid and real person, and you know yourself better than anyone else can. You might be confused at first, thinking “Is something wrong with me?” or “Am I really like this?” and that’s ok. Sometimes feelings can shift over time and you may find yourself having a different experience than you do now, and this is normal. Part of what makes living things special is their ability to grow and change over time. You’re not alone. Do what makes you comfortable.

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

I have a website at http://dramic.wixsite.com/home, but more frequently post on my Tumblr at  http://dianeramic.tumblr.com. I’m always working on new projects, so I hope you stop by to see what’s new! I’ve also got an Amazon author page; feel free to check out what new books I have available!

DiantimonySpino

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

Interview: Shay

Today we’re joined by Shay. Shay is a wonderful visual artist who specializes in a cartoon style. She is a self-taught artist and is currently working to get a degree in animation. Her work has a masterful use of color and a sense of whimsy, which just makes you want to smile. She’s clearly a dedicated and talented artist, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

me windbreaker teal
Me Windbreaker Teal

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a self-taught digital illustrator and I’m pursuing a degree in 2D animation! I prefer to use a very Western cartoon-like style. Picking out bright or pastel color schemes is my favorite!

What inspires you?

I often draw my favorite YouTubers, my friends, and my two adorable dogs! I also do a lot of self-portraits. Lately I’ve been trying to create my own original characters, but those are all still a work in progress. When I’m not sure what to draw, I sometimes will come up with a color palette that I love and go from there!

amy sick
Amy Sick

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

I’ve always been interested in drawing, but I didn’t set my mind on really trying to improve until about 6 years ago. Growing up I would only consider more “practical” careers like graphic design or marketing. That is, until a year ago when it suddenly occurred to me that real people with real lives actually get to illustrate and animate for a living. And it made me think “Why couldn’t that be me?”

chica colored
Chica

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 typically, but when drawing myself I often include daisies somewhere in the illustration just because I really love them, and four-leaf clovers because I have a knack for finding them and they just seem to appear everywhere in my life. And it couldn’t hurt to have a little luck on my side!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t be afraid to try out elements of a style from artists you look up to. As long as you’re not tracing or essentially/literally claiming their work as your own, it will certainly help you discover your own unique style. Everyone’s signature style is just a conglomerate of things they saw and just thought to themselves “Wow! I really like that! I wonder if I could replicate that!” Trying out styles like that really helps you come into your own with time.

ethan peace
Ethan Peace

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual and heteromantic!

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

Not really, mostly just those that have never had the concept of asexuality explained to them. People tend to associate sex with something artistic, and therefore assume that all artists want that in their lives, which is not the case at all!

jack and mark dudebros fixed
Jack and Mark Dudebros

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

That it’s just being picky or that an ace person just “hasn’t found the right person yet.” If you’re asexual you don’t have any interest at all. I have never once in my life looked at someone and fantasized about having sex with them, and I’m in college. That has nothing to do with not finding the right person.

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

Please don’t stress about it too much! You may face some prejudice and ignorance about asexuality in your life, but at the end of the day you know how you feel, and nobody else can change that about you no matter how much they want to. You are not broken!

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

I’m most active on my Tumblr blog, but you can find me on these social medias:
DeviantART: https://sorrelheart.deviantart.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sorrelheart_jpg
Redbubble: https://www.redbubble.com/people/shaytastic

baylee happy
Baylee Happy

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

Interview: Elizabeth King

Today we’re joined by Elizabeth King, who goes by LizzyKingBooks on Tumblr. Elizabeth is an amazing writer and illustrator who specializes in erotica kinky novels. She has created a lot of content she feels is lacking in mainstream media, creating erotic content that revolves around situation and intimacy instead of attraction and lust. Her experience as a kinky asexual informs her work, some of which is darker. Elizabeth has self-published an e-novel about a vampire who captures a girl (which is also in the kinky erotica genre). She is an incredibly passionate individual, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Chapter 07a

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I write and illustrate erotic kink novels! I began with fanfiction and have branched off from there into my own original content and characters. My work revolves around dark fantasies and kink sexuality. I currently have one novel and several short stories available. The novel is an erotic horror novel about a young girl taken captive by a Vampire Lord, and is more or less the vampire novel I have always wished existed. It is intended to be frightening as much as it is erotic, and in fanfiction terms would be labelled as a darkfic. Each chapter is illustrated with several drawings depicting the characters and scenes. It goes of course without saying that my work and content is intended exclusively for an adult audience and I will not sell to minors.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by relational dynamics, and stories about how one person might relate to another. I am also inspired by kink sexuality and rather dark themes like the relationship between life and death. The Hannibal TV series, for instance, captures such a beautiful picture of dark themes, presenting a compelling world that teeters between the morbid and the vibrant. That is the kind of feeling I would like to evoke with my work.

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

I’ve always been artistic, since I was very young. However, my particular field was not on my radar until a few years ago, when I discovered fanfiction.

Fanfiction opened up a world of erotica to me, which inspired me because it was expressive of sexualities and fantasies that are not typically seen in the mainstream world. Here were women and LGBT people writing and expressing and drawing the sorts of things that they found sexy and appealing and what they were creating spoke to me on much deeper levels than any explicit content from the mainstream world. I wanted to try to express myself as well, and as I began to write fanfiction I began to also discover things about my own sexuality that I hadn’t before.

Marginalized pornography is so important to me, because it brings light to erotic desires that are not generally acknowledged as being valid. What non-ace women want is not even typically represented, but what ace women want or find appealing is even rarer depicted. And what kinds of things kinky women think about? Again, even rarer still. Kink is a genre dominated by men and male fantasy, and I found it so inspiring to see authors writing kink from the perspectives of women.

I decided that I wanted to craft stories that spoke to my deepest and darkest desires and fantasies, because nothing else was. One of the things that I find so inspiring about fanfiction’s approach to erotic content rather than the mainstream world of published erotica, is how fanfiction focuses on characters first, and the sexual content second. The tropes and focal points of fanfiction are so very unique, and I wanted to bring that form of writing over into my original erotic fiction.

Chapter 19b

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 work is all BDSM and kink related. Every story I write has a Dominant character and a submissive character, and I focus heavily on the power dynamics between the two of them. Although my stories feature a lot of explicit sexual content, the core of my stories is the power exchange within that sexual content, and how those experiences shape and mold the characters. A few of my own personal kinks tend to pop up again and again, of course!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep going! Whatever you do, no matter how down you feel, keep making things. Life is about doing things, and experiencing things. Even if something you do objectively flops, doing that thing is better than not doing it. The act of creating will enrich your life. Express. Don’t compare yourself to others. Don’t worry about success or failure. Just do things.

ZaraPics02

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as demi-sexual, although I have recently been considering that perhaps grey-sexual may be better fitting. I do not experience sexual attraction based on physical features or looks (although I do experience aesthetic attraction) but rather based on personality traits and situations. I identify as a submissive, and within the context of the ace spectrum, that means that I am only sexually attracted to dominance, whether that be in a person’s mannerisms, or a power imbalance situation. So, while I can experience attraction, it is rather rare and does not happen in the same way as for most people. I am also pan-romantic!

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

I am happy to say that I have not (yet) experienced any ace prejudice, either in my field or out of it! Ignorance, perhaps, but not of a willfully cruel nature. Many people have questions about my sexuality which I am happy to answer. In general as long as someone is respectful I have no problem answering questions. I hope that I will be gracious as well if I ever do encounter hate.

What I do, however, encounter is people assuming that I cannot be ace, or even that I must be more sexually promiscuous, because I write erotica. Many men assume that I will be open to sexting with them because of the content I write. These assumptions frustrate me, but I try to correct them gently whenever I can.

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

The most common misconception about asexuality I’ve encountered personally is the misunderstanding that all asexual people hate sex. A lot of people cannot understand how you could enjoy sex if you do not experience sexual attraction. In reality, many ace spectrum people are still interested in having sex with their partners! Many ace spectrum people may be sex repulsed, but that is not a requirement for being ace!

elleviola

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

Don’t be afraid to try labels on for size and see what feels right. Your identity is not invalid if you decide to change your label later. Your journey is unique, and you don’t have to justify it to anyone!

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

You can find my work at LizzyKingBooks.tumblr.com! Please come and follow me and even shoot me an ask. But please remember, my work and my blog are 18+ only!

ElleZara02

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

Interview: Lemur

Today we’re joined by Lemur. Lemur is a wonderful visual artist who specializes in illustrations with a narrative element. Their work is fascinating and has a touch of the surreal to it. It’s clear that Lemur is a very dedicated artist, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

13399e50702469.56088e5a24e31

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art is a bit all over the place in terms of medium, content and purpose…most of the time I’m an illustrator! Everything I make tends to have a narrative element. It is easier for me to make something when I can picture its place in a story/see its context extending from it.

What inspires you?

Whatever catches my attention! Objects that demand explanations or suggest some secret life, environments that feel like empty film sets, in medias res conversations, people whose futures/histories I have to imagine because I don’t get the chance to talk to them….

20170222_115735

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

I always wanted to be either a zoologist or a volcanologist, but I was also easily bored and prone to doodling.

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?

Well! My (real) last name is Hamburger (seriously), so sometimes I’ll draw a little hamburger instead of writing it out.

…this doesn’t go over so well when I’m filling out legal documents.

20170302_013323

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Anything and everything can be used to make art! Work can surpass the materials used in its creation. Be open to criticism, but let your own beliefs walk beside you; your opinion should neither be elevated to god-status nor relegated to the role of no-nothing kid sidekick. Make what you want to make, not what you think you ought to be making.

20170313_131638

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Not exactly sure! Probably somewhere between romantic asexual and grey-A.

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

I haven’t encountered prejudice as much as I have sheer disbelief that asexuality even exists. There are also occasionally people who are offended by what they perceive as a general rejection of sex overall, as though my personal disinterest in sex were a puritanical condemnation of whatever everyone else is choosing to do with their bits. In these cases I usually compare sex to beer/hard liquor: I’m not a fan, but that doesn’t mean I’m trying to bring back prohibition.

b4d36f50701509.56088e4e795ec

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

That it can’t possibly exist, that it is always caused by some past trauma.

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

NO SHAME! Really though. Although it may not always feel this way, there are loads of people like you out there, and a few might be willing to chat.

bc219014317747.562816e520ead

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

I’ve been trying to get better at using Instagram for art: https://www.instagram.com/lemurhamburger/

IMG_6315-1

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

Interview: Red

Today we’re joined by Red. Red is a fantastic YouTuber and a digital illustrator. Her YouTube channel is called “Overly Sarcastic Productions” and according to the channel, is dedicated to “sarcastic, yet informative, summaries of classic and not-so-classic literature and mythology, as well as major historical events!” Who isn’t interested in that? Aside from the YouTube channel, Red is also a dedicated visual artist who draws some truly adorable characters, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

a-very-asgardian-christmas
A Very Asgardian Christmas

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a YouTuber with plans! My art is mostly digital illustration and comics, but I also write, sing, and am trying to get into voice acting. My channel is separate from most of the other visual art I do, which is mostly sketchwork, comics and illustrations for the worlds I’m writing in at the moment – currently my focus in that dimension is fantasy, but I’m planning on branching out. My YouTube channel is devoted to education, and is an attempt on my part to make stories and texts typically considered “boring” interesting for an audience with my attention span – that is to say, short. It’s also great practice for voice acting, sound design and music, and the number of frames I have to draw for a single video also means I get in a ton of linework and painting practice. I’m currently focusing on improving my digital painting and my voicework, and am planning on starting a webcomic if I ever find the time.

What inspires you?

Mostly other people’s art, heh. It drives me to improve my own work and experiment in new directions. Also cartoons! It’s a great way to learn and absorb a lot of voice-acting.

jttw
Jttw

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

Both my parents are artists – my dad is a writer, and my mom is a painter – so yeah, I’ve pretty much always wanted to do art in general. The voice acting specifically, though – I can’t remember what specifically got me interested in it, but it’s definitely a more recent development.

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?

Nope

mermaid
Mermaid

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Practice, practice, practice. It’s the only way to improve. Look at other people’s art in terms of what it can teach you, not how much better or worse it is than your own. Don’t be afraid to try new things, and REALLY don’t be afraid to mess up.

And remember – perfection doesn’t exist. Your work will never be perfect, and that’s okay! Just strive to improve, and realize that improving doesn’t mean you were bad before you got better!

powerhouse-recolor-copy
Powerhouse

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m asexual, but pretty solidly romantic. Recently I’ve started questioning exactly what my romantic orientation is; currently I’m sticking with “panromantic” as it seems closest.

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

Er, not really? The closest I’ve gotten is the occasional plant joke.

shard
Shard

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

That it means you don’t want a relationship. It’s a little rough being written off as a non-viable partner just because you’re neutral on the subject of sex. I’m not a robot, I just like cuddling!

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

Don’t be afraid to get it wrong. I went through a lot of labels before I clicked with “asexual” and am currently trying to settle on a romantic one – there’s nothing wrong with saying “I’m not sure yet!” or even “I’m picking a new one!”

the-crew-2
The Crew

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

My YouTube channel is my biggest endeavor right now, so by all means check it out! It’s called Overly Sarcastic Productions (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCodbH5mUeF-m_BsNueRDjcw), and most of it is summaries/retellings of old books and myths.

the-tempest-resized
The Tempest

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

Interview: Fawndolyn Valentine

Today we’re joined by Fawndolyn Valentine. Fawndolyn is a phenomenal versatile artist who has tried her hand at just about everything. She’s most dedicated to illustration and dabbles in steampunk jewelry. When she’s not doing that, she also does makeup. It’s very apparent that Fawndolyn is an incredibly dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

fawndolyn

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m kind of a jack-of-all, master-of-none, but I chiefly work on illustrations, and frequently dabble in making steampunk jewelry, and practical/special FX makeup.  In my illustrations, I mostly work in watercolours and Copic markers, but it’s Inktober now, so I’ve been concentrating on my ink work this month.

And when I say jack-of-many, I mean give me something interesting to do, and I’ll damn-well give it a shot!  I’ve made hobbies of cake-designing, woodworking, costuming, violin, making comics, translating French, urban exploration, making comics, writing, bookbinding, prop-making, acting, web design, painting, medical experimentation, and a cornucopia of other things.

What inspires you?

Other artists.  I’ve never been one to say, “I’ll never be that good” when looking at better artists’ work, but I tend to say, “I can draw that!  Let me try to draw that.”  That’s how I practice.  I learn techniques and styles from other artists so I can better understand how to develop my own style (even though I’m still trying to settle).

I’m also inspired by faces. I do a lot of portraits, so an interesting pose with well-defined features are particularly inspiring to me. If we’re friends and I have a picture of you in a striking pose or making a goofy face, you’d better believe I’m going to try to draw it.

fawndolyn-art1

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

I’ve been drawing since I was four years old.  I can’t remember a time when I didn’t draw – except a few years back, for a few years during a severe depression.

I haven’t always wanted to be an artist.  Sort of. I was kinda forced into it – my mom and grandfather were artists, so their legacy needed to continue.  Most of my time spent in college was skating around other majors, trying to be anything but an artist.  I felt like I was pre-destined to it.  Not to mention, my family always ragged on me about not making money with my talents, which really spoiled it for me.

It wasn’t until I was about to run out of financial aid that I finally decided “FINE!  I’LL DO IT.”  And of course, that turned out to be my saving grace.  Highest marks all around.

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?

When I was young, I watched a great documentary on Al Hirschfeld, and I loved how he would hide his daughter Nina’s name in his work.  I tried to sneak something into my drawings, but my type of work didn’t really allow for it.  Not enough detail.  In the age of internet art theft, I’ve reconsidered sneaking my name into my work, but I haven’t really been able to figure out how just yet.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep drawing.  If you suck, pick one of the things you suck at and find out how to get better at it.  Keep going down the list of things you suck at until you don’t suck anymore (or you could go the way I go and just avoid drawing the thing you suck at).  I highly recommend taking a life-drawing class. They’ll start you with the basics (drawing your own hand) in a number of different ways, but you’ll learn how to draw what you see.

Reference photos are amazing.  Many artists use them.  If an artist says they don’t ever use references, they’re lying – every artist has referenced something in their lives, even if they don’t use references anymore.  Not using references is possible, but why torture yourself while you’re starting out.

And for ultra-beginners, here’s how I really got going: When I was in 7th grade, I would draw by holding paper against a paused TV screen and trace the blurry shapes of Ren and Stimpy and Sailor Moon, or whatever show I liked, just to get the feeling of drawing those lines.  Man, that helped.  Tracing to copying to referencing to working from imagination… it’s all about leveling up. I still pause movies if I can’t find a good reference photo.

fawndolyn-art3

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as graysexual (I know it’s gray asexual, but it just rolls off the tongue better the other way).  Panromantic. But I just say I’m asexual and allow for gentle prodding, if questions occur.

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

The first person I came out to was a friend who I had a fling with in the past.  His follow-up questions were so abrasive that I felt attacked, and it took me two years getting over the fear to come out to my own boyfriend (when I did finally come out to him, his reaction was, “well obviously!”  And he was completely okay and understanding about it).

My asexuality and the aforementioned terrible coming-out experience came up in casual conversation with an acquaintance and he said, “I can understand why someone would get mad about it, if they like-liked you.”  Can you believe that crap?  Like sex is the only thing I’m good for?  Like already having a goddamn boyfriend isn’t your bigger obstacle?!  Piss off!

fawndolyn-art4

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

That we can’t have or enjoy sex.  And that we’re a challenge to be fixed.

Trigger warning.  Before I ever even heard of asexuality, before I realized I wasn’t broken, I dated a piece of shit who treated sex like part of the girlfriend package.  Like I owed him.  Having sex was fine, but he poured on the guilt whenever I didn’t want to.  My circumstances of being homeless at the time, plus the guilt trip, made me feel like I did owe him.  He thought I would enjoy it when he got it in.  And I always faced away to hide my tears.  I was young and didn’t know I didn’t deserve that.

(end Trigger Warning)

Despite that, I have, after that relationship, still enjoyed sex.  I don’t have it anymore; haven’t for a few years now, and I don’t intend to. My boyfriend is okay with this.  I also still masturbate.  That’s part of the “can’t enjoy sex” misconception, though I don’t do it for fun (I mean, I sometimes try to have fun with it).  I do it to silence the baby-making hormones that rear their annoying heads every month (my boyfriend was shocked when I told him I only take care of myself once or twice a month.  I guess that’s a low amount).

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

Take as much time and experience as you need to figure out who you are, who you like, and what you want. It took me til I was 32 years old to realize I’m asexual.  In high school, I didn’t understand why everyone (even the nerdiest of nerds) were having sex.  I felt embarrassed and a little attacked for having feelings for someone and then my friends teasing me that I’m “a big ol’ horn-dog” who wants to bone everyone.  I couldn’t understand why having a crush meant wanting to have sex to everyone but me.  When I grew up, I had a lot of enjoyable sex, but it never felt like anything but a hormonal satisfaction (not connected to romance).  Mostly, I had sex because I thought I was supposed to.  When I discovered that asexuality is a thing I could finally identify with, I felt like a huge chip came off my shoulders.

I feel like, nowadays, we live in a world of sexual autonomy, and more people understand that they have the right to say NO or YES whenever they need to.  Don’t let anyone make you feel like you owe them.  I still feel weird for being ace, and I think it’ll make any future dating I do pretty difficult, but I think that comes with the territory in a sex-driven society.  But listen.  We are not weird.  Okay, some of us might be a little weird, but it’s not because of our (a)sexual preference.

And if you’re stuck somewhere in your self-discovery, ask for help.  Find like-minded people online.  Ask questions to google or to forums.  We’re out there.

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

My art: https://www.facebook.com/fawndolyn/

Instagram (this month is mostly inktober and SFX): https://www.instagram.com/fawndolyn/

Steampunk jewelry: https://www.facebook.com/honeyinmygears/

And just in case anyone wants to read the boring details of my life, I still use LiveJournal: https://diello.livejournal.com/

fawndolyn-art2

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

Interview: ZutaraBeliever

Today we’re joined by ZutaraBeliever. ZutaraBeliever is a first for Asexual Artists: she’s a stop-motion fabricator. Aside from that, she’s a phenomenal illustrator and animator. ZutaraBeliever has this wonderful enthusiasm that shines through in her work. Her art demonstrates a sense of whimsy and a real attention to detail. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

chris_stickerbase
Chris sticker base

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am an illustrator, animator, and Stop-Motion Fabricator! I love working with my hands and sculpting. I went to college for stop motion, but drawing wise, I am mostly self-taught.

What inspires you?

Honestly, other people. And things I love. I am a creative person, and if you look around, there are really cool people just waiting to be turned into your own characters. Everyone has a story to be told, and no matter what the medium, being creative is a great outlet for your stresses and ideas.

cutiepatoots
Cutie Patoots

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

Yes! I have always wanted to be an artist. Cartoons were a huge inspiration. I remember that PowerPuff Girls was a huge influence on me! And, obviously, from my username, Avatar: The Last Airbender was a HUGE inspiration.

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 love eyes. That sounds creepy, but I think they are the most amazing part of people. They are the first things I notice about someone.  I usually put a lot of detail in the eyes. I also love thick outlines. I will try to sneak those in when I can!

dragtrio2
Drag Trio

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

FANART IS OKAY TO DRAW! I can’t believe how many posts I see a day or how many times I hear my fellow artists rant or criticize younger artists about making or using bases, or making O.C.’s from fandoms, and it makes me so mad. EVERYONE DOES THAT. No one comes out of the womb knowing how to draw, or making cartoons, or comics, you have to learn. If you use a base, give credit. ALWAYS GIVE CREDIT.

icecream
Ice Cream

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a heteroaromatic Asexual!

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

Oh man. Yes. I have been kicked out of parades, support groups, I have been called a plant (cliché, I know). I have had people tell me that ‘There’s no way you can be asexual, you like dudes’.

I am 23 and still haven’t told my parents. I’ve talked about adopting instead of giving birth to kids, but that’s about as close as it gets. But, your parents and over ones may surprise you. We are living in a culture that is constantly changing, and though it may seem scary, tell someone. Tell someone, especially if you are being pressured by someone else. And don’t hate your parents if at first they don’t understand. Most parents automatic reaction is ‘Did I do something wrong?’ —‘Was it something I did that made them this way?’ Most parents want to try and understand, even if it takes a while.

sexsticker_base
Sex Sticker base

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

That you can’t have a relationship if you’re asexual. Boundaries need to be set, like any relationship, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it work.

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

One day, it’ll just hit you. I have had that moment, and I think every other ace has. That moment where you think ‘Wow…I really am Asexual’. Labels are nice. They really are, bring able to name something you feel is fantastic. And sexuality is fluid. Don’t worry what others think, and don’t let ANYONE pressure you into something you don’t want or aren’t comfortable with. OH! And make sure you prepare snappy comebacks if someone calls you a plant.

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

You can always send me a message on Tumblr or message me here:

https://twitter.com/ZutaraBeliever
http://zutarabeliever-art.tumblr.com/
https://www.etsy.com/shop/CraftyFandom

ace
Ace

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