Interview: Kika

Today we’re joined by Kika. Kika is a phenomenal writer and visual artist who is best known for their webcomics. They currently have two webcomics posted: Adventure Inc. (a story about a shapeshifter and their employee) and Toss of Fate (a romantic coming-of-age story). Their webcomics have a lot of LGBTQ+ subject matter and they put a lot of themself in their work (through character, situation, or story). It’s clear they’re a talented and dedicated artist who loves what they do, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. PRIDE

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Well, I work as a self-publishing webcomic artist. I’m only a couple years into it, but I currently have two ongoing webcomics free to read online. The first is Anything Inc. — an odd business with a shapeshifting owner and an employee who was dragged into this crazy random job. It’s humorous, but does reveal its dark side. The other, and probably more well known, is Toss of Fate — a romantic coming of age comic of two boys in their high school color guard. If you like color guard, cinnamon roll characters, deep sad stories, and dorks in love- you’ll enjoy this.

I hope to eventually break into more comics, zines, and animation/storyboarding whether it be with a company or building it up on my own.

What inspires you?

I think my drive to get myself out there. I want to entertain one way or another and I live to please honestly. So I work hard for the readers of my comics and my friends who support me. Not only that, but my story and characters. I grow close to them and I get excited with every new page I can put out because I see them grow, my art style grow, and the story continue further. It’s very fulfilling.

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

I love cartoons and comics. I always wanted to make my own cartoons and stories since I was little. I made horribly drawn comics of my friends and I in high school doing stupid random things and would draw stupid things to make others laugh. I love to make other laugh. Thank goodness for webcomics and for enjoying them once I got to college. It gave me a starting point and a way to work on growing as an artist.

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 wish. I should have like something hidden within each page. Only thing I put on each piece of art is my signature in the corner. And I don’t know if it counts but my style. That stands out in itself. It’s very….derpy? LOL, but I love it.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Never give up and keep drawing. I wasn’t able to draw a decent looking character/figure until AFTER college. But with practicing more and more I’m now able to be proud of the characters I draw and they seem relatively proportional. Not everything happens at once, so be patient and give it time. Also, references are your best friend! They really make things look SOOO much better.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a Non-binary Demisexual.

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

I recently went to our city’s pride parade and was kind of bummed of lack of not only Ace/ Non-binary People represented, but lack of mercy vendors were sending. I was with my Pan friends and they were over joyed they had pansexual things and they were all selling out and it was Pan city. But I’d ask vendors if they had anything Ace/Demi/Non-binary and luckily ONE vendor had a Demi flag. And thus I was super Demi, wearing that flag as a cape to represent.

Other than that light thing, nothing really thank fully.

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

Growing up I never had interest in dating or anything sexually. However, literally everyone would be like “Oh, well someday you will.” And that was very toxic to say because once I did get into a relationship, I was so scared for people to know and to be like “I told you so!” Even though it’s not like that at all. Not everything is about sex or things that typical relationships entitle.

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

Don’t be ashamed of yourself. Especially if you are Ace. It’s scary having everyone around growing up talking about relationships, sex, and being really into it, but then it’s you in the corner not into it and suddenly you’re “Peter Pan”. You don’t have to be into anything. Just be you and enjoy/love who you are because only you can make yourself happy. ❤

And if you ever do end up in a relationship, it’s okay. Don’t be ashamed. Things happen sometimes. That’s how I knew I was Demi.

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

To find the main source of link to my work, you can go here: https://kikaescoolio.wordpress.com/

There I have all sorts of art that I do as well as links to my webcomics and social media. My comics can also be found on SmackJeeves, Tapas, and Webtoons. Just look for Anything Inc., Toss of Fate, or the author name- Kikaescoolio.

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

Interview: Tikaka

Today we’re joined by Tikaka.  Tikaka is an amazing comic artist who writes and publishes they’re own comics.  Tikaka recently made a short comic about their own personal take on asexuality and they have this wonderful love of drawing.  Their enthusiasm for their work shines through and their work is gorgeous.  My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a comic artist and an illustrator. Creating comics has been a passion of mine for 14 years now and I’ve made 11 self-published comics so far, and plan on making many more!

What inspires you?

Human interaction and feelings. What makes you feel certain things? How to make another person you’ve never seen before feel sympathy for a character they can never meet in real life? How do people get through with rough times, how do they act when they’re happy and how do they express anger and deal with it? I am endlessly fascinated by the variety human emotions can have, and the individual strength each and every one has. I want to create stories that’ll awaken all kinds of feelings, from all across the spectrum.

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

I’ve always loved drawing! When I was a kid the best way to keep me amused was to give me paper and pens and I’d draw for hours straight. At younger age I wanted to be a writer, but later realized I could combine my love for drawing and telling stories by making comics!

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

Just my signature, though in my comics I often hide people I know on the background if that counts.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do what you love, even if it’s hard. Especially if it’s hard. Draw that cool pose you think is too difficult for you. Write that story you’ve been rolling in your head for ages. You might fail spectacularly and you most likely will! But it’s better to try and fail, than not to try at all in fright of failing, and never getting closer to your goals. Embrace your mistakes, learn to laugh at the wonky hands you drew on that one character and the misplaced hip. Now you’ve done that and the next attempt will be better.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual and romantically I’m somewhere between panromantic and aromantic. What is love? No one knows! At least I don’t. Either I love everyone and am very good at containing myself or I don’t love anyone.

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

Other artists I know have been very supportive! Also I don’t talk much about my sexuality to those who I think might object with it so I haven’t had any problems.

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

That it’d have anything to do with your current/potential partner. Most take it as a personal insult, “you don’t think I’m pretty/sexy/attractive? Are you calling me ugly then?” and so on. It’s been hard to try and explain someone that no, they’re not unattractive but also no, I feel no great pull towards their loins no matter how aesthetically pleasing they’d be.

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

It’s a wide spectrum, we got space for you. Also, sexuality can be fluid. There’s no reason to feel guilty if your sexuality has changed in the past or if it’ll change in the future. As long as it feels good right now, it’s OK.

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

From my webpage  http://notrollhere.com or my Tumblr http://notrollhere.tumblr.com (NSFW)!

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

Interview: Atiya

Today we’re joined by Atiya.  Atiya is an incredibly talented visual artist who has a fascinating style.  She describes it as combining surreal and horror.  It’s quite interesting to look at, as all good art is.  Atiya is currently in the proces of getting her graphic design degree and judging from her work, she’s got a very bright future ahead of her.  My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My artwork definitely falls into the surreal/horror genre if I had to classify it as anything. I like my work to be pretty but I like to have that added element of something being off. I feel like people don’t realize that there is beauty in the bizarre.

What inspires you?

I take my inspiration from several different places. Some popular Japanese visual artists such as Shintaro Kago, Kazuo Umezu, and Junji Ito. Other independent artists (there are way too many to list) but just to name a few: Tiia Reijonen, Kaina Lacerda, and k00ps. Music is another big inspiration for me. Lately, I’ve been taking inspiration from Melanie Martinez, aeonfux, and Babeo Baggins.

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

I’ve been drawing ever since elementary school but I didn’t realize I had a knack for it until about seventh grade. I never truly believed I could make it as an artist so I started focusing more on pursuing writing as a profession once I was in high school. I didn’t really sit back and decide that I wanted to create and sell art for a living until I started drawing again and teaching myself how to make art digitally. I started following a lot more artists online and I realized that it was possible with enough dedication and hard-work.

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

Hm. I guess the most noticeable “feature” of any of my work would be my emphasis on eyes. Multiple eyes, spider eyes, one eye, etc. It’s something I like to add in to most of my work if I can.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

JUST DO IT. You may think it’s impossible, you may have people in your life bashing your dreams, and you may hit roadblocks (scratch that, you WILL hit roadblocks) but it’s overcoming these obstacles that will make your work bigger and better. Take everything a step at a time but never lose sight of the big picture.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual/Panromantic

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

Thankfully, I’ve yet to encounter anyone that’s made my sexual identity into something that I should be ashamed of. The fantastic thing about most of the art world is that it’s full of so many different people from all walks of life. People seem more accepting of others, regardless of their orientation.

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

Probably that a romantic relationship can’t flourish or survive without sexual intimacy. It’s something that is not only a flawed concept but something that makes members of the ace community feel like they’ll never have a meaningful relationship without compromising a part of themselves that they shouldn’t have to. Romantic relationships are possible without sex. Romantic relationships can be just as meaningful without sex.

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

Being ace is difficult, especially considering a lot of people both in and out of the LGBTQ community don’t understand it but embrace that part of yourself and don’t feel like you have to explain or defend your orientation. If it feels right to you then that’s all that matters. You don’t need validation from others.

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

Several places! The biggest one would be my art blog: ambartist.tumblr.com
There I have links to my Teepublic, Redbubble, and Society6 pages where you can view and purchase my work. I also have an Instagram account for in-progress things: AMBARTIST

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