Interview: Presley Smith

Today we’re joined by Presley Smith. Presley is a phenomenal visual artist who is incredibly dedicated to her drawing. She loves to draw and has even had a couple things tattooed on herself. For Presley, drawing is an escape and her work is brimming with color and life. And she has drawing The Beatles! (Confession: I’m a huge fan of The Beatles). It’s very apparent that she’s incredibly talented, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember, and art has always helped me cope with my depression and anxiety. I feel like it’s an escape. I’m always drawn to pen and ink and acrylic but honestly, put any medium in my hand and I’ll do something with it!

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What inspires you?

I’ve always been a leftover hippie, or so my mother tells me. Everything I do is inspired by one of two things: Summer of love or the macabre. Very different, yes, but I find that these things bring me so much inspiration and always intrigue me.

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

I’ve always wanted to be an artist in some capacity. I’m an English and sociology major in college and I like to think that English is spoken art. I currently work at an art supply store as well. Incorporating art into my life comes naturally and I couldn’t imagine a time without it.

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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 try to add a flower wherever possible, or a skull or triangle.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t give up. Be inspired by the world around you and you can create some amazing things. Just because you think someone may be better at drawing something than you are doesn’t mean that your art isn’t as important and unique in its own way.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual

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

I’m a writer and an artist and I find more prejudice in the field of writing. I find that people will wonder why I even write a novel if there’s no romance involved. I don’t have an answer other than that it just doesn’t occur to me. I just brush it off and try not to focus on it too much.

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

I find that a lot of people don’t think that I can find people attractive. It’s not like I’m blind, I’m just not sexually attracted to someone. If I see a person with a face that I find attractive, I’ll he like “wow what a beautiful human” along the lines of “I want to be your friend so hard” and not “I’ll sex you up”.

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

YOU ARE NOT BROKEN. You are valid in your feelings and it’s not that you haven’t “found the right person yet”. You are wonderful and loved.

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

My Instagram! It’s at pretzeleeee. I’m nice, come interact with me there!

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

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Interview: Taylor Jay

Today we’re joined by Taylor Jay. Taylor is a wonderful visual artist who is currently majoring in art. She shows an incredible amount of talent and her work is brimming with color and amazing details, as well as a fascinating use of lines and perspective. She’s obviously 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.

I’m still pretty new to the art world, and still have TONS of learning to do! At the moment, I’ve been experimenting with anything and everything, but I really enjoy nature and landscape photography. I also enjoy ink, though I hope to learn how to create digital art soon as that’s what I’m majoring in. I just need to get a better-functioning laptop!

The picture below are some of my favorite pieces thus far! The upper left is Gazing, which is a cat sitting on a fence staring at the moon (watercolor pencil). The one next to it is a rough sketch of a future tattoo design done in Sharpie. Upper right corner is a simple gardenia flower done in colored pencil. Below it is a moon drawing done in ink and colored pencil. Bottom right is photography of mine and my boyfriend’s hands, edited in multiple photo apps. Finally the biggest square is my favorite at the moment. It’s named Uncle Death, done in charcoal.

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What inspires you?

My other art friends really inspire me. Especially my roommate / best friend. She’s super artistic, and I hope I can be as good as her someday. I am also very moved by David G. Ferrero, who is an illustrator residing in Gijón, Spain. He specializes in the art deco / art nouveau style, and I absolutely adore that style. He does a lot of Disney, too, that is amazing. I also aspire to be as good as him, of course with my own personal style thrown in!

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

I actually didn’t decide to be an artist until my senior year of high school. Before then I always admired art, but I thought I was a crappy drawer. I honestly sucked at crafts and still do, and have never been the best at drawing. However, around my sophomore year of high school, I fell in love with the drama department. I was never on stage, but behind the scenes making the show come to life. I loved the behind the scenes aspect, because the audience has no idea how much us crew kids actually do (for the most part). It got me thinking about how I would love to create this “magic” off the stage and on actual movie screens. Thus me becoming a visual effects artist and / or animator popped into my mind. Around my senior year, I decided that that’s what I really wanted to do.

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 don’t think so? Not yet, at least. I mean, I do scribble my little signature at the bottom right of my pieces. I’ll sometimes also purposely make the piece look scratchy. I really like the rough-looking sketch of things, so I guess that counts!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

It’s okay to not be as good as others. Whether they have more or less experience than you. Everyone has a personal and unique style, and everyone progresses at their own pace. Have confidence in yourself, and whatever you do, do NOT compare your work to others! That will be the death of you, and I myself am still learning not to do that.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

As far as I know, I’m simply asexual. Not sex-repulsed, just a low to zero libido. I’m not sure if there’s a proper term for it, actually!

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

I have experienced it quite a bit with both friends and potential partners. With my friends, they would always make comments about these “hot” guys, or what they would do to the hot guy they saw at the mall. I would always tell them that I thought he was attractive, but not hot. I would also tell them that I have no desire to do anything with him, or I couldn’t picture myself getting intimate with a crush. They would always tell me that I “needed to get a boyfriend, then I would get those sexual urges”. Well, I got a boyfriend in high school, and those “urges” still did not come.

With potential partners — I’m into guys — I would tell them that I was asexual. I would tell them I’m not a sexual person and such. They would either say they understood but still pressured me, or they would tell me it was my excuse so we wouldn’t get sexual. I even had one guy say he would “change me” after we went on a date… didn’t happen.

I’ve always just kind of brushed it off, though. Let people think what they want to think. I know what I am and that’s all that matters. But I finally did find someone. When I told him I was asexual, instead of making a comment or saying he could change me, we stopped what we were doing and he asked questions. He asked legitimate questions so he could get a better understanding and not pass my boundaries. Now we’ve been together for nearly a year, and I’m so happy.

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

Almost every time I have told someone I was asexual, they immediately asked “So you’re never gonna have sex? What about children of your own?” or “That means you don’t have sex at all, right?” Then I explain to them how not every asexual person is sex-repulsed, and that there’s a spectrum, etc. etc.

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

It’s okay to be asexual, and to be “different” from your friends. It’s okay if even the thought of sex makes you feel gross. It’s okay to have a low sex drive, and it’s okay to fall anywhere on the asexual spectrum. It is okay to be asexual. It doesn’t mean you’re broken, even if you have a history of being sexually abused. It’s okay even if you believe you’re asexual, then discover that you’re not. No matter what, you’ll be perfectly okay.

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

I actually don’t post too much of my work, or discuss it. I’m still a little hesitant to post it. Though I do post a few things on my Tumblr from time to time (you-look-beautiful-as-always). I also have a photography Instagram: at bts.photography, but other than that, I don’t post anything.

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

Interview: Orion

Today we’re joined by Orion. Orion is a wonderful visual artist who does both original and fanart. They’re currently doing a lot of work with ink and watercolors. Their work has a delightful sense of whimsy and playfulness to it. Their characters are so expressive, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I like to try many different types and styles of art, though at the moment I’m focusing on inked and watercolour fanart and original visual art.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by my desire to see more positive representation of LGBT+ people in art and media. And by the desire to continue to develop my artistic skills.

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

My grandfather is an artist. Throughout my childhood I loved to visit him, I’d look through his hobby room at the artworks on the walls, the huge painting station, the sketches and canvas spread throughout and I loved it. I’d draw with the art set (a plastic half oval case filled with pencils, crayons, etc.) he had for his grandkids and a drawing I had done as a child of a girl in a dress (me? I cannot remember) was always proudly displayed in Grandpa’s study.

I’ve been interested in art since childhood thanks to Pa’s influence, and messy drawings with crayons slowly turned into something better.

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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 don’t have any intentional things like that, though at the moment, binders have been featured in a lot of my works.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Be a good consumer of art.

Learn to give reviews to other artist’s works, even a short sentence explaining what you like about it. It helps to encourage a culture of interacting with art and sharing it rather than just letting it go by unnoticed and it’s a nice thing to do for the artist.

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Additionally, if you learn to see what makes an artwork good (e.g. “Hey! This is a great work and I really love the detail put into the hair and freckles!”), you’ll know what to put into your own work to make it better (e.g. Detailed hair/freckles).

And keep practicing, create as often as you can, and, if you feel comfortable with it, show as much of your work as you can to the world.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am an asexual nonbinary person. The romantic part is slightly more complex as I go by many terms, grey-biromantic, aromantic, and cupioromantic.

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

I’ve gotten hate mail and death threats on Tumblr for being openly ace but overall most people are okay with aces and if they’re not (or send hate mail) I block them immediately.

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

That asexuals just don’t like sex or haven’t found ‘the right person’.

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

Understand that if the issue is figuring out where on the asexual/aromantic spectrum you lie there’s no rush. There’s no real reason you need to have that figured out by a set date, just let yourself explore and eventually you’ll figure it out.

And if it’s becoming comfortable with your orientation that is the issue, firstly try to find other aces to talk to about it and then try to remind yourself that there’s absolutely, 100% nothing wrong with being asexual.

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

My Tumblrs: orioart.tumblr.com for original artworks and orionsfanart.tumblr.com for fanart.

Or my Deviantart: amazingacearmy.deviantart.com

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

Interview: Kelline

Today we’re joined by Kelline. Kelline is a phenomenal visual artist who does both original work and fanart. She’s a hobbyist who mainly does traditional drawings and watercolors, although she also dabbles in digital art. Her work is gorgeous, making expert use of bright vivid colors and lines, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Michelle

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My drawings tend to be human driven, I just really enjoy drawing people above all else.

I have my own set of characters that wander around my head, but as I can’t commit to writing anything about them, they’re not much more than vague muses that appear in my drawings sometimes. I have a bit of a world and a magic system that’ll also be referenced in some works but again . . . lazy writer.

I also do a fair amount of fanart, mainly video game related (Pokémon and Undertale are the most recent themes). I used to do a LOT of Nintendo fanart. A lot.

My favorite mediums are watercolors, colored pencils, and recently ink/pens/markers. I do tend to very lightly combine digital elements into my work through color edits or added effects, this is based from before I had a scanner and had to rely on Photoshop edits to make my photos of the artwork look at all decent. I also occasionally do digital drawings.

What inspires you?

Music, video games, nature, night skies and outer space, other artists, dreams, and I guess feelings in general.

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

Pretty much always! I’ve loved drawing as far back as I can remember. My first inspirations were my mom, she makes cool colored pencil drawings, and my grandmother (mom’s mom) who was an amazing painter. Plus I was an imaginative kid, and liked illustrating all of my stories and fancies.

My original plan for after high school was to study art and do it professionally, maybe as an illustrator, but my parents (who were kind enough to pay for my college education) wanted me to study something that would get me a quote-unquote “real job.” But the major I settled into “Digital Technology and Culture” (in a nutshell it’s basically digital communication and rhetoric), was a pleasant mix of writing and visual design, so I still have some graphic design work I do in my current office job, and I’m free to pursue art as my hobby outside of work.

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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 don’t think so? I’ve been told my style is pretty unique, that’s good enough for me; I’ve never thought of adding a unique symbol/trademark.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Sorry I have lots of thoughts here:

Check thrift shops for cheap supplies! – Probably won’t have too much luck with more expensive supplies, like paints and higher quality tools, but I’ve found great grab bags of colored pencils, crayons, pens, pencils, and erasers at my local Value Villages. Part of why I have a giant shoe box filled with colored pencils. >w> I’ve also seen basic watercolors and pastels. You could probably find some sketchpads too!

Keep pushing through! – Almost every drawing I do there is a point, usually early on, where I absolutely hate it and want to scrap it. But over time I’ve learned that if you can push past that point, keep adjusting the sketch, add shading, change the colors, I can get it to a point where I love, like, or am at least “okay with” the drawing.

Don’t be afraid to erase! – This was a mantra of one of my college drawing instructors, and I still think about and use it. Basically if you just know something is off with your work, don’t be afraid to fix it, even if it means completely starting over. Don’t stress so much about messing up what you have now to not fix something that’s bothering you. If nothing else, I think forcing yourself to acknowledge and fix the error could lead to improvement in future drawings. But also keep in mind:

You have to stop at some point – Advice from an editing teacher that I also think about when I draw. If you’re a person who is a perfectionist or an overachiever, know that there’s never going to be a point where the drawing will feel 100%, completely perfect, flawless. Especially since we are our own worst critics (and also have spent the past 8 hours looking at the bloody thing), we’re going to see every little error in a drawing. But there has to be a point where you have to let go and call it done. It probably varies by artist, but for me it’s when it gets too exhausting to keep working on it, and I feel okay calling it done.

Above all, don’t give up! – Art can be frustrating, it can be emotionally draining, and it can be tough to see people who seem more talented or popular than yourself. But if you love it and/or it’s a part of who you are, don’t give up. It’s still so worth it, as an expression of who you are and what you feel, what you love and care about. It’s worth it to see yourself improve, and realize you’re creating things you once couldn’t, or better than you once could.

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Take Care

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual definitely, but I’m very unsure where my romantic orientation lies. I used to think I was hetero, but realizing I’m ace has kind of opened new ideas for me.

I think I’m either heteromantic, panromantic, or aromantic. Pan is my current thought, but I feel generally not wanting a relationship right now, so it’ll be hard to say until my heart’s ready for that again, if it ever is.

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

Ace ignorance is pretty common everywhere; I’ve never personally encountered ace prejudice, either in my drawing/art sharing experiences or in my past or current jobs. I see ace prejudice on Tumblr more than anywhere else. <_<

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

The most common? I don’t know, I don’t really talk to people about asexuality (I mean I ramble online sometimes, but that’s different). Going off of general attitudes, probably that “real” asexual people would never experience any kind of sexual feelings or enjoyment ever. And that they probably wouldn’t experience romantic feelings either.

It’s definitely a giant part of why it took me so long to identify as ace, and I think also a large part of why asexuality either never came up or wasn’t taken seriously in past romantic relationships, even when I was trying to explain to past partners how I could care for them deeply yet still be very disinterested in sexual activities.

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

Listen to yourself. If something feels right or really uncomfortable/wrong, listen to it. Don’t let others dictate what you are or aren’t, listen to yourself; you know your feelings better than those who only have an outside view. Even if you think it is “just a phase” and things will change, your current feelings are still worth listening to. If identifying as ace (or any other orientation) is what makes you feel comfortable and happy, do it!

And do your research; if you think something but aren’t sure, look into it. Find the science, listen to other experiences. Don’t just say nah and ignore your feelings.

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

In a few places!

DeviantArt: http://kelline.deviantart.com/
Tumblr: http://artsyagnostis.tumblr.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SweetAgnostis

While mostly similar, there are some differences between them. My DeviantArt is the oldest, has the most on it, and where I’ll talk the most about my drawings. My Tumblr is where I’ll post the more personal thoughts or less finished work. My Twitter is pretty new and kind simple and breezy, but I also just started a Throwback Thursday where I’ll be posting REALLY old stuff, currently from the my first ever “sketchpad” I had when I was 5 or so, and might eventually move on to some of the sillier/wackier drawings I did when younger.

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Poketale Undyne

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

Interview: Haley

Today we’re joined by Haley. Haley is a phenomenal visual artist and crafter, who is also a seamstress. She absolutely loves to create, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a visual artist, and I draw mainly figures and portraits in ink and marker but also sometimes watercolor. Not only am I a visual artist I am a crafter and seamstress too. I like to create pieces that are trendy at the moment for much cheaper.

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What inspires you?

The diversity in the world around me. Everyone is beautiful and different in their own way. Also the internet is a huge inspiration as well I love seeing everyone else’s creations.

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

I always thought it was amazing how people can just create anything from nothing. My aunt got me interested in sewing she taught me to sew when I was about eight years old.

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?

In my signature on my artwork, the H in my name is somewhat shaped like a star.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t give up on yourself. There will be artists who are better at what you do than you. You might look up to them or you might despise them because they’re younger than you and better than them. You need to remember there’s someone out there who feels that way about you.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am panromantic asexual.

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

I have had many people who ask me why don’t you make it sexier? Why don’t you make that dress shorter or the neckline deeper? You’ll get more followers if you design that character with bigger boobs and a bigger butt. I realize sex is all over in the media but that’s just not how I am. I tell them that I don’t want to and that it doesn’t fit my personality or just plain ignore it. Most often when someone is sending you hate or “suggestions” they just want attention.

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

The worst one I’ve encountered is that we are cold emotionless beings who love no one else, and that we have no feelings or passion.

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

I struggled with my sexuality for years… I thought I wasn’t gay enough or maybe I wasn’t actually asexual and I’m just pretending. I actually still struggle with my identity, and I probably will for a long time and that’s okay, take your time to figure it all out and don’t feel like you have to come out to anyone. Also, most importantly, don’t forget it’s okay to talk to someone about it all. I have a really close and amazing best friend who I talked to about my whole mess.

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

My art Tumblr, teaandsketchbooks is probably the best place to find it.

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

Interview: Morgan Lees

Today we’re joined by Morgan Lees. Morgan is a wonderful artist who specializes in fantasy art and illustration. They’re have an ongoing comic entitled Corner the Maze, which is delightful urban fantasy about a racing driver who winds up in a different dimension. Aside from the comic, Morgan also does a lot of freelance illustration and has done some theater (including stage combat) in the past. Their work is beautiful and the detail is extraordinary, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I draw, paint, write, and do theater – some of those things more than the others. I’ve been focusing primarily on my comic of late, and I’m a freelance illustrator. My comic work is done in pen and ink, and I’ve been working with pencil on toned paper a lot lately for other art. I haven’t done much with theater aside from stage combat lately, but I’m hoping to get into it more again when I have more time (which I’ve been saying for years now, so who knows when that will be). I guess the common thread is that I like telling stories with art in one form or another.

My comic is called Corner the Maze, and it follows the adventures of a racing driver who finds himself inadvertently trapped in another dimension after falling into a strange portal during a race. It ties into the same setting as the books I’m writing, and some of the characters end up appearing in both, but I’m making sure that they both work well as standalone things, too.

What inspires you?

Mostly I have a lot of story and character ideas jostling about in my head, and I want to get those out and in some form where other people can (hopefully) enjoy them. I’m also inspired by music, nature, and rather unpredictable flashes of insight coming from seemingly random sources. So, I guess mostly it’s whatever happens to set my imagination off, which isn’t very predictable.

Roleplaying games have also been a big source of inspiration for me since I was really little. A great percentage of everything I’ve ever drawn has been one of my characters or another, either in pen and paper games or from CRPGs, and that probably had something to do with getting me thinking about characterization and storytelling so much as well.

Stylistically, again with the roleplaying games, I always really liked the black and white illustrations found in the RPG books I grew up with – first edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, and then Middle-earth Roleplaying/Rolemaster – and I’m sure that had some effect on my pen and ink style. Same goes for Choose Your Own Adventure type books.

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

I’ve been drawing since I could hold a pencil, but I didn’t get serious about it until I was eighteen or so. For some reason, both drawing and writing as career options seemed out of reach to me when I was younger, but then I decided that I was going to give it my best shot and see if I could make it work. I was actually more focused on theater (directing and lighting design especially) when I was younger, but the amount of travel that would end up being necessary for that put me off in the end – that, and what I really want to be doing more than anything is telling my own stories. That’s what led me to the comic, and what inspired me to get my writing in shape.

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 sign my work with my initials and the date, but that’s about it.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t stop practicing. Whenever you’ve got time, as much as you can possibly stand it, practice. When I look back and see the difference between where I am with my work and where I want to be, and look at the people who are where I want to be, the single greatest difference is always that they were more dedicated earlier on. I goofed off a lot when I was a kid and a teenager – there were plenty of whole weeks where I didn’t draw at all. There are lots of different ways to learn, and there’s no one piece of advice there that will work for everyone, but practice is universal.

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Nerevarine

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m aromantic and asexual. I’ve simply never had the slightest sort of romantic or sexual interest in anyone else. It took me an oddly long time to realize that’s not how most people are, and once I realized that, it “only” took me another few years to realize the rest of it.

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

The worst I’ve encountered is people thinking I’m weird, but then, the place I’ve generally spent the most time with other people in my life is in the theater – and it is true that people tend to get less flak for being seen as different there than in some other places. I was also home-schooled until I went to college, so overall I’ve had a lot less opportunity to encounter prejudice than many people. I did deal with some in college, but again, pretty mild and not directed at me (I hadn’t yet quite realized that I was asexual at the time). It made me uncomfortable, but that’s about it.

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

I did get a lot of people telling me I would grow out of it when I was younger (although that was only when I expressed a lack of interest, since I didn’t identify as asexual yet), but nothing in that vein for the last six or seven years. Again, I’m probably lucky with my circle of acquaintances in this regard; they tend to be rather reasonable and open-minded people.

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Shadow of Murder

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

There’s nothing wrong with you, and if you’re happy with yourself, that’s what matters. There’s no one recipe for happiness, so don’t let anybody tell you that there is. You don’t need to have a romantic relationship or have sex to have a great life (although of course neither of those things will stop you from it either), and being unusual isn’t worse in any way, just different.

I wish I had more useful advice, but I just went about happily assuming that nobody else actually cared about those things either until I was already in my twenties, so… yeah. I’m kind of oblivious about things sometimes, especially where people are concerned.

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

My comic can be found at http://cornerthemaze.net/ and updates every Tuesday and Thursday, my illustration portfolio is at http://morganelees.com/ (which is also where my writing stuff will be, when I get any of that up again), and I generally post all my art to my DeviantArt account at http://remmirath-ml.deviantart.com/. I try to keep those all just about as much up to date, but if anything’s going to fall behind, it’s usually DeviantArt.

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Turn Away

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

Interview: Keelan

Today we’re joined by Keelan. Keelan is a wonderful visual artist who hasn’t met a medium he doesn’t like. Right now, he’s focusing mostly on ace pride/positivity and autistic pride/positivity, both of which are greatly needed in today’s world. His work is so beautiful, brimming with color and life, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art is mostly fanart, sketches and positivity/pride drawings. I have also done a bit of costume design and costume making for some local theatre. I’ve experimented with a variety of mediums such as oil paint, acrylics, chalk/charcoal, photography and ink + bleach but I mostly stick to pencil and digital drawings because it is what I am most comfortable working with, and what I have the most access to. In the past year or so my art has been focused mostly on asexual/a-spec and autistic positivity because they are both important parts of my identity and I want to express that and my love for the two communities. I’ve been drawing with pencils for a long time, but digital art is still very new to me because I only started exploring it last year.

What inspires you?

Other artists and their work are a huge inspiration to me. Seeing the beautiful work other artists create inspires me so much and motivates me to keep on practicing and improving. Sometimes they inspire me to try new things as well. I probably wouldn’t have begun to explore digital art if I had not seen and been inspired by the progress of other artists on social media. I am also inspired a lot by the communities I am a part of, such as the online asexual and autistic community. They have given me the confidence and inspiration to express myself more through my art and take pride in my identity through it.

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

I’ve wanted to be an artist ever since I was little, and I began to put effort into learning and improving my art when I was around eight and wanted to be able to draw my original character properly. That goal from when I was a kid has been motivating me for years to keep on trying. Unfortunately, because my main focus was being able to draw a character that meant that for years I didn’t explore anything outside of drawing people in pencil and pen. I only began to pick up exploring other things such as colour and different mediums when I chose to do Art in GCSE when I was fifteen. Even though my career goals are a little different from when I was younger, I still want to continue being an artist as a hobby.

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 have a habit a few years ago, of signing all my art with my initials. I don’t do it as often anymore; however, I try to keep it up (inconsistently) with any art I post online. In all my autistic art I make an effort to include the neurodiversity symbol; a rainbow infinity symbol.

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Dai Li Agents

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep on trying. It can be difficult and very frustrating but the thing about art is that you are always learning. Even those artists who seem to have mastered it all are still learning and making mistakes and improving. Art takes practice and time so its fine if you struggle with and take a long time to learn something (such as how to draw hands or animals). Looking back on your old art might make you cringe but that’s only proof of your progress. Its proof that you have grown a lot and will probably only continue to grow and become more skilled.

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Proud Ace

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am panromantic asexual, though I also identify with demi-romantic.

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

I have encountered a little. In my life offline I experience it less because not as many people know I am asexual. I have received some ignorant and slightly insulting comments from people who do know, or from people who don’t know I am asexual but have heard of it. It always hurts and frustrates me a bit to hear it. I tend to either speak up about it or let it slide depending on the situation and how well I know the person. I don’t handle confrontation well so I admit I tend to avoid it even when it might be best to speak up.

I have definitely experienced more prejudice and ignorance online. I am fairly open about my sexuality online and I post most of my asexual positivity art on my blogs and it has caused me to receive some unpleasant comments as a result. I find it is best to delete the messages, block the sender and not let it bother me. In fact it usually motivates me to draw even more ace positive art.

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

That asexuality is just a lack of interest in having sex or a form of celibacy. It’s a misconception that frustrates me a lot because I have seen it be used against asexual people to invalidate them or make incorrect claims based on that misinformation. It is also, I suspect, where the comments from my family that I “just need to meet the right person” or that I am a “late bloomer” come from.

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

You aren’t broken and you are not alone. There is nothing wrong with being asexual and there is a wonderful community out there for asexual and aromantic people. It’s okay if it takes you a long time to come to terms with being asexual and it’s okay if you aren’t sure of your orientation.

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

I post a lot of my art on my Tumblr main: keelan-666.tumblr.com under the tag #keelan-art and on my side blog: autistic-space-dragon.tumblr.com under the tag #space-dragon-doodles. However neither blogs are purely art blogs so a lot of other stuff is posted there too. I also have an Instagram: keelantheace.

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Ace Positivity Post

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