Interview: Mushki

Today we’re joined by Mushki. Mushki is a wonderful visual artist who specializes in comics. She has recently finished a comic specifically about asexuality. She has a running manga-style comic entitled Peripety. Aside from that, she also does mini comics, random illustrations, and fanart. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. SkrimWEB
Skrim

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I make comics! I got one long manga-style comic called Peripety that I hope will reach about FMA length. And many mini comics and random illustrations/fanart.

What inspires you?

Stories that are about found families, adventure, brotherhood…psychology, compassion, human depravity mixed with human beauty…etc.

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

Reading stories or playing video games with compelling stories – that’s the language I understand, and I guess I just couldn’t help it when I started speaking that language as well. So yeah. I’ve kind of always wanted to do it in some way, though at first I thought I wanted to be a novelist instead.

2. Gods Acre Pg3
Gods Acre Pg3

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?

Ummm… When it comes to stories, I guess, I’m always putting secret symbols in my stuff. Flowers, motifs, animal parts, etc. Things that represent certain things or mean something to a certain culture.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Make LOTS of stuff, make lots of BAD stuff, keep good posture, and have FUN.

3. Final Page 1 WEB
Final Page 1

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Ace / Aro

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

Not so much about my work. But when people want to show me their work, and it has sexual content in it, some berate me and tease me about me being ace. I really just ignore that? And give them a solid critique anyway. I find kindness is the best way to make people feel bad.

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

That I just haven’t found the right person. That I need to try it. Many people who express this have good intentions, but seem unable to understand that not desiring sex or romance is even possible.

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

Don’t be pressured into things. There’s a difference between getting out of your comfort zone, and doing things you don’t want to. When people tell you to try things, ask yourself if you actually WANT what they’re suggesting. If you don’t, that’s okay. It doesn’t mean your denying an opportunity for growth.

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

I post my comics on Tapastic, (https://tapas.io/MushkiKizou) and I sell my art on Etsy! (https://www.etsy.com/shop/MushkikizouArt) Still working on a good way to sell my comics online, but you can bet it’ll be on Etsy someday.

4. Sepas hoard of boys
Sepas Hoard of Boys

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

Interview: Alysha

Today we’re joined by Alysha.  Alysha is an amazingly talented visual artist and cosplayer.  Her cosplays are absolutely incredible and her drawings are also quite interesting visually.  She’s an artist with a really interesting style, which is always welcome on this blog.  My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Astrid Hofferson (How to Train Your Dragon)
Astrid Hofferson (How to Train Your Dragon)

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Drawing: I’ve drawn for as long as I can remember, and whilst I still have a long way to go to get to the level I want to be at, I’ve recently begun to develop my style in a direction I’m happy with. I love both manga and portraiture and enjoy drawing both, and I’m working on combining the two.

Cosplay: I came across cosplay at the first convention I went to, Supanova 2013, and I instantly loved it. Who doesn’t want the chance to become their favourite characters, to see them brought to life? It combines crafting, painting, sewing, puzzle solving and gives me the scope to learn heaps of new and really exciting techniques, and I love the challenge that comes with each character.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by artists that I like, for both mediums, as well as mainly books and movies. I like to draw and cosplay characters and people that I love, usually due to both personality and design. I have to really connect with characters to cosplay them, which is why my cosplays aren’t really of major characters.

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

Art is my hobby, but it is a major part of my life. I’ve always been sure to try and keep my skills from getting too rusty and discovering cosplay over the last few years has been fantastic. It’s something I wanted to do as soon as I saw it and I haven’t looked back. Art is always going to be a major part of my life, no matter what form.

Blind Seer
Blind Seer

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?

I don’t for my cosplay, aside from wanting to make it as realistic as my limited skills allow, but I sign all of my drawings with the year and then AD, my initials, which worked a lot better before they switched dates from BC/AD to BC/BCE, but I started with it so I’m just going to keep it.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep going and stick with what interests you, even if it seems like it’s not going anywhere. It’s so much easier to keep going if it’s fun. If it’s something new that you want to try, give it a shot, and start small. My first cosplays were Misa Amane from Death Note using stuff I had in my closet, and next was the Tardis which was a blue dress with windows badly sewn on it. It looked terrible, but I had fun, and starting small gave me the confidence to move on to bigger and more complicated techniques. And no matter what you are interested in, research, research, research. I cannot stress it enough. It’s possibly the most important thing you can do to improve your skills. That and trial and error. But research is easier and saves a lot of grief.

Hades - Hercules
Hades – Hercules

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Heteroromantic asexual

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

Technically art is my hobby and my field is science, but I haven’t really encountered and prejudice in either, but I also haven’t really discussed it too much with anyone outside a couple of close friends either. Can’t really comment too much.

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

That it doesn’t exist or doesn’t belong on the LGBTQI+ spectrum. Seems to crop up a lot.

Poppet - The Night Circus
Poppet – The Night Circus

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

Research. Find out what options are out there. I only realized my sexuality a few months ago, and that was only because I came across a Tumblr post on Facebook about asexuality and just had a lightbulb moment of yes, that’s me, other people feel that way? It’s hard to get good information, particularly about asexuality, but the more you read the more things begin to make sense. I had no idea that the way I felt was different to most of my friends until I actually started reading about it and talked to my friends. Who proceeded to tell me that they had assumed I was for ages and were just waiting for me to figure it out. Thanks guys. But seriously, having someone to confide in after you read a bit is great, it gets you out of negative thought loops and can help reaffirm what you’ve been thinking. Just make sure it’s someone you know will support you, whether it’s a friend, parent, blogger or whatever. And it’s okay if you don’t feel like you fit into a specific category. The names are just there to help us describe ourselves, they don’t have to be cut and dried labels. You aren’t broken, you aren’t weird, and people will still care about you. It’s doesn’t change who you are. Phew, okay, waffle over.

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

Facebook and cosplay amino: AhriBelle Cosplay
Tumblr: AhriBelle Cosplay for cosplay stuff and Undertaker1892 for randomness that occasionally involves drawings, and a lot of random fandom stuff

Also photography credits go to:
Astrid Hofferson: Steph Doran Photography (Facebook Page)
Undertaker: Bianca Robinson Photography (Instagram)

Undertaker - Black Butler
Undertaker – Black Butler

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

Interview: Eva Holder

Today we’re joined by Eva Holder.  Eva is an amazingly talented illustrator.  They’re currently a student by show a remarkable amount of skill and a great eye.  Their work is incredible and quite interesting to look at.  This is an artist with a very bright future ahead of them.  My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Anomie
Anomie

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I like to experiment here and there but mostly I’m a student illustrator with a style somewhere between manga, BD and British comics, and more recently American children’s cartoons and the illustrative styles that have become prominent from the renewed popular interest in them. Contrary to popular belief though, I don’t want to write comics for a living, I don’t think.

What inspires you?

Anything goes! Things in pastel, unusual people on the street, Japanese and British street fashion, cute things, shoujo manga and “otaku” culture in the Western sense, other comics and books and things and sometimes current affairs- I’ve illustrated about Islamophobia, North Korea, feminism and gender identity before, for example.

App
App

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

In primary school they got you to write down what you wanted to be when you were older every year and every year, without fail, I put that I wanted to be an “artist or an author”. I think the author thing came first for a loooong time until I read the start of “Blackbird” at about 14, which is a shoujo manga that seemed to be in with all my friends- all the volumes got passed around person to person. Soon after that I got an iPod with internet connectivity and discovered reading manga online, I started copying panels obsessively and it just kind of went from there?

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?

I think I’m really bad at detailing backgrounds and things but sometimes there are little references- I wrote a comic back in January that was scripted and briefed for me by and indie publisher Planet Jimbot, and they asked for a sort of style/feel around manga and Doctor Who, so although I’m not hugely into Doctor Who, the main character’s Erin’s tshirt has “42” on, which I hope is sort of tongue in cheek in a similar way.

Also, I don’t think it’s a secret but if I can, I get eggs into a composition. Fried eggs, specifically.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I’m going to skip all the stuff that’s already been said and say: don’t get starstruck! Don’t look up to artists too much- I see crazy skilled artists beating themselves up because they’re not as good as so-and-so, or have worked on projects where people will go out of their way just to please a certain artist! To start with, a singular obsession isn’t healthy; taking inspiration from here and there and nicking a dozen different styles and colour palettes from a dozen different artists all in one go is what leads to a unique style, not obsessing over one artist. Plus, man, your art is rad, appreciate it for what it is and don’t compare yourself to others too much dude!  Take a minute to be proud of your achievements!!

Beyond this Earthly Realm
Beyond this Earthly Realm

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m aromantic asexual, and sex-repulsed at that.

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

I’m fortunate that the people I work with are chill about it and I don’t think it comes up much, but maybe I don’t like bringing it up because it has come up in work environments before and the results weren’t good. Besides the basic “that doesn’t exist” or “so you reproduce asexually?” I had someone straight up say that if I wasn’t interested in people then I must be interested in animals. Mostly though it’s just erasure, like getting asked “so are you gay or straight?” as if those are the only two choices.

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

Probably that it doesn’t exist- it does!! And if more people knew about it earlier, I feel not only would it be way better for people on the ace spectrum to feel normal and validated, but also I think people in general would have a much healthier attitude to sex.

Within the ace community too, I feel sometimes there’s a lot about ace peeps being so worried about being alone and not having some kind of SO that there’s the inference that ace people can have sex to please their SO. I realise it’s cool if you’re fine with that and that’s what you’ve worked out, but asexuals aren’t second class and in a world so saturated with sex and sexual imagery, I don’t think it occurs to some allosexuals that maybe sex is not the be-all and end-all and that maybe putting the sexuality (or lack thereof) and feelings of your SO before your own libido isn’t such a bad thing.

Finn
Finn

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

Take your time homie! Unfortunately, with the lack of education on asexuality, you might upset people in your journey to working out who you are and it can also be dangerous, so please stay safe! In the end though, when you come out the other side potentially with a better understanding of what’s romance, what’s sex and what you like (or not!! That’s also cool; labels can help you feel part of a community but also not wanting labels is fine, don’t let anyone gatekeep that community for you) you will hopefully feel like things you’ve overcome have taught you things about yourself and other people.

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

My art blog is evacchi but I also have a Facebook, Instagram and Storenvy!! Also I like a good natter so hit me up if you want to chat about anything uvu

Numérisation
Numérisation

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

Interview: Rinshuu

Today we’re joined by Rinshuu.  Rinshuu is a versatile and talented artist from Denmark.  They are mostly a visual artist, but also enjoy writing fanfiction.  They’re also interested in music and their enthusiasm for all these fields is wonderful.  My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Although I am not a professional, I like dipping my feet into all kinds of arts. I mostly do fan work, but I have also done original work for smaller projects and so on.

I am mainly a digital artist, musician, writer, and game creator. I am mostly inspired by Japanese art (in the shape of manga, etc.), but I appreciate all kinds of art when I see them.

As for the things I draw, it’s mostly manga and I’ve taken commissions for this as well. I also animate sometimes, but it’s not something I’m especially interested in.

The musician part is kind of abstract. I use the Japanese vocal synthesizer software “VOCALOID” to create covers of existing songs. I also like remixing, arranging, and covering songs as well.

My writing and game creation is closely connected, since I write visual novels and illustrate them myself. It’s not really anything serious yet, but I’d love for it to become something more serious in the future.

What inspires you?

Personally, I think other people inspire me a lot – and this is both my friends and other artists. I love creating things for my friends, especially at special occasions. I also like being recognized for what I do, because who doesn’t, really?

When I see some really good art…. Or play a really good game… or listen to some really funky music… I just feel like creating things for myself! I want to create things that make other people feel inspired too. To be honest, it’s quite a give-take situation, just in a much nicer way than the words insinuate.

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

I’ve always loved creating art. Ever since I was little, I strived to be better and better at drawing and I wanted to show my art to people. When I was younger, I wrote stories for my family to read. I also made art and hung it up around my school so people could see it. It’s always just been deeply engraved into my being.

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?

I don’t really have anything in particular. I create what I think feels right at the moment and then work out the details later. I really like incorporating eyes and people into my works, but it’s not something I necessarily focus on.

When it comes to writing, I admit that I somewhat biased when it comes to genders and sexualities. I try my hardest to include all kinds of people into my work, because I believe in diversity in things like that. I also have a certain affection for asexual characters, since I feel like I can relate to them very easily.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I would just tell them to keep doing what they like and improving their arts! Art shouldn’t be tedious, or at least not to an extreme extend, so have fun with it. There’s lots of time to improve, explore and broaden your horizons, so focus on having fun while doing it.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am completely asexual (is that even the correct term?), but I am panromantic. I have never felt sexual attraction to anyone, not even people I have loved.

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

I haven’t actually met any prejudice about asexuality. I’ve had some of my friends I’ve come out to question it a bit, but it was never actually anything offending – just curiosity. My lack of prejudices might be because I am somewhat quiet about my sexuality. It’s not like I am ashamed about it or anything, I just don’t see any reason to bring it into every conversation. However, I make sure to always inform new friends about it, simply because I like giving them the upper hand.

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

The most common/annoying (yes, they’re the same thing) is that all asexuals hate sex. Or find it disgusting. I especially hate when my friends ask things like: “Does that mean you find sex disgusting??” No, it really doesn’t. I just don’t feel like partaking in the activity.

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

Don’t worry too much about it! If you think you’re asexual and realize you’re not, it’s totally okay! Discovering who you are is an important step of your life, and although some people might have some elitist ideals about sexuality (“How can you be bi when you’re dating a woman?? You’re obviously a lesbian!”), it doesn’t matter. What matters is how you feel about yourself.

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

My Tumblr is thegourmettsukiyamashuu, my Deviantart/Pixiv are Rinshuu. Feel free to message me if you have any questions!

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