Interview: Enzouke

Today we’re joined by Enzouke, who also goes by Enzou. Enzou is a wonderful visual artist who does both traditional and digital art. They’re heavily inspired by anime and a lot of their work reflects this. They enjoy drawing comics, illustrations, and even do some animation. Enzou is a talented and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

01

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Oh boy, where do I start! I guess one thing that does stand out about my artwork is that it’s all over the place. I enjoy using a variety of mediums, styles and types of art. I can do both traditional and digital artwork, but my passion lies more with digital. I also love drawing comics, making illustrations, and creating animation. There are just so many types of things I want to try, that I end up doing a little bit of everything. My art style is very anime-influenced, and while I draw a majority of “cute” things in my gallery, I enjoy drawing dark/guro content. If I were to describe my art in two words, it would probably be “always changing,” since I can never sit still with what I make and I’m constantly striving to improve.

What inspires you?

Fashion, monster kids, dark themes, and anime inspire me! Most of my character designs aren’t too complex, but I enjoy being inspired by a plethora of clothing that other people wear. Anime and dark themes are pretty obvious, since I’m just really into that stuff (sweats nervously). Anime is pretty broad, but my favorite types include shounen, horror, and psychological genres. I no longer enjoy romance as much as I used to back in middle school, because the protagonist and side characters always had strange logic when it came to falling in love. That’s why I’m making my own drama/romance webcomic, so I can delve deeper into the character motivations and mostly to satisfy myself, haha! Oops, I’m sure I went off tangent there! But I guess things I don’t like/hate also inspire me to make something better!

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

When I was a kid I used to draw a lot and I think I unconsciously did want to become an artist, even when I was telling my friends and family “I want to become a teacher/vet/etc.!” I only continued to draw because all my classmates, friend, and my parents said I was really good. Their praise is what kept me motivated to create and I’m very thankful for that (because looking back at my old art … oh wow … please don’t stare at it for too long … it’s embarrassing…)

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

I’m a pretty lame artist, so I don’t have anything cool like that (sighs sadly). I think the only feature I include in all my artwork is a 3/4th view of the character facing to the left. These are my true masterpieces.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Jokes aside, practice a whole damn lot, as if your hand is going to melt by all the heat you’re creating, due to the friction of your pencil and paper (or tablet and tablet pen). There are days, or probably every day if I’m being honest, that I just don’t want to draw because I have zero motivation. But if you don’t draw, how will you improve? I’ve already sold my soul to Satan for a lifetime supply of Costco ice cream bars (how dare they discontinue them), so I guess the only way to improve my art is to actually draw daily. Another piece of advice that isn’t practice, is to BE CONFIDENT IN WHAT YOU CREATE and DON’T BE COMPLACENT WITH YOUR CURRENT ART. Keep your head high and keep improving! If you get rejected for certain projects or events, don’t get discouraged! That just means there’s more room for improvement. If you ever find yourself getting stuck, find something NEW to draw! My university professor made us draw dinosaurs one time, and I thought I would hate it but it was fun and now I know how to draw dinosaurs. One last thing, one thing I regret, is not listening to my high school teacher to draw realism. If I had practiced it early on, I would be so much better today. You may find it boring, but you’ll easily see how much your art will improve if you practice realism! Sorry if I blabbered on for too long, but I hope these will help any aspiring artists, like it has helped me in my own art journey.

02

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a panromantic asexual. Sex doesn’t interest me, but I do crave love and attention.

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

Unfortunately, I’m a closet asexual and even on the internet, I don’t usually tell people what I identify as, unless I’m asked. Maybe this is one reason why I haven’t encountered or noticed any prejudice against aces. I’m also a very oblivious person, so this could’ve also played a part (laughs nervously).

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

I’ve encountered a lot of people who tell me that “it’s just a phase / I’m too young to know”. It’s very aggravating to hear this, simply because they can’t fathom someone being uninterested in sex. It’s very hard to convince someone otherwise, so I usually just smile and change the topic.

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

There will always be a trial-and-error sort of thing when you’re trying to figure yourself out. Personally, I switched from bisexual, to pansexual, to demi-sexual before figuring out I was asexual. This took me yearsss to figure out, so don’t rush it. Also, since no one around me was asexual, I felt like I had to conform to a sexuality that wasn’t myself, mostly because I didn’t want to be so alone. However, with the help of the internet, I’ve been able to meet so many other asexuals and feel less lonely. Stay true to yourself. Even if it’s not now, later in life you’ll find out you’re not really alone.

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

If you actually enjoy my work (or my personality based on this interview winkwink), consider visiting my website: enzouke.com! My social media can be found through there, too~ I’m a lot more consistent with my comic updates (shameless plug incoming), so if you want to see more art from me, consider checking it out here: https://tapas.io/enzouke! Thank you very much for reading! I’m sending you all my warm, abundant love. Please allow 2-3 business days for it to arrive. ❤

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

Interview: Dancey

Today we’re joined by Dancey. Dancey is a wonderful artist who has been drawing for going on five years now. They enjoy drawing in a cartoon style and dabble in other forms of visual art like clay figures. When they’re not drawing, Dancey is very into game development. They currently work with RPGs and visual novels. It’s obvious Dancey is a very talented and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I do a variety of creative activities, but the main ones I do are game developing and drawing. I was never really interested in making my own art look realistic, so I usually go for a more cartoonish look in my drawings. My art style is pretty simple, it usually doesn’t have any shading in it, though I am practicing shading my art. As for game developing, I usually make RPGs and visual novels, and I’m currently doing everything on my own, because why not? I’m also planning to improve on animating, which is hard to do with my slightly low patience and being unable to finish the first frame.

What inspires you?

A lot of things, actually, sometimes from other games and drawings, but I also get inspiration from things you generally wouldn’t expect to get inspiration from. Though, one person I have to mention is my sister, who is also an artist. She inspired me to start drawing myself, so I had to thank her for that. There were also people who inspired me to try to get better at art, and because of these people, I got to where I am now. That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop there, though, there’s always room for improvement!

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

As I said with who and what inspired me, my sister was the one who got me into drawing. She draws quite a lot, and I decided to follow in her steps, and found that I really enjoyed drawing, so it started turning into a hobby. I didn’t really think much of drawing until I was 7 years old, in which I started drawing more, and I started to put effort into improving, then that’s when I wanted to become 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 do, though I don’t really put it on my work often. If you’re wondering what it looks like, think of the letter ‘D’ turned to the round-side down, then put an upside-down ‘W’ on the top of it. It should look something like a cat.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Be passionate about your work, if you’re not drawing because you like to draw, then you don’t have to draw if you don’t want to. If you want to draw, then you can, and you shouldn’t let people stop you. Ignore the people who put you down, and cherish the people who support you!

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a panro ace.

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

Only once, and it was while I was talking to my so-called friends, who I actually don’t see as friends anymore after thinking about things. When they asked about my sexuality, I said I was asexual, in which they didn’t know what it meant. I told them what it means to be asexual, and they replied, “It’s not possible to not have a sexual attraction, you have to be attracted to someone.” It did annoy me, but I decided that they weren’t worth my time if they were just going to say that. So I would just ignore people when they say things like, “It’s impossible to be ace,” or, “You just haven’t found the right person.” My ‘friend,’ I can live life my way, and you don’t have to control it, so mind your business, and I’ll mind my own.

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

That asexuality doesn’t exist, and/or that aces aren’t LGBT+. They are, people just don’t believe it, which I find upsetting.

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

Well, likewise with art, ignore those who put you down, and cherish those who support you. Those who don’t support you aren’t worth your time. You get to live your own life your way, and they can’t control the way you live.

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

My main account on Tumblr is Danceykitty, and my game/comic/etc. development side-blog is Cat Pause II. I also post my artwork on Deviantart, my account is Danceykitty, likewise with my main Tumblr account. Also look out for art in the Cat Pause account, as I post art there as well, which are often previews to the characters and story in the form of drawings, though I also post character references and concepts, sprites, and sometimes just random drawings. I also post updates about my games, and their progress. There’s not much, but there might be more soon.

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

Interview: Annie O’Quinn

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

1. steampunkdavis-cropsm
Steampunk Davis

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

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

What inspires you?

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

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

2. viktor-flat-crop-sm
Viktor

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

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

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

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

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

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

3. angel_painting
Angel Painting

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

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

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

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

5. ToiletCatAries
Toilet Cat Aries

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. korrasami-sm
Korrasami

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

Interview: Lauren King

Today we’re joined by Lauren King. Lauren is a fantastic indie author who is working on self-publishing some visual novels. She has also dabbled in some fanart and vocal covers of music. Writing is where her heart lies and Lauren is incredibly passionate about the art of writing, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My main form of art is my writing, it always has been. I love to pick apart the English language, finding different forms of expression through writing. It’s always been fascinating to me.

For my writing specifically, I’ve always had an interest in character-focused stories, or stories that play with genre or base plots. Generally my stories will focus more on the tension between people, even those who are on the same ‘side’ in a conflict. Villains are more there to set off a story, while most of the conflict comes from human error and all the ways communication can break down. It’s not always a cheery ride, especially when I deconstruct story types like the Hero’s Journey, but I’ll always try to bring it to a cheerier outcome!

My presentation of my writing has changed a lot over the years. Right now I’m putting my stories into visual novel format, with the possibility of drawing the images for it myself if I can get my art to the same standard as my writing.

What inspires you?

Other art, usually. Life is a great place to draw inspiration for some people, but I don’t really get out enough. Instead, I try to watch and read as much as I can! When I’m writing I’m almost always watching something in the background or listening to music in order to get inspired.

Something I don’t usually admit is that a lot of my inspiration comes from myself, especially when it comes to characters. If you were to point out any character from any story that I’ve written then I would be able to tell you what part of myself I see in them. That isn’t always a good thing, obviously, since I like to write about stressed and depressed people, but at least it helps make the characters seem more real, even when they’re pushed to their breaking point (as they often are in my stories).

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

I’ve wanted to be an artist since I saw my first movie, The Wizard of Oz. At first, I wanted to be a singer. I can vividly remember singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow with my mother as we did the dishes. Singing gradually drifted to acting in musicals, where I became interested in the scripts, specifically the characters. Wanting to become a writer was a gradual thing, and deciding on visual novels was even more so. Until this year I was wavering between writing scripts for musicals, writing books, or just keeping my writing as a hobby on the internet. I’m glad to have found a way that agrees with me and my writing style.

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?

This isn’t an intentional thing, but I have a habit of ‘getting meta’. Characters regularly realize that they’re in stories, and that fact is actually used by some characters in order to manipulate the outcome. It doesn’t happen in every story that I write, but since almost all of them are linked into the same story it is always something that could come up.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

People are going to tell you that art isn’t going to pan out, that only a few people ever ‘get noticed’. That isn’t true. With the internet, there’s more opportunities for artists at any stage of their lives to get themselves out there. Find your niche, do something you actually want to do. Don’t feel bad for wanting to be popular, everyone wants to be noticed for their art. Just make sure that your love of art is stronger than your need for attention. And no matter what stage your art is at, whether it’s a published novel or a few work-in-progress drawings that you haven’t shown anyone yet, you are an artist. Never let anyone say otherwise.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Poly/pan aro/ace. Sorry for the word-salad label, but it’s the best way to describe me! I’d just love a big house full of QPRs with no pressure for sex or romance, but still a close bond.

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

Thankfully, no, though I think that may be because I’m not very established in my field yet.

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

That asexuals can’t have sex or relationships with anyone. It’s a stupid assumption, and I plan to write something someday specifically going against this.

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

Never go into the ace discourse tag. Negativity is addictive, don’t let youself get pulled in. You are LGBT+, but you don’t have to put yourself in the community if you feel unsafe. Don’t try to avoid stereotypes, because specifically going against them is letting them control you just as much as specifically following them.

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

I have several blogs where I put my work. I have an Undertale fan-blog at http://undertalebrothertale.tumblr.com/, a personal blog with general art and music covers at http://lkwriting.tumblr.com/, and a professional blog and twitter for my visual novel development at https://freefallgames.tumblr.com/ and https://twitter.com/FreefallGames.

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

Interview: Cipher

Today we’re joined by Cipher. Cipher is a wonderful writer and digital artist who specializes in fantasy and supernatural stories. She’s currently working on a couple different stories at the moment, all of which sound absolutely fascinating. When she’s not writing, Cipher does some digital art, mostly character design. It’s very obvious that she’s a very dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. rheet1ttt
Rheet

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m primarily a hobbyist writer, but I draw stuff on occasion, usually when I have an exam coming up or an assignment due. I tend to write stuff geared more towards fantasy or supernatural, as I love a story with something magical in it.

My current WIP is about a pretty gold merman, pirates, and fairies (in the background). The main character is of Middle-Eastern ethnicity, and is asexual! His merman boyfriend is whatever the merman equivalent of pansexual is, and one of two primary antagonists specifically a sex-repulsed asexual man. The story features characters of many different nationalities (as far as I can make that happen with a fantasy world) such as African, British (Scottish and English), Irish, Indian, Middle-Eastern, Caribbean, and French! It deals with some potentially triggering themes at times, but it’s also a story about accepting people for who they are, and accepting that your first impression of someone may not be that accurate. Also pirates!

I also have a vampire story planned, which will contain a single father main character with a tiny child because why not! I have a secret “other account” that I use to write self-indulgent fanfiction because I have to entertain myself SOMEHOW. My niche tends to be more in writing gay romantic relationships or very close platonic friendships with a kind of found-family vibe.

Any art I draw tends to be really ridiculous and silly, or it’ll be art for my own stories or someone else’s.

2. Felix2
Felix

What inspires you?

Everything inspires me. My own experiences and emotions, music, my friends, other content I view. Sometimes I just really want to indulge in a particular thing, and if I can’t find it out there, I write it myself! With the merman story, I kind of inspired myself? I had originally written a short series of novels which I wanted to do a spin-off for. And I was getting really into merpeople at the time, so I wanted to include one in this spin-off. The merman character I created and his human boyfriend wound up being way more interesting than what I was already writing, so I scrapped the spin-off and started telling their story instead! I have specific songs I listen to for this story, and I also tend to watch YouTube videos (check out Stella the Siren!) of people in costumes swimming around as merpeople.

One of the big themes in this story is being trapped somewhere and not being able to leave, even though logically, it should be easy. Another theme is prejudice, another is acceptance (or the lack thereof, in some cases). I drew these themes heavily from my own life, and I feel that in some roundabout way, some of the themes in this story are an accurate metaphor for the experiences some people have with their asexuality. This wasn’t my intention when writing it, but this has wound up being the result.

3. Iris
Iris

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

I can remember wanting to be a writer when I was younger. I had big dreams of wanting to be a best-selling author like J. K. Rowling, I wanted to be famous for it, I wanted to earn lots of money! And it was primarily the Harry Potter books that got me interested in that. My first story ever was a (badly) illustrated retelling of Disney’s The Little Mermaid (ha, I’ve come full circle!). As I grew up, I made friends with similar interests. We all wanted to be writers, we all liked to draw. Since then, I’ve decided I actually NEVER want to be published as I’m content with sharing my works for free online where I can interact with readers on a more personal level. And my digital art is really just a hobby. I’d love to develop my skill enough to do graphic novels or webcomics, maybe open up a Patreon. But again, it’s nothing I want to pursue professionally.

4. Penelope1
Penelope

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 that I know of? I guess when I write, I throw a lot of myself and my own emotions into the writing, and I NEVER intend for this to happen. It can sometimes make me feel very exposed when posting a new chapter, as I realise (though readers may not) that some of my deepest emotions and thoughts are out there for everyone to see.

5. azandkaensfinal1222
Az and Kaens

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Of course it’s important to improve your craft, whatever it may be. But NEVER let anyone tell you that your work is “cliché” or “unoriginal”. Guess what? NOTHING is original. Everything has been done before in some way at some point. What matters is that you have fun creating it, is that you enjoy what you do. You should have fun coming up with plots or ideas for drawings, you should have fun creating characters and giving them tragic backstories or smart mouths or the perfect physique, or whatever else it is that people like to make fun of others for. Indulge in yourself. When people constantly criticize you, and make you feel like you aren’t good enough to the point where you no longer want to create your art, THEY are in the wrong. You can’t please everyone. I once had someone complain that my 18-year-old Middle-Easter male character’s facial hair made him look less cute, and she would rather he didn’t have it. Like, I’m sorry my boy doesn’t fit your ideal “uke” aesthetic. My best friend drew a picture of him with a full giant beard and moustache as retaliation for me 😀

So first and foremost, make sure YOU are happy with what you create. Create primarily for yourself and not for others. Constructive or polite criticism, take it with a polite smile and a “thank you”, but learn to recognize when someone is genuinely just being mean. Remember that everyone advances at different speeds, and not everyone is perfect at everything.

Never let anyone, not even yourself, make your art less fun for you.

Some more writing-specific advice! In my opinion, a story is made up of three components. Writing, characters, and plot. Ideally, you want at least two of these things to be good to make for a story people will like! But in my experience, good characters are what work! They could be walking down the stairs for breakfast in the morning, but if your characterization is strong and done well, people will care about it. Pay special attention to your characters and creating them, and showing who they are in your writing, and giving them reasons for doing the things they do. Plot can be whatever you want it to be. Writing improves with time. Read a lot (professionally published works, really terribly-written fanfictions, the works!). Learn what you like in another’s style and what you don’t like. Utilize and borrow these things in order to refine your own craft.

Be kind to yourself! You’re creating art!

8. 64287995-256-k202908
Book Cover drawn by limey-art (on Tumblr), text added by shirokaneki (on Tumblr)

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual, panromantic.

6. azzwefgth
Az

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

Not that I can think of. A fellow writer did once tell me that she really “didn’t get all that crap”, however given her own upbringing and where she’s from, it didn’t bother me too much. I also had a rather rude person leave a comment on my story about sex in the story’s future, and when I explained there would be none because my main character is asexual (and his love interest is half FISH), she became very blasé, laughed about asexuality, kind of implied she didn’t think it was a real thing. I offered to explain it in more depth to her, and how it specifically affects this main character versus the sex-repulsed villain, but she never responded xD

Most of the ignorance tends to stem from people simply not knowing what asexuality is – they’ve either never heard of it, or they have misconceptions about what it is. And that’s fine, because I myself knew nothing about it until only a year or two ago. The best way I deal with THAT is to tell them that it’s okay if they don’t know or understand. I give a little explanation, and offer to go more in depth with them if they want, or I offer to point them to resources. Most people I’ve encountered have been very pleasant about it. Those who aren’t, just don’t talk to them. And remember to use that block button if necessary!

7. Slade
Slade

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

The most common one I’ve personally encountered is that people assume I’m afraid of sex. They assume this is the case, and they think I say I’m asexual so I either won’t have to have sex, or it’s an excuse so I don’t have to admit I’m afraid. Generally speaking, this is not the case at all. I’ve also had people think I don’t want sex, or “there must be something wrong” with me because “everyone wants sex!”. And finally, my number one FAVOURITE – “you just haven’t met the right person yet! That will change when you meet The One!” You know what, maybe it WILL change if I meet The One. Maybe I’m specifically demi-sexual. Maybe I just haven’t met my type yet. But for someone to try to invalidate my current sexuality like that is NOT okay. I never have felt, nor do I think I ever WILL feel sexual attraction. This, however, does NOT prevent me from having relationships, from having sex (physically, thoughts, “alone time”, etc) or from living a perfectly fulfilling life.

9. Az & Kae (Anni)
Az and Kae (drawn by fairygodpiggy on Tumblr)

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

That honestly depends on why they are struggling. The main thing to remember, I think, is that you know yourself best. If you think you’re asexual, call yourself asexual. If it’s dangerous for you to “come out” you are under NO obligation to do so. Ace positivity is everywhere on the internet, which is fantastic! However, you are no less ace if you choose not to participate or contribute, or if you choose never to talk about it. Your pride doesn’t have to be loud. You are no less ace if you only SOMETIMES feel ace, or if you used to not be, but now you are. There are resources out there where you can find a more specific term for your sexuality if you wish, but if you think you are ace, then that is what you are and no one can tell you any differently. There is nothing WRONG with you. Hundreds of thousands of us have thought the same thing. “I must be straight by default” or “I don’t understand why she’d cheat on him” or “sex isn’t that great”.

Asexuality is such a broad spectrum that of course everybody has different experiences. Different circumstances, different emotions, different actions, etc. Just because you’re not like another asexual person, that doesn’t mean you are less asexual. You can absolutely know if you’re ace whether you’ve had sex or not. I knew from about age 11 or 12 that I was ace, I just didn’t know the term for it at the time.

And for those of you who, like me for a while, wished you WEREN’T asexual, I have this to say: you are who you are. You feel what you feel. I hope you can come to accept yourself and realise that there is nothing wrong with being asexual. There are people out there who love and support you, and fellow ace people like myself are always here to chat should you need it ❤ Remember, the world in general still doesn’t understand a lot about asexuality. We’re still trying to get them to figure out that being gay is a real and normal thing! For many of us, being ace isn’t always easy. But we’ll get there. Just have pride in who you are, avoid Ace Discourse, and live your life!

10. Az (Limey)
Az drawn by limey-art (on Tumblr)

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

You can find my writing here on Wattpad as well as an artbook that I update sometimes: https://www.wattpad.com/user/Ciphertext

I’m also on Tumblr where I sometimes post art, but mostly I reblog fandom stuff, memes, and Vine compilations: https://ciphertext-x.tumblr.com/

11. the future
The Future, drawn by roboticspacecase (on Tumblr)

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

Interview: Mari

Today we’re joined by Mari. Mari is a wonderful aspiring author and dedicated fanfiction writer. When she’s not working on fiction, Mari writes for her school paper and is working toward a minor in journalism. She’s incredibly passionate about writing, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a writer, both FanFiction and for my school paper, but I’m aspiring to be a published author. Writing is a passion. I’m in college for a major in English and a minor in journalism. I write FanFiction for a few fandoms, such as Soul Eater. As for my school paper, it’s just small stuff, like the football game or a fundraiser. But we gotta start somewhere, right?

What inspires you?

My inspiration really comes from my own life experiences. But my real motivation are my friends. I wouldn’t write anything if it wasn’t for them. Especially my Tumblr friends. They’ve gotten me farther then I could’ve imagined.

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

To be honest? Yeah. Ever since I was little, reading and writing was a big love for me. I’d buy book after book. But soon, I wanted to start to write for myself. What I am today, I’ve always wanted to be.

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?

If you asked me, I’d say no. I don’t really notice any unique thing about my writing. But I’ve been told that I make my writing very emotional. I make people feel with the characters.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I’d say that what you want to do is completely you. It’s not anyone’s business of what you want, and no one knows what you want except you. Don’t let them tell you otherwise!

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a sex-repulsed ace, but I’m also panromantic. At least, I’m pretty sure I’m pan. I’m still figuring myself out. I just know for sure I’m ace.

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

I have, actually. In high school, I had a small column in the paper. I could write anything I wanted. I wrote about asexuality, and other orientations. Though everything was anonymous, people found out who I was. I got bullied a lot. From mean notes in my locker to someone actually peeing on my chair. Stupid, huh? Finally, I went to the principle. A new policy was put in; anyone found bullying would be suspended. The teasing stopped.!

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

I don’t have emotions. I can’t write without emotions. I actually do have emotions. And I love romance books. Crazy!

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

It’s however you feel. Whatever you’re comfortable with. And if you find out that, hey, maybe I’m ace? Then that’s amazing! And if you realize that you aren’t, that’s amazing too! Your orientation is completely you.

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

They could check out my Tumblr, at saucey-and-spicey! All my fanfic work is posted there!

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

Interview: Amy

Today we’re joined by Amy. Amy is a wonderful visual artist who does digital painting and is also a cartoonist. She mostly draws people and characters. Amy enjoys art that tells a story. Her work is absolutely beautiful, filled with vibrant colors and expressive faces. She’s clearly an incredibly talented artist with an amazing eye, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

tumblr_o7pkm4oZXR1r60dxko1_500

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a cartoonist and digital painter interested especially in figural works — characters and people. I like paintings which tell a story, or maybe just hint at one; the sort of thing that might become someone’s character inspiration. When I’m doing relaxing doodles in my sketchbook, it’s usually faces making a variety of expressions.

What inspires you?

Colour and light; humans. I love the visceral reaction to a painting which uses colour and light boldly. I am also a habitual people-watcher and am inspired by the people I see every day. As an artist, I have a habit of seeing beauty and interest in everyone. I’m not great yet at capturing that, but it’s an inspiration for sure!

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

I’ve always liked drawing, but when I was around 15 years old I decided to get serious and start really practicing and investigating. The internet especially helped me with my art — all of my early favourite artists were people sharing their work online, like Vera Brosgol and Emily Carroll.

I went to university for Fine Arts, and realized after I got my degree that I was happier doing art as a hobby than as my every day job. I’m an extrovert, and after a short stint working from home doing backgrounds for animation, I realized that almost all art jobs are solitary and would drive me totally batty if I did them as a career. It’s hard balancing art with working full time, but I’m working on learning how.

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 necessarily hide a lot of symbolism in my art, but if I look at all my paintings side by side I realize that I very much have a palette that I like to work in: pinks and teals. There’s just something about the contrast between pink/coral/peach and teal/blue/robin’s egg that appeals to me.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Look at everything and practice everything! Remember that what you put into your head influences what comes back out, so seeking more diverse stuff to look at and enjoy will help your art grow and expand. Then draw, draw, draw. When I was learning to draw hands I filled pages and pages and pages with sketches of hands while sitting in front of the TV; now I’m confident in drawing hands and enjoy including them in my work. Not every piece has to be final: go ahead and just try stuff out and see what happens.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a bi-romantic or pan-romantic ace. I usually use bi since it’s easier for people to understand, but I’m romantically attracted to men, women, and non-binary or genderqueer people.

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

I’m not extremely vocal about being ace in my field IRL as I have dealt with a lot of general ignorance and prejudice already. I’m much more open about my sexuality online, though, because I know that seeing other ace people has helped me and I want to pass that on when I feel able to. Over time, I hope to become more vocal about it in real life so that I can help people that way too.

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

That it “doesn’t exist” or I “don’t know what I’m missing out on”. Both are really frustrating to encounter! Everyone seems to think they know better than me about my sexuality and attraction and want to tell me how I should feel or identify. I’m doing my best to tune them out.

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

I first realized that I was ace when I was around 20; I didn’t actually accept it and start identifying as ace until I was around 30. It’s hard to be a part of an orientation that people either completely don’t know about or think isn’t real. It’s also hard to fit into a world that thinks sex is the be-all end-all when it just isn’t a priority or interest. I guess my advice would be: it’s okay to struggle; that doesn’t make you any less valid as an asexual person. And it’s okay, too, to decide that you’re done struggling and you’re happy being you regardless of what society thinks! I think it’s a process getting from the first to the second, and we’re all working our way along it; give yourself time.

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

I have a blog where I post my art — I’m not the most active poster, but I’ve got a good long archive of simple sketches, pen and ink work, and full paintings. You can check me out at amy-draws.tumblr.com.

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