Interview: Jess Renae Curtis

Today we’re joined by Jess Renae Curtis, who also goes by Jess or Pup. Jess is the phenomenal artist behind PuppyLuver Studios. She does mostly fan work at the moment but has also recently branched out into original work. She is currently dabbling with creating an original universe. Jess is mostly a digital artist and creates both fanart and original characters through drawing. Her work is bright and colorful, capturing the viewer and drawing them in. It shows an amazing attention to detail. It’s clear she’s an extraordinarily talented artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. owl barber
Owl Barber

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m both a writer and a digital artist. My illustrations are generally focused on characters, both original designs and those from fandoms I’m involved in, and tend to use a lot of varied color. My writing is involved in both fanfiction (notable ones I’m working on at the moment include Chronicles of Tajiria, a Pokémon series but with the Pokémon as people with superpowers/magic, and Sonata in Triplicate, a Legend of Zelda AU series) and my original series Theia Historica, of which I have the first entry (titled A Kingdom of Children) published.

What inspires you?

I don’t really have a definite answer for that, it could be just about anything depending on what sort of thing or things it ends up inspiring. I’ve had small one-page comics based on something funny that happened to me while playing a video game, I’ve designed a character because a YouTuber I follow posted a video of himself shaving his beard with a razor that I initially thought looked like an owl, I’ve drawn pieces based on something funny a friend said to me, lots of things. In fact, the general art direction of Theia Historica has its roots in one very specific part in the PS2 role-playing game Okage: Shadow King, but it’s a long explanation so that’s a story for another time.

2. mermaids working out
Mermaids Working Out

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

I’ve been drawing ever since I was a little kid, and while I always liked drawing it wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life for the longest time. Funnily enough, my first career choices were astronaut and veterinarian, before I realized that the things in space kinda scared me and I was squeamish about blood and other bodily fluids, so around middle school I decided to try a career path that I already had some skill and comfort in. I started storytelling shortly after becoming literate, though unlike visual art that was always something I could see myself doing professionally, though more as an “after I’m done being an astrovet” thing than as part of my main career.

3. brunswick manor front
Brunswick Manor front

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?

Can’t think of anything in particular except for the star that I use as my watermark (a five-point star with each point being a different color of the rainbow except for orange). Also in major writing projects I tend to find some way or another to put myself in there. Just…self-insert in the background, there I am.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you’re feeling discouraged about your skill level, remember to keep trying and that you can only get better. You’ve got wonderful visions that’ve been concocted solely by the processes of your imagination, and only you can bring them to life for the world to see. Also, don’t pay attention to what cringe culture says. Make that multicolor Sonic OC if you want. Write a short story about you getting transported to your favorite fictional world and becoming best buds with the main characters if doing so cheers you up when you’re feeling down. Don’t let anyone stop you from enjoying something that makes you happy and doesn’t hurt others.

4. journey-traveler's hub
Journey-Traveler’s Hub

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a sex-repulsed asexual. I’m not entirely sure yet of where I fall in regards to romantic attraction, but if I were to try dating I think I’d want my first attempts at romantic experiences to be with women.

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

Not specifically in my field, no, and I don’t really know how I would handle it if I were to encounter prejudice that was physical or coming from a position of authority. Most people I’ve told about my asexuality are a bit confused as to what it means at first, but once I explain they’re generally supportive. I have had encounters with people who flat-out refused to believe that I was an adult who didn’t enjoy sex and couldn’t ever imagine doing so, but that one was on me for commenting on a video explicitly titled “Why Does Sex Feel Good?” and saying that I couldn’t understand why sex-havers craved it so strongly (I mean, I technically can, cuz if sex weren’t at least somewhat pleasurable to those willingly engaging in it then the species would die out because then no one would be boinking and possibly making babies) and I thought the whole societal obsession with it was a bit ridiculous. I kinda walked into that one, and I ended up just muting that conversation and moving on.

5. skull kid and deku tree
Skull Kid and Deku Tree

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

If they don’t outright dismiss the possibility of asexuality/aromanticism existing, they tend to assume all asexual people share my feelings in that sex is something they wish to avoid. While I am not one of them, there are obviously plenty of asexuals who either are indifferent or even enjoy sex as an activity. I’m put off by all the mess that I’ve heard results from a typical sexual encounter to even consider trying it, but I will never knock on any sex-positive or sex-neutral aces.

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

Not having a sexual or romantic attraction is just as normal as having a sexual or romantic attraction to people of a different gender, the same gender, or multiple genders. You’re not broken just because all your peers are ogling “sexy” celebrities and you find yourself feeling indifferent to the whole thing. And don’t listen to all the highly vocal exclusionists plaguing the internet that say a-spec people don’t belong. They are the minority given megaphones, and the majority of LGBT groups and spaces are inclusive of a-specs.

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

You can find my stuff on DeviantART under the username PuppyLuver, and on Tumblr, Twitter, FanFiction.net, and AO3 under the username PuppyLuver256. I also have a Redbubble store and a Patreon.

6. shiny mahina
Shiny Mahina

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

Interview: S.R. Hunt

Today we’re joined by S.R. Hunt. S.R. is a phenomenal fanartist who creates art for a variety of fandoms. She specializes in hand-drawn sketches and animatics, which I highly recommend visiting her blog to check out because they’re really cool (some examples: Guns and Ships, Farmer Refuted, Coco animatic, Coco animatic 2, It’s Quiet Uptown). Her work is brimming with color and an extraordinary amount of detail. It’s clear she’s a passionate and talented artist, 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’m a fan artist, mostly. I create hand-drawn sketches, comics, animatics, and occasionally I dabble in photography and cosplay. I strive to improve my craft every time I get inspired by a different piece of medium, often times stepping outside my comfort zone just to get better (I mean, how can you get better if you don’t step outside your safe, artist bubble?).

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What inspires you?

Tons of things! Most recently, I’ve created fan art for Pixar’s Coco, Hamilton, DuckTales, Darkwing Duck, and the occasional Pokemon drawing. But if I had to pinpoint a specific inspiration, I’d have to say the animated works of Disney and Pixar. I grew up with those movies, I was born a hop, skip, and a jump away from Disneyland, and Finding Nemo was the first movie I saw in theaters. When I was 15, I sent a letter to Pixar, telling them that I wanted to work there when I grew up, and they actually replied back! They sent me a letter telling me to become an intern when I reached college, and they included an autographed photo of Finding Nemo signed by the film’s director, Andrew Stanton, and the film’s producer, John Lasseter! I carried that letter with me every day for the rest of my high school career as a reminder of what I want to do with my life; create something that moves people. So, I draw, I create storyboards and comics, and I try to improve so that one day I can walk into that building and create something that’ll inspire and move millions of people.

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

I started drawing in elementary school. Just simple comics drawn on notebook paper starring Pokemon and Neopets. I was never much of a writer (I’m still not), but it gave me something to do when no one wanted to talk to me. My doodling habit continued all throughout  junior high and high school, and even though I wasn’t as good as the other young artists in my class, I just kept chugging along. When I decided I wanted to join the animation field, I didn’t really have a specific job in mind. I wanted to animate, but I lack the nifty wacom tablets and photoshop tools that every other animator on YouTube has. I’m also not very detailed when it comes to my drawings (I’ve described my drawing style as “glorified stick figures”). That’s when it hit me; storyboarding, the blueprint for animation. So, with a pencil and sketchbook in hand, I began making animatics. I began by making animatics set to songs from Hamilton, then silly little gags with the cast of Coco. They aren’t as polished as other animatics, but they get the job done.

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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?

Oh…that’s a toughie…I’ve never really thought about it…I guess it’s that my drawings are very round. There aren’t many sharp edges. Even my signature is very round.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Draw what you want. Don’t let people tell you what to draw. If they request something you don’t feel comfortable with, it’s your right as an artist to say “no”. Don’t worry about the number of likes, comments, notes, reblogs or whatever. If people like what you do and it gets popular, great! Just don’t let that be the driving force for your art. When I create, the thought of “will this be popular?” or “gotta keep the fans happy!” never crosses my mind. I make it for me, and I make what I want to see. And finally, work with what you got. I wanted to create animatics, but instead of sighing and saying “I don’t have the technology to do such a thing…” I worked with what I had. And what I had was a pencil, a sketchbook, an iPhone with a free movie editor app, and an idea in my brain. Don’t let your financial situation hold you back.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m not sure what the technical terms are (my apologies), but I’m interested in having a partner with no sexual interaction. Kissing is fine, but no…ya know. I’ve never had a boyfriend or girlfriend in order to learn my boundaries, so that’s where I stand at the moment.

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

I haven’t, actually, because it never really comes up. I can only think of one moment where I brought up that I was asexual to a classmate in high school, and he was very supportive. He said that he never met someone like me, and that he was interested that such people exist. I’ll show my support for my LGBTQ friends and fellow artists who are open about their sexual orientation, but I don’t bring up my asexuality that often.

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

Probably that I’m not interested in a romantic relationship. Like, I’m not interested in dating or getting married. That’s not really the case. I would like to date, and I’d like to get married, but only with the right guy (or gal, ya never know). I’m just not comfortable with…ahem “getting it on”. There’s sort of a reason behind that, but I’ll spare you the details.

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

Don’t listen to the people who tell you being single sucks or that being a virgin is dumb. It’s your body, and your life, and it’s okay if you aren’t interested in a sexual relationship.

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

I have a Tumblr (judgechaos), a DeviantArt (JudgeChaos), an Instagram (s.r._hunt), and a YouTube channel (S.R. Hunt). Those are the main places I post my art and animatics, so feel free to say “hi!”

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

Interview: FF2

Today we’re joined by FF2. FF2 is a wonderful visual artist who does a mix of original work and fanart. They’re a self-taught artist and tend to gravitate to fanart. They get inspiration from many different sources, like video games, anime, and movies. When they’re not doing fanart, they enjoy just sketching original characters. It’s very obvious they’re a dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

a zoe sketch
A Zoe sketch

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Um… Okay! It’s mostly fanart of things I like (video games, anime, movies, etc.), but sometimes I’ll draw and share OCs and stuff! I do a lot of sketches and doodles (school is very energy and creativity-draining, so usually I have just enough to doodle and sketch), but sometimes if I REALLY have the energy for it I’ll make full drawings! Those are usually my favorites! (Example: A screenshot re-draw of one of my favorite Attack on Titan scenes. Took a few days but it was worth it in the end because it came out really well!) But… Drawing sketches is fun too! I also really like drawing my OCs, even if I keep… NOT drawing them! (I get so many good ideas of things to draw with them but then it’s like “Wait that’s beyond my skill level-”)

What inspires you?

Well, it’s mostly anime, actually! Originally I took inspiration from like… Sailor Moon, but now – albeit it’s STILL anime – , I’m taking more references from Studio Ghibli films (specifically When Marnie Was There and Spirited Away), and the anime Attack on Titan. I’ve also been trying to make it look a bit more… realistic. Not, SUPER realistic, but like… (oh how do I explain this…?) just a bit more? Not like… in a way it would make my art style look weird or unnatural, but just enough so it makes it look BETTER? If that makes ANY sense? Plus, whatever I look at more often influences what I draw a lot. Like, say I played a lot of Pokemon recently. Then I’d probably be drawing a lot of Pokemon characters.

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

Uhh… Really, I’ve kind of been drawing for as long as I can remember. Like… We have pictures from when I was three and we had this… thing – I’m not exactly sure what is was – and it has a little marker that worked with water, so when you got it wet, you could DRAW on the mat and stuff, and in the picture I’m just scribbling away. I guess I just really liked the idea of making my own pictures? And I never really dropped it…! I’ve always liked drawing, but I haven’t ALWAYS wanted to be an artist (Right now for example, I want to be an author!), but there was a phase when I did.

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 really have a special, unique signature, but I do have some things that I think make my art… My own and easier to recognize I guess? I think it’s the way I do eyes? Or at least, that’s what I think and what a few friends have told me…

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Joking aside, please practice, or take a class! Seriously, like… say you wanted to be a professional athlete or something. You’d practice to get better at that right? So… Why should drawing be different? Also, DO NOT ignore guidelines. They can REALLY help. And, another thing… Try tracing guidelines over pre-existing images. Don’t… Don’t POST those or anything, but do that on your own practice, because it can help you get an idea of the anatomy and stuff.  I know there’s this whole mindset of “If I EVER trace anything ever, even for practice than I’m Bad and an art thief!” but like… That’s not true! If you need to practice anatomy and want to trace something for a better idea of how it works, then try that! Again, just don’t post it.

He is not a threat to humanity! ALT
He is not a threat to humanity!

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Sex-repulsed ace. (Probably panromantic too? I don’t want to say for sure, though…)

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

In… my field? I assume this means art. If so then no. Though… I have some ace OCs and I’ll probably make a lot of emphasis on that and if anyone is rude because god-forbid someone has ASEXUAL OCS, then I‘ll probably just ignore them?

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

Either… “oh so you don’t have any emotions/empathy/whatever?” (which is blatant lie. And also a really stupid thing to say.), and “that’s not a thing, you’re just making a sexuality up for attention.” (more lies.)

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

DO. NOT. RUSH THIS!!! You don’t HAVE to have a label if you don’t want one! You think you might be ace but then you find out you’re not? That’s fine! It doesn’t make you bad!! You think you’re something else and then find out your ace? That’s fine, too! Figuring yourself out takes a while! Also… For anyone told this because ew ace discourse, YOU AREN’T INVADING LGBT+ SPACES OR “STEALING” RESOURCES OR NOT A “REAL LGBT+ PERSON”. YOU ARE VALID. If ANYONE says otherwise, just ignore ‘em. They are NOT worth it! I know it’s hard but really, what they’re doing is kinda pathetic, you know?

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

My art Tumblr! It’s https://ff2-draws-stuff.tumblr.com/!! I post art and WIPs there, so if you’d like to see more of my art, check it out!

Thank you, FF2, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Nycto Falcone

Today we’re joined by Nycto Falcone.  Nycto is a fantastically talented visual artist who specializes in anthro-Pokemon.  She’s quite versatile and enjoys drawing a variety of things.  She works mostly in digital mediums.  The images she sent to go with the interview are absolutely beautiful.  My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

I'm No Good for You
I’m No Good for You

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Well, digital artwork is my main. I tend to use multiple programs for my digital illustrations and animations, such as Paint Tool Sai and Flash. I started using Clip Studio Paint recently and it is really helpful! I hope to major in animation in college.

I mainly draw anthro Pokemon characters, due to me being in several roleplay groups for them. I’m getting back into drawing other characters again, though.

What inspires you?

Music, mainly. I have to be listening to something to draw decently. That and nice scenery, like forests and cities. Movies don’t really do it for me, since they’re professionals that worked with a team, and even though it’s great and smooth, I feel animations done by single people/amateur animators give me more courage to try doing something new.

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

I started drawing the moment I could hold a pencil, to be honest. I couldn’t stop; drawing on the walls, furniture, any and all of my papers (including schoolwork!). It was just my life.

Map Part 35
Map Part 35

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?

My signature is pretty plain. Just my name, Nycto. My signature has changed a lot over time, though. I finally settled on a name for myself after several years.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t compare yourself to others!!! I had an awful habit of that (and I still do, sometimes) and it just unmotivates you. Also, practice. You don’t get better unless you do it, and it may take a lot of time! Some progress at different speeds, so don’t get discouraged just because someone may progress or do something faster than you. It’s not a race.

Mettaton
Mettaton

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Demi-Panromantic Asexual.

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

Oh yeah. Always with the “you just haven’t matured yet, you’re too young to know” or “you’ll find the right person and you’ll feel it”. I’m 18 years old, I’ve been through puberty. I don’t have sexual attractions to people, and that’s the breaks.

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

The puberty thing. Being “late bloomers”. It’s just not that hard to realize not everyone wants to bang.

Piggy Pie
Piggy Pie

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

It’s not weird. It doesn’t make you broken or anything.

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

My deviantART account is where I’m most active artistically! http://haiioweens.deviantart.com/

I do post here, but I have yet to make an art blog where I post only artwork.

You're My Joan of Arc
You’re My Joan of Arc

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