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: Ryan Meier

Today we’re joined by Ryan Meier. Ryan is a phenomenal podcaster who hosts a podcast focusing on videogames, geek and popular culture. When he’s not working on his podcast, Ryan also acts as a dungeon master for a 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons. He writes the stories and paints miniatures. He’s incredibly dedicated and passionate, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

beholder zombie
Beholder Zombie

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My main outlet is my podcast, The Bear vs. Man Cast. My co-host and I discuss video games and other geek/pop culture goings on. We have casual conversation about things we’re interested in in the realm of games and try to be funny about it. We were attempting to get into streaming last year but we’ve pulled back from that because finding time for everything we want to do is rough.

I also run a Dungeons & Dragons game for a small group of friends, so I do some story writing for that. We play D&D on a grid, so we use miniatures, which I’ve started painting and 3D printing for. Very hobbyist; I haven’t been painting minis for very long, but you learn something new with each one you do.

What inspires you?

I get a lot of inspiration from the things I look at, the things I play, what I watch etc. just like everyone else. It’s hard not to. When you like something, it ends up in your work in some shape or form. For podcasts we both came from listening to things like Giant Bomb and Idle Thumbs, and that round table discussion that’s free form and fun. When I’m writing stories I try to pull from personal experience that’s reformatted to fit the context of the story. Characters are based on people I know or observe, same with conflicts etc. There’s that idea that there are only seven stories, and it’s all about how you tell them. I am not a professional writer by any means, so I say paint the wheel a cool color instead of trying to reinvent it.

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

We started our podcast almost three years ago now (!), and we were both listening to a lot of podcasts at the time. One thing lead to another and we started doing one. It’s very much something we do for ourselves, and if people like it great, come along for the ride we’d love to have you, but becoming a huge success in podcasting has never been our aim.

I’ve dabbled in art for my whole life. Coloring outside the lines in kindergarten. I played a lot of music in grade school. Brass instruments, drum line, guitar. I was composing for a while in high school but that dropped off. And now I podcast and I write stories for the games I play with my friends and paint some miniatures. Always the dabbler, and never the master, but I’m working on finding focus.

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 I do!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just make the thing. Just do the thing. If anyone is like me (and they probably are) they always feel like what they’re doing is not enough, always room for improvement, always that one thing you wanted to change. So just make it. Don’t feel like you can’t start, or can’t show it to anyone. Be proud of what you make and improve as you go.

ogre zombie
Ogre Zombie

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual and aromantic.

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

I try to up play my aceness on my Twitter as often as I can. I think it’s important for people in the wild to see ace people being ace in all sorts of situations. I’ve gotten some slack for it, but I try not to engage, and just let those moments pass.

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

For me it’s a lot of unawareness. A lot of people don’t know the first thing about folks on the spectrum as I’m sure a lot of your readers know. What does it mean to be ace? What do you do with all your free time and money? (Spoilers I have neither.) If I had one thing I wish could be made more apparent is that the ace spectrum is a spectrum, full of individuals with a wide variety of experience. No two ace folks will approach the same situation the same way, no two ace people will have the same previous sexual experience. So take the time to hear their stories.

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

A) if you’re not sure, it’s totally fine. Questioning anything as important as your sexuality is so incredibly valid. It impacts the way you see the world, and how the world interacts with you. You should spend some time wondering, if that’s what you need to feel comfortable.

B) If it feels right to call yourself ace, then call yourself ace. Or whatever orientation really, I feel like this applies to every sexuality. On your own, in your own personal space, just try it out. You don’t have to come out right away. You don’t have to be sure. But just, be ace with yourself. Be ace with those you trust, even if you don’t tell them. Just telling yourself you are something is a good way to see if it fits. Only time will tell if being ace is who you really are.

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

You can find my podcast, The Bear Vs Man Cast, on iTunes or on the web:
https://bearvsman.simplecast.fm/

I’m on Twitter, at ace_phd
(I keep my DMs open if you ever have ace related questions. I try to help when I can)

I’m on Tumblr: https://ace-phd.tumblr.com/
(Same: message me anytime about ace stuff.)

olaf
Olaf

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

Interview: Michelle

Today we’re joined by Michelle.  Michelle is a wonderfully talented visual artist who works in a couple mediums.  She used to be into comic books but it sounds like she’s more focused on videogame design.  My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

(Warning:  there is some nudity in one image in this interview)

885578_10153460305197766_5501037517954718995_o

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Well, I originally majored in doing comic books because when I was younger I thought I was too dull minded and unable to work in the video game industry (Also I am a woman). However, I’ve never been able to fall in love in the process of making comic books. Recently, I decided to go back into trying to make video games- because I know I am dull minded and being a woman shouldn’t stop me from doing what I want.

What inspires you?

Change. Currently, I find the world a dire place to live in but people actively fighting for their rights and the rights of others inspires me to draw and live.

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

I enjoy creating inspiring characters purely from my imagination. I love sharing the character I care deeply about to other people. Creating something from nothing is such a beautiful thing.

It’s amazing that in video games you can walk around in the world you created in your mind.

Agony
Agony

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?

Sometimes I sign my work as “MAN.” Because those are my initials and I think it’s kind of clever.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do what you love. Don’t ever live your life for someone else but yourself.

I’ve lived 26 years of my life doing comics thinking that was the only option available to me then I refused to quit because I had dedicated so many years to the art. You always have opportunities. It’s never too late.

Also if you don’t find a career in your field and end up having to work somewhere else to make ends meet, your not a failure. You’re just walking a different path then others around you.

Kpop
Kpop

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

No idea. I rarely find other people attractive in a romantic or sexual way- if ever. Yet, there are times I day dream about having sex with very specific people. Slowly I am starting to realize I am attracted to a very specific type of person- yet, I am not sure I am in the place to specify what that means.

I am sort of flowing through the spectrum at the moment and have no desire to define it.

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

Yes. All of the time. Constantly. I’ve been asked “What’s the point in being in a relationship if you don’t have sex,” “How do you know unless you try? (sex)” “Maybe you haven’t found the right person.” Most people don’t even believe asexuality is an orientation and shouldn’t be represented in the LGBT+ community. I am not even open about my sexuality to most people I talk to- including my therapist.

How do I handle it? Not very well. I constantly feel alone, alienated from others- that I’ll never be spirited close to anyone because I struggle feeling that intimate with others in THAT kind of way. I want a family but struggle with understanding how I’ll be able to do that because I can’t imagine raising a kid alone on my income. Who will understand my situation?

I am also only attracted to very specific people and I assume I’ll probably never find that person- I am paranoid I am just too picky. It’s not like I can CHOOSE who I am attracted to.

Sex and romance is so heavily implemented in our media that there are very few songs, shows, or movies that I relate to.

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

That it can be “fixed” by meeting the right person. That asexuals don’t enjoy sex. Asexual can enjoy sex they may just not desire it.  Some asexual also masturbate, yet, it’s ok if you don’t.

I related heavily to the Doctor from Doctor Who, Sherlock from Sherlock, Abed from community but…you know how that went down.

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

I don’t have much advice. The advice I have to give I don’t even believe in. I suppose just fight for yourself, fight for life, and hold onto the people in your life who believe you when you say your asexual.

Yet, be aware that sexuality is not set in stone. It can be a river, flowing, traveling and ending up in rivers, ponds, or oceans you never anticipated it would be. Just continue on your path finding out who you are and hold onto that.

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

My tumblr: http://o-dream.tumblr.com yet don’t be too disappointed when I don’t upload artwork. I keep move of my drawings to myself and don’t care to post it online.

Weeaboo
Weeaboo

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