Interview: Abi Stevens

Today we’re joined by Abi Stevens. Abi is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in digital art and illustration. She makes colorful illustrations featuring monsters, myths, and folklore. Abi also does additional work about chronic illness and has recently run a successfully funded Kickstarter for enamel pins. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate artist who loves what she does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Black Shuck
Black Shuck

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a digital illustrator and I make colourful and detailed illustrations inspired by mythology, folklore, history and all things fantastical. My work is often influenced by elements of ‘visual history’, by which I mean historical art forms, architecture and objects. In particular I love stained glass windows and illuminated manuscripts. You can see references to these sources in the stylized borders and iconography in my work. I also enjoy including hidden details in my work and incorporating symbolism such as the language of flowers.

More recently my subject matter has expanded into more personal areas; exploring my experience with chronic migraine, and I plan to expand into other chronic illnesses and mental health issues as well. Most recently I have been creating enamel pin and sticker designs incorporating the words ‘chronic warrior’ and ‘migraine warrior’.

What inspires you?

Growing up I was obsessed with fantasy and science-fiction books and I devoured every story I could get my hands on. It was my own personal escape from reality and so this early love of the fantastical has carried heavily over into my own creative practice. I think we all enjoy stories of lives grander and more bizarre than our own. In some ways my artwork is still a means of escape, but one that I can share with everyone else.

My love of fantasy and science-fiction naturally expanded over time into a fascination with mythology. As an atheist I find the incredible range of deities and monsters we have conjured up across the world fascinating. There are mythical creatures so ingrained in our modern collective consciousness that everybody can recognise them. These imaginary beings are powerful historical heirlooms and vehicles for education and social narratives.

This sense of wonder carries over into my historical inspirations. I enjoy dramatic historical narratives and learning about different cultures through their past. However it is historical art forms that really spark in me a sense of wonder: details of architecture, stained glass, and illuminated manuscripts jump out at me and inspire me to create my own art.

Glass Books of the Dream Eaters
Glass Books of the Dream Eaters

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

Growing up I enjoyed creating but I was curious about a lot of things and my ideas for the future were pretty vague.  I was interested in pretty much anything that didn’t involve maths and for a long time I couldn’t make my mind up about what I wanted to be: a writer? A fine artist? A psychologist? A historian? A teacher? It took all my teenage years, 4 A levels and a Foundation Degree before I really knew what an illustrator even was! By happy accident it turns out I chose to study the one subject that can encompass all of my varied interests at once. As an illustrator you get to explore all sorts of subjects and there are so many possibilities for what you can do with your work that I never get bored. It’s an ongoing process; learning, improving skills, observing and researching, and overcoming challenges and deadlines, and I don’t think I could ever be ‘done’. Once you’ve chosen to be an artist, I think it changes the way you observe that world, and it really becomes a way of life as much as a vocation.

Kickstarter

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?

It’s not so much a signature per say, but I like to hide narrative or historical details in my illustrations: things that people who look hard enough will appreciate but that might go un-noticed on a first pass. This can mean anything from references to the language of flowers, to stained glass window references and various symbolism. I love the idea of people discovering something new in my work each time they look at it. For example ‘Volant’ (my flying mythological creature illustration) includes interactions between the larger mythological characters and smaller real-life animals that you may not notice on a first look: such as the moths being drawn to the flame the Phoenix carries, the blue tits trying to protect their friend from the Griffin, and the Siren’s child trying to catch a bat.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

First of all, to always be true to yourself and try not to be swayed too much by the trends on social media. It’s helpful to be aware of current trends but the best way to improve your work and stand out from the crowd is to stay true to your own interests. Passion for your subject is what will pull your best work out of you.

And second, don’t compare yourself negatively to other artists. Everyone is at a different point in their journey and has different resources available, so the only point of reference that is truly relevant is the measure of your own personal progress.

mental health online
Mental Health Online

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I dither a bit to be honest as I’m still figuring myself out, but I usually go with Grey-Ace.

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

Not yet. To be honest my sexuality doesn’t come up much in conversation and while I’m pretty open about it online, it hasn’t been discussed in a professional context yet, or really in many personal ones. I’m hoping I’m lucky enough to avoid that kind of behaviour in the future as well. I know others haven’t been so lucky.

mental health
Mental Health

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

Probably the idea that all asexuals are sex-repulsed and A-romantic. There’s actually a wide spectrum of asexuality and this clumsy assumption left me feeling completely out of place for a while. I didn’t feel like I fit clearly under straight or LGBT+ labels and that was a lonely feeling.

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

I think to pay close attention to their instincts and how their body is feeling. I’ve got some uncomfortable memories from times where I squashed down my instinct that something didn’t feel right with the idea that I should want certain things, I must feel a certain way, or put another persons wants before my own comfort. Our cultural preconceptions of what ‘normal’ is can have such a huge negative impact on our ability to cultivate a healthy self-image, and if your on the ace spectrum it can require a lot of effort to re-program yourself to listen to how you really feel and not how you think you should. This is possibly the biggest hurdle to being comfortable with your orientation.

migraine
Migraine

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

I have a website at www.abistevens.com which displays my portfolio and also a blog with an introductory blog post explaining more about my work.

You can also find me on Twitter (AbiStevens_Art) and Instagram (abistevens_illustration).

At the moment I am running a Kickstarter campaign to fund the Chronic Warrior and Migraine Warrior enamel pin designs I mentioned earlier. The first pin has already been funded and we’re on our way to the second. You can find that here.

poster
Poster

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

Interview: Bere Weillschmidt

Today we’re joined by Bere Weillschmidt. Bere is a wonderful Mexican artist who writes a comic entitled “Love Afternoon Tea”, which is about a gay ace couple and their lives. It’s clear he loves what he does and is a driven artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

BERE

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My work is all about gay pairings, or sometimes polyamorous trios. I draw a lot of fan art but since I graduated, I’ve focused on my comics. I write Love Afternoon Tea (https://tapas.io/series/Love-Afternoon-Tea), which explores a homosexual asexual relationship between a cis man and a trans man.

What inspires you?

I’ve never been in a relationship before but the excitement I get from reading fanfic gets me going. Also, I grew up when everything was a bromance, instead of a canon relationship, so that possibility was a thing that sparked the inspiration inside me.

I’m really shy and sometimes that stops me from posting, but the people that comment are truly appreciated because this is something that pushes me to keep on working hard on everything I do.

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

Well, to be completely honest, no. I was always told that artists starved, and when I was younger I wanted to be filthy rich. On high school I started having a lot of troubles and I was about to not to get into college when my two best friends pushed me into graphic design. Three years later, I switched to animation and I since I enjoyed my career too much, I graduated with honours.

It’s something that has to interest you so much so that in the most difficult times… you keep on going because there’s no other thing you see yourself doing. By the way, I am not starving and I am quite happy by teaching others how to do this.

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?

My signature is really simple that on my ID people scoff at seeing it. But they never know what it means since it’s an alias.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Fight for what you truly believe in. If you don’t have the means to get into art school, don’t worry: most of the stuff is on the Internet. You can do it. Never be afraid to reach out to other artists, I think everyone is happy to help on what they know!

banner

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Aromantic Asexual.

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

Yes, I suppose is very common that people struggle with being a virgin because there’s always the questions and judgement from others. Mostly when you’re over 25.

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

That we are really innocent (?) I hate that.

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

I just accepted myself. It took me a lot to do it because I thought I was just a “late bloomer”, but as a tip I’d say… talk with other asexuals. You’ll get to see how much you have in common and how comfortable you start being in an asexual space.

Don’t rush yourself into figuring it out, sexuality is a spectrum after all… and it might change in time.

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

https://www.instagram.com/bereweillschmidt/
https://twitter.com/bereweilschmidt
http://weillschmidtdoodles.tumblr.com

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

Interview: Bryn Kettle

Today we’re joined by Bryn Kettle. Bryn is a phenomenal animator from New Zealand. They draw a lot of fascinating and unique characters, frequently including bright vibrant colors to draw the viewer in. They’re clearly a dedicated and imaginative artist who loves what they do. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. Putting the War in Reality Warpers
Putting the War in Reality Warpers

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m an animator who works on very cartoony nonsensical jazz that usually involves something meta or something that warps reality – most of my work is pretty much a tribute to something else.

What inspires you?

Cartoons – old, new, foreign, limited, in a weird medium, seconds long, hours long – whatever! if it’s animated, I’ll watch it!!

2. Atronus
Atronus

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

I believe the first cartoon that got me into this mess was Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends – that, I remember, was about when I started to try and replicate smear frames that I’d get a glimpse at.

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?

The number ‘307.47’ pops up a lot. Everybody who I’ve worked with on shorts and what have you, that I’ve been able to sneak it in, have never questioned me about it – it’s probably because there’s a lot more cartoony nonsense distracting them from it.

It’s the DSM-IV code for nightmare disorder.

3. Butterfly Soldier
Butterfly Soldier

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

That isn’t keep making/practicing the thing? I think having a back log of your most favourite, most inspirational pieces of art to fall back on really helps keep me trucking along.

4

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Just a genuine ace!

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

Not at all – I find my fellow artists are extremely accepting – the folks at work even use they/them pronouns for me.

That isn’t to say I haven’t experienced it anywhere else, of course – I’ve gotten my fair share of the old “you just haven’t found the right person” and “you’re young, you’ll grow out of it” every now and again.

5

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

Oh criminy which one to pick – ace peeps had a bad experience, ace folks are all naive, the ace community are just picky – but I think the most common one I’ve gotten is the mindset that it’s curable in some shape or form.

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

A month ago, I went to Wales to meet my second cousin Ian for the first time. he’s in his 60’s, retired and totally 100% ace goals – his apartment was full of treasures from his life, including a Salvador Dalí lithograph and he gets all the love he needs from his close friends and family. he’s never wanted, nor tried to get with folks and nobody really expects that of him. (they’ve given up at this point) So yes – it is absolutely possible to live a full and happy life without focusing on any of that jazz – just be you, focus on feeling before labels and live your best life full!!… of treasures, preferably.

6

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

At hoodboycartoons on InstaTwitterTumblr and Facebook and Hoodboy33 on Deviant art

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnCGOSQa4jg

7. Sean Expressions Chart
Sean Expressions Chart

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

Interview: Civvi

Today we’re joined by Civvi. Civvi is a phenomenal visual artist who mostly does digital art. She does a lot of fanart, but has also done some original work as well. Her work is bright and colorful, making use of vibrant shades to make the drawings pop. 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. hell yea fam
Hell yea fam

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I do mostly digital art these days, I highly favor drawing cute girls because, well girls are cute! I draw mostly fanart, as it was what first inspired me to draw.

What inspires you?

The media I consume! Most of my urges to draw come from seeing a character in a show and being filled with the desire to create my own rendition of them. Fanart makes me really happy and I love sharing it with other people who like the same things that I do.

2. colorlull
Colorlull

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

I started drawing casually in middle school, 7th grade, because I was so enamored with the Warrior Cats book series. I remember the very first drawing I actually put effort into. I spent the whole school day carefully sketching out a drawing of a cat, laying on her side with several kittens around her, I used my thumb to rub the pencil and smooth the texture, I started scratching through the notebook paper going over the lines too many times. It’s probably been about 10 years since then, but I can still remember the almost foreign feeling of pride I felt looking at what I had done. Until then I had been praised for my intelligence and nothing else. Now I made something, and creating felt good. I did art very casually without trying to improve up through high school, and only got semi-serious about improving my skills about a year or two ago. Since then I’ve made such great progress I’m really proud of how far I’ve come!

3. New Lulu
New Lulu

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?

Ah I don’t really think so. Some friends have said that the noses I draw make it easy to recognize my art? But my style is always changing and shifting so I don’t settle on one thing for very long at all.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do what makes you happy! For a long time, it made me happy to draw without thinking critically about what I made and how I could improve, and that’s totally fine! Then when that stopped making me happy, and I wanted to improve, I started doing that. If you just want to draw the same self-indulgent stuff over and over, don’t let anybody tell you that that’s wrong or that you aren’t “allowed” to just draw for yourself. Whatever makes you happy is the right thing to do.

4. LuluIcon Done
Lululcon Done

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual and biromatic.

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

Ah not really, not in real life at least. It’s always very disheartening to learn that artists I admire and aspire to be like are aphobic, but that’s just another one for the block list.

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

That I’m not allowed to make dirty jokes! My sibling called me “a weird asexual” for liking a song with a sexual meaning, and almost everyone I’m out to has made comments about how weird it is that I make dirty jokes “despite” being ace. My sexual orientation does not determine the music, comedy, and media I enjoy! I have the humor of a high school aged boy and I won’t let anyone take that from me.

5. Elf Druid
Elf Druid

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

It’s okay, whatever you’re feeling, it’s okay. You’re not broken, and you’re not alone. I wish I had heard about asexuality in high school, it would have saved me so much self hatred. I thought I was so wrong for not being like everyone else. But I’m not wrong for being me! At first I thought I wasn’t “allowed” to be asexual because I had a partner, and we would have sex, and sometimes I would enjoy it. But that doesn’t make me any less ace! As soon as I learned that, and accepted who I was, I know it sounds cheesy but it really did feel like a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. It feels so good to be me! I hope every questioning aspec person out there reaches the point where is just feels good to be themselves.

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

I’m on Tumblr civvi-the-civilian, and civvi-draws-lapidot, and on Instagram civvithecivilian. Those are the best places to reach me.

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/civvithecivilian

6. space elf white lines
Space Elf White Lines

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

Interview: Ruby

Today we’re joined by Ruby. Ruby is a wonderful young artist I met at a recent convention I was at. She is a fanartist who specializes in redrawing screencaps. Ruby really loves to focus on characters, particularly characters she enjoys. It’s clear she’s a talented artist with an admirable amount of passion, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. photo (2)

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art mainly consists of screencap redraws of fictional characters from video games, TV shows, or movies. I have autism and get very obsessive over certain characters. I sometimes draw my own ideas but I am not very imaginative so it is difficult for me to think of an idea.

What inspires you?

Mainly I am inspired by fictional characters that stand out to me or I can relate to. For example I really like Shadow the Hedgehog because he’s quiet, prefers to be alone, and had a major struggle in the past like me. I also like to draw characters that I think have an interesting design.

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

I’m not really sure what got me interested to be honest. I drew Sonic characters as a kid and I didn’t really start drawing until I was 13 and thought it would be fun to draw my friend’s favorite Mortal Kombat characters for her. Mainly I draw now to relieve stress but unfortunately do not have a lot of time for it since I started college.

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 I am majorly obsessed with a character, I will put a heart or something to show that I am obsessed.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

A lot of artists compare themselves to other artists saying, “I will never be as good as them” and I don’t want people to do that. There will always be someone better than you. Don’t give up, keep drawing and practicing. You don’t even have to take expensive classes, there are hundreds of videos on the Internet of artists sharing their techniques. Do not rush your artwork, make sure you take your time. I know it’s hard not to rush when you’re almost done with a drawing but it’ll look better if you spend more time. Try and take breaks.

2. photo

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual.

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

I have not had any ace prejudice or ace ignorance in my field.

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

When I first revealed to my family I was ace, my parents were okay with it. But my aunts/uncles/grandparents/etc. all tell me that I will change my mind, I am not ready, or have not met the right person. I am an adult. I have never dated. I do not want to be interested. I love being alone. Sex disgusts me.

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

Finding your sexuality can take time. Do not let others control you. I know there is a forum site called AVEN where you can ask questions. Don’t be afraid to research.

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

Nowhere, really. All I have is Snapchat and Discord and I’m barely on those because I’m either in college or working.

3. photo (1)

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

Interview: Eva I.

Today we’re joined by Eva I. Eva is a phenomenal South Asian visual artist and author. She draws portraits and character concepts, using a variety of mediums. As far as writing, Eva is currently working on two fantasy novels, both of which feature asexual protagonists. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate artist with an incredibly bright future. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Character Concept
Character Concept

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m one of those artists who likes to dabble in, well, everything. Over the years, I’ve tried out typography and hand lettering, crafts, music (I still play the ukulele occasionally), writing, and drawing. Out of all those things, I suppose the ones that have stuck with me would be the latter two.

Even with drawing, I can’t make up my mind. My style fluctuates with my mood, the weather, every time I sneeze… This is evident if you scroll through my Instagram feed; it’s like one of those repost accounts featuring different artists. However, I am consistent in the sense that I mainly draw portraits and character concepts, and my preferred medium is digital art – although I do work traditionally, using ink and sometimes watercolours, whenever the fancy strikes me. I’m hoping to branch out and try illustrating more environments in the future.

As for my writing… I’m currently working on two fantasy novels, both of them featuring ace protagonists, because I want to see more ace characters (particularly those of colour) in SFF. I’m a slow writer, especially as my mental and physical health are never that great, but I think I’ve made good progress with both novels. I’m almost done with a passable draft for one of them, which I hope to send out to trusted readers soon. I’m not sure if I want to publish these stories or not – at least, not at this point in my life.

What inspires you?

I draw inspiration (haha) by consuming all kinds of art by all kinds of artists. In fact, I’ve found it pretty inspiring to go through some of the interviews on this blog! Whenever I need to recharge my creative battery, I just read a book, study the works of my favourite artists, watch a movie/show, read/watch interviews, and listen to some music. In addition to that, I also like sleeping? I’m a permanently exhausted pigeon (aka I have a chronic illness) so I tend to sleep a lot; I end up having a ton of cool dreams, which I sometimes weave into my writing.

fish
Fish

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

Creativity runs in the family, so I picked up art as a matter of course when I was very young. I have vague memories of throwing tantrums at the age of five when I couldn’t draw things the way I wanted; thankfully, I’ve since managed to improve my skills (and my temper). I opened my first art account on Facebook when I was fifteen-ish. I deleted that one a few years ago, and started my current accounts on Twitter and Instagram under a pseudonym so I can be more out about myself.

More recently, I started accepting freelance commissions via social media, which has helped expand my reach (and my wallet). I wouldn’t consider this as a career, yet, though. I don’t receive enough commissions to depend upon it as a main source of income, so I have a day job of sorts, and I’m trying to figure out how to get myself yeeted into college.

Writing has also been a huge interest for me since I was a toddler; my earliest memories are of my father telling me stories. I was quick to develop my reading skills, and you would rarely find me without a book to read. From there, it felt natural to me that I would eventually write my own stories. I’m a big fan of fantasy, so I read and write those for the most part. I used to post my writing on Wattpad, but I’m a little more private about my writing at the moment.

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 almost always sign my art, either with ‘EVA’ or ‘evadrawssometimes’. I don’t really hide anything special in my artwork, but there is one thing about them that I can confess to: I sometimes forget to draw eyelashes. I’m not very good at drawing them either. I’m working on it.

In contrast, I think my writing contains many elements that I feel are personal to me; I include puns (multilingual ones, too) and references to real-life events that I’ve experienced personally, or have taken place in my hometown. Those who know, will know.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Your art is a luxury, so if you’re offering commissions, price them as such! You deserve to be compensated for your time and efforts. (Still working on this one myself).

Breaks are good! Don’t burn yourself out just for the sake of updating your social media. Your most dedicated fans will still stick around even if you miss a post or ten. Maintaining a social media presence is not worth the risk of burnout, injury, or even losing passion for your art.

If you’re offering commissions, try to include your contact information on your profiles. Make it easier, not harder, for potential clients to reach you.

Don’t feel obligated to post all your art on social media.

Don’t forget to make art just for yourself sometimes! Even if capitalism says otherwise, you don’t have to monetise all your work/hobbies, particularly when it comes to art.

It is acceptable – and good, even – to use references. It’ll save time, and ultimately it will help you improve.

ilyas
Ilyas

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m ace, I guess. I’m still figuring it out, though I’ve gotten more comfortable with my identity over time. I experience little to no sexual attraction, aesthetic attraction to people of all genders, and romantic attraction mainly towards people who are not of the same gender as myself (I think??).

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

In my field? Not directly, I would say. I choose my audience very carefully, and so far people have been largely accepting. I have come across some misconceptions from others, but thankfully, most people have been receptive to being corrected. I block those who are not interested in changing their minds, and honestly? Best decision I ever made.

I’m not out in other circles except for a select few family members, friends, and my current partner. I only come out to and explain my identity to those who I think will be understanding. I don’t really mind explaining, but it can get exhausting, especially when you’re dealing with people who don’t listen in good faith.

Lake of Voices
Lake of Voices

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

One of the major ones I’ve come across is the conflation of asexuality with aromanticisim, and asexuality with lack of desire for sex; the Venn diagram of those experiences is often seen as a circle, when in reality there are an intersection of various experiences, some of which may or may not overlap depending on the individual.

In addition to that, there are people who believe that the ‘A’ in LGBTQIAP+ stands for ally and not asexual, aromantic, and agender. I’ve also had someone suggest that asexuality was a phase I would outgrow, or that I was simply nervous or afraid. There have been other extremely harmful hot takes I’ve come across on Twitter by trolls, but they’re too numerous and unpleasant to recount.

All of these misconceptions seem to multiply during Pride month, which is disappointing but not surprising.

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

I would say… be open to the possibilities, and don’t be too worried about taking your time figuring yourself out. It’s also okay to decide on another label in the future; it does not negate the label itself nor your experience while using it. Ultimately, it’s your identity and you are in control of deciding who you are. Even if you’re not comfortable with/able to come out to certain people, I hope you get to feel confident about your own sense of self.

I’ve also managed to connect with a lot of aces during my time on Twitter, which has been a big help in affirming and discovering more about my identity – and, incidentally, picking up on quality ace puns (and pins. Gotta love well-designed merch by ace/LGBTQIAP+ artists).

Finally, I highly recommend checking out The Asexual (http://theasexual.com), an online journal about asexuality run by Michael Paramo. The site includes content like essays, artwork, and personal pieces, contributed by ace people of various backgrounds. The Asexual has helped me pick apart many of my own misconceptions and find joy in being who I am. You can find The Asexual on Twitter as asexualjournal (https://twitter.com/asexualjournal).

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

You can find me on Twitter as isthispigeon (https://twitter.com/isthispigeon), where I sometimes post my art and accept art commissions, but mostly tweet about art-related shenanigans. If you want to get to know me, or commission me in a more informal setting, that’s the place to go!

I’m also on Instagram as evadrawssometimes (http://instagram.com/evadrawssometimes), if you want to see all my art in one place without getting distracted by random thoughts and terrible puns (though they sometimes work their way into the captions). I accept commissions there as well.

I have a few phone wallpapers available on my Buy Me A Coffee account (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/isthispigeon), if that’s something you might be interested in.

Finally, if social media is not for you or if you wish to contact/commission me in a more professional setting, you can reach me via email: eva (dot) isq4 (at) gmail (dot) com. Currently, my writing is not available anywhere.

Shampoo ad Alucard
Shampoo ad Alucard

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

Interview: Ria

Today we’re joined by Ria, who also goes by rainbowbarfeverywhere. Ria is a phenomenal character animator and digital illustrator. She has worked on a TV show and does animation for a living. On her free time, Ria loves to draw. She does a lot of fanart and enjoys focusing on friendships between characters. It’s clear she loves what she does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. Ace Week 2018
Ace Week 2018

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I part time as a character animator in an outsourcing studio, Toon City Animation. I’ve only been working there for a year and I’ve worked on the television series Big Hero 6. Though I’ve been animating for a while now, I haven’t really made any personal animations though I hope to do some someday.

I mostly draw fanart in my free time. I’m a digital artist and I mostly use Clip Studio Paint and Adobe Photoshop. I love drawing for anime and other animated series or films. I’m not as active as the average fanartist but I love drawing for fan events like fandom weeks or big bangs. Although I used to be a big shipper and drew my pairings all the time, now I like to focus on individual characters and friendships.

What inspires you?

When I fall in love with a work, a character, or a relationship, I want to convey my love for it through art. When I appreciate something, I want others to appreciate it too and I can do that either by exchanging ideas or thoughts, or by making fanart of that something. It’s my little way of giving more love to the series.

I also get inspired by other fanartists. Their skills become a goal I want to work towards. When I see an artwork that stops me at my feet, I become driven to also touch someone like that.

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

I’ve been drawing forever. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t draw. Even as far back as preschool, I already remember when I drew my favorite cartoons. Art is a part of me and I can’t imagine myself without it. When I thought about what I wanted to do in life, it seemed like a no-brainer to be an artist of some kind.

Becoming an animator came later in my life. I, at one point in my childhood, wanted to be an animator since that was the only field I thought I could work in as an artist. But I let go of that dream pretty early on. I had to be practical and while I liked my drawings, I didn’t think they were exceptional.

The opportunity to learn animation and become an animator only came late into my university life. I had taken a leave of absence and my cousin told me about an animation workshop that happened near me. I fell in love with animation instantly.

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 used to have a special cat symbol that I always included in my drawings when I was young. I used it as a sort of artist signature. I did realize later on that it would be hard to identify whose signature it was unless you were already familiar with me. In the end, I just use my artist handle when I want to sign my work. It makes things easier for my audience.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Love both yourself and your work. It will be hard to get far and stay far in life if you don’t.

You will never be satisfied if you don’t love your work and people can feel the emotion you put into your work. Without love, it will be hard to touch other people’s hearts. You also need to take care of yourself. So many artists have fallen sick or died because they didn’t care for themselves. There can be no art if there are no artists. Be kind to yourself.

2. Yamakage (march 13, 2016)
Yamakage

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as aromantic asexual.

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

I don’t share my sexuality to a lot of people. Only a handful of people in real life know that I’m ace and none of them are people I know from work.

On the other hand, I’m open about my sexuality online. I have it in my description and I occasionally talk about it in my posts or tweets. Still, I only interact with an intimate amount of people online. While I don’t hide my asexuality, only the people I interact with would know. And I make sure that the people in my internet circle are accepting.

I’ve never been outright attacked or singled out, but I’ve seen hate for my sexuality in different parts of the internet. I simply choose not to engage in them because I feel they won’t listen to me either way.

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

The two most common misconceptions about asexuality is that it’s only temporary (that it’s a phase or asexual people just haven’t found the right person yet) and that there’s something wrong with us for us to feel this way. People think that we’re just misguided and need to be taken to the right path.

But asexuality is just a part of us. Just because we’re not attracted to other people that way doesn’t mean that we’re broken. It just means that we care more about our friendships and families. There’s nothing missing in our lives just because we don’t have a significant other.

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

No matter what anyone says, you and what you’re feeling are valid. There’s nothing wrong with you and you’re not broken just because you don’t feel that kind of attraction for other people. There’s more to life than romantic love or sex. It can be just as fulfilling with the people you have in your life.

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

My primary account is at Twitter and you can find me here: https://twitter.com/rainbowbarf_/

I’m also at Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rainbowbarfeverywhere/

You can support me through Ko-fi: https://ko-fi.com/rainbowbarfeverywhere

3. Galaxy (april 16, 2016)
Galaxy

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