Interview: Anna

Today we’re joined by Anna. Anna is the phenomenal visual artist and writer behind the webcomic, Last Living Souls. Her webcomic is about a man who wakes up with no memory of what happened to him and journeys to the nearest town for help, but instead finds a town of the living dead and he’s one of them. It’s an intriguing premise and definitely worth looking up. Anna has also recently gotten into creating visual novels. It’s clear she’s a dedicated 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.

Hey there! I’m a webcomic artist and I’ve been writing and illustrating Last Living Souls since 2011. During that time I’ve been also picking up visual novel development as it’s a great way to tell other stories without the huge time commitment.

As a webcomic and VN dev I have to wear a lot of hats; character design, script writing, backgrounds, and more. I think that’s what’s my favorite part about those two mediums is you get to personally bring your entire story to life in a bunch of different ways, not to mention I get to grow as an artist that much more.

What inspires you?

I’m a huge fan of the horror genre, especially indie or older horror games. If a work is able to simultaneously make you so uncomfortable that you don’t want to continue yet you’re so intrigued about the story you WANT to continue, that’s the incredible sweet spot that makes me want to create myself.  I really enjoy emotional or interesting pieces in general even if they aren’t horror, I like Shonen anime and sci fi movies.

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

I got into drawing as a child because I loved drawing silly joke comics or doodles starring some of my favorite characters from video games or cartoons. There was something so fun about making something that could make my friends laugh and a way I could express things I liked. Eventually, it developed into trying to draw more of my own characters and stories and I simply never stopped since, comics were an especially interesting field for me given they allow you to create such dynamic scenes and tell entire stories. While my career path never took me towards being a professional artist, I think I was always going to have art somewhere in my life.

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?

Haha, some might joke that “Way too many of my characters are missing an eye, or some body part,” which is an unintentional detail choice that crops up from time to time. But, one I’m more aware of or more direct about is my desire to include subhuman characters in my works. Things ranging from monsters to robots to mutants, there’s a lot of interesting moral dilemmas and character interactions that naturally develop from including characters that are different from ourselves. I suppose these types of characters also lend themselves well to the types of stories I like to create which usually feature some kind of horror theme or some scary situations.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

You’re probably going to find a lot of art boring and hard and intimidating especially the “ART” that your high school teacher is making you create. But art doesn’t have to be only about that; practicing, learning, observing, if you make it into homework it’s going to feel like homework. Find that part about art that seems the most fun to you: is it building giant worlds? Drawing lots of different outfits? Setting up scenes with your favorite character? Coloring in a big page of lineart? Find that part of art that excites you and focus in on it, let it fill you with that energy to draw and draw and draw. Because you will be practicing, and learning when you’re drawing a whole lot! But you won’t feel like it, and that’s when art is amazing!

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a demisexual individual, with a fairly low libido. I will experience some sexual attraction to those that I’m very emotionally close to.

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

Thankfully, most of my artistic peers are understanding (and sometimes ace themselves) and growing up my friends just thought of me as “naive” and never really treated me disrespectfully.

Joking or prejudice was fairly mild, to my fortune.

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

Asexuals hate sex, or must have had some kind of traumatic experience with sex previously. Allosexuals seem to make it into an us vs them situation, where asexuals “hate” sex and any sexual individuals.

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

It may feel like you’re a “late bloomer” and all your peers seem to be a part of some kind of club you’re not in, with talk about porn and sex and all sorts of things that just don’t interest you. It’s okay if you never become interested in it. It’s okay if you find that only that special person becomes interesting. You’re not slower than anyone else to mature, you know exactly what you like or don’t, and you might just need to find the right word to describe that and suddenly it’ll all make so much sense!

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

If a comic about undead creatures regaining their souls and trying to adapt to their new existence sounds right up your alley feel free to read Last Living Souls!

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Thank you, Anna, 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: Lisbeth

Today we’re joined by Lisbeth. Lisbeth is a phenomenal visual artist who recently got into digital mediums. She loves drawing and does a mix of original and fanart. Lisbeth is currently working on a visual novel and plans to major in visual art. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Atsu

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I have been drawing for almost 10 years now and I started drawing traditionally till 2013 when I got my first tablet. I do original work but I mostly draw fanart. I am in the process of finishing a visual novel called Thin Air. I prefer using my tablet on Sai. I hope to start doing online commissions soon but as of now I’m working to improve myself as I begin college with a visual arts major!

What inspires you?

A lot to be honest. Some of my main inspirations come from my favorite movies and games like, The Legend of Zelda, or anything from Hayao Miazaki. People that use a lot of color are usually my favorite. I admire a lot of people and their work which drove to create my own things.

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Blanche

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

Well I noticed that every time I watched a new movie, or show, or found a new game I liked I always wanted to see the art progression of that said thing I was currently into. So I would always look up the concept art for games and shows, and that got me creating my own stories and wanting to be a concept artist for Dreamworks or Lakia.

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 usually forget to sign my name a lot so if I do it’s just my name and date.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I know it seems like you’re not improving at first But trust me you really are. Just keep working on your art whenever you can, whether it be drawing, knitting, pottery just keep practising and you’ll see the results you want. If you need a break take it you’ll never get anything done being discouraged and frustrated. Just try to have fun with your art!

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Ed and Spike

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as an aromantic asexual.

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

The only prejudice I’ve seen is actually on Tumblr with the whole ace discourse. I have very supportive friends and family. So I don’t really deal with anything.

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

I think that we’re basically straight?? There’s such a wide spectrum to sexuality itself so it just doesn’t make sense to me. I’ve heard people say I can’t have a relationship because I’m asexual also. I know I myself can’t but that doesn’t apply to every asexual on earth. Most of the misconception I’ve heard is all generalizations of the whole community and the not understanding of what asexuality means in the first place.

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Kagepro Red

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

Noticing you’re asexual is super-duper hard especially with the world we live in. If you think you’re asexual or you are, it’s gonna be fine. Accepting it is the hardest part but once you do it feels great knowing who you are and that you love it. There’s nothing wrong with you and you are not weird or broken in any way.

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

At my Tumblr blog nobodytheelf :3

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Free

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

Interview: Jynelle Arches

Today we’re joined by Jynelle Arches.  Jynelle is an amazingly talented visual artist who is currently working on concepts for a visual novel.  Her art is gorgeous as you will soon see.  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 do a wide variety of works, from fan art to completed original works. I spend a lot of time doing concept art and character design. I love trying to diversify character designs.

What inspires you?

Diversity, diversity, diversity! Whenever I see character designs or redesigns that include all the different sorts of people there are in the world, it lights a fire in me. I also especially love stories that put a big emphasis on the importance of friendship. A lot of stories treat romantic love as this true, above-all-else love, and I like when friendship is recognized as an important relationship.

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

I have been drawing since I could hold a pen, but I didn’t really start focusing on it as my mode of art until 2009. I’ve always been the type to draw in the margins during class, usually figure drawings. Anime got me really into the art scene, but I haven’t drawn that style for a couple of years though, haha! Since then I’ve been on and off about wanting to do it professionally, but I’ve done a couple of commission pieces.

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

I actually do not have anything like that haha!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t compare yourself to other artists. Look at other people’s art as a source of inspiration or something to enjoy, but comparing yourself to them will always make you unhappy. Also, do not undersell yourself; you have a skill only you can do. Recognize your worth and hone your skills.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual- anything more specific than that I’m not really sure.

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

In my immediate area, it’s mostly just ignorance. A lot of the people around me don’t really understand what it is, and they kind of just look at me blankly. I’ve been the butt of the whole “so you just multiply by mitosis” joke. I normally just don’t talk about it, but the people I have told have been very kind and try to be accepting of it. I try to just educate them the best I can.

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

I think a lot of people believe asexual and/or aromantic people will be lonely and unfulfilled, because at the end of the day, who do they go home to? Who do they love? I’ve been told that I would change my mind and “regret being asexual” when I grow old and I don’t have any children. People need to understand you can be okay without having a “special someone”. You can even thrive. Friendship is fulfilling, jobs are fulfilling, family is fulfilling- you don’t need a relationship to be happy in life.

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

It’s ok if you don’t always think you exactly “fit the mold” for asexuality. There’s not really a mold to fit; it’s a spectrum. If you like the label and it helps you feel more comfortable in yourself, use it. But if it stresses you out, don’t.

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

My art blog is http://the-young-incarnates.tumblr.com

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