Interview: Kika

Today we’re joined by Kika. Kika is a phenomenal writer and visual artist who is best known for their webcomics. They currently have two webcomics posted: Adventure Inc. (a story about a shapeshifter and their employee) and Toss of Fate (a romantic coming-of-age story). Their webcomics have a lot of LGBTQ+ subject matter and they put a lot of themself in their work (through character, situation, or story). It’s clear they’re a talented and dedicated artist who loves what they do, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Well, I work as a self-publishing webcomic artist. I’m only a couple years into it, but I currently have two ongoing webcomics free to read online. The first is Anything Inc. — an odd business with a shapeshifting owner and an employee who was dragged into this crazy random job. It’s humorous, but does reveal its dark side. The other, and probably more well known, is Toss of Fate — a romantic coming of age comic of two boys in their high school color guard. If you like color guard, cinnamon roll characters, deep sad stories, and dorks in love- you’ll enjoy this.

I hope to eventually break into more comics, zines, and animation/storyboarding whether it be with a company or building it up on my own.

What inspires you?

I think my drive to get myself out there. I want to entertain one way or another and I live to please honestly. So I work hard for the readers of my comics and my friends who support me. Not only that, but my story and characters. I grow close to them and I get excited with every new page I can put out because I see them grow, my art style grow, and the story continue further. It’s very fulfilling.

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

I love cartoons and comics. I always wanted to make my own cartoons and stories since I was little. I made horribly drawn comics of my friends and I in high school doing stupid random things and would draw stupid things to make others laugh. I love to make other laugh. Thank goodness for webcomics and for enjoying them once I got to college. It gave me a starting point and a way to work on growing as an artist.

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

I wish. I should have like something hidden within each page. Only thing I put on each piece of art is my signature in the corner. And I don’t know if it counts but my style. That stands out in itself. It’s very….derpy? LOL, but I love it.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Never give up and keep drawing. I wasn’t able to draw a decent looking character/figure until AFTER college. But with practicing more and more I’m now able to be proud of the characters I draw and they seem relatively proportional. Not everything happens at once, so be patient and give it time. Also, references are your best friend! They really make things look SOOO much better.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a Non-binary Demisexual.

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

I recently went to our city’s pride parade and was kind of bummed of lack of not only Ace/ Non-binary People represented, but lack of mercy vendors were sending. I was with my Pan friends and they were over joyed they had pansexual things and they were all selling out and it was Pan city. But I’d ask vendors if they had anything Ace/Demi/Non-binary and luckily ONE vendor had a Demi flag. And thus I was super Demi, wearing that flag as a cape to represent.

Other than that light thing, nothing really thank fully.

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

Growing up I never had interest in dating or anything sexually. However, literally everyone would be like “Oh, well someday you will.” And that was very toxic to say because once I did get into a relationship, I was so scared for people to know and to be like “I told you so!” Even though it’s not like that at all. Not everything is about sex or things that typical relationships entitle.

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

Don’t be ashamed of yourself. Especially if you are Ace. It’s scary having everyone around growing up talking about relationships, sex, and being really into it, but then it’s you in the corner not into it and suddenly you’re “Peter Pan”. You don’t have to be into anything. Just be you and enjoy/love who you are because only you can make yourself happy. ❤

And if you ever do end up in a relationship, it’s okay. Don’t be ashamed. Things happen sometimes. That’s how I knew I was Demi.

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

To find the main source of link to my work, you can go here: https://kikaescoolio.wordpress.com/

There I have all sorts of art that I do as well as links to my webcomics and social media. My comics can also be found on SmackJeeves, Tapas, and Webtoons. Just look for Anything Inc., Toss of Fate, or the author name- Kikaescoolio.

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

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: Jules

Today we’re joined by Jules. Jules is a phenomenal visual artist and writer who specializes in visual storytelling. They currently have a webcomic called Surface that regularly updates and revolves around the adventures of three lizard-like kids. They have done a number of smaller projects and are currently planning a large project for the near future. It’s clear they’re an incredibly passionate artist who loves what they do, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

The five expeditioners of By the Lantern Light.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art is very much based around narrative. I guess the first thing to talk about would be my webcomic, Surface. It’s about these three lizard-like kids who are trying to get back home after sneaking out in the middle of the night. As of June 2018, it started its second chapter, and updates every week on Thursdays!

I have another big project that I’m working on, too. It’s in the development phase and will probably start up after Surface, or after I graduate college, haha. It’s about these five people — experts in their fields — who go on an expedition into the Shadowed Lands and find out what is causing the ever-spreading darkness. I share the concept work for this pretty frequently.

Other smaller things I’ve done include a mini comic called Space Bear (science fantasy comedy about a bear goes to space to look for bees), a series of supernatural travel guides for real places, and a zine called I Am Not a Girl (about my own discovery of my identity).

I’m always working on a comic or some other visual narrative! It’s what I love to do the most.

What inspires you?

Stories that I love! I know it might seem a bit silly, but watching my favorite shows or reading my favorite books or playing my favorite video games makes me want to make my own things! Those are the biggest things, but to be completely honest, almost anything inspires me. I love animals and plants and cool sounds and clouds and the feeling of rain, I love meeting people, I love so much about life!

My characters and stories feel just as real and important to me as all of those things, too. So when I think about how happy I get when I interact with the world around me, it encourages me to work on my own things. I love my characters and worlds! I want to share them with other people!

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

When I was very young, I wanted to be a veterinarian, but then I realized that would involve stuff like performing surgery on them or sometimes putting animals down, so I stopped wanting that.

I’ve pretty much always loved storytelling, and I loved drawing. Put them together, and you can get comics! While my medium has shifted sometimes, the storytelling aspect has been consistent.

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 closest things I can think of are tropes and themes that I love to incorporate in my comics. Found family, queer romance, soft apocalypse, botany, animals, self-sacrifice… My stories are about people and animals who overcome the odds to find happiness. I also tend to draw a lot of glowy things for some reason, lol.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Try to find out why you want to make art, and remember it! My personal reason for making art and stories is because I think that anyone can be a hero, that anyone can do wonderful things. This is what drives me, and it keeps me going. Even if I get frustrated, even if I feel like nobody sees my work, thinking about that helps me press forward. So if you find that you’re struggling to find motivation or ideas, thinking about why you create in the first place might help.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

As asexual as one could possibly be, I think. I honestly thought sexual attraction was made up until I was 18 and went to college! I’m also aromantic and agender.

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

I guess the most that I see are people ignoring aces. Just generally not including them, either because they think we’re boring or robotic, or they just don’t think about it. I haven’t met any webcomic artists who purposefully hate on aces, though. But with regards to the general invisibility in comics, I think the most I can do is make my own! Most of my characters are queer, and a lot of them are asexual. I think it’s important to show that queer people (and especially ace people) are just as diverse as any other group. I also try to be open about my own experience as an asexual, aromantic, and agender person, hoping that openness will help.

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

Probably that if someone is asexual, that means they’re like a child. Innocent, naive, unaware. Some people are like that, but being asexual doesn’t really have anything to do with it. Just as common as that, in my experience, is the idea that an asexual person doesn’t love anyone at all. I love lots of people! I’m full of love! Friends, family, animals, nature. Just because it isn’t sexual, many people think it doesn’t count.

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

If you can, try to find at least one good friend who can relate to your experiences. There’s nothing wrong with you, just like there’s nothing wrong with someone who is gay or bisexual or trans or lesbian or anything else. And you don’t have to force yourself to be in any relationship that you don’t want. I’ve been there, and it never goes well.

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

My webcomic, Surface, can be found at surfacecomic.tumblr.com.
My website is julesdrawing.com
Patreon is patreon.com/julescomics
Art tumblr is julesdrawing.tumblr.com
Twitter is julesdrawing, Instagram is jules.larsen.drawing.

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

Interview: Domonick

Today we’re joined by Domonick. Domonick is a wonderful self-taught visual artist. They started out drawing characters from Transformers: Animated and have since begun drawing their own comics and webcomics. Their work shows an incredible amount of detail and is brimming with bright vivid colors. It’s clear they’re a passionate and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’ve been drawing for eleven years, and almost all I’ve drawn since I started has been robots. I started to watch Transformers: Animated and that’s what inspired me to draw in the first place. Since then, I’ve been trying all sorts of tutorials to improve for the past few years, but for the most part I am self-taught.

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What inspires you?

I want to tell stories that make people happy through my art! Because that’s almost all I know how to do. All I want is to make it so that at least one person’s day is made when they look at what I make.

I also take much inspiration from the songs I find, and I listen to them all the time.

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

I drew my first piece that made me feel like I could draw forever in 2007, when I drew a picture of Prowl from Transformers: Animated, and since then I’ve filled sketchbooks, notebooks meant for schoolwork, and dozens of sheets of printer paper with sketches and doodles. I always draw whenever I can, on whatever I can, and nine times out of ten I’m storyboarding for my comic.

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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?

I usually jot down a lower-case “d” and the date on all of my art, but I also sometimes use the “B” heart from the title of The Bar Bots, my webcomic.

Other than that, I usually add a thick outline to all the characters I draw, and I digitalize my inked drawings through Medibang.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

You are good at art. Everyone is good at art in their own way and we’re all still learning. I’m still learning. And if someone says your art is bad, then they have a lot to learn themselves.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m fairly sure I’m sex-repulsed, because the idea of it has always scared me and made me very anxious, but I’m still discovering new things day-to-day.

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

Not necessarily prejudice, but I’ve had a bunch of ignorance around me. A few of my friends still don’t understand the concept of asexuality, and they don’t get that romance and intimacy doesn’t have to be inherently sexual, but I’m trying to explain it to them eventually.

Besides them, I haven’t really encountered a whole lot of confusion.

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

That I don’t love anybody enough or that I won’t be committed to a relationship. I’ve loved before, and I didn’t need sex for that.

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

You’re you, and you’re the one and only person who can interpret how you feel. And if you feel asexual, then you can be asexual. However you discover you is the best way to do it.

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

I’m glad you asked! I have two blogs on Tumblr where you can see my work: thebarbotscomic.tumblr.com and pickle-rocket-art.tumblr.com

I’m also constantly updating my Patreon at patreon.com/picklerocket!

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

Interview: Alexa Baird

Today we’re joined by Alexa Baird. Alexa is a phenomenal visual artist and writer who is so ridiculously creative. They’re a fellow indie author who has self-published a number of novels and novelettes, which can be found on Amazon (look them up and supported a fellow ace). They also has a wonderful webcomic entitled Selfinsertale, which looks absolutely fascinating. Also, they’re a fellow Star Trek fan, which is awesome. Alexa is so passionate and dedicated, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My main art is writing. I write and self-publish novels and novelettes about a wide cast of characters including humans, robots, and magical beings, sometimes all in the same book. I’ve even taken to illustrating some of my more recent novels though I’ve been creating visual art since childhood. I also like to create comics and started my current webcomic series in 2016.

What inspires you?

I always like to say that tea helps with my creative-tea, but a lot of my inspiration comes from conversations with my friends and the ideas we spark together about our characters, how various characters would interact, etc. A lot of my ideas come from the desire to see a specific audience reaction that I test run by sharing these ideas with my friends.

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

Starting in elementary school, my family and some of my teachers encouraged my artistic pursuits, though growing up I would jump from visual arts, to crafts, to music, to visual arts again, and also to writing. I used to hate writing as a result of the standardized tests I had to take when younger, but after being introduced to the concept of fan fiction and original characters I started to spend a lot of time in middle school creating my own stories as a coping mechanism. Over time I stuck with it and created more and more stories and characters until I got to where I am today with my novels and comics.

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 subtle and not always consistent, but in a lot of my novels or series I try to fit in the word “trek” at some point in it as a nerdy, small reference to Star Trek.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t be afraid to try new types of art and don’t be afraid to change your mind on what sort of artist you are. Maybe you start out as a writer but you want to try making crafts and find you have more fun with crafts and don’t want to write any more. That’s fine! Do what makes you happier in the end. Or maybe you’re a musician who tries painting a few times but end up not liking it. That’s fine too! You gained experience just from trying something you don’t normally do. Or maybe you try all sorts of things and have several different types of art you like and want to pursue. More power to you then, buddy. Trying new things always gives you more insight, and if you find something you prefer to do over what you had been doing before then the insight you gained is one of exploring more about yourself and your desires.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m ace and aro.

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

I’ve mainly seen prejudice remarks said to others rather than to me directly but it’s always hurtful to see. I find the best way to handle it is to support those who deal with this ignorance to let them know they aren’t alone in their identity and to understand that while those who are hateful may be the loudest, they are not the majority and there are ultimately more kind people in the world than there are bad.

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

That asexual people don’t belong in the LGBT+ community, usually due to people insisting that asexual people are actually straight. The most common misconception I see is that a lack of sexual attraction can let a person pass as straight, or that it means they actually are straight, and therefore that we aren’t queer enough to be part this community.

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

Asexuality is a normal and valid thing, and there are more people out there who are also asexual than you can count. Though the common statistic is only one percent of the world is asexual, that would still mean 76 million people in this world are also asexual, and I don’t think this takes into account those who due to societal norms don’t realize they are asexual as well. There is a large community here that can help and support you, and even if you can’t reach out to them personally they are still here if you ever need them and will be willing to help you as well.

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

You can find my books on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/author/alexabaird and my webcomic at http://selfinsertale.smackjeeves.com/ and bonus content at my Patreon at http://www.patreon.com/alexabaird

My main Tumblr and my Instagram username is allislaughter. And my Twitter is allislaughterEX.

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

Interview: Victoria Jeon

Today we’re joined by Victoria Jeon. Victoria is a phenomenally talented writer and visual artist who specializes in webcomics. Most of her work falls under dark fantasy, though she explores many themes and ideas through her art. Victoria currently has a webcomic entitled Perfection Engine, which has just the most fascinating premise. She’s clearly a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read and see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. Lucifer
Lucifer

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a digital illustrator and a webcomic artist. I mostly draw original character art, although I’ve drawn and sold some fanart in the past and recently started to participate in fanzines. My art often involves dark fantasy, symbolism and wordplay, philosophical subjects, and I strive to make works that look like traditional, oil paintings.

My current webcomic project is “Perfection Engine,” a fantasy webcomic that involves an angelic race in a seemingly perfect society, devoted to bringing back their beloved Maker. It is meant to be a shorter webcomic before I start some of my longer stories, but it’s a dark satire that hopefully comes across with a lot of insight and symbolism.

I am actually also a first year law student, meaning I am effectively living a double life with the beginnings of my legal career and my art. My art, whether I am painting illustrations or making webcomic pages definitely is a source of joy and comfort when I’m burnt out from law school work. It’s a huge challenge keeping up with both, but when both are in balance, I get fulfillment from both sides of my life.

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Perfection Engine Cast

What inspires you?

As far as my art style goes, I primarily draw inspiration from Blaze Wu, Yoshitaka Amano, Ayami Kojima, and Minori. I also tend to draw inspiration from baroque paintings, rococo paintings, and impressionist paintings, although it’s really hard to pinpoint a favorite or several from there!

Fashion also is a huge inspiration for me as well. I’ve been involved with Japanese fashion styles (i.e. Lolita fashion, Shironuri, and Mori fashion) for quite some time, so some of my characters naturally have designs similar to those fashion styles. I’ve been looking a bit more towards Haute Couture and up and coming fashion designers for inspiration too. Lately, I’ve been looking towards Comme de Garçons, Alice Auaa, Alexander McQueen, Linda Friesen, and more.

Subject matter for my stories is a lot darker, haha. I take from fairy tales, world history, philosophy, real life events, my life, and general observations about human nature and society. For example, one of my future projects brings a question, “What would it be like to search for truths people have taken to the grave?” Another explores the question, “What’s the point of all that power in your hands if you cannot reach for help?” Perfection Engine, my current webcomic, explores, in part, the question, “What if a God does not want to be worshipped?” and is very loosely based on a toxic relationship I’ve had in my past. A lot of my stories thus tend to lean to a tragic atmosphere, although I do hope people get some food for thought in the process of exploring them! It’d be good if some people got good out of what spite or anger I may feel against real life.

Aside from fairy tales, history, philosophy, and just reality in general, video games, movies and TV shows inspire me greatly as well. I take great amount of inspiration from Yoko Taro (Drakengard/Nier series), Final Fantasy 10, Dark Souls, Revolutionary Girl Utena, Pan’s Labyrinth, Project Itoh (Empire of Corpses, Harmony), and more.

Lastly, close friends are always an inspiration, even if we have very different philosophies and inspirations for our respective works. They help provide the drive and the food and drinks when all the visual and material inspirations cannot. Literally.

3. Golden - Self Portrait
Golden – Self Portrait

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

It’s a bit embarrassing to say, but I got into drawing a while after writing terrible fanfiction of video games when I was ten. At first, it was drawing fanart and self-inserts. Then it was a bunch of RP characters. I eventually got introduced to DeviantArt when I was 14, at which point I started to devote serious time and effort into drawing, writing stories, making characters, and improving my craft. I think I always enjoyed drawing, but it wasn’t up until this point that I seriously considered a path in art.

Due to a variety of personal reasons, circumstances and other interests in my life, I’ve ended up going to law school instead. I definitely was not going to give up art just because I was going into an entirely different field altogether though. I still have some stories I want to tell and endless things I want to illustrate.

4. Conjoined Souls
Conjoined Souls

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 penname “Alberloze” is a word in a fictional language that spans across almost all of my current stories. It means “White Rose,” but it colloquially means “True Love.” This is not restricted to romantic love either; it could be true love between friends, family, and so on. As for certain symbols and features, I tend to use a lot of flower, animal, and divine symbolisms. I also adore wordplay (namely palindromes, dual-meanings, and anagrams), and use them where I can.

It’s probably worth noting that a lot of my stories involve the soul in some form or another. I can’t exactly divulge how so as some of these stories are not published yet, but the human soul has always fascinated me. So many people define the soul in vastly different ways. Some do not believe in souls or anything spiritual, that it is a fictional concept. Some believe humanity and souls are the same thing. Some believe the soul is made of our thoughts and feelings. Some believe it is our will. Some believe souls straight-up cannot be comprehended.

My stories also tend to revolve around a theme. For my current project, Perfection Engine, for example, the theme is “Obsession.” Another story’s is “Truth.” Another story’s is “Vengeance.” And the last in that sequence of stories is “Karma.” I’m aiming to make stories with the theme of “Hope” or “Dreams” eventually too — something a lot happier and lighthearted. I’m contemplating on a magical girl series or a series of fairy tale retellings.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Take some time to figure out who you are. Your artwork will seem a lot more genuine and interesting when you take time to figure out what you like, what stories you have to tell, and who you are as a person. Think of it like going to an isolated mountain and meditating to become stronger like in kung-fu movies.

Always be open to experimenting. I found that experimenting is a sure way to get out of your comfort zone and discover art styles and work styles that you wouldn’t have discovered for yourself otherwise.

And lastly, do not be discouraged by other people. This ranges from societal expectations, to disapproving family members, to perhaps artists that you think are above and beyond where you are currently. It could be hard, that drawing in and of itself in those circumstances could feel like rebellion, but if you fight the good fight, I promise you will be satisfied with yourself in the long run.

5. Deficient Heaven
Deficient Heaven

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a cisgender woman (she/her), although sometimes I do question whether I really am cisgender as opposed to say, being genderfluid or genderless; I am also totally fine with they/them pronouns and allow people to use she/they interchangeably.

I am also biromantic asexual. I’d say I sit somewhere between sex-neutral to sex-negative asexuality, meaning I’d likely only volunteer to sexual activity under very narrow circumstances (with a significant other and after much deliberation and communication probably).

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

I have not experienced ace prejudice in my field yet —in law school and in art—, although I’ve seen quite a lot of people become confused about it. I am a part of the executive board in my law school’s OUTlaw group (LGBTQ+ lawyers group), and I’ve simply been doing what I can to accept any and all orientations that come in. As far as in the art field, I try to add more ace/aro representation with my characters. Many of them fall into the ace/aro spectrum, whether they are ace, aro, both, gray, or demi.

The one notable “prejudice” I’ve had was outside my field, in my personal life. After I’ve decided to come out as ace, I’ve had a conversation as to how my allosexual significant other (at the time) and I were going to “work something out” in light of me coming out as ace. Was it an attempt to “fix” my orientation, or was it trying to open up communication? I could not quite tell from the tone and facial expression. In the worst-case scenario, it was certainly prejudice of sorts. Other than that, I’ve been fortunate since my family and friends have been general accepting after I’ve explained how asexuality works.

6. Starkest Contrast
Starkest Contrast

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

There’s two in my case. The first is that asexual individuals are cold or antisocial. The second is that because we are ace, we are suddenly for some reason not allowed to enjoy certain aesthetics.

On the first count, asexual individuals are not abstaining because they haven’t found the right person or otherwise have committed to celibacy! They just simply don’t experience sexual attraction. Just because they don’t experience sexual attraction doesn’t mean that they don’t also want to avoid human interaction.

On the second count, aesthetic attraction/appreciation are very different from being sexual attraction. I’ve had a couple times in which I was looking at some risqué fashion (i.e. corsetry and lingerie) for designing and inspiration, and someone else asking me,

“Wait, aren’t you ace?”

“Yes but do you see the quality of that design?!”

7. Full Bloom
Full Bloom

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

Just remember that your identity is valid and you are not alone. It’s also worth remembering that a part of why a lot of asexuals are insecure of their own identity is because society really loves emphasizing sex and advertising it where they can. That is society’s inclination, and you can stand on your own against it to live out your own life. Better yet, you can find other asexual individuals, which can give you a sense of solidarity too!

8. Perfection Engine 2-3
Perfection Engine 2-3

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

You can find my current webcomic, Perfection Engine, on Tapas (https://tapas.io/series/Perfection-Engine). You can also find me on Twitter, Tumblr, Artstation, Redbubble, and Instagram under “Alberloze.” Tumblr and Artstation are the best places to find my best works, although I post doodles and completed works first on Twitter.

9. Blood Oath - 5
Blood Oath – 5

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

Interview: Fishtanks

Today we’re joined by Fishtanks. Fishtanks is a wonderful visual artist who also does some writing. They mostly do fanart, but also do original work. When they’re not drawing, Fishtanks is working on a webcomic and also does zines. They’re very enthusiastic, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am mostly a fan artist of a company called Rooster Teeth, but I also do Original pieces, Zines, animatics, and you heard it here first, I’m working on creating a webcomic right now!

What inspires you?

My inspiration for a majority of what I do is a mix of determination and stubbornness. If I want to do something someone tells me I can’t I work ten times as hard to do it! I have people watching me every day, and I want everyone who does watch me to know they can do whatever their heart desires.

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

I actually never thought that I would be an artist in any capacity as a child. I was interested in engineering and medicine! What got me interested was in my sophomore year of high school, I started talking to my now best friend. He was always by himself drawing, so to get closer to him, I started drawing! Once I started, and my best friend encouraged me, I was hooked!

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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?

I sign all my works of course, but nothing particularly special!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If someone says you can’t do something, do it anyway. Prove them wrong. Work harder to get there. Know you can do anything you want when you work harder and look at things from a new perspective.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Regular ol’ asexual

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

I have had a few times I have had to stop talking to people I enjoyed messaging because they either said aces aren’t real, or they don’t belong in the LGBT+ community, as well as left group chats.

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

Me complimenting a person or saying “She’s cute” and someone responding “But you’re ace.” Ace people can think someone is cute or attractive

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

It’s totally okay to be confused and questioning, and I even encourage it! Do not worry about saying you are something and then change it if you think it is wrong. Also, it is okay to not have a label for who you are, you are you, not a sum of labels!

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

I post most on my Tumblr: http://emptyfishtanks.tumblr.com/
And YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClB2m2taU60U_br8hQ7P4og
But I also have Twitter: https://twitter.com/emptyfishtanks
And Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fishtanksart/

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