Interview: EpicRosalina

Today we’re joined by EpicRosalina. EpicRosalina is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in digital art. While she mostly does digital art, she also dabbles in traditional art, using mostly alcohol markers. Her style draws its inspiration from anime. EpicRosalina mostly draws her own original characters (she also dabbles in writing), but has drawn her friends’ characters on occasion. It’s clear she’s a very passionate and talented artist, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Aki Lumi
Aki Lumi

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I work with digital and traditional art but I much prefer digital over traditional. When working with traditional art, I use alcohol markers. I work using an anime style as it’s what I’m most comfortable with. I mainly draw my own characters however I sometimes also draw some characters belonging to a friend of mine. I’m trying to get back into writing by starting a new book soon.

What inspires you?

A lot of my inspiration comes from my characters’ personality and backstories. Some have pretty messed up pasts. I turn those moments into illustrations which is fun since I get to experiment with different poses and backgrounds. Other times, inspiration just comes out of nowhere. Some doodles that I do get turned into illustrations.

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

I would casually draw starting from the age of 11 mainly because of a close friend of mine who is skilled with her art. I aspired to be as good as her and so I started taking art more seriously. It was around that time when I discovered anime and so I also took inspiration from that sort of art style. I only wanted to really be an artist when I saw that my art was improving and had people complementing it.

Aki Suki
Aki Suki

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

I don’t think I do have anything special that I try to include in my work.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t think that to be an artist, you must be “Born with artistic talent.” I wasn’t talented at all but I kept practicing and practicing till I reached a point where I could say “I made this and I’m proud of this.” Use whatever you need whether it’s references or models. Do whatever you need to keep you motivated and constantly finding ways to improve.

Luna's breakdown final
Luna’s Breakdown

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as Asexual Demiromantic though I do find myself questioning it sometimes

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

I have encountered some ignorance. I have been told that I just need to find the right person and I don’t belong in the LGBTQ+ community but I try my best to ignore it my surrounding myself with people who support me.

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

People who confuse Asexual with Aromantic. I’ve encountered people who think that just because I’m Asexual, it means I don’t want to be in a relationship however it’s quite the opposite. I’m fine with being in a relationship however I don’t want to have any sexual relationships

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

If you’re struggling then give it some time. Some people figure out their orientation much sooner than others but that’s ok. If you need to experiment to find out what you identify as then go ahead. Don’t think that you have to abide by a label.

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

You can find my art on my DeviantArt, Instagram, and sometimes my Tumblr at EpicRosalina. My upcoming story will be posted on my Wattpad which is also EpicRosalina.

Luna LN Final
Luna LN

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

Interview: Sophie A Katz

Today we’re joined by Sophie A. Katz. Sophie is a phenomenal and versatile writer. She writes in a number of different forms and styles. She’s a fellow writer who enjoys writing hopeful stories (we need more of them! 🙂 ). 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.

Sophie Katz headshot

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

It’s all about stories for me – I LOVE stories, and storytelling. So far, my best skill to bring stories to life has been writing. I’ll write in pretty much any form; different stories need different mediums, after all. Some stories are short, some are novels. Some are screenplays or stage plays. I dabble in poetry. I have a few stories that sit in my head and insist upon being graphic novels – I’ll have to find someone who’s better with visual art to collaborate with for those.

What inspires you?

Life inspires me. That’s a vague answer. I have a “story ideas” tag on my Tumblr with hundreds of pictures and prompts in it, and I didn’t think that that was out of the ordinary until someone said to me, “Wow, you get story ideas from EVERYTHING!” But everything DOES have a story to it. You know that word “sonder”? About realizing that every other person in the world is living a life just as complex and interesting as your own? I can’t help but see that in everyone and everything around me. I don’t see things as just the way they are – I want to know why, and what might happen next. And that’s what a story is, at its base: why are things the way they are, and what could happen next?

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

There was this dollhouse in my parents’ house – I think it’s still in the basement – and incidentally we didn’t call it a “dollhouse” because Mom did NOT want her daughters playing with dolls; we called it a “people house,” like that Dr. Seuss book. I’d sit at the People House with all of our toys, all the animals and action figures and Disney characters, and narrate their adventures, for hours and hours. It was just what I did. Before I could write or read, I told the stories of my toys. And then one day, Dad took notes on the story I was telling, and typed it up for me. That’s where it really started. After that, I learned to read and write, and started writing little books, and Mom became my editor. But it took me until junior high to really start identifying as a writer. Before that, I honestly thought I was going to be an actress, even though I wasn’t very good at it, and didn’t really enjoy it. I think because the storytelling thing was just something I’d always done, I didn’t recognize it as special, or even as “art” at all – but it was always there, and eventually I recognized it as such, and now it’s what I want to do with the rest of my life.

Things REALLY took off once I realized that Disney World had a writing internship…but if I start talking about THAT, then we’ll be here all day.

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?

That’s a really interesting question. When my big sister was looking at colleges, I started picking up literary journals from the schools we visited, and I started noticing a troubling pattern in the works published there: they were overwhelmingly sad. I concluded then that sadness must be the easiest emotion to evoke in a story, and the true challenge was to create something that made people happy.

Bad things do happen in the stories I write, but they very rarely end that way. Books and movies that end in hopelessness bother me. By all means, kill your darlings and send me to bed crying, but give me a reason to get up in the morning! This is a very roundabout way of answering that a feature I include in my work is hope. My stories are most often about people looking at the world and seeing not only the bad that is, but the good that could be, and working to make that good come to be. I think a lot of people perceive hope and optimism as naïve, and sadness and despair as true art. It’s fine to have that opinion, but I don’t subscribe to it. I see art in joy, and in the challenge of creating joy, and in taking on that challenge. I see art in hope.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

You are not completely unique, and that is a good thing. It’s a good thing because it means that you have something to offer that will resonate with other people. You are not so different from the rest of the world that nobody will ever understand; rather, you have something to create that other people need. Create what is true to you, what is so true to you that it feels like no one else in the world may have ever felt the way that you feel about it. Create it and share it with the world. And someday, someone will walk up to you, and nervously shake your hand, and say, “That’s exactly how I feel. Thank you for turning it into art.”

Also, I highly recommend learning the skill of biting your tongue and saying “thank you, I’ll consider it” to critique. It’s not an easy skill to develop. Feedback is key to growth, and while you don’t have to TAKE all the feedback anyone ever gives you (you won’t take most of it, and that’s the way it should be!), it’s good to hear feedback. Feedback is how you learn what people are getting out of your art, whether your art is doing what you want it to do to the people you want it to do stuff to. I hope that sentence makes sense. I’d appreciate feedback on that sentence.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Demisexual, usually. Recently I’ve been feeling a bit more solidly ace; my body on occasion will send me a surprise bout of “nonononono” even when I’m with someone I am very much emotionally connected to.

I don’t even know what’s up with my romantic orientation. It’s like it plays “duck duck goose,” where it’ll go “duck duck duck…” over everyone around me for ages and then suddenly “GOOSE! YOU HAVE A CRUSH!!!”

I like things to make sense, so it’s all a bit frustrating for me, but I’m training myself to make peace with the uncertainty. Having words like “demisexual” and “asexual” and “sex-positive” and “sex-repulsed” to throw around helps some. I like having words for things.

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

Nothing’s been explicitly directed towards me, but romance is such a prevalent part of the stories we tell that I can’t help but be nervous. I’m nervous that I won’t be able to write a love story that someone will want to read, because I can’t know what it’s like to be the allosexual people that mainstream romances are about. I’m nervous that putting ace people in my stories, or being frank about demisexuality, will bring more trouble down on me than good. But this is my life, this is my truth, and these are the stories that I wish, oh god do I wish, that I had had when I thought that I was broken. How could I not write that? But I’m nervous, so how CAN I write that?

Fortunately, I found an incredibly supportive feminist arts community at my university, and I felt safe enough there to read a piece about figuring out my sexuality at an open mic. After the show, an audience member came up to me and thanked me, because what I had read was exactly how it was for them figuring out their sexuality. That’s when it hit me that however nervous I was, I couldn’t let that get in the way of creating my art. People need to know that they’re not alone. And coming up against ninety-nine readers who think I’m some faker special snowflake is worth it if I can get to the hundredth reader who needs to hear that they’re not alone.

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

That it doesn’t exist.

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

…Honestly, I wish someone had advice to give ME, because I struggle with it plenty. What I do know to remind myself of as much as I can is this: your sexuality does NOT make you a burden, and anyone who makes you feel like it is can walk the plank.

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

I have an electronic portfolio at https://sophieakatz.wordpress.com/, and I’ve just begun a writing Tumblr in an attempt to self-promote – you can find that at https://sophieakatz.tumblr.com/. Go ahead and send me a message there if you want to chat about anything! Or you could contact me at http://ohthewhomanity.tumblr.com/; that’s the blog where I use the “story ideas” tag. You can also find my Odyssey articles every week at https://www.theodysseyonline.com/user/@sophiekatz.

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

Interview: Eliza

Today we’re joined by Eliza. Eliza is a phenomenal visual artist who also writes and does some performance art. Most of what she does is writing and fanart, including cosplay. Eliza also does some dancing and acting too. 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.

IMG_0177

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I work in multiple genres of art. I do visual art, fan art, cosplay, writing, dancing, and acting. Specifically I do fanart and writing.

What inspires you?

What inspires me is seeing other artists my age doing amazing things, which gives me the hope to be like them.

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

I actually got interested in art by accident, but it still happened. I’ve been an artist since I was 7 years old.

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?

Sometimes I put DS in my art

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Criticism is necessary, but don’t take it if it doesn’t help you. No matter what people say, you will get better in art.

IMG_0178

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as an asexual aromantic

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

I actually haven’t yet. Except for the occasional ‘asexuality isn’t real’ comment. I usually just ignore the comment or delete it.

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

The most common misconception I see is that asexuality is just an excuse for not getting laid.

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

Don’t let other people tell you what you can and cannot be.

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

Other than Tumblr, where my art is at either at Unis-Trash-Stash or at xthe-space-rebels, I am also on IFunny as Uniway.

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

Interview: Tamare Rosemov

Today we’re joined by Tamare Rosemov. Tamare is a wonderful poet who hopes to publish his poetry one day. He writes mostly short free verse poetry and has sometimes posted it publicly. He is clearly a dedicated and passionate writer as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I write short free verse poetry which I sometimes post publicly. I usually only share my poetry with a couple close friends, although I do hope to get published someday.

What inspires you?

My emotions are the basis for my work as well as my greatest inspiration. I love the way that poetry can aid in the struggle against the impermanence of life – a small burst of joy or sorrow can retain its original vigor when expressed in a few meaningful phrases. This urge to commemorate my favorite moments and feelings inspires me as strongly as emotion itself.

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

My interest in poetry increased significantly when I was hit with depression. I discovered that poetry could be a wonderful coping mechanism for making sense of the emotions and problems that haunted me. As for being an artist, it was never on my mind until I realized that I need art in my life, and perhaps it might become part of my professional career in the future.

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 favorite poems include sea imagery. I grew up in a small European seaside town, and the sea remains to me the ultimate object of nostalgia as well as a metaphor for many parts of my life.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t give up on art even if you’re afraid of criticism or a lack of creativity. I think we all have that desire in us; the desire to express ourselves, and we all encounter stimuli that inspire us to create. So even if your art does not fit somebody’s standard, if it makes you feel more whole, keep on creating.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a heteroromantic asexual, and until recently I thought I was just an extremely innocent heterosexual. It still shocks me that I’m that different from the person I always considered myself to be.

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

I have not encountered much prejudice, and I acknowledge that I am privileged in that aspect. The worst I’ve encountered is ignorance because I haven’t come out to many people for fear of damaging my relationships.

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

Probably the idea that asexuals don’t exist. It’s annoying when someone seems to accept my asexuality but then proclaims smugly, “You’re just very pure”, “Everyone wants sex”, or “You’re just too shy to express your dirty thoughts”. I know how I feel, and even though I’m still getting used to it, I am an asexual and asexuality is a valid identity.

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

Don’t be ashamed of who you truly are. Sexuality is as deep as the human mind, and the human mind is an enigma. We might never know why our minds work the way they do, but what we do know is that our minds can create, think, analyze, love. So, no matter what your sexuality is, love yourself.

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

I post my bad and good poetry at https://allpoetry.com/BlueCandlelight;

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

Signal Boost: Kai Collart

Hello all!

A recent interviewee recently reached out and requested some help. Kai Collart is just a wonderfully talented fanartist (interview found here: Tumblr & WordPress). They need some help covering the cost of housing and medication. This is what’s written on their YouCaring page:

Hey guys, my name is Kai Collart. I need a little help. I need to move by August, and I need to save up first and last month’s rent. I’m currently between jobs, and struggling to pay my current rent. I also need to save up money so I can have time off after my top surgery. (I’m transgender, by the way, so this surgery is really important to me.) All of this is happening so fast, and I can’t afford to do this on my own. If I don’t have money to move by August, I’m not going to have a place to go, as my lease ends in August, and we can’t renew it, as the landlord is selling the house. I’m sorry to be asking for help, but I’m in a really tight spot. Thank you for your support!

IMPORTANT UPDATE!!!!

MY TESTOSTERONE ISN’T COVERED BY THE PHARMAHEALTHCARE PLAN, AND WILL ONLY BE COVERED IF I WAS A BIOLOGICAL MAN, AS STATED BY THE REQUIREMENTS. I NEED TO HAVE $80 BY FRIDAY, AND I DON’T HAVE ANY MONEY, I CAN’T EVEN BUY FOOD RIGHT NOW. PLEASE SHARE OR DONATE, THIS IS IMPORTANT FOR MY HEALTH.

He also requested I included this additional information in the signal boost: “ I am willing to write a short story of any kind for anyone who donates, as long as they let me know what they want written, as I have stated in my Tumblr post as well.”

Once again, here’s his YouCaring page:https://www.youcaring.com/kaicollart-1160920

So if you can help out an ace in need, I know that Kai would be just so incredibly grateful. And please share this as well. Let’s help an ace artist out 🙂

Thank you, everybody!

Signal Boost: Another eBook Sale

Hello all!

As you all know, I’ll be speaking on a panel at C2E2 this weekend (more information found here and here). To celebrate, I’ve decided to have an eBook sale on the first two books of my series.

From April 5th – 9th, the eBook of Sere from the Green will be FREE and Through Storm and Night will be 0.99!

If you’re a fan of fantasy starring strong queer women (including adoptees, written by an adoptee) or you know anyone who is, please check out my books. And consider leaving a review. Being an indie author, I’m relying heavily on word of mouth and signal boosts 🙂

Here’s some more information on the books:

Sere from the Green

SereFromtheGreen.Ebook

There is a race that lives among humans, unbeknownst to them, called shape shifters, those that can shift from human to animal at will. Many protect the innocent on Earth and act as the eyes and ears of the guardians, divine beings similar to gods in ancient myths.

Isis is a woman who lives a normal life until the day she photographs a murder scene for her job. When the body disappears from her photographs, Isis is determined to solve the mystery. Her investigation uncovers answers about her own past and sets her on a journey that will change her life forever.

Buy here

Through Storm and Night

ThroughStormAndNight.Ebook

The Meadows is home to the guardians, a race of beings similar to the deities in ancient mythology. They watch over the Earth from their serene lands, keeping everything in check. For millennia, it has been peaceful. However, in the beginning, there was a great war. A war with Chaos, a war that is still remembered in the legends of the guardians and shape shifters.

Months have passed since Isis’, a shape shifter/guardian hybrid and member of the prophesied Four, narrow escape from the Obsidian Manor. The Four still haven’t found answers about the mysterious Coop and their search for the Key has yielded nothing but more questions. When an old alliance is reforged, the Four are thrown into another mystery. Who are the strange shape shifters known only as the “glowing-eyes” and what is their connection to the odd symbol and vanishing bodies?

Buy here

Once again, this sale runs from April 5th – 9th.

I hope those of you who already have books are enjoying them and thanks for picking them up 🙂

Thank you so much everybody!

Interview: Kai Collart

Today we’re joined by Kai Collart. Kai is a phenomenal fanfiction writer who writes fics in the One Piece fandom. He particularly enjoys writing Zosan fics. While he mostly writes short stories, Kai also has a few multi-chapter fics too. It’s clear he loves to write, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I mostly write fanfics for the One Piece fandom, specifically Zosan. They’re mostly just short stories but I have a few multi-chapter fics in mind that I may create someday. I do also make my own short stories and what not but I keep those for myself and my close friends. I’m not as active as I used to be, as I’m spending more time editing other people’s work rather than making my own.

What inspires you?

The thing that inspires me most is music. I can’t write unless I have music in the background, usually set in the mood of what I’m writing. Going outside on walks also inspires me and helps me create new ideas, as well as brainstorming with my fiancée also helps.

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

I’ve always been interested in writing and storytelling since I can remember really. My grandpa used to make up these elaborate stories for us and get us to add onto it with him and since then I’ve been hooked. I can’t go a day without creating my own little world and making little stories along the way.

Reading fanfics is what got me into writing them as I wasn’t always satisfied with the content, or the lack thereof that I had access to. I wanted to provide my own ideas for others to enjoy in their own time without having to pay for it.

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

I don’t really have anything that I can think of that’s unique to my work.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

No matter what anyone says to you, good or bad, just keep creating. There will always be at least one person that will love and be inspired by your work and that in itself is worth it. But even then, create your art for you. Be your own inspiration when you can.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a sex repulsed asexual, panromantic. I also happen to be a transgender male and also polyamorous.

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

I have indeed encountered plenty of ace prejudice in my time, mostly by my ex-boyfriend. At first I tried to educate him on it but when he seemed uninterested I just distanced myself from it. If a person isn’t willing to learn about or accept who I am, there is only so much I can do before I just have to walk away and take care of myself.

More often than not, people will accept it and move on for me.

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

Mostly I have encountered people saying that asexuality isn’t a thing and I just need to find the right person, that I’m picky, or even that I’m just afraid of sex because I’ve been hurt. Most people who have said these things tell me that it’s impossible not to be attracted to a gender and that I just need to choose something.

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

Just be yourself. Find people that will accept you, reach out to other aces if you can and talk to them. Share your story if you feel comfortable doing so. Don’t let people pressure you into doing something you don’t want to do, if you’re in a relationship with a person who is guilt tripping you over not having sex or not being sexually attracted to them, maybe it’s time to get out of that relationship if you can’t work it out. You’re not alone, we stand with you.

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

https://archiveofourown.org/users/Torchi_chan is where I post the work that I’m comfortable sharing. Some may be NSFW and most are pretty sad.

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