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.
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.
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.