Interview: Inbar

Today we’re joined by Inbar. Inbar is a phenomenal visual artist and writer who has been running a webcomic for almost a year and a half. It’s entitled Just a Sidekick and it’s a superhero story that sounds fascinating. Aside from the webcomic, she’s also currently studying animation and is working on her final movie. When she’s not working on the webcomic or animation projects, Inbar also writes fanfiction. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and enthusiastic artist, 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.

The main project I am currently working on right now is a
webcomic called “Just a Sidekick”, it’s a superhero ensemble story
with a large focus on character interactions and character development. I’m
also studying to be an animator, I’m in my last (fourth) year – and although I
currently haven’t done any animation work that isn’t technically school work,
I’m fairly proud in my animations. Currently, I just started work on my final
movie, an urban fantasy called “Shoshi Ben-Abraham: Good Witch (Usually)”
about a soft pastel witch and outgrowing the influence of toxic parents. In
additions, I do some writing. The stories that I have online (and in English)
are mostly fanfiction on AO3 (I’m currently writing for the Ace Attorney
fandom), but I’ve also written original fiction before. Mostly short stories,
but I’ve dabbled in poetry too.  

What inspires you?

That’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it? Sometimes I
feel like I’ve got stories overflowing in my brain all the time and I just need
to grab the not-sucky ones and share those in the best medium possible. But I
guess my biggest source of inspiration is… other works of art and storytelling
media. Not in the sense that I consider myself a rip-off artist or that I steal
ideas, but I just… I look at a work of fiction and find something about it I
like; a particular character, a trope, a relationship, a plot point, a design
aesthetic or even just a feel that the work inspires, and I go “That’s
neat, I wonder what I could do with that. I wonder if I can give this idea a
take of my own. A spin that takes the stuff that I like but makes it unique
enough so it’s mine.” I used to go roaming on the TV Tropes website
all the time, find a trope I think has cool potential and think what I could do
with it. I’m a fan and analyst as much as I am a creator, and I think it
reflects in my artistic process. Also, “Just a Sidekick” started out
a middle-school piece of crossover fanfiction that mutated so much that I was
better off just making it original fiction, so that’s something.

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

I’ve been drawing and making up stories since I can remember
myself. As a kid, I used to draw in any given opportunity, on anything I could
find. On the final first grade, I had to stay after everyone had left to clean
up the desk in my classroom as punishment for all the desks I doodled on. After
that, my parents started buying me blank “drawing notebooks” to draw
on instead. I filled them up, sometimes an entire notebook in one school day,
with illustrations (and sometimes stories) I made up. I also always really
liked animation, cartoon shows were my favorite form of entertainment as a
child (I was always inherently biased against any kid’s show with live-action actors,
they were always less interesting to me.) However, up until middle-school I
didn’t consider animation, comics or art in general as a future career option.
I thought of them as a hobby, my first dream (well, after I outgrew wanting to
be a puppeteer-air hostess-cook-kindergarten teacher-robot scientist-farmer)
was to be a zoologist. I love animals and I love reading facts about them, I
thought I would enjoy becoming a scientist who studies them. But around middle
school I started realizing it wasn’t a very realistic dream, I didn’t have a
head for the sciencey subjects and I only really enjoyed knowing about animals
from a distance and without all the icky stuff. Around that time, as I was
reconsidering what I want to do with my life, I was watching some special
feature about the history of Pixar in one of their DVDs (maybe the
Incredibles?). Someone there said that they got into animation because they
grew up watching Disney animated movies and so they wanted to do so themselves.
That seemed like the right angle to go at, a lot of people answer ‘why did you
decide to become an X’ with “well, I grew up inspired by X and I wanted to
pay it forward to the next generation”. And what was my favorite form of
media as a kid? The one I would like to advance forward to the kids of
tomorrow? Cartoon shows! That’s when I decided that one I day I’ll be the
creator of a cartoon show, or if that can’t happen – I’ll at leas be an
animator. Also around the same time I was suddenly starting to have some
problems with art class in school because it was starting to lean more
‘realistic’ and toward live-drawing – while I, I realized, care more about the
art of telling stories via my drawing. The move to comics and animation is only
logical from there.

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

My signature is the Hebrew Letter Ayin (the first letter of
my name) stylized and with a dot in the middle to make it look like an eye (another meaning for the word
“Ayin”). Although I don’t use it on a lot of online content. In terms
of recurring storytelling motifs, I guess most of my stories have a
mostly-female cast, and I really like the trope where a character has to face
against a pre-character development representation of themselves.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Find something that you’re both pretty good at and have fun
doing and focus on that. Also, originality is overrated. Having a unique idea
nobody ever thought before is not nearly as important as presenting and
delivering those ideas well.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

The identity I feel most strongly about is “Asexual, period, full stop.” For the sake of communication,
I can say that my identity is “Asexual Aromantic”, and it’s not that
I’m ashamed at my lack of romantic attraction or that I don’t feel
solidarity with other Aro people… but I’ve spent so much time questioning and
second-guessing my own orientation and worrying that I might be ‘faking it’.
But “Asexual” is the one label I’ve always come back to, the one that
feels the most ‘right’, the most like home.

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

I’ve encountered ace prejudice, but not in my ‘field’, so to
speak. I’m not very vocal about my asexuality outside of the internet, and
online (where I am very vocal) I’m just not that well-known as a creator. One
time I made a piece of art as schoolwork about my AroAceness, and the teacher
started out with “Oh that’s very sad that you felt like you have to fake
attraction to a boy” but ended up constantly talking about her husbands
and soulmates and how wonderful relationships were as if me talking about how I
was hurt by heteronormativity is insulting her relationship somehow. That kinda
hurt me, especially since it was such a personal piece. I am very afraid of the
possibility I might be the target of ace prejudice, though. It’s an anxiety
that’s constantly on my mind.

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

That it’s not ‘real’. When I first mentioned Asexuality to
my dad, before I came out, he dismissed it as “what crazy thing they’ll
make up next” and it really hurt me. I’ve seen all sorts of crazy
antagonism and misunderstanding about Ace People online, but the outright
dismissal of our identities is still what hurts me the most.

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

Surround yourself with good friends who respect your
identity. Even if the world can be really crappy sometimes, a good community to
take refuge in can make you feel a lot better. Also, try and not get stressed
about your identity the way that I did, okay? You’re probably not faking it or
lying to yourself, and if asexuality feels like the most ‘right’ label for you
and makes you happy – that’s all you need.

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

My webcomic, Just a Sidekick, is found at http://justasidekickcomics.tumblr.com/
and http://justasidekick.thecomicseries.com/.

My fanfiction is on Archive of Our Own under “Invader
Ham” https://archiveofourown.org/users/InvaderHam

I might upload some animated projects to my YouTube channel
soon, which is https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTL3B4o0qQzpyd_cvzHw-jg

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