Category: aromantic asexual

Today we’re joined by Sara. Sara is a phenomenal visual artist who does a lot of illustrations. She also dabbles in a few crafts, but illustration and designing stationary is where her passion lies. She’s also going to be running a conference session in London about archaeology and the history of gaming (which was signal boosted on this site a few weeks ago). It’s clear she’s a passionate and talented artist who loves what she does, 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.

I do illustration and comic strips and I design stationery.
I sometimes wander into graphics or various sewing projects but I’m mostly an
illustrator.

What inspires you?

My friends ^_^ usually my best work starts with me thinking
of something I want to draw for someone and then getting so excited I can’t
stop till I’ve got in down on paper. The thought of how happy it will make them
sustains me. Aside from that, the artists who really inspire me are often comic
artists and colourists. There’s something about how economical comic art has to
be and how much it communicates that I really love. My favourites are probably
Erica Henderson, Fiona Staples, David Aja, Ed Brubaker, Matt Hollingsworth,
Cliff Chiang, Matt Wilson and Adrian Alphona.

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

I always drew as a kid. My mum drew too and she took me to
the park to draw one day and did the whole ‘draw what you see, not what you
know’ lesson and from there I was hooked. I mostly drew from life when I was
younger because I wasn’t confident about having a style of my own but
eventually started experimenting. I was always imagining the inventions or
clothes or stationery or musicals I would design. I had big dreams! I really
got into stationery when I was a teenager and discovered Artbox (the South
Korean stationery brand). I loved the idea that you could have something so
small and simple but the details and colours and the character in the designs
could make it really beautiful. In stationery simple images with a lot of
personality work the best. I’d say that alongside being an inventor, author and
philosopher, being an artist is one of the first things I ever wanted to be.

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 guess I use a lot of block colours. The symbols I use on
my personal work are a blue postbox with teeth and a flying apple with an
eyepatch but they don’t really show up in stuff I post online…

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Don’t worry about developing a style and sticking to it. It’s
ok to be trying something totally different or using things you’ve seen other
people do. Your style is a side effect of all the people’s work you’ve seen and
imitated and absorbed bits of and rejected other bits of. It will just happen
without you noticing it. The link is you. If you’re doing it, it’s your style.
And don’t just be passionate about art, be passionate about other things, learn
about them, get excited. That’s where the ideas come from.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

Asexual and aromantic!

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

Not in art because I mostly work with people who are my
friends already. But I have in my day jobs. I’ve met people who took it as a
challenge, someone followed me home from work once trying to convince me that
having sex with him would change my mind (that was hella scary… if someone does
that to you, call the police!). Other people were perfectly nice in most ways
but just flat out failed to believe me. Most people are lovely about it though,
if slightly confused! Usually my reaction is just to stay cheerful but firm. If
people try to speak over me or deny my experiences I keep explaining and don’t
let up.

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

That we’re not queer enough!

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

Sometimes it feels scary not having a map in life, even if
it’s freeing at the same time. Other people seem to shape their lives around
their sexual relationships so much and doing your own thing without all those
rules to follow can make you feel pretty lost. I still find that scary so I
can’t say for sure it gets better but I can say there are a lot of us and we’re
all getting through day by day and making a future by living it even if
sometimes we can’t look ahead and see our future clearly. Even when you’re
lost, you’re not alone. Everything you are is real.

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

Tumblr: theamazingsaraman
Instagram: lilibetbob

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

Today we’re joined by Bere Weillschmidt. Bere is a wonderful Mexican artist who writes a comic entitled “Love Afternoon Tea”, which is about a gay ace couple and their lives. It’s clear he loves what he does and is a driven artist, 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.

My work is all about gay pairings, or sometimes polyamorous
trios. I draw a lot of fan art but since I graduated, I’ve focused on my
comics. I write Love Afternoon Tea (https://tapas.io/series/Love-Afternoon-Tea),
which explores a homosexual asexual relationship between a cis man and a trans
man.

What inspires you?

I’ve never been in a relationship before but the excitement
I get from reading fanfic gets me going. Also, I grew up when everything was a
bromance, instead of a canon relationship, so that possibility was a thing that
sparked the inspiration inside me.

I’m really shy and sometimes that stops me from posting, but
the people that comment are truly appreciated because this is something that
pushes me to keep on working hard on everything I do.

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

Well, to be completely honest, no. I was always told that
artists starved, and when I was younger I wanted to be filthy rich. On high
school I started having a lot of troubles and I was about to not to get into
college when my two best friends pushed me into graphic design. Three years
later, I switched to animation and I since I enjoyed my career too much, I
graduated with honours.

It’s something that has to interest you so much so that in
the most difficult times… you keep on going because there’s no other thing you
see yourself doing. By the way, I am not starving and I am quite happy by
teaching others how to do this.

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 really simple that on my ID people scoff at
seeing it. But they never know what it means since it’s an alias.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Fight for what you truly believe in. If you don’t have the
means to get into art school, don’t worry: most of the stuff is on the
Internet. You can do it. Never be afraid to reach out to other artists, I think
everyone is happy to help on what they know!

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

Aromantic Asexual.

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

Yes, I suppose is very common that people struggle with
being a virgin because there’s always the questions and judgement from others.
Mostly when you’re over 25.

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

That we are really innocent (?) I hate that.

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

I just accepted myself. It took me a lot to do it because I
thought I was just a “late bloomer”, but as a tip I’d say… talk with other
asexuals. You’ll get to see how much you have in common and how comfortable you
start being in an asexual space.

Don’t rush yourself into figuring it out, sexuality is a
spectrum after all… and it might change in time.

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

https://www.instagram.com/bereweillschmidt/
https://twitter.com/bereweilschmidt
http://weillschmidtdoodles.tumblr.com

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

Today we’re joined by Ria, who also goes by rainbowbarfeverywhere. Ria is a phenomenal character animator and digital illustrator. She has worked on a TV show and does animation for a living. On her free time, Ria loves to draw. She does a lot of fanart and enjoys focusing on friendships between characters. It’s clear she loves what she does, 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.

I part time as a character animator in an outsourcing
studio, Toon City Animation. I’ve only been working there for a year and I’ve
worked on the television series Big Hero
6
. Though I’ve been animating for a while now, I haven’t really made any
personal animations though I hope to do some someday.

I mostly draw fanart in my free time. I’m a digital artist
and I mostly use Clip Studio Paint and Adobe Photoshop. I love drawing for
anime and other animated series or films. I’m not as active as the average fanartist
but I love drawing for fan events like fandom weeks or big bangs. Although I
used to be a big shipper and drew my pairings all the time, now I like to focus
on individual characters and friendships.

What inspires you?

When I fall in love with a work, a character, or a
relationship, I want to convey my love for it through art. When I appreciate
something, I want others to appreciate it too and I can do that either by
exchanging ideas or thoughts, or by making fanart of that something. It’s my
little way of giving more love to the series.

I also get inspired by other fanartists. Their skills become
a goal I want to work towards. When I see an artwork that stops me at my feet,
I become driven to also touch someone like that.

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

I’ve been drawing forever. I don’t remember a time when I
didn’t draw. Even as far back as preschool, I already remember when I drew my
favorite cartoons. Art is a part of me and I can’t imagine myself without it.
When I thought about what I wanted to do in life, it seemed like a no-brainer
to be an artist of some kind.

Becoming an animator came later in my life. I, at one point
in my childhood, wanted to be an animator since that was the only field I
thought I could work in as an artist. But I let go of that dream pretty early
on. I had to be practical and while I liked my drawings, I didn’t think they
were exceptional.

The opportunity to learn animation and become an animator
only came late into my university life. I had taken a leave of absence and my
cousin told me about an animation workshop that happened near me. I fell in
love with animation instantly.

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 used to have a special cat symbol that I always included
in my drawings when I was young. I used it as a sort of artist signature. I did
realize later on that it would be hard to identify whose signature it was unless
you were already familiar with me. In the end, I just use my artist handle when
I want to sign my work. It makes things easier for my audience.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Love both yourself and your work. It will be hard to get far
and stay far in life if you don’t.

You will never be satisfied if you don’t love your work and
people can feel the emotion you put into your work. Without love, it will be
hard to touch other people’s hearts. You also need to take care of yourself. So
many artists have fallen sick or died because they didn’t care for themselves.
There can be no art if there are no artists. Be kind to yourself.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I identify as aromantic asexual.

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

I don’t share my sexuality to a lot of people. Only a
handful of people in real life know that I’m ace and none of them are people I
know from work.

On the other hand, I’m open about my sexuality online. I
have it in my description and I occasionally talk about it in my posts or
tweets. Still, I only interact with an intimate amount of people online. While
I don’t hide my asexuality, only the people I interact with would know. And I
make sure that the people in my internet circle are accepting.

I’ve never been outright attacked or singled out, but I’ve
seen hate for my sexuality in different parts of the internet. I simply choose
not to engage in them because I feel they won’t listen to me either way.

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

The two most common misconceptions about asexuality is that
it’s only temporary (that it’s a phase or asexual people just haven’t found the
right person yet) and that there’s something wrong with us for us to feel this
way. People think that we’re just misguided and need to be taken to the right
path.

But asexuality is just a part of us. Just because we’re not
attracted to other people that way doesn’t mean that we’re broken. It just
means that we care more about our friendships and families. There’s nothing
missing in our lives just because we don’t have a significant other.

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

No matter what anyone says, you and what you’re feeling are
valid. There’s nothing wrong with you and you’re not broken just because you
don’t feel that kind of attraction for other people. There’s more to life than
romantic love or sex. It can be just as fulfilling with the people you have in
your life.

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

My primary account is at Twitter and you can find me here: https://twitter.com/rainbowbarf_/

I’m also at Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rainbowbarfeverywhere/

You can support me through Ko-fi: https://ko-fi.com/rainbowbarfeverywhere

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

Interview: Mushki

Today we’re joined by Mushki. Mushki is a wonderful visual artist who specializes in comics. She has recently finished a comic specifically about asexuality. She has a running manga-style comic entitled Peripety. Aside from that, she also does mini comics, random illustrations, and fanart. 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.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I make comics! I got one long manga-style comic called Peripety that I hope will reach about FMA length. And many mini comics and random illustrations/fanart.

What inspires you?

Stories that are about found families, adventure, brotherhood…psychology, compassion, human depravity mixed with human beauty…etc.

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

Reading stories or playing video games with compelling stories – that’s the language I understand, and I guess I just couldn’t help it when I started speaking that language as well. So yeah. I’ve kind of always wanted to do it in some way, though at first I thought I wanted to be a novelist instead.

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?

Ummm… When it comes to stories, I guess, I’m always putting secret symbols in my stuff. Flowers, motifs, animal parts, etc. Things that represent certain things or mean something to a certain culture.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Make LOTS of stuff, make lots of BAD stuff, keep good posture, and have FUN.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Ace / Aro

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

Not so much about my work. But when people want to show me their work, and it has sexual content in it, some berate me and tease me about me being ace. I really just ignore that? And give them a solid critique anyway. I find kindness is the best way to make people feel bad.

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

That I just haven’t found the right person. That I need to try it. Many people who express this have good intentions, but seem unable to understand that not desiring sex or romance is even possible.  

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

Don’t be pressured into things. There’s a difference between getting out of your comfort zone, and doing things you don’t want to. When people tell you to try things, ask yourself if you actually WANT what they’re suggesting. If you don’t, that’s okay. It doesn’t mean your denying an opportunity for growth.  

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

I post my comics on Tapastic, (https://tapas.io/MushkiKizou) and I sell my art on Etsy! (https://www.etsy.com/shop/MushkikizouArt) Still working on a good way to sell my comics online, but you can bet it’ll be on Etsy someday.

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

Today we’re joined by Kaylee Schuler. Kaylee is a phenomenal author and visual artist. She writes a number of different things, including short stories and poetry. She’s currently working on a novel with an aro-ace protagonist. When she’s not writing, Kaylee enjoys drawing. She frequently draws characters from her stories. It’s clear she’s a passionate artist who loves to create, 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.

I am an author and an artist. I usually write short stories,
but I’ve dabbled in poetry, spoken word, and am currently working on a novel
that happens to feature an aro-ace protagonist. I’ve self-published a
children’s book and plan to self-publish its companion once my edits are done.
One of my short stories just won 10th place in a Reader’s Digest competition,
so I’m very excited about that!

What I value most in writing is emotion, so I try to write
things that make people feel. I try to tell stories that I think are important,
that I know no one else can tell. I strive to write pieces that are powerful,
influential, and cathartic. Even though it’s a lofty goal, I want to write
something that will change the world.

As for art, I started out with sketches and drawings, but I
currently work with a variety of mediums, some of my favorites being watercolor
and digital. Good old graphite never fails me, though.

I create art about pretty much anything — I draw a lot of
people, often characters within the stories that I write. Drawing for me is
somewhere between a hobby and a potential career. I’m currently studying it in
college, but I still draw mainly for myself and create things that I want to
create.

What inspires you?

I get inspiration for my work in everything I experience.
The villain in my novel is based on a character who showed up in just one
episode of a TV show from the ‘90s that I used to watch reruns of. Another
character is named after a friend who was super supportive of my writing. I
write the books I want to read, so I often take inspiration from a lack of
content. I don’t see enough diversity in the media I consume, so I want to add
that to my work. My visual artwork is often inspired by my writing or other
people’s work that I enjoy. The main thing that inspires me is the hope that
someone out there will encounter my work and be inspired to create something of
their own. Art is such an incredible force for change, and my desire to be a
part of that drives me to create.

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

I’ve been writing for my entire life. It’s something that
comes naturally to me, but even beyond that, I feel like a part of me is
missing if I’m not writing something. It’s a huge part of who I am. I started
writing my self-published book when I was 8 years old and haven’t stopped
since.

I’ve also been creating visual art as far back as I can
remember. Just like my writing, my artwork feels like an extension of my very
being. Because art, be it written, visual, or otherwise, can be a catalyst for
social change, and because I’ve always wanted to use my talents to better the
world, I figure that the best way for me to make an impact is to combine those
two things. My desire to improve this world and my desire to create go hand in
hand.

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’m one of those artists who’s never been able to pin down a
style. I suppose that’s a blessing because it gives me greater freedom and
versatility in the content I create, but it’s also a curse because most of my
pieces aren’t recognizable as belonging to the same artist. One thing I aim to
do is include as much diversity in my work as I can. I think everyone deserves
to see someone in media who they can relate to. I’m still learning how to
improve my art and my representation, but I feel like making an effort to be
inclusive and diverse is crucial to being a good artist and a good person.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Art is something so incredibly personal to each individual.
My advice is, first, to not be afraid to pour your soul into your work, and
only share it when it’s ready. Share it first with people you trust. This
especially applies to writing, though also to visual art you’ve worked
particularly hard on. Find people who will build you up, not tear you down. And
a note on criticism—at the end of the day, this is your work. Create for you.
When people tell you what to do with your craft, that’s what they want. I’m not saying to never
listen to criticism. Feedback can be very useful and it will help you grow as
an artist. But make sure you put what you want first and remember that, at the
end of the day, what you do with your work is up to you. And try to remember
that critiques are about the work itself, not the part of you that you put into
it. On a different note, something I want to stress is that artists have to
support each other! We all face challenges in art and in life and I believe
that we can never spread too much compassion and positivity. And finally, never
give up on your dreams. One of my creative writing professors once shared something
with us that his friend told him—the reason successful artists become
successful is that they’re the ones who don’t give up. If you want to create,
create. Keep at it, you’ve got this!

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m aromantic and asexual. I always knew there was something
different about me, and finding labels for my feelings was an incredible
relief. I’ve never felt romantic or sexual attraction, and I’m also sex-and romance-repulsed.
This definitely affects my work, especially my written work, because you create
what you know. It’s hard for me to imagine being anyone other than myself,
holding any identity other than aroace. As a result, much of my work features
characters who are asexual and/or aromantic.

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

Specifically related to my art, I haven’t come across much
negativity. I think this is largely because most of my work concerning
asexuality hasn’t made it very far out into the world yet. I worry that readers
won’t understand the way my characters feel and interact with the world, and I
worry that artwork about my asexuality will result in negativity directed at me.
I think it’s likely that I will encounter prejudice or ignorance when my work
spreads around a little more, and when faced with it, I think I’ll have to
remember that all of us are ignorant to something and that the only way to
educate is through understanding. I’ve been uninformed and misinformed about
countless topics, and I was able to learn more about them when people treated
me with respect and open-mindedness. I will strive to do the same. If that
fails, though, if I run into someone who can’t see my point of view and won’t
make an effort to do so (as I have frequently encountered outside the art
world), I’ll need to remember a mantra my therapist once gave me: “They’re
doing the best they can.” Sometimes, other people’s “best” isn’t enough for us.
But we have to remember that we all have our limits and that, sometimes, our
knowledge is beyond the limits of someone else. At that point, I’ll have to
take a step back from my stubbornness and abandon the argument. It’s not always
worth it.

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

I commonly see this both outside and within the LGBTQ
community, and the latter can be particularly frustrating. Many people think
that asexuality is synonymous or similar to abstinence, which isn’t true. They
believe that asexuality is simply a lack of desire for sex, and that’s not
quite true. Asexuality is a lack of attraction
(and even beyond that, it comes on a spectrum). Not all asexuals are
sex-repulsed or sex-averse, and some asexuals engage in sexual acts for a
variety of reasons. Furthermore, many people seem to think that being asexual
is the same as being aromantic. I often find it difficult to explain that
there’s a difference between romantic and sexual attraction and that some
asexuals do, in fact, feel romantic attraction.

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

The main thing that’s often said but can never be said
enough is never be said enough is you are
NOT broken.
I spent years of my life thinking I was and became resigned to
the idea that one day I would have to
have a relationship, even though I didn’t want one. Here’s what I have to say
about that: you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. You don’t have
to try to force yourself to feel something you don’t. Wherever you lie on the
spectrum, you are valid, you are seen, you are whole, and you are not alone.
You may feel guilty sometimes for not reciprocating someone’s feelings. You may
feel empty sometimes, or alone, or angry. And all of that is valid—your
feelings are always valid—but you
don’t have to feel any of that. Teach yourself that you don’t need to be
ashamed of your orientation. It’s a part of you, you can’t get rid of it, so
you might as well learn to love it. And you can. I have.

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

I don’t yet have a proper website, but you can find me on
social media. My art Tumblr is https://www.deepspaceart.tumblr.com
and my main Tumblr is https://www.deepspaceace.tumblr.com.
I’m also on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/deep.space.ace.
You can find my art on Redbubble at https://www.redbubble.com/people/deepspaceace.
You can read some of my written work at https://www.wattpad.com/user/CelestialFalcon.
You can buy my children’s book at https://app.thebookpatch.com/BookStore/midnight-a-wolfs-tale/ce878c14-8bd6-44ad-bb38-93b585c582e9?isbn=9780984719808
.

Have a great day! 🙂

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

Jughead Jones!!!

slams pots and pans HE’S ARO ACE

Today we’re joined by KelbremDusk. KelbremDusk is a wonderful visual artist who specializes in digital art. She does a bit of everything, including webcomics. Her work is eerie and interesting to look at. It’s clear she’s a passionate individual who loves to create, 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.

I’m a digital artist, I’ve been working
with a tablet for about 11 years now. I was never big on traditional art, even
when I didn’t have access to a tablet but recently I’ve been trying to get into
oil painting and so far it’s been kinda fun.

I draw everything from original to fanart
and even in comics. I have a webcomic which is unfortunately in hiatus right
now but I also make short comics for my various characters and worlds.

On the side I’m currently working on a
novel, which I hope to finish this year (or at least early next year) called Black Sun Rising. Four friends on a post
apocalypse roadtrip with no main character romance.

What inspires you?

I get inspiration from everything.
Stories, movies, illustrations, photographs, everyday objects. It’s wild. The
more abstract I can make something that would normally be mundane and boring,
the more fun it is to work with.

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

This was never really a plan of mine. I
just kinda started drawing around 2004, I drew a lot before that but something
just made me keep going. Boredom, the need for a creative outlet. I didn’t have
a lot of friends, didn’t go out much. Mostly stayed at home in front of the TV.
So I needed something to do.

I guess Anime was the thing that really
made me keep going. Especially Inuyasha
and Wedding Peach and Doremi.

And the new novel writing stuff, that also
just kinda happened. I’ve been working on that story in my head for about 4
years at that point and I wanted to make it into a comic first but that would
have taken ages and it got really demotivating. So one day at work, while my
boss was out, I just opened up word and kept writing and writing. By the end of
the day I had the prologue done.

Sometimes things just happen I guess???

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?

Oh boy, if I were to reveal more of my
stories, you’d certainly see a pattern in them. Especially when it comes to
family. Lots of single parents … or no parents at all.

Another thing would be about two
characters which show up in every story in some way. Either as an actual
character, a background character, the name of a cafe, a street name etc. Look
out for that.

And my unique signature you might even be
able to see on the pictures featured in this interview. The winged skull
wearing a crown. No real symbolism behind it other than 1. Skulls are cool, 2.
Crowns are dope and 3. I only added the wings to make the logo rectangular.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Find a medium that suits you and go nuts
with it. If you suck at watercolor, even after countless hours and desperately
trying, watercolor might not be your thing and that’s ok! “Practice makes
perfect” but sometimes you just gotta acknowledge that you can’t be the best in
every medium.

Look at references! Poses, faces,
buildings, plants. You are not obligated to draw everything from memory. Nobody
is going to come for you for drawing from a reference. The old masters did it,
so you’re allowed do it as well!

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I am an Aromantic Asexual. I dabbled in
many different identities in my search to find the right one and about 4 years
ago, after lots of back and forth and self-reflection, I settled on this.

It was a long journey to come to this
conclusion. I spent my entire school life thinking something is wrong with me
for never falling in love with anyone, while my friends and classmates had
boyfriends and girlfriends. This continues into my time at trade school. Where
I even had people telling me that they’re interested in me romantically but for
me it was just … never an option. I don’t know how to behave around such
people. I’d have to let them touch me and they’d want to be around me and my
social battery is just not capable for that amount of affection.

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

Most prejudice and ignorance I get is not
at work cuz my coworkers or boss doesn’t care. It was from classmates and trade
school and my own family (mostly my dad).

“What do you mean you don’t want to have
children?” and “Oh you just haven’t found the right one yet” are the most
common. I never outright day that I’m asexual, to avoid awkward conversations,
but I say “I don’t date” and for some reason that really grinds people’s gears???

Like I said, my dad is the worst one. He’d
constantly ask me when I’d bring my boyfriend over and it made me so
uncomfortable. Or whenever I had a good announcement he’s ask “Are you
pregnant?” He thankfully stopped doing that for now thanks to his new wife (who
is super lovely and really understanding). Whenever he brought up the topic I’d
just roll my eyes and tell him to shut up.

I was never able to tell my mom about my
asexuality before she died, but I’m positive that she would be understanding as
well. She already accepted that I never brought home any boyfriends and didn’t
even ask or pester me about it. So I feel like she knew.

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

According to some, all asexuals are just
plants and have no libido. Wrong, there’s different types of aces just like
there’s different types of gays and lesbians and bi people. Some aces are sex
repulsed, but not all. Some aces enjoy a good wank at the end of the day and
some don’t. People are different and you can’t throw them all in the same
drawer.

“Oh you’re just saying you’re asexual
because you can’t find anyone to date you!”

Fam, no, that is the complete opposite of
what I’m telling you. I don’t want to “find anyone to date” I don’t date. It’s
simple as that.

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

You will feel alone, you’ll feel pain,
you’ll feel like there’s nobody in the world who feels like you but I will tell
you now that that’s not true. Don’t force yourself to do things you don’t want
to do just because you think you might be broken. You’re not broken, you never
were.

Go into yourself, find yourself,
acknowledge and cherish the things that make you happy.

I still feel extremely alone, I haven’t
found many people who feel like me yet but I’m hoping that through this I can
reach out to some of them.

I can always lend an ear for anything.

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

Here’s a bunch of links you can find me on
and look through more of my work.

Tumblr: http://kelbremdusk.tumblr.com
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1NaDNqgbf5SN5HnfYiOR-A
Twitter (although there’s barely anything): https://twitter.com/eatshitdr0pdead
My webcomic: https://tapas.io/Kelbremdusk
and my NSFW discord server (you can pm me for that one)

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

Today we’re joined by Anne. Anne is a phenomenal artist who specializes in crochet. She crochets the most extraordinary things: from dishcloths and scarves to actual sculptural crochet. Anne enjoys making things that make people smile. Her work is beautiful and adorable, filled with gorgeous vibrant colors. It’s clear she’s a passionate and talented artist, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I crochet as a hobby, mostly small pieces like amigurumi
(sculptural crochet) dishcloths, potholders, market bags, scarves and hats. I
like to create things that make people smile or bring people comfort.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by people most often. I see a pattern and think
of someone who could use that. I love the feeling of something coming together
in my hands, stitch by stitch.

My mind becomes so
engaged through my hands and my tools, that even if a project sits in a drawer
after I finish it, I can pick up that piece and remember something. I love that
feeling.

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

A therapist suggested I take up a hobby at a time when I was
unemployed and unhappy. I had been working with one of those Nifty Knitters you
find in craft stores, but I never thought of myself as a crafty or creative
person. Since she crocheted, she suggested I try that; the supplies and
instructions were right next to the Nifty Knitter looms, so I grabbed a book
and taught myself. I never expected to succeed, but I was determined to get out
of my depression.

I tell people that it took a lot of swearing and
frustration, but I sure had the time and the stubbornness. I did the basics for
a while, making plenty of mistakes (I still do) Right as I was getting
confident, my friend got me interested in Bloodborne. I watched Let’s Plays and
chatted with him about it a lot. (Spoiler Alert) I ended up creating the Moon
Presence infant from the game, a black, slug/squid like creature (it’s cuter
than it sounds!) It’s the first pattern I ever drafted myself. I had to learn
Amigurumi techniques first, and then prototype a bunch of different ways to
create the shape. I even gave it a little sweater. In the end, he said it was a
good neck pillow and his cats liked it. I knew from then on that I could create
anything I wanted.

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 often have a chance to “sign” my work, so I don’t
have a maker’s mark as such, but every piece feels unique. Even if I’m working
off a pattern, I get to choose the yarn color and style, I have my own way of
doing things and modifying it to fit my needs and desires. In the end, it’s my
hands that have created it, and no one else’s hands could do it quite the same.
I know every inch of that piece and it’s mine.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Play! Play is how you discover your next project, or the
next skill you need to develop. Play will often inspire you to something you
didn’t imagine before. The pressure to make money and produce value can often
take us away from the freedom to experiment without consequences. I take a very
loose philosophy with life and crochet. If there’s too much tension, you won’t
be able to work with it, or the thread may even snap.

If you feel you’ve lost your spark, it will come back,
perhaps differently than before. If you get stuck on something, then maybe it’s
not the time for that project to happen. The whole reason I crochet is to relax
and be happy, if I get away from that, I can’t do it. Don’t loose sight of the
reason you create.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I identify as asexual and aromantic, because the basic
definitions feel right to me. Beyond that, it’s complicated. I’m a fan of the
word queer, because attraction is strange. I grew up with very clear, heteronormative
expectations to marry and have a family, and now I have a very different
concept of what that “family” could look like.

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

Mostly ignorance. If I go to knitting and crochet circles,
I’m often the only queer person there, and the only single person in my age
group.  Crochet is included in the
“homemaking” arts, and I have zero interest in that field. People will ask,
“Who are you making that for?” And more often than not, the answer is, “myself”
because I don’t have a partner or kids. It can also be a good conversation
starter if I’m making something in ace or gay pride colors, I get to explain
why I chose them. I see more assumptions about gender when it comes to fiber
arts, myself included. 

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

Most people assume that it’s a function of my anxiety. It’s
not. Most people assume I’m never interested in sex, or I have none of the
accompanying desires. I often have to remind people that I do experience
attraction, but not the way most of them are used to it. I guess the biggest
misconception is that I don’t have feelings for anyone, and that I’m somehow innocent
or that I’ve given up. I haven’t given up on love or people, I’ve accepted who
and how I love, and I have learned to love myself and my curiosity.

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

If you’re struggling with your orientation, find other
people who talk about it. Read about their It’s not always going to be a clear
and fixed thing, and that’s okay. Respect that part of yourself, and you’ll
learn a lot about it.

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

I’m on Reddit, u/theta394
where I post my progress and finished objects. I’m also on Pintrest at anelysis
and Ravelry at SailorArtemis collecting patterns.

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

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.

Today we’re joined by Naomi Clements Gettman. Naomi is a phenomenal visual artist and writer. The visual art is digital and mostly for fun. She does fanart, collages, and sometimes collaborates with her sister. When she’s not creating visual art, Naomi also writes a lot of poetry. It’s clear she’s a passionate artist who loves to create, 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 art encompasses a few things. I dabble in
Photoshop and making digital collaborations with my sister. Most of the time
this means I will create a reference for her, she will draw line work, and then
I will scan and color. Other times I make simple collages, fan-art for bands I
love, or illustrate random jokes.

I also enjoy writing and have written lots of poetry,
although none of it is published anywhere. I am currently in the process of
collecting it all and will probably self-publish sometime soon, just to have a
physical collection to share with whoever would like to read it. I am also in
the process of writing a book, which is from an idea I developed in several of
my screenwriting classes.

What inspires you?

I think for my graphic design things, there are
certain things I create regularly, and other things I only create occasionally.
For instance, I may decide I need a new Twitter or Facebook banner and I whip
together a themed collage of things/characters I like. These are easy to do,
and I don’t spend much time thinking about it. Other times a band may host a
fan-art contest, or I may feel inspired by a line in a song, and I create a
single piece I am proud of after a few weeks of mulling it over. Once I am
finished with a bigger project like this, it takes a while to create something
again.

For my poetry, I am inspired by the sound of
things as much as the meaning. I enjoy rhyme and often write a whole poem
around a single phrase that I think sounds good. Sometimes my poems are
fictional stories, sometimes they are about self-doubt, sometimes they are
about growing up. There really is no uniting theme, which is why I find it so
hard to determine what is good and what is trash.

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

To say “field” is probably a bit of a
misdirection. I am currently in the awkward techinically-last-semester-but-done-with-credits-and-looking-for-anyone-who-will-hire-me
phase of life. My chosen field of study is in film/media, and I have a few
different experiences under my belt; from film digitization to advertising.
However, whether it is in the form of an essay, a video, a PowerPoint, or
whatever else, I love being creative and even enjoy working on a team to
research and complete a project. I have never wanted to be an artist in any
traditional sense of the word (like being an illustrator or a musician), but I
do believe that creativity and fun can be a part of almost everything you do.

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?

Nope! I suppose I should start signing things, but
I haven’t yet.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

My advice would be to just have fun with whatever
you are doing. Lots of ‘serious’ jobs require creativity, and lots of
‘creative’ jobs require business skills like budgeting or scheduling. Your best
bet is to approach whatever it is with a good attitude, and even if you don’t
love the whole job or the assignment or whatever, you can at least find an
aspect of it to enjoy.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I have happily identified as aro/ace for about 5
years now (since I was 17). The aro part of my identity came a little later, but
so far everything fits. I am fulfilled with the close friendships I’ve managed
to maintain, although I think I would like a QPR.  

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

I have never encountered any type of prejudice in
my workplace, but mostly I think that has to do with the fact that I have no
idea how to be out at work. I never actively hide my aro/ace identity, but also
it never actually comes up. Do people think I’m straight?? Maybe. Although it’s
more likely they think I’m gay since I talk about going to pride and what not. However,
whenever I do mention it, there is never any push-back from the person. Sure,
there’s the usual “what is that?” if they don’t already know, but there is a
never a follow-up “don’t worry, you’ll meet the right person.”

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

I have been very lucky to have an accepting family
and friend group. My whole “coming out” experience is not typical, I think.  I never tried to be anything I wasn’t or even
realized there was something different about me.  Even within the first years of knowing my
sexuality I was on an NPR segment talking about my experience. (Check it out if
you’d like, but be warned it is a few years old now https://www.scpr.org/programs/take-two/2016/08/11/51199/asexuality-and-the-internet-s-key-role-in-the-ace/)

However, one thing that breaks my heart (even
though it isn’t a misconception per se) is when I tell someone I am aro/ace,
and they say they have never met anyone else like me. It happens quite a lot,
and it feels horribly isolating.

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

I wish I had novel advice that could be applicable
to any type of person. Sometimes the “love yourself” mantra is easier said than
done, especially when you battle with anxieties and insecurities that others do
not. But I’m afraid I am not that person, and the only advice I can offer is to
find the connections that allow you to love yourself. Put all your energy into
cultivating a small network of love, and support will be there when you need
it.

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

If you would like to see my work or check out my
socials, please go to https://sncgportfolio.weebly.com/

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