Category: digital art

Interview: Aodhan

Today we’re joined by Aodhan. Aodhan is a phenomenal visual artist who is a first for asexual artists. His works involves a lot of rotational symmetry and either extremely light or heavy contrast between them. I was studying the work he sent with his interview and there’s something almost hypnotic about it. His work is incredibly interesting to look at and it draws the viewer in. It’s clear he’s a very passionate artist who enjoys what he does, 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 do mostly visual art that deals with colors, gradients,
and rotational symmetry. It’s all done digitally through mirroring and color
changing software. The main stylistic choices that I use are very soft and very
heavy contrast with minimal blur, or sometimes forgoing some levels of symmetry
for a level of blending or shadows.

Most of my base pictures are pictures I take or random
gradients. Sometimes I use random memes or just odd pictures just for the level
of fun I get from realizing that I just turned some random image from my
gallery into a piece of art.

What inspires you?

My main inspirations were funnily enough my cat Cider, eyes,
and many types of butterflies and moths. I was always fascinated my cat’s fur
and the patterns in it despite how minimal they could be, and wanted to
recreate them in digital art. When it came to eyes, I was always enthralled by
how they looked, especially the iris. Then for butterflies, well they were
pretty and symmetrical, what more was there to like?

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

Oddly enough, I started doing it for the sheer purpose of
messing with people and using it to add more “pylons” to a picture. The meme of
“You must construct additional pylons,” was one that I enjoyed, and someone bet
that I couldn’t make a bunch of copies of the Starcraft pylon in an image look
pretty. I took this challenge in stride, made five dollars, and found a passion
in creating these odd pieces. As one could guess, I wasn’t always too keen on
becoming an artist. However when I found a medium I enjoyed, it kind of just
sparked.

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?

Well they’re usually symmetrical as the term rotational
symmetry implies, but other than that there is no real signature that can be
found.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

For life, I’d say to find and do what makes you happy. When
it comes to art, I’d suggest to try weird styles and challenge yourself in
weird ways. You may just find exactly what you love doing.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I identify as a homoromantic asexual.

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

Only once, and it was with a friend who did not know what
the term meant. He acted rudely at first but thankfully he’s an accepting
person and with an explanation of how it worked, he understood and became
rather nice about it. In general, if it would happen again, I’d just explain
the details and if it doesn’t help, I’d back off and recognize that it wasn’t
working.

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

That we identify as asexual because we can’t find someone to
have sex with.

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

You aren’t broken, you weren’t made incorrectly, and most
importantly you are absolutely valid however you express yourself or identify.

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

You can find some of my work at my Tumblr at tripping-ace where I sometimes post
art but usually drop some stupid humor.

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

Interview: Runesael Johansson

Today we’re joined by Runesael Johansson. Runesael is a wonderful digital artist who specializes in character design. He works mostly in roleplaying games like Dungeons and Dragons. He has recently gotten into drawing World of Warcraft characters too. It’s clear he’s a dedicated and passionate artist who loves what he does, 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.

Most of my work these days centers around Dungeons and
Dragons player characters and NPCs, alongside other TTRPGs and roleplaying
games. I’ve also done a fair amount of people’s characters from World of
Warcraft.

I work almost exclusively in Photoshop CS-6 or Procreate.

What inspires you?

Primarily, stories. One of my absolute favorite things about
doing the work that I do has to be hearing other people’s stories about their
characters and the adventures they’ve had with others. There’s such a broad
variety of individuals and experiences across the TTRPG community, so every
character I ever get to draw tends to be unique or unusual in some way. Even if
you have two chaotic good fighters from a small village who’ve sworn an oath to
protect their friends, say, those two fighters can and often will be radically
different people.

The TTRPG and WoW communities are both enormously creative,
and getting to see all of the various ideas that people come up with is
something I’m really grateful for and honored to be able to help bring to life.

Additionally, music – I can’t paint without it!

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

I began drawing because I wanted people to be able to see
the characters and places I described in my stories as a kid. However, it was
never really anything more than a serious hobby until about 2016.

As obnoxious as this might sound, I’ve never not been an artist, so I’m not sure what
it’s like to want to be one. I’ve been drawing since I could hold a crayon.

My original career was in music performance. An injury
exacerbated by overuse and stress pulled me out of a performance career, and I
kind of spent my twenties wandering around with absolutely no idea what I
wanted to do with myself or my life. I was really lost. I’d gotten a full
scholarship to a small school, and figured I’d make my way through a four year
degree before going on to pursue a masters. That did not happen.

During my late teens and twenties, I was also a volunteer
storm chaser with ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Services), and working
emergency telecommunications. I loved the work, but it stopped being fun after
I realized the extent of the impact that natural and man-made disasters had on
the human lives around me. Though the work was fulfilling, I knew I didn’t want
to do it for the rest of my life.

There were a few attempts at other careers. Honestly, all
they ever taught me was about all of the things I didn’t want to do with my life. The last one being that I wanted to
become a French translator and a linguist.

As a sort of last hurrah, I posted a thread on Reddit in
2015 offering to draw people’s World of Warcraft characters. There, I met a
handful of really incredible people who brought me into the WoW art community,
and from there I got into Critical Role and started becoming increasingly
engaged with the TTRPG community. The rest, as they say, is history.

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?

Most of my work these days is done for other people, so
you’re not going to find much of my own personal motifs in the majority of my
portfolio.

The signature that I put on my artwork is the text symbol
for “thunderstorm.” (It looks like this: ☈) It’s a play on my first name and it’s a nod to the work I’ve
done in the past. Also a reminder to myself – if it’s not a tornado, it’s
probably not worth getting super worked up about.

I use a lot of blue and gold – they’re my favorite colours,
mostly because I’m from a coastal town in Florida and have always loved the
water.

There’s so much
music in my work, to the point where all of my Inktober pieces this year were
just based on songs.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

There’s enough tutorials and technical advice these days on
the internet that I feel like anything I could say on those subjects has
already been said. So, instead, here’s some lessons I learned the hard way.

First of all. Don’t
be an asshole.
It does not matter if you are the most skilled artist in
your particular field, if you treat people like garbage, no one will want to
work with you. This includes being vocally critical of other artists. This
includes treating the artists around you as competition or as enemies, rather than
potential friends or coworkers. This includes being a sarcastic, sardonic shit
about everything. Cynicism doesn’t make you cool. It doesn’t make you some
enlightened sage of the ages, it makes you a prick. Empathy, kindness,
understanding and patience will get you far, far further than raw skill alone.
Praise others in public, critique if
asked
in private. Don’t be an ass to younger artists, they’re doing their
best.

Second. Art is extremely hard work. There is
nothing cute or fluffy about being a creative of any sort. You don’t get to
float around waiting for inspiration, or depending on some “muse” to bring your
ideas. If you do you’ll never get anything done, and you’ll never get better.

When you first start making stuff, you will suck at it.
You’ll suck at it for a while. It’s normal, don’t stress. Art isn’t something
you master overnight or in a year or even in ten years. You will be fighting a
continual, uphill fight for most victories and breakthroughs. When you “level
up” as an artist, it will be because you worked your ass off. The answers to
the problems you face will not be written out for you in books. You will need
to find those answers for yourself. If that doesn’t sound like a good idea to
you, don’t be an artist.

Third. Talent is a
myth and an excuse.
There is no bullshit force in the universe that
~magically~ gives you the ability to create anything. There is the only the
work, the desire to do it, and the determination to keep doing it when it gets
hard. That’s all. You get better by practicing and studying your craft.

Fourth. Art is for
everyone.
See number three. Art is not for special talented people who have
~the gift~. The arts in general, creative work – they are for everyone and
anyone. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If someone says you’re talented,
say, “Thank you, I work very hard.” They mean well, take the compliment.

Fifth. There are
a bunch of people who will tell you in kind ways and not-so-kind ways that the
arts are for fools who can’t manage a “real” career. What they do not and
perhaps cannot understand is that not
being an artist when you want to be simply leads to a chain of unfulfilling and
meaningless careers that you never fully commit to or enjoy. Life is far too
short to go through it longing.

Sixth: Don’t be
alone.
Involve yourself in a community. Isolation is death for artists.
Surrounding yourself with artists of all different skill levels will teach you
more than any class ever can. A good community will raise you up when you’re
struggling, and will keep you grounded. There will always be someone better
than you, don’t let that discourage you or inhibit your progress.

Seventh: Rest. If
it hurts, stop. If you’re frustrated, take a break. If you need help, ask.
Don’t let pain and exhaustion be a point of pride and don’t work yourself to
death. Sitting in front of your tablet or easel for sixteen hours a day without
eating or drinking is going to fuck you sideways when you get older. It doesn’t
say that you’re devoted and hardworking, it says you don’t take care of
yourself and don’t manage your time properly.
Eat regularly, take your medication, make sure you drink water. Don’t
survive on sleep deprivation and energy drinks. Your work suffers when you
suffer.

On that note. Great
art does not come from great suffering.
If you create beautiful things
from pain, imagine the things you could make when you’re safe and okay.

Tragedy, trauma,
angst, anger and sadness don’t make you interesting.
They inhibit your
feelings, keep you from growing, they keep you from forming good and healthy
relationships with the people around you. They keep you from becoming the
person you want to be. Don’t wear your sorrow like a trophy, because it isn’t.
The fact you survived it makes you strong. What will make you interesting – and
your work interesting – is how you recovered and grew beyond those
circumstances.

You are worth more than the things you produce. Don’t tie
your self-worth and self-esteem to your craft.

Stay humble. Work
hard, be sincere in your passions and in your relationships with others. Be as
good to the people around you as you can be, and if you can’t say anything
kind, shut the actual fuck up because no one needs your bullshit.  The most important thing in this world that
we can be is kind. Life is difficult. Life as a creative is even harder. Do not
be the reason someone else decides to quit doing what they love. Everyone has
something amazing about them, be receptive to finding it.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m demisexual.

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

Personally, no. I don’t talk about it much as I’m a pretty
private person about my romantic relationships.

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

That asexual people are sex-repulsed. That we’re frigid or
cold. That we don’t actually enjoy any form of physical contact whatsoever.
That we’re broken or defective.

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

“Even if it gets hard

don’t lose that light.”

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

http://www.twitter.com/runesael

http://runesael.squarespace.com/

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

Interview: Robin Luigi

Today we’re joined by Robin Luigi. Robin is a wonderful visual artist from New Zealand. He’s currently studying in art school. Robin does both traditional and digital art. It’s clear he’s a dedicated and passionate artist with a bright future ahead of him, 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.

So, I’m a Visual Arts student and I make art that ranges
from: Traditional illustrations and Paintings to Digital works. I try to
include LGBTQIA+ themes and content when I can.

What inspires you?

I get inspiration from a range of different sources, most
often from something I see in the world. I have a fondness for colour theory
and I usually get inspiration from a colour I see. Sometimes it can be a number
of colours and I use them as a starting point for the tone of my work. One of
my favourite places to get inspiration is from the people in my life (be it in
person, or over the internet via selfies or photos) and if I meet a new friend,
making art of this person helps me to understand them better.

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

I’ve always enjoyed making things with my hands and because
I find it a lot easier to draw/illustrate things, than I do with
writing/calculating things and that became quite obvious to me, that this was
where my strength was.

Having said that, I never really considered myself as an
Artist and, though I guess there isn’t really a better description than that, I
don’t always considered myself as one. I like the term Art Student as I
identify with the idea that I am always learning about bigger and better
things. Often, when I refer to myself as an artist it’s only because most
people know the context of my ideas and interests.

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? If I do, I don’t do it consciously or
intentionally. I really like that idea however and I always admire artists that
have their little mark or feature. I personally don’t have the capacity to be
so consistent. Unfortunately.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Oh, man. I am not really the most eloquent person but I’ll
give it a wack:

The best advice I could give would be, Go for it –
unapologetically, Art is what you make it. And I don’t just mean you should be
making stuff from nothing, I am saying if you see something/a concept that you
think isn’t working or you can see a way to improve it, go for it, change it
up. That’s an important and valid creative endeavour. Reminds me of a quote,
from a great movie from my childhood:

“When something’s not working right, the best thing to do is
tear it apart to make it better” – Drop Dead Fred.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m a Trans-guy and I don’t experience sexual
attraction/identify as asexual.

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

I personally haven’t had to deal with ace prejudice or
ignorance as I usually don’t disclose my sexuality to people often because I
don’t view it as a major part of my life. If I did, I would assess the
situation and perhaps educate whomever it was that needed to be enlightened.

Although I do make art related to sexual themes, there is a
few times where I have made (in my opinion) regular pieces of work and people
have given feedback about the sensual undertones, to which I apologise, or ask
for further explanation. It’s not really ignorance but I felt that it was an
interesting point to add because quite often, art means different things to
different people and it always surprises me when people make that association.

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

As I mentioned previously I am kind of a closet asexual to
mostly everyone I know so It’s not often a topic of discussion, but I remember
in high school we weren’t educated on non-heterosexual issues (this was 2009 or
so) and during health class, while the teacher wasn’t in the room, we all
talked about what we knew about gay and lesbian activities. Because I had
previously researched into queer issues, I had to give a small talk on
asexuality. Which got some comments of “that’s not a real thing” and “just
means they can’t get it up” but that’s the extent of it.

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

As I say, I am not the best at advice but I am going to go
with:

You have all the time in the world to figure yourself out
and don’t feel like you owe it to anyone else to do so. Also, if you don’t want
to fit into a box at all, that’s fine too. Be yourself, Love yourself.

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

I have an art-based Facebook page that
has a lot of my work on it. I also have a Tumblr and Instagram where I post art
sometimes, however, these are my personal blogs and I may also post personal
things and other unrelated things. Most of the time, it’s just things I like or
think is funny. Anyway, so the Facebook page is probably the most saturated
place to view my art.

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

Interview: NW

Today we’re joined by NW. NW is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in fanart. She does mostly digital art, though she does occasionally dabbles in traditional media. NW does a lot of costume and character design. She enjoys doing mostly fanart, but will occasionally do original art. It’s clear she’s a passionate and dedicated 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.

So, a lot of my work right now is done digitally — that is
to say I don’t have an aversion to traditional media, it’s just more accessible
to me at the moment — and usually it’s of people. Ranging from character or
costume design, fan art, and a lot of my original artwork I don’t get to post.
I love drawing portraits and faces, so right now, I guess the majority (that I
post, anyway) is of that. I’m mostly self-taught; I’ve learned through
practicing, studying classical paintings, and even watching Bob Ross as a
little girl. I’ve had the traditional drawing courses (you know, still lives of
apples or shapes) in addition to a lot of experimentation software like Paint
Tool SAI, Adobe Photoshop, and Procreate.

I don’t particularly stick to one “style”; I don’t really
like doing line art, I find it too time-consuming and I have issues with
tremor, no thanks to my medication I take. So my style is very “paintery”, if you
like. What I’ve learned in painting courses (and, again, Bob Ross) and I paint
over my mistakes. When I do traditional media, I usually go back to the pencil
or watercolors. I’m a visual person and I love coloring and colors. My favorite
thing about creating art is eventually coloring it.

What inspires you?

A lot of things inspire me.

Art has been a therapeutic thing for me and I’ve gone back
and added my own feelings in them. I’m very guilty of day-dreaming and since I
was a kid, those day dreams inspire art. I think of stories and they become my
pieces. Things I see in real life, whether it be color combinations, fashion,
or images I pass, I try to hold onto that visual memory and bring it back.  Nowadays, I carry my iPad and stop to at
least get it out before it goes. Movies definitely do—I hadn’t realized how
much movies affected my stories and images until I got older.

Other artists most definitely do, which is why I’m Tumblr a
lot. Most of the blogs I follow are other artists. There are also a few blogs
that post traditional and classical artwork that I love. And, really, the music
I listen to also is a huge influence on me and I always listen to certain bands
and artists to try and captivate a mood in my pieces. My usernames
“ofborrowedlight” and “rainbowillness” actually come from one band that I
listen to a lot when I do artwork, Wolves in the Throne Room. They’re titles to
two songs, “Rainbow Illness” and “Queen of the Borrowed Light”. For my personal
“project”, I listen to them quite a bit.

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

Well, I’ve been holding a pencil since I had an
Etch-a-Sketch and I cannot recall the rest. And I keep bringing up Bob Ross for
a reason—I watched him religiously as a little girl. I’d say that he was
actually the first influence that wanted me to get into the field. By the age
of five, my mind was made up: I wanted to be an artist. I struggled with
dyslexia and bullying and art was my constant companion for me. Having that man
on television taught me so much about color and composition at an early age and
his attitude of “there are no accidents, only happy mistakes” is such a
positive thing to have and he’s really still pushing me, to this day, with that
attitude. If you ask me now, yeah, I still want to draw and create for a
living. It hasn’t been easy working full-time and trying to earn money, though,
but I have not given up. I still try to draw every day; unfortunately, I get
really shy posting stuff online or I’m spending more time on it than I wanted
to.

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?

Not in particularly? At least I don’t think so; maybe my
coloring?

Maybe the closest to it if anyone notices that I incorporate
a wave or a flow around my figures, sometimes. That comes from how Gustav
Kilmt, Alphonse Mucha, and some traditional Japanese paintings that seem to
have a special way to draw smoke and water. I can’t really write it, but anyone
can find it in my sketches. But flat out, there’s no real unique symbolism,
usually. If there is, it’s with my original stuff with little hints, but no one
is going to know context, it’s just me, because I haven’t really presented the
world with that story yet. It’s an inside joke with me, I guess.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Keep drawing, draw as much as you can, and don’t be afraid
to expand your style. I was like a lot of artists out here on Tumblr; I’d print
Sailor Moon illustrations and copied them. It’s good to do that to get up on
your feet, but don’t allow that to be a dependency. Don’t be afraid to get
books for the sake of illustrations—I still do. And don’t feel bad about your
level of technique doesn’t match your friends or other artists out there. Art
is all about your interpretation. While I can go on hours how stupid still
lives and contour drawing is, they are essential to getting better. Take
classic courses; if they’re not accessible to you, check out Udemy or Coursea.

With digital art, it’s a lot of practice. You just need to
play around with features in software and you’ll find some really cool effects
to enhance your coloring. Transitioning from a sketchbook to a drawing tablet
is weird and don’t feel bad about not getting it; it took me years to get it
and I’m still trying to play around with it. You’ll find a favorite program
that you love! And even then, I would encourage you to have more than one
digital art program. I hop around Paint Tool SAI, Photoshop, and Procreate all
the time.

And really, I can’t stress it enough: don’t give up. You’re
in an age where more of these things are accessible to you and it wasn’t when I
was a kid. Keep drawing, draw more, and draw whatever you want.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

Heteromantic asexual but more often gray-sexual. I think men
are handsome, that’s about it. I’m not bothered by it and I really don’t care
about relationships. Finding a man attractive is the furthest I’ll go; I don’t
want much interaction after that.

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

The closest I’ve experienced any sort of misconception have
been at concerts, anime, or comic conventions (surprise, I draw there too) and
having to really push back men that have approached me for a date or my number.
If they really can’t take the hint or accept “no” for an answer, I’ll get up
and leave. A few times I’ve had men at just concerts or gatherings telling me
they can “fix” me or change my mind. Then I’ll just tell them to fuck right the
hell off, literally.

However, the most prejudice and ignorance I experience is
outside of art and I experience it more with my family. It’s an odd mix of
Irish and Mexican Catholicism where most of the women in my family married
young (we’re talking 17-19) and they think there’s something wrong with me
because I have no kids and I’m not married. No matter how many times I tell
them “I don’t care, I don’t find anyone attractive” or “sex doesn’t interest
me”, it doesn’t seem to sink in. Even when I told them there’s a community of
other asexuals, one said “well, they must all be very depressed”. I make jokes
about things like “this is why I don’t date” and use it to reiterate I don’t
care about relationships.

So I’d say the run of the mill crap—“you haven’t found the
right man”, “you’ll change your mind someday”, or “you must be very lonely”. I
just shrug it off because I’ve had this conversation so many times with my
family.

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

I’m not sure if this is common, but my father believed it
was the same as bisexuality—I’m just glad he recognizes that even if I’m not!

One thing I’ve seen is people assume its celibacy and then I
have to explain there is a huge difference between the two. It does get tiring
having to explain it’s a lack of physical attraction and a desire for it and
no, I am not going to change, I’m not worried about not being married, and I’m
well over 20 years old and it’s not likely I’m having second thoughts. I am,
myself, sex-repulsed, but other asexual people are not and that’s usually one
assumption that people go with. Having other people chime in and say they
aren’t hleps.

Unfortunately, I will say that because I struggle with PTSD from
abuse, therapists assume that the asexuality may be a cause of it. I’m sure
it’s a contribution, but more along the lines I just find general touch
revolting, though I’m confident that it’s not the ultimate reason why I’m
asexual. I feel like psychology needs to learn more about it because I am tired
of that assumption is because its due to trauma. I don’t think it’s asking too
much that therapists and psychiatrists learn about asexuality. We’re not all
like this, not every asexual person is like that due to trauma. And this
thinking let me believe that I was really, really destroyed for years when I
was not.

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

If you also had a past of trauma like me, I’d say check out
Aven and other communities geared towards asexuality so that you will know
you’re not broken. I feel like this isn’t really talked about that much and
it’s a shame. This isn’t part of PTSD or other forms of mental illness; you are
not mentally ill if you’re asexual. When I first heard asexual at 18, I didn’t
know about these things and I’m so happy other people have this access. Even
now, at Pridefest here in Denver, there are asexuals and I haven’t seen them
not even five years ago. My present employer, Ikea, even had “asexuality”
listed on their diversity and inclusion talks—that’s really awesome.

There’s a lot of research and groups, there’s a whole world
out there. But if you get the same spiel as I do, I think at this point, all we
can do is just poke fun at it. Nothing makes me feel better than mocking these
conceptions with other aces, it’s a nice reassurance. And if you’re in the same
boat with me and family, yeah, post a link on Facebook or just print it off and
be like “read this”. I don’t feel like we have the same level of resistance to
people that are gay, lesbian, bi, and trans, so we need to also understand
that. Watching a family member bullied out of the closet was horrific; I still
couldn’t draw comparisons to their situation. Ours seems like a lot of people
just can’t comprehend a life without physical attraction, I think. I just hope
people remember that, especially.

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

Most of my stuff is posted on Rainbowillness.com, which is hooked up to
Tumblr. If you’re in the American McGee’s Alice fandom, you know me, I’m sure
you’ve seen my stuff. I’m also on Instagram under “ofborrowedlight”;
sometimes I will post WIPs (works in progress) on my personal Tumblr, “ofborrowedlight”, but I urge
everyone just go on my site and follow me there.

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

Interview: Nikki

Today we’re joined by Nikki. Nikki is a wonderful fanartist who does
digital art and is an avid cosplayer. She mostly sells digital art at
conventions, where she also shows off her incredible cosplays. It’s
clear she’s a dedicated artist who loves what she does. My thanks to her
for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I am a digital artist & cosplayer!  I sell fanart at cons, do commission work,
and, well, build cosplays!

What inspires you?

For my cosplay, characters who I see part of myself in
inspire me the most.  Strong women,
mostly.  I’ve also just made cosplays
because the character design/execution in the original media look cool.

For art, I find that real somber, sad scenes inspire
me.  I’m not entirely sure the reasoning,
but it resonates with me more than happy, cheerful stuff.

by Daily Bugle Photography

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

I’ve always been interested in art of any form, but I don’t
think I actively wanted to be an artist until around 2 or 3 years ago.  I also didn’t know I wanted to seriously do
cosplaying until maybe a year ago!  As
for what got me interested in cosplaying, I think it’d have to be the utter
confidence being in costume gives me.  I
love putting in hours and days of work into a cosplay, putting it on, and
showing the world what I made with my own two hands!

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?

Not that I can really think of!  I do have a little trinket given to me by
Guerrilla Games, the company who made Horizon Zero Dawn that I wear when I
cosplay from the game!  I also have a
bracelet my best friend gave me that matches the aesthetic of the game that I
wear, too!

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Very cliched, but keep practicing!  Nothing has to be perfect, in art, cosplay,
really anything, so don’t stress the small details.  That, and, if you put your heart and soul into
your work, it will show, no matter your skill level.

by Final Eva Productions

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I am fully Asexual, and most likely greyromantic, but I’m
not sure about that.

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

Not that I’ve seen, but you never know what people say when
you’re not there.

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

I think the most common misconception that I see is that
it’s about libido or interest in sex, which isn’t the case.  Just like there can be allosexuals can be
uninterested in sex or have a low libido, an asexual can have interest in sex
and/or a high libido.

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

First and foremost, whether you’re asexual or not, that
doesn’t change who you are.  If you feel
comfortable identifying as ace, that’s wonderful!  If you don’t, you don’t have to! Maybe it
will just take some getting used to, or maybe the label just isn’t what you’re
feeling, and that’s perfectly okay.  No
one else can decide who you are, only you can. All I can hope for is that you
love yourself.

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

Anyone who is interested can find me on Tumblr and Instagram at AceArtCosplay,
and on Facebook at Ace Art
& Cosplay
.  I try to post updates
as much as I can, but it doesn’t always happen.

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

Interview: Jess Renae Curtis

Today we’re joined by Jess Renae Curtis, who also goes by Jess or Pup. Jess is the phenomenal artist behind PuppyLuver Studios. She does mostly fan work at the moment but has also recently branched out into original work. She is currently dabbling with creating an original universe. Jess is mostly a digital artist and creates both fanart and original characters through drawing. Her work is bright and colorful, capturing the viewer and drawing them in. It shows an amazing attention to detail. It’s clear she’s an extraordinarily talented 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’m both a writer and a digital artist. My illustrations are
generally focused on characters, both original designs and those from fandoms
I’m involved in, and tend to use a lot of varied color. My writing is involved
in both fanfiction (notable ones I’m working on at the moment include Chronicles of Tajiria, a Pokémon series but with the Pokémon as
people with superpowers/magic, and Sonata
in Triplicate
, a Legend of Zelda
AU series) and my original series Theia
Historica
, of which I have the first entry (titled A Kingdom of Children) published.

What inspires you?

I don’t really have a definite answer for that, it could be
just about anything depending on what sort of thing or things it ends up
inspiring. I’ve had small one-page comics based on something funny that
happened to me while playing a video game, I’ve designed a character because a
YouTuber I follow posted a video of himself shaving his beard with a razor that
I initially thought looked like an owl, I’ve drawn pieces based on something
funny a friend said to me, lots of things. In fact, the general art direction
of Theia Historica has its roots in
one very specific part in the PS2 role-playing game Okage: Shadow King, but it’s a long explanation so that’s a story
for another time.

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

I’ve been drawing ever since I was a little kid, and while I
always liked drawing it wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life for the longest
time. Funnily enough, my first career choices were astronaut and veterinarian,
before I realized that the things in space kinda scared me and I was squeamish
about blood and other bodily fluids, so around middle school I decided to try a
career path that I already had some skill and comfort in. I started
storytelling shortly after becoming literate, though unlike visual art that was
always something I could see myself doing professionally, though more as an
“after I’m done being an astrovet” thing than as part of my main career.

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?

Can’t think of anything in particular except for the star
that I use as my watermark (a five-point star with each point being a different
color of the rainbow except for orange). Also in major writing projects I tend
to find some way or another to put myself in there. Just…self-insert in the
background, there I am.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

If you’re feeling discouraged about your skill level,
remember to keep trying and that you can only get better. You’ve got wonderful
visions that’ve been concocted solely by the processes of your imagination, and
only you can bring them to life for the world to see. Also, don’t pay attention
to what cringe culture says. Make that multicolor Sonic OC if you want. Write a
short story about you getting transported to your favorite fictional world and
becoming best buds with the main characters if doing so cheers you up when
you’re feeling down. Don’t let anyone stop you from enjoying something that
makes you happy and doesn’t hurt others.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m a sex-repulsed asexual. I’m not entirely sure yet of
where I fall in regards to romantic attraction, but if I were to try dating I
think I’d want my first attempts at romantic experiences to be with women.

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

Not specifically in my field, no, and I don’t really know
how I would handle it if I were to encounter prejudice that was physical or
coming from a position of authority. Most people I’ve told about my asexuality
are a bit confused as to what it means at first, but once I explain they’re
generally supportive. I have had encounters with people who flat-out refused to
believe that I was an adult who didn’t enjoy sex and couldn’t ever imagine
doing so, but that one was on me for commenting on a video explicitly titled “Why Does Sex Feel Good?” and saying that I
couldn’t understand why sex-havers craved it so strongly (I mean, I technically
can, cuz if sex weren’t at least somewhat pleasurable to those willingly
engaging in it then the species would die out because then no one would be
boinking and possibly making babies) and I thought the whole societal obsession
with it was a bit ridiculous. I kinda walked into that one, and I ended up just
muting that conversation and moving on.

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

If they don’t outright dismiss the possibility of
asexuality/aromanticism existing, they tend to assume all asexual people share
my feelings in that sex is something they wish to avoid. While I am not one of
them, there are obviously plenty of asexuals who either are indifferent or even
enjoy sex as an activity. I’m put off by all the mess that I’ve heard results
from a typical sexual encounter to even consider trying it, but I will never
knock on any sex-positive or sex-neutral aces.

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

Not having a sexual or romantic attraction is just as normal
as having a sexual or romantic attraction to people of a different gender, the
same gender, or multiple genders. You’re not broken just because all your peers
are ogling “sexy” celebrities and you find yourself feeling indifferent to the
whole thing. And don’t listen to all the highly vocal exclusionists plaguing
the internet that say a-spec people don’t belong. They are the minority given
megaphones, and the majority of LGBT groups and spaces are inclusive of
a-specs.

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

You can find my stuff on DeviantART under the username PuppyLuver, and on Tumblr, Twitter, FanFiction.net,
and AO3 under the
username PuppyLuver256. I also have a Redbubble store and a
Patreon.

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

Interview: goatbunny

Today we’re joined by goatbunny. goatbunny is a phenomenal visual artist who works in a number of different mediums, both traditional and digital. goatbunny has done shows in the past and has a number of different projects they’re currently working on, including creating her own Tarot Deck. It’s clear she’s a passionate and driven 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
paint and draw using both traditional (pencil, ink, watercolor and illustration
marker are my main tools, but I also use gouache, acrylic, spray paint,
crayons, and pretty much anything else I find) and digital media (I’ve
recently gotten back into digital media so I’ve
been exploring more of that). I dabble in almost everything else, I’ll
try anything once. I’ve sculpted in the past, and I sew a
lot when I don’t really feel like drawing or
painting, by hand and with a machine. I am currently creating my own Tarot Deck
and collaborating with a fellow artist on a card game, activity/coloring books
and I have started to experiment more with non-traditional styles of animation
with him using “2-D”
type of puppets using cardboard and even felt. I have recently created my
second short film.

What inspires you?

I
try to gain inspiration from everything around me. I try not to focus too much
on other visual artists like myself as I try to avoid the trap of having other
drawing styles impacting my own too heavily. I am very inspired by music,
films, books, etc. I just try to be as observant as possible. Meeting up with
other creatives also helps a lot. I have a lot of musicians and artists, and a
couple of writers in my friend circle so I like to think we inspire each other.

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

I’ve
pretty much been drawing and creating since I was able to hold a pencil in my
hand. I have always loved cartoons, comics, animated film and even videogames
and had always wanted to be an animator, cartoonist, illustrator or character
designer when I was younger. I HAVE always wanted to be in a creative field,
even if I was steered in other directions. Even when I was studying the
sciences in school or during my short career in the medical field, I never
stopped drawing and now I can finally say that art is what I do full time.

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
can’t say that I really have a unique
signature, aside from signing “Goat”
when I do remember to sign my pieces. Lately I have been watermarking any
pieces I have posted publicly online, and have also been incorporating my
Goatagram logo in digital work (It’s
basically a pentagram with a goatbunny head – a bunny with goat horns).

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Just
keep creating. Even if you don’t end up being a full-time artist,
always make time for art. It’s not the easiest career choice. I’m
35 and have only been a full-time artist for the past 3 years, so I can feel
the difference, financially. I almost want to say my parents were right and
that you should find a steady, well-paying job but to be honest, I traded said
job for the sake of my mental health and I can say that, for the most part, it
was worth it.

If
you do choose art as a career, you may feel discouraged. You may feel like you
want to quit. You may even become disgruntled about what you see in the art
world. It’s important to remember why you create
and why it’s important to YOU. It also helps to
have a close, supportive network to help you through any of the rough patches
you may hit.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I
feel like I discovered asexuality waaaaay late in the game (early-30s) so I
found it really difficult to figure out where I fall in the spectrum. In
retrospect, I feel like I could be a grey-ace but it’s
hard to really tell what I really felt and what I thought I SHOULD feel. So I
generally just use the more general asexual term because I am at least certain
about that.

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

It’s
hard to say as I tend to keep my personal life out of my work for the most
part. My city has a large LGBTQ+ community, and a large arts community and they
both overlap. I have been invited to fairs run by queer artists through a
mutual friend but I feel like ace representation wasn’t
strong on there at all. The community feels very overtly sex favorable, and
most art is very inundated with social commentary, especially about sexuality,
gender and orientation. It even felt like there was even a certain “dress
code”. Since my art doesn’t
have any specific themes about gender or sexuality, didn’t
“look”
like them, and am cis in relationship with someone of the opposite sex, I didn’t
feel very
welcome. Not to say that I wasn’t, but I didn’t
feel very included by some of the merchants/organizers. I’m
not entirely sure if that counts, but it felt like if I didn’t
openly express my sexuality or orientation, I don’t
really count or am truly accepted. I tend to not let situations like that get
to me since I want people to relate to and judge my art, not who I am.

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

Of
the few people I came out to and had to explain it, the main misconception was
basically that I just don’t like sex. In the case of my husband
before we were married, he thought it meant that I didn’t/couldn’t
love him or didn’t want to have sex with him. After
having explained it a few times, he finally understood that I am capable of
love, but sexual attraction
is something I don’t experience. I’ve
come to realize that for a lot of people, it is very difficult to separate
sexual attraction, romantic attraction, love and the act of sex itself.

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

That
one’s tough, since I feel like I’m
still learning a lot about my own every day. I guess: Keep reading up on it. Do
some introspection. Be open to what you learn. Accept the fact that your
orientation may change. Just learn to accept who you and what you’re
going through at the moment. Finding community among others who accept and
support who you are and what you are experiencing will also help, whether it’s
in real life or online.

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

My Tumblr is http://www.church-of-goatbunny.tumblr.com/
And Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/churchofgoatbunny/,
but it’s mostly just posts shared from my
Instagram: at winner.gets.a.rake.
I
do have a Patreon which is a huge help for self-employed artists: https://www.patreon.com/goatbunny
Work can be purchased directly through me or my Big Cartel shop: https://churchofgoatbunny.bigcartel.com/

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

Interview: Lucy Cyclone

Today we’re joined by Lucy Cyclone. Lucy is a wonderful visual artist and fanartist. She mostly uses digital mediums although she also dabbles in traditional ones as well. Lucy enjoys drawing comics and animations, which allows her to convey more emotions in her work. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate artist with a lot of enthusiasm, 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 draw mostly digitally nowadays, rarely finishing sketches
I do on paper. I like to tell stories with my drawings, and am very attracted
to comics and animation, as those can convey a lot of feelings more efficiently
than a single picture.

Externally I live to learn and can appear sturdy, while art
is my vent of things I don’t trust to show in company as well as sources of
enjoyment I can’t possibly show any other way.

I also suffer from the very common Can’t Draw Properly With
A Tablet 2 At Pm But Definitely Will Make A Realistic Portrait At Midnight With
A Ball Point On Lined Notebook Paper syndrome.

What inspires you?

Music, random ideas, other fanwork and personal thoughts. My
biggest muse would be sitting up late while staring at the ceiling, and
Sleeping at Last’s music. Currently really into Transformers comics and Boku
no Hero Academia
as well.

Once I get a good idea it tends to completely overwhelm me.
I don’t finish a lot of them because I always find myself caught up in
something else before I do. It takes a while for me to set foot on solid ground
and decide that I want and I will do something.

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

Currently – art is a hobby. I drew while young but only took
it seriously around two years ago, when I started practicing more often. When I
was 12 I got dragged into cartoons – most notably My Little Pony at the time – and I suddenly wanted to create more
and more visions of fictional worlds – and create my own.

My appreciation for animation and expression grew from
thereon. I still struggle with some human anatomy aspects (legs-) but overall
I’ve come a really long way in the past years.

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 settle on having my signature being legible. With style
being the subject, I prefer to pander to natural proportions as much as I am
able to. Big fan of Disney and western styles, and while I do refrain from
anime and chibi, I do try to replicate the styles of eastern animation work I
enjoy.

Even though chibi is always a go-to when I am tired and just
want to draw something cute.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Don’t take criticism personally, tracing is superb as long
as you credit the original, and studies of photos do miracles

Also don’t be like me and spend 3 years of your life drawing
almost exclusively cartoon horses. Ultimately it helps with general quadriped
anatomy but…just don’t.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

Ace and Bi – I prefer not to directly use SAM unless someone
insists.

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

Luckily, no so far! Asexuality isn’t widely known (which I
personally don’t mind) and I like to be hopeful enough to dare to say a lot of
the young generation in the connected world doesn’t really care about which way
one swings. We’ve come a long way!

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

Being somewhat young, I can understand people suggesting it
is just a phase, and I accept that as a possibility, but I notice that a lot of
other aces experience this as well. Whether or not it is a phase, if the shoe
fits I’ll wear it.

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

It’s okay not to know and never okay to hurry! Take some
time to know yourself, it’s a very long way and ultimately has meaning only to
you, but can still affect others, so keep your head cool. Reason is the best
road.

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

On Tumblr, I post my work at lucy-cyclone, and I try to post at
least once per week. I plan to reboot my DeviantArt soon, though this is enough
for now.

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

Interview: Renn

Today we’re joined by Renn. Renn is an extraordinary visual artist who also dabbles in embroidery and sings in their state’s LGBTQ+ chorus. They have mainly worked in traditional mediums, though they have recently started branching out into digital art. Their work is fascinating in its use of color and light. It’s clear Renn is an incredibly talented and passionate artist who enjoys what they do, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I’m something of an ace-of-all trades (pardon the pun). Most
of my work has been traditional pen and ink drawings- I’ve always been the most
comfortable with felt pens as my medium since you can re-do the sketch as many
times as it takes to get each line juuuuuuust right before finalizing it in ink.
Every now and then I’ll do a watercolor- the colors can be quite vibrant and
watercolors can blend together in a way markers and ink can’t. Watercolor is
something of an exercise in discipline for me; I’m not the most patient of
persons even without taking my ADHD into account- so waiting for the paint to
dry before adding another piece of color can be trying sometimes. I’ve ruined
plenty of paintings only because I just couldn’t wait! I recently started
painting digitally with my beloved Huion tablet- a much better way for me to
explore painting as a medium because there are no more wait times for colors to
dry! And layers! Oh do I love my layers. Working digitally, I enjoy using a
limited but vibrant pallet to challenge myself to really bring out the
highlights and shadows of what I’m drawing, making the artwork overall more
striking.

Sometimes when I have the time + materials + energy, I craft
my own cosplays (and bowties!) In my spare time I also enjoy doing embroidery
and singing with the Rainbow Chorale, my state’s local LGBTQ+ chorus!

What inspires you?

A lot of my main drive to create comes from seeing the work
of other artists. You know how your brain will see someone else’s work and go
“Gee I wish I could draw like that!”
I take that feeling and turn it into “Well why don’t I go and draw something I
want to create that will look just as good that I and other people will enjoy!”

I also enjoy doing art as an out and visible queer asexual
person, because it gives other people like me the chance to see themselves
reflected in my art and see themselves being represented, even if they
themselves cannot be out and visible like me.

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

I’ve been drawing since I was really little, like 4 or so.
Creating art through drawing was something I would do to relax after
school…  or something I did to avoid
taking notes or doing homework… ah ha. For young, awkward, socially anxious me,
art was the best way for me to express myself and communicate. So, in a way,
I’ve always been interested in creative fields because that ability to create
from my own ideas has always been with me. With respect to “wanting to be an
artist” (I’m interpreting this as become a professional) drawing as a job isn’t
something I want to do. I’m happy to take the occasional commission, or make
something as a gift, but drawing as my main profession isn’t for me. Art is an
escape for me, for when life gets to be too overwhelming. If that escape was
invaded by the stress and pressure to constantly create and keep churning out
artwork, then creating would no longer be that escape for me.

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 always sign my work (well, when I remember) with my
screen-name (Renaissance Aeroplane) initials “RA” and a little airplane flying
out from the “A”. Typically I’ll put it in the corner of digital paintings, and
tuck it in somewhere in sight when I do pen and paper drawings.

I’ve had that screen-name for a while, except ‘renaissance’
was spelled with two Ns since spelling wasn’t a strong suit of mine. Thus that
turned into the nickname “Renn” which I’ve gotten rather attached to and
started using as an offline nickname as well.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Take a deep breath, and relax.
Sit back, stretch your arms, and release that tension you’ve been holding
in. It’s okay- if you aren’t as popular as that one artist, if that one line
just refuses to come out right, if you fudged up the inking, painting didn’t
come out the way you wanted it to- It’s
going to be all right!
There’s always so much pressure as an artist, to
keep making more art and be perfect and get likes/reblogs/retweets/site
traffic. That pressure is overwhelming and the last thing that will help you
improve is pushing yourself so hard that creating art becomes stressful and
overwhelming. So take another deep breath, relax, and continue to do what makes
you happy.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

Definitely full-on asexual; the frying-pan of sexual
attraction feelings won’t be hitting me in the face anytime soon. It’s not a
sensation I’ve ever felt, likely will never feel, and I am cool with that being
so. I’m probably?? somewhere on the gray-bi-romantic scale of things; every now
and then I’ll become romantically inclined towards someone, but it doesn’t
happen all that often. *shrug*

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

Fortunately I haven’t had much experience with prejudice
aside from the occasional bigot being rude online. What I have encountered more
of is well-meaning but ignorant folks coming into my inbox and expecting me to
educate them. Which can sometimes be annoying, and other times be emotionally
draining and exhausting. So, what I’ll do is send them a few links with good
articles about asexuality (or trans/nonbinary issues because I get questions
about that too. Yaaaaaay.) that I’ve read through beforehand to ensure all the
info is correct. Then I’ll let them know I’m glad they want to learn more, but
I don’t have the time/energy to educate them one on one on the basics, that the
links I sent contain more info about the subject, and once they’ve read through
what I’ve sent and understand it, I’ll be happy to talk with them later.

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

That eventually I’ll “grow out of it” or “there’s always the
possibility you meet the right person!” *barf* I get that for some people,
sexuality can change or you can discover something you didn’t know about
yourself, but that is not me. I already did all my soul-searching and exploring
and I am quite happy labeling myself as ace, thanks very much. That and there’s
something so gross about the insistence that I will become sexually attracted
to someone. Euggggh.

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

It’s helpful to ask for advice or experiences from other ace
folks and to ask other LGBTQ+ folks about their experiences to help you figure
out what you’re feeling- BUT what determines your sexuality, above all, is what
YOU think and how YOU feel. So, if you think “Well I’ve never/rarely/only
sometimes feel sexually/physically attracted to people” then congrats! You’re
ace! And that is for you to decide whether or not you want to label yourself
that way.

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

Y’all can find me on Tumblr at renn-aeroplane-art.tumblr.com
where I post all of my recent works or if you want to trawl my old Deviantart
for some of my older stuff I go by Senkokura
there. If you like goofy cat pictures interspersed with the occasional drawing
or selfie, then check out my Instagram at renaissance_aeroplane!

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

Interview: Megan

Today we’re joined by Megan. Megan is a phenomenal visual artist who is starting out in writing as well. They are an illustrator and comic artist from the Kansas City area, who focuses mainly on storytelling and narratives. They do a lot of narrative illustrations and comics. For writing, they’re interested in writing fantasy and prose. They’re clearly an incredibly dedicated and talented artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I am an illustrator and writer, working full time as a
production artist to pay the bills, and then working on comics and
illustrations with narrative components on the side. I primarily work
digitally, employing both a comic-y inking style, as well as a realistic sort
of oil-painting style, all either on my computer and display tablet, or on
programs on my iPad. As a writer I love to write fantasy and other prose
fiction, and have started efforts to build a portfolio and work towards getting
published, both short stories and future novels.

What inspires you?

The first place I usually look for some sort of inspiration
is anything Neil Gaiman has said. He has given many speeches and written many
essays on the importance of story and art in the world, and those- as well as
his words on imposter syndrome- give me strength.

But I’m also fascinated by people. Humans are capable of
amazing things like constructing massive skyscrapers and engineering microscopic
movies
; surviving under dangerous conditions, and getting together to hold
festivals full of color and light.
Traveling to different countries and being exposed to new cultures has been
eye-opening for me and is a never-ending resource for inspiration and
creativity.

As of late, Dungeons and Dragons has also been stimulating
for me, from the components like dice and figurines to the stories people tell
through the witty and clever characters they (and I) create. Who doesn’t love
goblins and magic?

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

I always enjoyed drawing and painting, although I was never
really good at it. I loved getting new paint kits and sitting down to paint a
little teapot or planter, but what really got me into art was my obsession with a particular video game.
I was a high school sophomore, just starting part-time in college with the
intent of pursuing a medical degree, and bored. My dad worked at my school, so
I would sit in his office after class and wait til he could take me home. I
vividly remember one day sitting in his office, and instead of doing homework,
I started writing a fanfiction, pen on paper, that I had started rolling around
in my head. Art had also sprung out of this video game obsession, where I discovered
the concept of fanart on DeviantART (I was a sheltered homeschooled child). It
made me honestly, truly happy to write and draw and see the progress I was
making, and to see other people enjoying what I had made. When I took a college
drawing course a year later, I only became more passionate and ditched the
medical school plans for art, and never looked back.

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?

One thing I like to do is that whenever I have to draw a
crowd scene, I like to sneak in some of my characters from other places-
Dungeons and Dragons, or old fanfiction characters- just subtly enough that not
many would see anything different, but if you know the character, you could
find them. I hope someday it becomes a bit of a ‘Where’s Waldo’ game.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Have fun, and take care of yourself.

These two tasks seem so arbitrary but they really mean the
difference for physical and mental wellbeing. Drawing can seem like a chore
sometimes, especially when you’re only drawing or writing something to pay
bills, but when you have free time to draw whatever you want, you should draw
what you want to draw. Write what you want to write. If you go in with the
idea that whatever you make has to be ‘good enough’ to be printed or published,
you’re going to hit a lot of brick walls in the process that only give you
headaches. But if you have fun with it, you’re more likely to finish your
project, and just finishing is half the battle.

But taking care of yourself is vital as well, and I wish it
was emphasized more in educational settings. You NEED rest, you NEED food and
water, and though I realize the idea of the ‘depressed artist working 16 hour
days’ is fairly romanticized, it’s actually incredibly debilitating to work
like that, if you can work at all. You can’t make your best work while you’re
exhausted, and pushing yourself too hard will end up destroying your mind and
body. Seriously. Take a break. Right now, go stretch and drink a glass of
water.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I identify as Asexual as a broad term, and I’ve definitely
hovered over different labels and questioned myself several times, but I’m most
comfortable for the time being with the umbrella term of ‘Ace’. I believe I may
be demiromantic, but I’ve never had a relationship and don’t intend to explore
that area just yet. Someday though.

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

I’m not really out about my identity, so I’ve avoided it.
There aren’t many aces that I’m aware of in my field, so I haven’t seen
anything. I’m sure there’s prejudice out there though, people are unfortunately
afraid of things that are different.

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

That asexuals don’t like sex! I think that it could be more
difficult for some to get into the mood, but Asexuality is defined as having a
lack of sexual attraction to people, not the lack of desire for sex. An ace
person could still be romanced for sure, or maybe they just really enjoy some
self-love!

(Also, the A stands for Asexual, not Ally!!)

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

Nothing is set in stone, your identity is going to change as
you explore and experiment. And that’s fine, most people try several different
labels and have various experiences before they settle into something that
‘fits’. And sometimes, maybe you don’t find something that fits, and that’s
okay, too. You’ll always be You.

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

You can find my artwork here, and my little baby blog is here!

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