Category: fanart

Interview: Raven Jay

Today we’re joined by Raven Jay. Raven Jay is a phenomenal visual artist who is currently studying at uni. They mostly draw fanart and original characters. They currently have a fascinating webcomic entitled Anthrel, which is summarized as follows:
“A comic series following the lives of the
Anthreligions; immortal personifications of the world’s religions,
sects, and other spiritualities.”
(It updates on Fridays). It’s clear Raven is a very creative and dedicated 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’m a visual artist and illustrator, and most of my work is
cartoonish. I draw a lot of both fanart and my own original characters and
ideas. I have a few webcomic ideas in the works, and my current one is named Anthrel!

What inspires you?

My current favourite shows to draw from are Voltron: Legendary Defender and Boueibu, but most of my inspiration
comes from religion, magic, and art history!

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

I’ve wanted to be an artist since primary school! I remember
spending most of my time ignoring chances to socialize so I could sit and draw.
My drive to draw – especially comics and illustration – became a lot bigger in
high school because of friends I made and my supportive art teacher.

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?

A lot of my original work centres around religion and
mythology and the beauty I see in it, and my webcomic is about personified
religions, so I guess that’s a recurring theme I have?

My physical artist signature comes from a messy stylisation
of my deadname; I just kept it because I’ve been using it for so long and it
doesn’t really look like a word anymore. That being said, I forget to sign half
of my art anyway.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

It might sound cliché but don’t give up on art because some
people think it won’t amount to anything; instead, keep making art because they
think that. My father used to tell me I’d never make a living out of art, and
his girlfriend’s friend once laughed at me for wanting to be an artist as a job.
But now I’m at uni studying a creative industries degree and building art into
a career, so the joke’s on them!

Also, don’t forget how important art theory is. Not only
does art history tell you where you came from, it can inspire you too.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m just asexual. I’m also sex-repulsed but don’t mind
talking about/drawing sexual themes within certain boundaries.

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

Though I’ve experienced ignorance from peers, I haven’t
experienced much prejudice, as most of my network is my university cohort and
close friends. Normally I deal with ignorance by just politely explaining what
asexuality is! Most people understand after that.

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

The most common misconception that I’ve encountered, I
think, is that all asexuals are by default sex-repulsed. Though I am, I know
not every ace is, and we all have different comfort boundaries for any sort of
physical affection.

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

Always remember you’re valid in your asexuality. Maybe
you’re questioning where you sit on that spectrum, and that’s okay, and maybe
you’ll wake up tomorrow and realise you don’t identify as ace at all! We learn
more about ourselves and about sexuality all the time; what matters is knowing
that identifying as ace or aspec right now is a valid thing to do, and you
don’t need to prove yourself to everyone.

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

You can find my art at draweththeraven on both Tumblr and Instagram! I also have a
website, draweththeraven.com, which I try to update regularly (aka, I never
update it). My webcomic Anthrel is at https://tapas.io/series/Anthreligion.

Thank you, Raven, 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: Naomi Clements Gettman

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.

Interview: Caw

Today we’re joined by Caw. Caw is a wonderful young fanartist who writes fanfiction for a number of different fandoms. She enjoys writing for people with similar interests to enjoy and enjoys writing as a hobby. It’s clear she’s a dedicated artist who really enjoys writing, 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 write fanfiction for communities such as Sander Sides, The
Phandom (Dan & Phil), and Sekaiichi Hatsukoi but I have been planning a
very own original story of my own for the last year, I’m happy to say I’ll be
publishing the first chapter on October 1st!

What inspires you?

I’d have to say my best friends and quotes from my idols!
Dan or danerkuu as many know her is such an inspiration to me, she’s always
been there when I needed her and I cherish every waking moment we share
together. When it comes to a single quote that still gets me is by Daniel
Howell, “You are an independent mind in this universe that can do anything and
everything you have ever dreamed of.”

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

Well, at first I was intrigued after reading fanfictions
about Inuyasha couples so I decided to give it a try and subconsciously it was
really to cope with some past trauma of mine through characters I cherished and
stories I put them in.

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?

Crutches. It comes from a catchphrase of mine, “When the
entire world breaks your legs, I’ll be your crutches always.”

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Fail. Fail over and over and over and over again because
then you learn, you become wise and you adapt to the constructive criticism you
get. Don’t give up, keep practicing, keeping making your art whatever it may be
because if you keep trying that means you’re making progress. It took me three
years to get here and I’m still learning. There’s no perfection but progress is
so much better than perfection because guess what? That means there’s always
something new to learn, some mistake to make, and something to improve which
makes you an even better artist.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

Apothisexual, I identify as asexual and I’m sex-repulsed by
the idea of sex. I really just prefer cuddles and kisses honestly! I prefer to
just say asexual but if you want the detail answer, that’s the closest hit
home!

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

Not necessarily in my field since I’ve only discovered it
recently and I haven’t been attacked either but I am scared for that prejudice.
I know Tumblr is split on what to think about asexuality and one of my family
members isn’t keen on believing my sexual identity. He’s said I couldn’t
possibly know what I am because apparently my hormones haven’t hit yet although
I know that’s not true.

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

To be honest, I didn’t hear about it much before 2018 Pride
Month but looking through forum discussions and the like, people think we just
can’t find the one suddenly spark that sexual attraction.

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

You don’t have to know what you are exactly, I was very
hesitant to say I’m apothisexual because that might be wrong but I’m pretty
comfortable with it and I think that’s the best thing to go with. If you feel
comfortable with your label, then that’s your label! I’m happy just being
labeled as asexual and I prefer it actually. Don’t feel a rush to place label
on yourself either, you don’t have to place yourself in a box because no one is
a perfect size for any box society tries to force upon us!

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

Well, you can always ask on my Tumblr about it and you can
read my stories on a few sites; Tumblr,
Wattpad, Archive of Our Own, and
Amino under the same name I am now – cawerkuu. I talk about when I’m writing on
my Instagram, the same
username, as well if they’d like to follow that, I’m much more active on it!

Thank you, Caw, 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: Morgan

Today we’re joined by Morgan. Morgan is a phenomenal artist who is currently studying to become a fashion designer. When they’re not studying, Morgan cosplays as a hobby and they also draw as well. It’s clear they’re an incredibly talented and dedicated artist with a very bright future ahead of them, 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
studying to be a fashion designer and also cosplay and draw casually. I have
various designs as well as cosplays and art pieces.

What inspires you?

As a
cosplayer and artist, I am influenced by shows and characters I love and feel
passionate about. For original art and designs I am inspired by issues I care
about as well as interpretations of my environment and my own feelings. My
gender identity and sexuality also inspire my art.

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

I
was always interested in drawing, especially nature and humans. My passion and
creativity extended to my self-expression through clothing and led me to create
my own clothing.

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
necessarily. When I start to have more clothing designs that I have made and
created I plan to name my brand after my grandmother’s last name, because she
has always supported my art and all aspects of my identity.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Explore
different ways of expressing your creativity and don’t limit yourself to one
media. Even if you aren’t as experienced or skilled in other areas, trying
different methods opens new ways to interpret your feelings and your art.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I am
asexual and sex-repulsed.

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

Not
yet. Though I feel as though some of my family/friends doesn’t understand why
some of my art/designs are more revealing or “sexual” in nature when I myself
am not sexual.

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

That
being asexual (and/or sex repulsed) means you think sex and people who have sex
are dirty/wrong. I believe sex is a very natural thing and if all parties
concerned are happy and consenting, then that’s great. Do what makes you happy.
Just because there are people who aren’t into it doesn’t mean they are against
it.

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

Even
if you are worried that you might change your mind in the future or that you
should be sexually attracted to others, remember that your feelings and
identity NOW are valid, no matter what you have felt in the past or could
potentially feel in the future.

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

I
have an art Tumblr under the URL mmmdraws and a cosplay Tumblr with
the URL maeroncosplays. I also post a lot of my
cosplay/cosplay progress on my Instagram irish.i.was.dead. My clothing design Instagram is morrisroe_designs though I haven’t posted a whole lot on there yet.

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

Interview: Ell

Today we’re joined by Ell. Ell is a phenomenal fanfiction writer who writes in a few different fandoms. She’s currently focused on Star Trek and Babylon 5, but has also written some Sherlock fics. She is very passionate about fandom and finds a great deal of enjoyment through writing fics. It’s clear she’s a very talented and dedicated writer, 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 write fanfiction. I mostly write for my ships from Star Trek and Babylon 5 at the moment, but I sometimes write for other things. My
first published fanfictions were Sherlock
ones. I love fanfiction and fanfiction writing because the community is (for
the most part) amazing! There are so many lovely and interesting people I have
met through reading and writing fanfiction.

What inspires you?

All sorts of things inspire me! Personal experiences, other
fanfictions I’ve read, songs, anything could inspire me! Mostly it’s personal
experience (or wanting a personal experience) and stories I want to give
characters that I feel deserve it. My friends and fellow writers also inspire me.
Their stories always seem so carefully thought out, and they’re never afraid to
do something different.

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

I have adored writing since I was 8 years old. I actually
started out writing original stories. Now I look back on my first story and
think it’s really cringey, but I also know that that was where I started, and
look at me now! I may only have two complete original stories, but I stuck with
almost all of the fanfiction I started, and I know that just as much effort has
gone into those stories as my original ones, if not more so. I can’t actually
remember how I got into fanfiction writing. I guess I just started to read a
lot of it and thought that maybe I could do it too!

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 usually project at least one thing about myself onto the
character I relate to most. Whether that is my sexuality or my state of mind. I
also tend to focus on writing from the point of view of the character I don’t
relate to that much but still love just as much. For example, when I’m writing
Spock/McCoy, I usually focus on McCoy. I also usually put an author’s note
before the beginning of a chapter.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Dare to be different. Go against stereotypes. If something
hasn’t been done that you think should be, do it yourself. That may seem scary,
but if you care enough about it, your care will overrun your fear.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I identify as asexual and biromantic. I am also mostly
sex-repulsed.

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

I have not, thank god! And I hope I never do, though that’s
unlikely. I know that there is a lot of it out there, and what to expect, so
I’m prepared.

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

That we’re all the same. That if one of us is sex-repulsed,
so are all of us. That if one of us is aromantic, so are the rest of us. We are
not all the same, and people need to realize that.

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

Go with your heart. If your heart says you’re asexual,
believe it. If it’s confused, maybe look up some other a-spec orientations.
Don’t trust people who aren’t asexual to tell you whether you are or aren’t
asexual.

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

I post things occasionally on my Tumblr, which is fangirl-star.

My active fanfiction account is on Archive of Our Own is FangirlStar. I post my
Star Trek and Babylon 5 fanfiction on there, along with a few other bits and
pieces. The ships I currently write for are Spock/Leonard McCoy (Star Trek) and Vir Cotto/Lennier (Babylon 5), but I’m going to start
writing Thor/Bruce Banner (Marvel) soon. Everything I post on there is slash
and rated T at most. I only ever imply at sexual content.

My very first fanfiction account, which I don’t post on
anymore, is Ellis
Jenkins
on FanFiction.net. About two thirds of my stuff on there is Sherlock Holmes. I wrote OC/Mycroft
Holmes. My very early Star Trek slash
is on there as well.

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

Interview: Embo

Today we’re joined by Embo. Embo is a phenomenal artist who specializes in cross stitch. She has recently cross stitched a number of Pride badges, which are absolutely beautiful. Embo also does some embroidery and she has recently started dabbling in drawing as well. It’s clear she’s a driven and 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 mostly
cross stitch, sometimes embroider, and occasionally draw. Cross stitching is my
main art though. I favour working on smaller pieces, and recently I’ve spent
most of my time making small Pride pieces.

As for
drawing, I’ve taken up doodling fan art of Mass
Effect
with the intention of writing fan fic in the future.

What inspires you?

I follow
many talented people on Tumblr, and seeing their work inspires me greatly! If I
see someone has created a wonderful piece of art, I find it spurs me into
action and I will immediately start trying to create something of my own.
Drawing is more accessible for me, but I can’t resist taking on new cross
stitch projects, to the detriment of older forgotten WIPs!

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

Admittedly
my reasons for getting interested into cross stitch aren’t very inspiring. I
kept seeing subversive cross stitch popping up online and thought it was really
funny and wanted to get into that. As soon as I started though, I realised that
cross stitch is an amazing craft, really fun, and especially good for stress
relief! And to this day, I’ve only produced one piece of subversive cross
stitch haha.

I started
as a fan artist when I was younger, but found that no matter how hard I tried,
I was never satisfied with my drawings. Cross stitch, however, has always been
really satisfying.

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?

To be
honest, not really. I still haven’t gotten into the habit of signing my cross
stitch pieces, which is something I really ought to get into doing. I used to
sign my drawings, but I dropped the habit some years ago when I stopped being
happy with what I was making.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Don’t get
bogged down in getting lots of Likes on social media. Be proud of what you’re
making, and don’t stress about what other people think.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

Somewhere
between ace and demisexual. Possibly panromantic and demiromantic too, but I’m
still figuring that part out.

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

The worst
I’ve encountered was coming out to a family member and being told that I just
hadn’t met the right person yet. This was frustrating, as talking about my
asexuality has always been hard in the first place, and I felt like I was being
shut down. In response, I just never brought it up with them again. Nowadays I
rarely come out, unless it’s necessary for the situation. This… is not a great
way to be. I shouldn’t have to feel the need to hide this aspect of myself, but
the fear of prejudice tends to take me over a lot. I’ve also had to quit
visiting some “LGBT-friendly” websites outright, because the audience was
completely acephobic. I realised that I just wasn’t welcome there, which was a
shame because I otherwise enjoyed the site. I… was angry and sad for days
afterwards. It’s not an easy thing to process.

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

That we’re
all a bunch of prudes. Or that we’re just trying to make ourselves out to be
special for something that isn’t even a thing. I also worry that, because I’m
in a relationship, people think I’m not ace anymore which… is not how that
works at all.

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

Don’t be
afraid to embrace yourself! Labels can be greatly helpful, but use them
carefully- don’t cling to them completely. You’re 100% valid in who are, and
don’t let anyone take that from you. And don’t worry if you find your labels
change over time. Mine did, and I had nobody to talk to about it at the time,
but don’t worry if that happens to you, it does not make you any less valid!

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

I post
cross stitch and embroidery at http://stickyfigs.tumblr.com/ and doodlings at https://potatopotholeakastickyfigs.tumblr.com/.

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

Interview: Minerva Cerridwen

Today we’re joined by Minerva Cerridwen. Minerva is a phenomenal SFF author and visual artist. For writing, she has a story published in Unburied Fables and recently released her novella, The Dragon of Ynys (which features an aro-ace main character). Visual art is more of a hobby for her, though she does do commissions. Minerva does handlettering and draws, using traditional mediums such as pencils and ink. It’s clear she’s a very passionate and dedicated 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’ve always
loved writing, and to my great joy I can call myself a published author these
days. I mainly write fantasy and science fiction and sometimes dabble in poetry
and horror. So far I’ve got a short story in the queer fairy tale anthology Unburied Fables and my debut novella, The Dragon of Ynys, came out in May 2018.

The Dragon of Ynys is a light fantasy tale suitable for all ages,
starring aro/ace main character Sir Violet, the knight of Ynys. He helps Holly,
a trans woman, to find her missing wife, the baker. They suspect the
ever-thieving dragon who lives near the village might have something to do with
her disappearance…

Cover by Kirby Crow

I also love
drawing and handlettering, using traditional materials—mainly because I haven’t
had the time yet to learn more about digital art. I like to experiment with
different techniques: I’ve been using pencils, watercolour, brushmarkers and
ink, both for original works and fanart. I wouldn’t mind taking this to a
professional level someday, but so far I’ve mainly been drawing for myself and
my friends.

What inspires you?

I grew up
with fairy tales, both the ones my mother read to me as a child and all the
Disney movies I watched so many times. It’s no wonder that I love writing fairy
tales myself. However, the big difference with the tales I consumed at a young
age is that there will always be queer characters in my stories. It’s so
important to be able to relate to characters when you’re trying to figure out
your own identity, and I feel like it took too long before I finally
experienced that moment myself. Once you’ve seen your identity validated in
popular media, it’s so much easier to accept who you are, rather than to
believe those who say you can’t feel the way you feel or be the way you are.

I hope that
my writing will make it easier for future generations to find stories that tell
them they’re not alone, not broken, and that teach them acceptance towards
others as well. In that light, I write the stories that I would love to read
myself, with all the dragons and magic and hopefully wittiness that I adore in
the works of Pratchett, Rowling, Tolkien and other masters.

For more
specific inspiration, my friend Fie and I started a project in 2013, inspired
by Erin Morgenstern’s Flax-golden Tales. Every week, she took a picture for
which I wrote a ten-sentence story. These days we’ve dialled it down to two
photo-story combinations per month, but Paranatellonta
is still going strong after five years! Getting random prompts from friends is
a great way to stay inspired at all times.

When it
comes to visual art, getting an Instagram account has definitely done wonders.
There are a lot of awesome artists out there whose samples inspired me to try
new techniques. Every month there are challenges going around in different
themes, for any kind of art actually, but in my case those mainly influenced my
handlettering. Practice really helps! I also finished Inktober last year. It
once again proved that an inspiring prompt doesn’t need to be more than one
word or one image. You can see my Inktober drawings if you scroll down a little
on my Instagram.

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

I’ve been telling stories for as long as I can remember. As
I said, my mother read fairy tales to me from a young age, and once I learned
to read myself, my greatest joy was to discover more fun stories. There were
never enough of them, so it only made sense that I wrote down my own as soon as
I could. Surrounded by those fictional adventures, somewhere deep inside I knew
what adventure I wanted to have myself, even when I was five years old: I
wanted to be an author, like those wonderful people who’d given me all those
beautiful tales to enjoy.

My drawing
story is completely different. For a very long time I was convinced I couldn’t
draw at all. I just didn’t have the talent. Looking back at art class in
school, I feel like they never stressed the importance of studying references
enough. I was always doodling in my school books for fun, but it never felt
like that counted.

Fast-forward
to when I’d finished university and my parents were celebrating their 25th
wedding anniversary. I didn’t have much gift inspiration, and they joked about
a “grown-up” child making a drawing for their parents—and the fact it
was a joke tells you enough about how much the arts are respected unless you’re
a Big Name. I often feel like our society expects people either to be a grand
artist or talentless, and the fact that there must be a learning process in
between is often completely neglected.

Anyway, I
went through with it, and as I was drawing my parents from a reference photo,
it turned out pretty okay (especially considering it was supposed to remind
them of a child’s drawing). Most important of all, I had a lot of fun working on it. I’d been looking at a
lot of art online since I’d last taken up a pencil, and combined with using a
reference for the first time, I could see I’d massively improved since my last
school drawing years earlier.

From that
point on I let my more artsy friend Fie convince me to take part in courses on
Skillshare to improve my drawing techniques and handlettering. Now, almost five
years after that anniversary drawing, I actually feel like I’ve made some
pretty things!

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?

As I
mentioned above, you’ll find many fairy tale elements and queer characters in
my writing. More specifically, you’ll encounter a lot of dragons and spiders.
The dragons are a more conscious choice than the spiders, who just always
happen to show up… Just like in real life, I suppose.

I don’t
think I have any recurring elements in my visual art, but I’ve been using a
signature since late 2016. It’s made up of the initials of both my pen name and
legal name.

What advice would you give young aspiring
artists?

I think
it’s an important message that you can always learn and improve. That’s
something I only truly learned from starting to draw. I’d always been
“born” a writer: I started at a very young age and people told me I was
talented. But I had to work to become
better at visual art, and that made me realise that the reason why I’d loved
writing all my life was that I’d been exposed to so many stories to learn from.
Having played with words from a very young age, stories had never been the big
“mystery” that a beautiful piece of art was. So what I mean to say
is: people aren’t born a Grand Artist. They become them. And going down into
history means you’ve worked hard, but also that you were lucky (or, in some
cases, unlucky) enough to have your name picked up and talked about. But that
luck, too, is something you can influence by promoting your work. Like doing
interviews on awesome websites. 😉

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m asexual
and somewhere on the aromantic spectrum, but I usually go with “aro-spec”
rather than a more specific label, because it’s difficult for me to figure that
one out.

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

There’s
certainly a lot of ignorance. Even in some queer organisations, it seems the A’s
are often forgotten. I can only hope that my stories will spread more
knowledge, while still being entertaining rather than feeling like a lecture.

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

That
asexuality would mean you never have sex. It can mean that, and I guess it does for me. There’s certainly
nothing wrong with a life without sex. But for sex-positive aces it makes
things all the more confusing to figure out their orientation when people keep
asking: “But you’ve enjoyed having sex, how can you be ace?”

Aside from
that, I think that asexuality and aromanticism are too often considered the
same thing. This also makes it hard to find a label that fits you when you do
experience romantic attraction but no sexual attraction, or the other way
round. When different sources tell you that you need to feel things a certain,
very specific way in order to identify as ace or aro, it can be a long search
to find a label that fits. And of course not everyone needs to label their orientation, but in my own experience finding
the names and other people who used them certainly helped to stop thinking I
might be broken or wrong.

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

You’re not
alone and you’re not broken. For me it was a massive help to enter queer spaces
(in my case on Tumblr) and read experiences from other queer people. It made me
discover terms (like asexual and aromantic) which I’d never heard of before I
made a Tumblr account almost 10 years ago. It showed me that they weren’t some
kind of theoretical concept, but a whole spectrum of people who experienced things in different ways—and some of their
experiences were just like mine! Suddenly I was no longer “the weird
one”. Which actually took me some time to adapt to, because I’d become
quite used to being “just odd” and labelling myself that way 😛

However, in
the long run, learning about all flavours of queer (be it through books, blogs,
or directly talking to others) taught me to be more open-minded in general and
made me more comfortable with myself.

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

My website
is http://minervacerridwen.wordpress.com/. There you find everything about
both my writing and drawings, with links to my social media. Feel free to
follow me!

Paranatellonta,
a flash fiction project inspired
by my friend’s photography, can be found at http://paranatellonta.tumblr.com/. It updates twice a month and you can read
all the stories and see all the pictures for free.

My visual art can be found
here: https://www.instagram.com/minerva_cerridwen/. I’m posting pretty much everything I draw
on Instagram, showing my learning process with both the pieces that worked out and
the ones that didn’t. Mainly because I find it interesting to track my own
evolution and learn from that in turn!

Other places you can find
me:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/minerva_cerr
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/minervacerridwen/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15904760.Minerva_Cerridwen

And places
to buy my stories:

– The
Dragon of Ynys (Publisher | List of other retailers)
– Unburied Fables (Amazon)

Thank you, Minerva, 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.