Category: fanartist

Interview: Skyler

Today we’re joined by Skyler. Skyler is a wonderful fanartist who has written a massive amount of fics in the Doctor Who fandom. She writes fics about the 10th Doctor and Rose Tyler. Aside from fics, Skyler has also created moodboards and 8 tracks. She’s clearly a passionate artist who enjoys what she does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I have written about 145 fanfics for the Billie Piper and
David Tennant fandom. Most of those are Doctor
Who
, for the Tenth Doctor x Rose Tyler ship (sort of. It’s sci-fi complicated.).
I’ve also made some playlists on 8tracks with manips for cover art and
moodboards and such for this ship.

What inspires you?

I think since I’m aro ace, I find relationships fascinating,
and I love exploring the drama and what-ifs.

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

I started reading fanfic when I was a preteen on a message
board and by the time Harry Potter peaked in popularity around my high school
and college years, I was reading tons of fic. I deeply wished I could create a
Fanfic.net account and start posting. But I was too scared and never did it. I
came back to fic after college when I watched Doctor Who and needed to know
what happened after the happily-ever-after. I started reading fic and had all
these ideas about what I would do with that story. That’s another thing that
motivates me: wanting more than we were given about how a plot point or
relationship tied up.

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?

Having the voices of the characters in my head, thinking
about how the actors would say it, how the character would perceive each
other’s actions… if I don’t have that, I can’t write. It wouldn’t be any good.
But when I do, people say I have captured them well, so it’s worth the battle
to push through.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

There are not as many rules as you think there are. We all
have insecurity. It is tempting to think of fandom as this cool kid table where
you have to get permission to join, but you don’t. Just write. Create what YOU
like. Read as much as you want, and yes there will be fanon that people
consider sacred or whatever, but some of the best fic is from writers who are
new to the scene because they don’t get trapped in the same tropes done the
same way. When you’re in a fandom a long time, it’s tempting to write the same
thing over and over 100 times that everyone else is writing. But new writers don’t
have that sense of conformity. If you can preserve that curiosity and wonder
while also gaining experience and growing as a writer, that’s when true art is
born.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

Aegoromantic/aegosexual (aro ace for short)

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

There’s always aphobes on Tumblr, who aren’t worth my time,
but my actual community has been hugely supportive. I would say all the
prejudice and ignorance from people who matter has been internal. I limited
myself because I didn’t think I could be ace if I like writing and reading smut
(then I found the aegosexual label!). Then I made a post about it and it still
shows up in my notifications years later. I was so afraid to publish my fic for
Pride last year about Rose being bisexual and the Doctor being demisexual. It
was really personal for me. But people are still leaving comments a about how
much that story meant to them. So I think we limit ourselves a lot more than we
should.

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

There are so many out there, but one personally is that people
don’t understand the split attraction model. Usually it doesn’t both me because
I’m both aro and ace, but I do have aesthetic attraction, and people don’t
really get that. I like the visual of a “hot” person and can call people
“sexy,” but that doesn’t mean I personally want to have sex with them. lol It’s
just an expression to explain what type of aesthetic appeal they have. Which
probably doesn’t make sense to people who do experience sexual attraction, but
when you don’t, it is like a huge lightbulb.

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

First, it’s OK to change labels later if you decide you were
wrong. Second, it’s a spectrum so you probably weren’t wrong, just somewhere
else on the spectrum than you thought. And third, you can also be sure! Even if
you’re a teen, you don’t have to “wait until you get older” to identify as ace.
You can be ace at any age. It’s also not a Tumblr thing. People have been ace a
lot longer than Tumblr has been around.

Also, just ignore the discourse. It is minimally helpful
just to be familiar with the arguments people are using these days, but it’s
not worth getting upset about and definitely isn’t worth engaging. Just gather
real fellow aces and allies you can count on and support each other.

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

The best place to read my writing is AO3: Skyler10. My Tumblr
is Skyler10fic. And here is my edit tag and 8tracks.

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

Interview: Matthew Maione

Today we’re joined by Matthew Maione. Matthew is a phenomenal visual artist who also writes and creates fanart. He enjoys drawing faces and also does quite a lot of fanart. When he’s not creating visual art, Matthew enjoys writing and writes both fanfiction and original work. He’s particularly fond of historical fiction and crime suspense. It’s clear he’s an incredibly dedicated artist who loves to create 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 am a
virtual artist and creative writer. I enjoy drawing faces and fanart.  I like playing with colour and texture a lot.
I write almost entirely fanfiction and fiction. Historical fiction and Crime
Suspense novels are some of my favourite to write.

What inspires you?

Music is a
huge inspiration in my life, it can get me in certain moods that are perfect
for writing. My fiancé often inspires me with the little things she does,
dances around the house that make me want to write romance. Nature gives me a
breath of life, revitalizes me and makes me want to draw.

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

It was
actually my older sister, she is a cosplay and traditional artist. She is 5
years older than me and I, being a younger sibling, was jealous and decided I
needed to be better than her. Now I do it because I love it, of course.

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

I used to
but since I lost most of my sight I’ve just been trying to re-explore what my
art is. Playing with styles and shading to recreate it so I can still actually
create, I used to sign my older works.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t give
up! Make your weaknesses your strengths! There is no reason why you can’t
pursue art if it’s what you love. Always do what makes you happiest, not what
others want you to do.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify
as Grey-ace. I don’t really experience sexual attraction, but if I have a
strong romantic connection with someone I am able to connect with them in that
way as well. But it’s more of a, I do it because I love them and want to make
them happy. Not to say that is the only way to do so, there are many ways to
connect with your partners and sex is never a mandatory part of a relationship,
but it can enhance your romantic connection. Simply put, while I don’t
experience sexual attraction, for me, being intimate occasionally makes me feel
emotionally closer.

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

I haven’t
really in my field. It’s not something that just casually comes up in
conversation but those I have told have all been very understanding. A few
people I told were even comfortable enough with me after the fact that they
were able to come out to me as well. In my daily life a few people have said
that it’s because I hadn’t met the right person, or claimed they could fix me,
very common things to run into. I mostly just ignore this and do my best to
stay safe.

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

That I’ll
never be able to have a permanent partner or that it’s a phase. I have a fiancé
who has no problems with it, we have been together for two years. She is always
very understanding if I’m having a repulsed day, because there are good and bad
days. Some days I’m totally okay with the idea of sex and others I can’t stand
to watch movies with implied scenes in them. But if you’re worried about
finding someone who will love you, of course you will. There’s somebody for
everyone.

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

Being
asexual, while it is a way to identify, does not define you. If the thought of
it is new or uncomfortable, it’s just another part of wat makes you, you. It’s
not something to be ashamed of or hide, there are so many people out there who
will accept you for exactly who you are.

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

My Tumblr
is Naoki-arts, I have AO3, Ammarettu. I’m currently working on getting my first novel published
so any news on that will be found there as well!

Thank you, Matthew, 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: Linz Vandermeer

Today we’re joined by Linz Vandermeer. Linz is a phenomenal writer who has recently gotten into cosplay. They mostly write fanfiction, but they started out writing poetry and stories. For the cosplay, they’ve only recently started dabbling in it and enjoys it. It’s clear they’re a passionate 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 have been writing for as long as I can remember, it’s
almost a compulsion with me. I started with poetry, some bad, some even worse,
and then branched out into stories. Eventually, through my love of comics and
movies, I ended up in the realm of fanfiction, and that’s where I’ve focused
most of my attention for the last 3 or 4 years. The other thing I have really
started to get into is cosplay, and though my sewing skills are not the
greatest, I have a great group of friends to turn to where my abilities are
lacking.

What inspires you?

I get a lot of my inspiration from daily life. I take a
situation that I’ve encountered, and wondered ‘what would such-and-such a
character do in my place’, and ‘how could this have gone worse’? It’s like a
little mental exercise, and then before I know it I have 1200 words on a page.
When I am cosplaying, I try to find a character that really calls out to me,
someone that I can see a bit of myself in.

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

Even from a very young age I wanted to be a writer. I used
to write stories with my friends about the adventures we would go on if we
didn’t have to be in school, or if our parents were actually super spies, and
things like that. As I got older I realized that I didn’t want writing to be my
job, it was my mental escape from life and to put pressure or deadlines killed
my creativity. Cosplay naturally evolved from my love of roleplaying games like
D&D. I took part in a LARP (live action role play) for almost a decade
before health issues made it too difficult, and that’s where I really started
to learn to build costumes.

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 like to use British cuss words, they’ve always entertained
me and I grew up watching shows like Monty
Python
and Red Dwarf, so that
coloured my view of humour. More than that I like to take one scene and add
more description than necessary, really make it the centerpiece of my work. I
also rarely have sexual content in my fanfiction, which makes it a bit of an
oddity.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

When you are writing, write for you. That way any person who
likes what you have done, that’s just a bonus. Art should come from inside of
us, and serve us, the rest of the world is a distant second. Do it to make
yourself happy, that’s where the best art comes form.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I am a panromantic asexual and agender individual.

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

There’s a lot of pressure towards sexualization and
romanticism in writing, and fanfiction in particular. I occasionally get
pressure to add sex scenes, and I will the odd time concede and add them, but
it always feels wrong to me. I have no interest in sexual actions, so I’m not
certain that I can really build them appropriately or accurately.

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

I find that for the most part I encounter a lot of confusion
over the fact that my partner and I have been together for almost six years.
We’re both asexual, and though we live together we have separate bedrooms
because I am an extremely restless sleeper. When people hear that we have never
even kissed (I’m touch-averse), they assume we are more like friends that live
together, but it’s not that at all. I love and adore my partner, and being with
her is very different than being with even my best friend.

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

Struggle is natural. I grew up in a world where asexuality
didn’t exist, and where even more standard queer identities like gay and
lesbian were barely discussed. I tried on a lot of hats when I was trying to
figure out who I was, but it wasn’t until I found asexuality that I felt
comfortable and that it was ‘just right’. Don’t be afraid to change your
identifiers when they don’t suit you anymore. Sexuality is not only a spectrum,
but it flows and changes as your identity and personality develop.

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

I have some of my old poetry up on Deviantart at https://www.deviantart.com/cavannarose
and my fanfiction is up on AO3 at https://archiveofourown.org/users/CavannaRose

Thank you, Linz, 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: Jacob

Today we’re joined by Jacob, who is known on social media as Jacob’s Jottings. Jacob is a phenomenal author who writes both original fiction, nonfiction, and fanfiction. For nonfiction, he writes about autism and mental health for the site “The Mighty.” For fiction, he has mostly written fanfiction and original short stories, but has recently taken on two large projects. One involves a detective in post-war Britain and the other is about an autistic wizard (which is something i would absolutely love to read because it sounds fantastic). It’s clear he’s a dedicated and passionate writer, 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’m a writer, and I’ve really started to come out of my
shell in the last few years. I’ve always written short stories and never shown
them to anyone before, but that changed when my friends started writing
fan-fiction, and my English teacher at college told me to attend a creative
writing club.

Though I’m still very private about my larger projects, I
started publishing articles for mental health site The Mighty, one of those
articles received 32,000 hearts on the site, and got shared a lot on social media,
so I started to say to myself ‘what if people would like my creative work too?’
and here I am now, writing two large scale projects, one about an autistic
wizard, the other about a detective in post-war Britain. Not just that, but I
published some fan-fiction of my own, and I found once that was out there, I
found it a lot easier to write without much self-doubt.

I’ve recently finished college, and I’ve been accepted onto
the Creative Writing BA course at a university I’ve dreamed about going to for
years. I’m hoping this will really make my dream of being a full-time writer a
reality, even if it takes years to take off.

As well as writing, I also do a bit of photography, and some
digital design. I make all my own covers for my projects, as well as posters
for events, and I love going out and taking pictures. I often use the pictures
for reference for my writing, and it’s a great skill to have alongside.

What inspires you?

I find inspiration in many things, mainly everyday life. But
I often find myself looking into what I loved as a child, certainly what
comforted me. Sometimes this is in the form of stories by other authors, such
as J. K Rowling, or Terry Pratchett, but other times its films and music, or
most importantly to me: knowledge. Plants, animals, and space particularly
always have heavy presence in my stories, and that’s because I love to learn
new things.

I’ve always written to escape the real world, so I suppose
it is natural that my other methods of escape blend well with this, I often
find that going to a museum or exhibition particularly fuels my writing, it
often ends in me trying to fit a lot into one box- my wizarding story contains
as much knowledge of the natural world as it does fictional magic for example.  

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

I’ve always been creative, and I was sure I wanted to
utilise that in some way, but could never find an exact form that suited me. I
tried art, and drama, and found myself not ever truly comfortable. I mainly
thank books, films, and television, for getting me into writing. The idea of
making my own stories was irresistible! I cannot pinpoint when it exactly
started happening, probably about five years ago, but I finally found that
writing (alongside reading and watching) was the most enjoyable thing to do. Then
it all fell into place, and I find myself writing all the time, even if it
never gets added to again- it’s fun.

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

Oh definitely! The infinity symbol finds its way into most
of the stuff I write, not just because of its use by the autistic rights
movement, but because of my fascination with the concept behind the symbol. I
also always incorporate types of birds as symbolism- usually owls, or penguins,
as they’re my favourite, penguins especially.

Playing with colour is something I’ve recently moved into, I
don’t have a single character that does not heavily associate themselves with
colours and their meanings, even if it is just a subtle inclusion. Blue for my
protagonists usually, a colour I use not only to create a cold atmosphere, but
also to show the presence of intelligence, imagination, and peace. Reds and
oranges meanwhile shows up my more passionate and instinctual characters, with
purple showing a combination of the two.

I also love playing with imagery, with many of my characters
having ‘hair the colour of fertile soil’ or the ‘great spurts of an ancient
wine, hemorrhaging profusely’- it can feel a bit forced sometimes, but it often
pays off, and I find it a great way of illustrating the worlds I’ve made.

I’m also told I tell stories in a unique way, my friend
recently commented that when she reads my writing, I am clearly telling the
story, rather than just creating it. I’ve never quite understood this
evaluation, but I’ve heard it quite a few times in several forms.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

It sounds cliché- but I would say just do whatever you love!
I spent far too long worrying about what others think, and though that matters
if you want to make a career out of it, the initial starting of a new art is a
solo-activity. If painting makes you happy- paint! Everyone I know who does
something creative for a living started off doing it to just kill time, or to
help them with another activity, and it grew from there.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I use the label asexual as standard, to me, this means not
feeling sexual attraction. I’m confident in identifying as a sex positive
asexual, but I’m yet to 100% settle on my romantic orientation.

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

I think one of the strangest encounters in my life was when
I first explained asexuality to someone, without attaching the label to myself.
I was told its ‘unnatural’- for this reason, in my private life, I don’t talk
about my sexuality until prompted.

I also find that some in my age group is often sex-obsessed,
I’ve often been labelled prudish just for not wanting to talk about sex, and I
find it very hard to try and express my frustration with that. I am not at all
prudish, I just think about it completely differently to they do!

I incorporate it into my work- I actually find it harder to
write allosexual characters, and therefore many of my characters are asexual by
accident! And I do worry that some people won’t understand the representation
if they haven’t experienced it first-hand, but I do my best to write characters
that educate as well as represent now.

Outside of my field, I see prejudice and ignorance
regularly, insults such as ‘frigid’ and so on, I also see the constant
discourse present on sites such as Tumblr, and though I do my best to keep out,
I sometimes worry for our community, I hate the idea that anyone who identifies
as asexual will feel like it isn’t valid or can’t talk about it in case they’re
verbally attacked.

As an autistic person, I also find that some people think my
asexuality is part of that. I don’t think it is- and it’s quite insulting to
assume that someone’s sexuality is part of their sensory issues for example.
The two often overlap for me, and I also know autistics that do feel sexual
attraction and have those sensory issues anyway. Some people in both
communities would even say their sensory difficulties enhance their sexual
experiences.

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

Personally, I find that the definition of asexual is often mis-identified.
It means lacking sexual attraction. But I know people who are completely
convinced it simply means ‘won’t have sex, or won’t masturbate’- it is often a
pain to try and debate it with them, and I find myself bringing up articles
from the community to back my side up.

I don’t like discussing the personal details of my own
asexuality in too much depth with people who might not understand, and therefore
I think the extra labels of ‘sex positive’ are really useful when discussing
asexuality, as well as the other identities within the spectrum.

At the end of the day though, the only person other than me
who has a right to that deeper information is a partner, and I don’t think
asexuals should ever feel pressured to dissect their identities for another
person’s curiosity or because of an ignorant person’s misconceptions.

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

Firstly, it is okay to struggle! I found it incredibly hard
to find the orientation that best described me. I still think sexual
orientation is a fluid concept, and I think people who are struggling should
remember that. If something doesn’t feel right, find the label that does feel
right, and don’t feel guilty if that changes. Some asexuals might not find that
identity for a long time.

I myself often find myself wondering if I might be aromantic
as well as asexual, or demisexual instead of asexual, this is a natural part of
development. Just as sexuality in all its forms is natural. A lot of people go
through that internal debate. And nobody should ever be afraid of using the
label that best suits them.

I would also repeat that the only person who needs to be
happy is you. Come out at your own pace. Experience your sexuality at your own
pace. Some people don’t find the identity they’re most comfortable with until
they’re halfway through life, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

There’s a thriving asexual and LGBT+ community waiting to
help you through it all, and the right people within it are not going to judge
you for struggling.

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

People can find my work in several places. For a more personal
touch, there’s my own Tumblr blog which is at jacobs-jottings, or my AO3 under the
same name (but without a hyphen).

As well as this there’s my new Facebook page, also called
Jacob’s Jottings, and my user page on The Mighty, under my full name-
Jacob Durn. If anyone is curious, my photography can be found easily on Instagram, where my
username is identical to my AO3 one.

My blog has a bit of everything (including personal posts,
and lots of reblogs), my AO3 some fanfiction, and soon some original works, whilst
the last two focus on my non-creative work.

Thank you, Jacob, 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.