Category: fanfiction

Interview: Gemma Irene

Today we’re joined by Gemma Irene. Gemma is a phenomenal writer who writes a variety of things. She’s written a few novels and hundreds of poems, as well as some fanfiction. When she’s not writing, she enjoys visual art. Gemma draws, paints, sews, and takes photographs. She even plays the violin. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate individual who loves to create, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I’m primarily a writer, though I’ve been known to draw,
paint, sew, take pictures, and play violin. Anything to keep my hands busy! As
far as writing goes, I stick to fiction, with occasional detours for poetry,
and a song on the very rare occasion. I haven’t published anything yet, but
I’ve got about three original novels and around a hundred poems under my belt.
I’ve also been pretty immersed in fan fiction the past few years, writing for The Phantom of the Opera, The Boondock
Saints, The Walking Dead
, and Supernatural.

What inspires you?

I hate to say it, it sounds cliché, but inspiration comes
from anywhere and everywhere. I wrote my first novel after a daydream I had
when I was bored at the mall and trying to entertain myself. I’ve drawn things
I’ve seen in dreams. I’ve photographed things that happened to catch my eye.
One of my favorite poems I ever wrote came about while I was sitting outside
listening to the creek flow. I try to stay alert to anything that feeds the
muse, which means either living very much in the moment, or hiding out in my
own little world.

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

I’ve always loved stories and storytelling. One of my
earliest memories is of sitting in my grandpa’s lap with a book, with me
reading to him as much as he read to me. I remember telling stories to my
mother and her writing them down in a blank journal. I relate a lot to Anne
Shirley, or Sara Crewe in A Little Princess like that; my stories always
started as a game of pretend, and realizing I could share them with people was
a game changer. With the Internet, I could share with even more people. And in
the case of fan fiction, connecting with people who were as passionate about
the same characters as I was helped me get even more joy out of it. So, long
answer to a short question, I’ve always wanted to do this!

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

In my writing, I notice a lot of alliteration, and a lot of fire imagery. I like getting down
into the deep, personal aspects of storytelling, so I’m very concerned with the
soulful and intimate. I don’t know if there’s any specific thing that
watermarks my writing as mine…if any readers would like to point something
out?

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Experiment. Let yourself suck. That first novel I wrote? As
is, nobody is reading that, if I have
anything to say about it. There’s a lot of hang-ups about being trite or
cringey, but that’s the only way you grow and evolve. And it’s cool if you want
to pursue more interests than one, or if you’re only so-so at something else
but do it for the joy of it. I’ve worked for years at my writing, but only ever
turned to drawing when I needed the release it gave me. Consequently, it’s not
one of my strongest skills. Same deal with the violin. I’ll never be the next
Van Gogh, or play in an orchestra, but that’s fine. I draw and play for love of
both, and that’s enough for me.

The inverse is true, as well. If you’re passionate about
your art, don’t be afraid to invest yourself in it. Any way you feel called to.
I’m going to go off on a tangent for a second and say how glad I am that fan
fic is slowly getting positive traction, because if I hadn’t started writing
fic, I would never have found an audience, much less one willing to give
feedback and help me grow as a writer. That’s the thing about finding someone
genuinely interested in what you’re sharing, they want more, and they’ll often help you in the process. Whether it’s
encouragement, advice, or simple enthusiasm, it’s out there. Hold it up to your
ear and give it a listen, then decide if it will help you develop your art.
Keep what does, discard what doesn’t. That’s what fan fiction did for me, is
help me find my voice a lot sooner than I might have without it.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m a panromantic demisexual, which is at once very broad
and very specific. To me, they go hand-in-hand. I don’t develop sexual
attraction without an emotional bond, and if I’ve gotten close enough to
someone to form that bond, I’m unlikely to care about gender. It’s the person I’ve developed feelings for.

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

In my field? No. In my life? A bit. I was discussing
sexuality and orientation with a group of ordinarily open-minded individuals
and casually mentioned I identify as demi. I explained it was similar to being
asexual, and they were on board with the ace part but casually dismissed the
demi part. “Some people just want to be special.” It took a while to get past
that, and I’ve presented myself since then a little differently. On social
media, I proudly post all the ace, aro, demi, bi, pan, gay, trans, nb, everything, supporting positivity that I
want to see in the world. In person, I’ll comment on my aesthetic attractions,
regardless of gender, I’ll express support of representation, and shut down
discourse when I hear it. I do what I can to be an ally and a safe space, and
hopefully send a message that I won’t stand for any prejudice.

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

That we’re prudes, afraid of sex, damaged, or “waiting for
the right person.” Yeah, some of us are, but so are some allosexuals. Sexuality
is such a complex, complicated subject, and I don’t understand the aphobia and
ace discourse I’ve seen. The thing is, we’ve always been here, it’s just that
now we’re willing to claim our space, and hopefully we can spread more
knowledge to put an end to the misconceptions.

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

Hang in there. It’s a process. I remember that I was elated
at first to realize I was demi, then I had to process what that meant to me,
evaluate my relationships with people in light of my new understanding of my
identity, decide whether this was something I wanted to keep to myself or make
known to others. Then on down the line, after I felt reasonably secure in my
identity, I realized I was panromantic and had to start all over again. I’ve
found my writing is a very good way to explore my sexuality and my orientation,
and I’m working on more aspec characters to reflect how I feel about my
identity.

My biggest ongoing struggle is feeling ace enough to
identify on the spectrum. I’m very sex positive, and I lean towards the, let’s
say, colorful side of sexual expression, which is far removed from the
misconception about asexuals and how we’re all prudes afraid of sex. That’s
where the ignorance hurts us the most, in my opinion. We measure ourselves by
the stereotypes and assumptions, which are often incorrect, and we cut
ourselves down when we don’t fit. Thing is, I’m still aspec whether I like sex
or hate it, whether I’m kinky or vanilla, because it’s about attraction, not
action.

Aces, grays, and demis, you do you. Own your identity. Share
it if you want, or keep it secret. It’s who you are, and it’s as much about
discovery as the rest of you.

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

Tumblr is my primary hang out. My URL is at risingphoenix761, and my blog
is a giant mess of fandom, writing, music, humor, and positivity. I’m also on
Fanfiction.Net as AngelxPhoenix,
and Archive of Our Own as RisingPhoenix761.
For anyone interested in my visual art (I consider myself a passionate
amateur), my Instagram is at risingphoenix_761. Come
say hi to me!

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

Interview: Celine Chin

Today we’re joined by Celine Chin, who also goes by

Rururinchan. Celine is a phenomenal fanartist from Singapore. She loves to draw her favorite characters and write fics as well. Celine also creates YouTube videos. She also does a bit of original work on the side. Her work is beautiful, brimming with emotion and detail. It’s clear she’s a 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.

My art primarily focuses on things that spark emotion in
both myself and others. I am a fan-artist most of the time, and I love just
drawing my favourite characters, putting them into stories in fanfiction, and
making videos to express how much I love the shows/books/movies etc. I also use
art/writing especially to express myself, often during the more stressful times
as it helps me get through those times a little easier.

What inspires you?

Inspiration and I have a weird relationship. I tend to get
random bursts of inspiration at any given time, sometimes for ideas that are
simple enough, and sometimes the ideas are just so ridiculous and wild it’s hard
to figure out what to do with them. I write most of it down as soon as I can
though, and these little lists I keep are what I would go to first if I need an
idea for content. If not, I like to go on YouTube, and pick videos and music to
watch/listen to based on my artistic mood of the day. Music tends to give me
more inspirational vibes though.

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

Art has been a hobby to me for literally all my life. My
parents tell me that I learned to draw in colourful crayons before I could
speak. I remember being a child and drawing whatever made me happy or sad, and
I was always so proud of them even though my art was not of average kid-quality
back then. I was proud of the fact that I created something myself, and it
never went away, only growing more and more over the years.

Drawing was my primary art form as a kid, then when I got to
my teens, I started trying out more creative art forms, like sewing, baking,
singing and dancing, etc. The one that stuck was writing, as book had become a
major part of my life around then too. Again, that pride of being able to
create something with my own hands was no less than a wonderful feeling. Also,
it was the first time I was creating full stories. It was amazing.

I took media and animation studies in polytechnic after
secondary school, and there my love for video work and photography took off.
Now, I could put my art and my stories to good use in video format. It’s
ridiculously tedious half the time, but the satisfaction at literally watching
all your hard work pay off at the end? It’s the best.

So yes, I’ve always wanted to be in artist, but really, I’ve
been one all along haven’t I? Career or not, art is what brings the most joy to
my life, aside from those close to me 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?

Not at the moment. I’m working on my name as an artist, and
would love to create my own signature symbol but I’m a little stumped on that
for now as I’m still figuring out what defining feature I would like to
highlight about myself.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

The best advice I can give is: Please never try to hold
yourself back by making your own expectations too high. I’ve seen many, many
people give up on creativity despite loving it simply because they felt like
their content was never “good enough”, and it’s only harder when they compare
themselves to people around them.

On that note, I’d also like to say that you should never
assume art is something that strictly requires “talent”. Would having a natural
affinity for being creative and good with your hands be useful as an artist? No
doubt it would, I can’t deny that. However, once you firmly decide that
“talent” is a strict requirement and that you may not have that “talent”, it’s
over for you, because once you get into this mindset, everything you do will
never feel “good enough” to you, as you’ll keep feeling that you simply don’t
have the “talent”. It harms your creative self more than you may think, I knew
someone who hated their own art and gave up because they taught they were the
only one in their family without the “natural born artistic talent”, and
despite being fairly decent at their craft, they ultimately gave up because
they resigned themself to believing that they would never do as well as they
didn’t have the “talent”. Also, by believing “talent” is necessary, you
undermine all the hard work artists put into their work. Many spend years and
years and years working on their craft, and trust me when I say that most of
them still think their work isn’t as good as they would’ve liked. But they post
it anyway, because it’s at least “good enough”.

Don’t weigh yourself down with invisible chains. Let
yourself be “okay” instead of “perfect”. You’re only human, let your art
reflect that. Study the art form you want to learn, look up references and helpful
tips, practice and practice.

All artists will hate their art sometimes. Even I stopped
for a while during some darker times in my life, but if you feel that art is
truly something you love, never give up on it, even if nothing BIG ever comes
out of it. If you love it, if it makes you happy in any way, it’s already doing
it’s job for you right.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m asexual! Still working on the romantic side, but it’s
somewhere on the aro-spectrum. I do find girls at least aesthetically
attractive a lot, so I overall identify as a a sapphic aro-ace person.

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

Unfortunately yes. I live in Singapore, where anyone that
isn’t gay/lesbian/trans is considered a “weird normal person” (“normal” as in
cishet, it sucks). I’ve tried to include asexuality in my works in school, and
have often received comments about how it was childish, misinformation, or
simply something that didn’t exist. Explanations don’t work when people don’t
want to listen. I’m not free from the prejudice online either. Sometime ago on
Tumblr, I made asexual headcanons for characters that were popularly seen as
gay and pan respectively within the fandom (but were not confirmed in canon)
and got quite a bit of anon hate for it, the comments ranging from how I was
homophobic or how I shouldn’t be “forcing a ace headcanon on young teens since
they aren’t sexual anyway”.

It’s hard to handle, that’s for sure, but in the end it’s
not my job to educate the ignorant. I will support those who do and help to
bring up fellow aces in my community when I can, but the bigoted don’t deserve
my attention as far as I’m concerned. I block them when I can, and move right
on to making more asexual headcanon posts out of spite. As far as I’m
concerned, I’m just here to live my life and exist as a person, not be an
informant for people who refuse to take in any information they’re given
anyway.

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

Definitely the misconception that we hate sex. I myself am a
sex-repulsed ace with a very low sex drive, but it irks me when people assume
we’re all exactly like that. Let asexuals who are open to sex be sexual without
calling them fake aces. Like damn.

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

You might hate it sometimes at first, especially if you’re
younger and/or on the aro-spectrum. With how our society focuses so much on
romance and sex as a requirement of love and happiness, it’s sometimes easy to
fall into a trap that no one will ever love you and that you won’t ever be
happy. Even after you get more comfortable with your sexuality, you still might
feel like that every now and again, even if you’re an allo-romantic ace who’s
fine with sexual intimacy. Just remember that who you’re attracted to, or lack
thereof, doesn’t define who you are. There’s nothing “broken” or “unnatural”
about you for being ace, and I want you to know you’re valid and you and your
sexuality deserve to be respected. There are so many types of love out there,
not just romantic and sexual. Keep those you see as your family close and
treasure them, and don’t let go of your passions and things that bring you joy.
Don’t forget that self-love is important too. If you’re like me, who took a
long time figuring out how to love myself, don’t try to force things, but also
give yourself chances to be proud of the things you’ve done. If you’re an
artist like I am, take pride in your artwork (within reason), and let yourself
be confident in your skills in yourself. You’ll get there. 🙂

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

Tumblr: http://rururincreative.tumblr.com/
(Art Blog)
AO3: https://archiveofourown.org/users/Rururinchan
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCE_pHKt0IeMJVwbjdWtvA0A
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rururinchan/

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

Interview: Rachel

Today we’re joined by Rachel. Rachel is a phenomenal artist who does a bit of everything. She writes both fanfiction and original work. She does a fair amount of visual art, mostly drawing using a variety of mediums. As if that’s not impressive enough, Rachel has also done quite a lot of work in theater, both on stage and behind the scenes. It’s clear she’s an extraordinarily talented and passionate individual, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I do a ton of art! I write original stories and fanfiction
for a variety of genres. I draw, mostly in the traditional sense, and I have a
background in theater where I performed, directed, stage managed, was a set
designer and constructor for anywhere around 12 productions.

What inspires you?

I am inspires by many things. My drawings are often spur of
the moment. They could be inspired by fandom and I’ll create fan art, or be
very whimsical and I’ll create some sort of abstract painting.

My writing is often angsty or very light and touching (there’s
not much in between most of the time, haha). Fanfiction is inspired by the
movie Rise of the Guardians, Spider-Man and Deadpool and occasionally Supernatural!
I hope to have more content for these fandoms in the future, and maybe other
fandoms, but I have been focusing a little bit more on my original content. I
write short stories that are fiction or real-life event inspired. I also have
some poem(ish) writing and I’m working on developing my voice. I never want to
stick to just one genre because I find so much expression in several forms of
writing.

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

I’ve been drawing since I’ve learned to hold a crayon.
Writing I’ve always loved and have wanted to create more of. I love reading and
when I discovered fanfic, it was an instant attraction. In recent years, I’ve
decided I’d like to make publishing a novel one of my life goals.

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?

Honestly no, because my style is always changing and taking
on new forms. From paint to markers to pencils to charcoal to fiction to poems
I’m always shaking it up.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Do it! Do it over and over again and take pictures of the
work you draw because one day you can look at an old picture and compare it to
your growth and see where you’ve come from and where you are now!

And write of course! Write anything. Your thoughts, your
dreams, your observations, your ideas, write it all! Drown in your words. And
remember you don’t have to write in order. Sometimes, writing the beginning is
so hard, so write that middle part! Write down that action scene and big plot
twist and get it out of your head to clear the clutter. Fill in the holes later
after you get that burning inspiration to write that one scene because the rest
might become easier after doing that.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I identify as a cis gendered female with she/her pronouns
and panromantic asexual.

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

Absolutely, I had a long term relationship end because I
began to ID as ace. My parents don’t fully understand my sexuality and I come
across it in social media a lot. I just remind myself that I am valid, I’m not
alone, I have support from friends, and that I can get through peoples ignorance
because I know who I am.

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

I have been called a plant (as in I will only reproduce with
myself, which never made sense) and that I’m prude. I’ve also been told that I
just “haven’t met the right person” which is to say I’ll feel sexual desire and
attraction when the right person comes into my life.

I’m not a late bloomer. I’m ace, and that’s okay.

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

Don’t let other peoples judgement and opinions weigh you
down. Seek allies. We’re out here and you are a valid, wonderful and a real
person. You are not broken.

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

Oh! Look me up! On…

Tumblr: FrostedDragonHeart
(Eternal Believer) and wrayghtings
(Endless Words)
Fanfiction.net: FrostedDragonHeart
Fictionpress.com: FrostedDragonHeart
Instagram: rachelart_s

I accept DM/PMs on all of these so please feel free to chat
with me!

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

Interview: Chloe

Today we’re joined by Chloe. Chloe is a wonderful young artist who is just starting out. She’s a writer and visual artist. She does both digital and traditional art. For writing, she writes fanfiction, poetry, and occasionally original fiction. It’s clear she’s a dedicated artist with a bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I am both a writer and an artist. I do digital and
traditional works as well as writing fanfiction, poems, and the occasional
original fiction piece. I’ve always been pretty creative, finding enjoyment in
expressing myself through the hobbies I love. My artwork and writing certainly
aren’t of any professional quality, but I believe they’re good enough to
qualify me as an artist of sorts, even if no art has any real qualifications.

What inspires you?

Often times, I find inspiration in other works. It might be
an idea, a color, a theme: if it catches my eye, I try to incorporate it in a
creative way. On top of that, I also find inspiration in lyrics and sometimes
even in everyday experiences!

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

When I was younger, I drew occasionally, but I never really
felt like it was something for me. By the time I was 10 years old, though, I
was writing stories often and trying to teach myself to draw! There wasn’t
anything that really brought it on – I just thought that art was cool and I
loved reading stories made by other people. On top of that, I was (and still
am) an anime fan, so the art style inspired me. I just thought it was pretty,
and I went off of that to develop my own artistic style. Well, its not complete
in any means, but it’s something.

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

Well, I have a literal signature, which you’ll see on nearly
all of my drawings. Other than that, though, I don’t believe there’s anything
unique in my art or writing that tells it apart from another’s. I wish I could
say it’s unique to me. I excessively use adverbs (a habit I’m trying to break)
and I draw in an anime-influenced style, but my work is hardly the only type of
it’s kind, unfortunately.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Do not give up. If it’s your dream, go for it. Power
through. Learn. Create. Your art is your art, whatever that may be. The world
is cruel – people are cruel! – don’t let that change you. Your life is your
life: pursue it.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m demisexual. Sort of in the middle, I guess.

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

Yeah. I’m a part of a lot of communities, but prejudice is
especially present on Tumblr. Asexuals are definitely discriminated against,
but it almost seems worse for demisexuals. I’ve seen many people – artists –
say that demisexuality is not real, that it’s just a preference. It really gets
me upset sometimes because it makes me feel unwelcome and ‘wrong.’ People are
so unaccepting of what they don’t understand. I’m afraid that if I express
myself completely that I’ll only end up hurt. Often, I’m afraid to even mention
that I am demisexual. Most of the time, I just say I’m heterosexual for fear of
backlash.

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

I’ve heard people assume that asexual people do not have a
sex drive and such, but that isn’t always the case. Though, as for
demisexuality, many people assume that we only have intercourse with people we
get to know, or as they describe: “are not a hoe.” They assume that our
sexuality is the norm for everyone, so it must not really exist. However,
that’s a misunderstanding. Demisexuality is the lack of sexual attraction
unless a close emotional bond is formed. In other words, I won’t find an
attractive celebrity ‘hot’ because I don’t know them well or even at all.
People aren’t aware of this.

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

You’re not broken. You’re not wrong. You are who you are and
some people may mock you. Some won’t accept you. It’ll be hard sometimes, but
we’re here. Your identity is valid. Your feelings are valid. People are cruel,
but I promise you that what you’re feeling is so, so okay. What you feel is
your business and it is perfectly okay. You’re doing just fine – amazing, even.
Nothing you feel is wrong. Don’t let people convince you otherwise. They don’t
know how you feel; people can’t understand what they don’t feel. It’s okay. I
promise.

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

You can check my Tumblr or DeviantArt page! I’m more active
on Tumblr, but I still post all complete artwork on DeviantArt. My DeviantArt
username is cofstars, as well
as my Tumblr url. They’re my most
active platforms. Though, my Tumblr page had a lot more info than the latter!

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

Interview: Amy Valentine

Today we’re joined by Amy Valentine. Amy is a phenomenal visual artist who does a lot of art journaling. She uses mostly colored pencils, watercolors, and various markers. She’s also an art student, so she works in a variety of mediums. When she’s not creating visual art, Amy also writes quite a bit of fanfiction. It’s clear she is a dedicated and passionate artist with a very bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

On my free time, I do a lot of art journaling,
which is basically having a sketchbook expect I put more effort in decorating
the pages to fit with my current mood. I also enjoy writing, mostly
fanfictions, but I’m very eager to write something of my own someday.

I’m also an art student, so at school I also do
paintings, photography and whatever else, and hopefully after school I could
practice painting at home, too.

For art journaling, I like to use watercolors,
color pencils and different kind of markers. Sometimes I just glue things in.

What inspires you?

Music is a big inspiration for me, because I’m
almost always wearing headphones. I also get a lot of ideas from movies – When
there is a scene that is just so pretty to look at, I always want to draw my
own version of it.

I also take a lot of inspiration from my own
feelings, since art journaling is kind of something that you do to express your
emotions.

I also draw a lot of women’s nude bodies as a way
to start learning to love my own body, so I guess they also give me
inspiration. Don’t know what to draw? I’ll draw a torso. The headless statue of
a woman is always there to save me from art block.

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

Yes, definitely. As a kid, I loved drawing comics
and other cute things. I was really into manga back then. I would always be
sketching at the edge of the test paper, even if the teacher told me not to.

At school, we also wrote a lot of our own stories,
and I was always told that the stories I wrote were good and unique, so I got
more inspired to write every day. I guess I can safely say I have always wanted
to be an artist/writer. At this moment, I think I’d want to be a writer more
than an artist.

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?

At the moment, I don’t think I yet have my own
style or my own unique thing. In art, I’m still figuring out what I want to
create and what kind of a style fits me the most. In writing, I’m trying to
experiment a little to see what kind of stuff I want to write and how. So, for
now, no unique signatures or anything.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Practice, practice and practice. And do not
compare yourself to others. I did that and only felt worse about my skills. The
first 6 months at art school were rough because I kept thinking everyone else
was better than me. But when I learned to just focus on my own work and did my
best, my drawings ended up looking a lot better. So just don’t give up. We’re
all at different skill levels here, so just focus working on your own thing.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’d say I’m somewhere between being a demisexual
and asexual.

I did just find the term ‘aegosexual’ that fits me
quite well, but, I’m still trying to figure myself out. And that’s okay.

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

When I told my parents, both of them were confused
but supportive, thankfully. Before I tried to get into art school, I told my
school nurse that I felt like I was close to an asexual, and they said to me ‘I
WILL find the right one’, and if I wouldn’t, I should seek medical help. I also
told my friends that I was in the ace spectrum, and they said that wasn’t
possible.

I’ve also been in two relationships before and in
both of them I felt like being asexual was wrong. I felt like saying ‘no’ to
sex was wrong, and that was used against me. I’m still healing from that.

I think the best way to handle any kind of
prejudice is to know that you aren’t broken, and that there is nothing wrong
with you. Also, calmly explaining to them what asexuality is can help them
understand it better. And honestly, never, EVER, do something that feels
uncomfortable to you just so you could please someone else. Listen to your own
feelings.

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

Probably the one where they think that if I’m in
the ace spectrum, I can’t feel any kind of sexual pleasure, or that I can’t
have sex, or that I can’t include sex scenes in my writing, and so on. Asexuals
aren’t 100% sexless – some can be, but some asexuals are okay with having sex
for their partner, and some asexuals masturbate. Some people don’t seem to get
that.

The other misconception is people thinking
asexuals can’t experience romantic feelings. And the third one that my school
nurse one suggested – that being asexual meant you were afraid of sex.

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

It’s OK to not be sure where in the ace spectrum
you are, and it’s OK to change labels later on, and it’s OK if you’re still
searching for yourself. Just know that there is no rush. You are what you are,
and even if you aren’t 100% sure what your label is, then that’s alright. You
don’t have to put yourself into a box if you’re not ready yet. Just take your
time with your inner self, love yourself.

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

Tumblr: https://paper-star-fight.tumblr.com/
AO3: https://archiveofourown.org/users/ValentineRunaway

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

Interview: Inbar

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

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

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

What inspires you?

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

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

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

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

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

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

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

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interview: Anila

Today we’re joined by Anila. Anila is a wonderful fanartist and jewelry maker. They write in a variety of fandoms and enjoys writing fanfiction. They aspire to publish some original work some day. When they’re not writing, they enjoy making jewelry. It’s clear they’re a dedicated and enthusiastic 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 primarily a creative writer – mostly fanfiction but I’m
working hard to finish my original works. It’s a dream to be published someday.

Other than that I make wire jewelry.

What inspires you?

To be honest, it can be anything from a long-forgotten
scribble in the margins of old lecture notes to something a passer-by might be
wearing. On one hand that means I’m lucky because I can draw from most things
but on the other hand all these WIPs can get me down.

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

I’ve always been good at writing – and when I started
showing it to other people they were interested and, more importantly, they
were affected. That made me want to write more.

As for jewelry, my mum bought a jewelry making book when I
was a teenager and it seemed to stick.

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

My writing tends to have an overabundance of commas, an
abuse of semicolons, and a tendency for things to come in threes. Just like
that previous sentence ;D

It’s hard to have a signature when it comes to wire jewelry,
since it’s so freeform.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Try not to put yourself down too much, though I understand
it’s easy to do so.

Having friends act as cheerleaders is a blessing and can be
one of the few things to keep you out of a slump.

Also, specifically for writers, if you understand the
importance of receiving feedback in your work please be the change you wish to
see the world – when you read online works, leave comments you yourself want to
receive.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m a biromantic grey-ace. Basically I can have feelings for
just about anyone regardless of gender, but wanting to be intimate is not
necessarily included in that.

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

While writing there is a big lack of ace representation. And
of course there are the people who insist that so-and-so character simply cannot
be ace because there’s no evidence that that is so – to which the reply is that
this is fanfic, everything is possible, and ace-spectrum people do exist. There
was also one person who tried to tell me that I couldn’t be grey-ace because of
my smutty works, which… still makes me sigh.

On the outernet, where I’m closeted anyhow, there is very
casual prejudice – the expectation that of course everyone has sex and
you’re some sort of deviant otherwise. I do my best to educate when I can,
though admittedly I tend to get defensive and annoyed very quickly.

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

That people need to have sex to live. Nope, bzzt,
wrong, try again.

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

Take your time. There’s no rush to find out who you are. Do
your research because knowledge is power. And, if you ever decide down the line
that your orientation on the spectrum isn’t exactly what you thought it was,
then that’s okay too.

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

My writing’s on AO3 (http://archiveofourown.org/users/diemarysues),
and I do yell about writing on my personal blog (http://diemarysues.tumblr.com).

Jewelry stuff is on my side blog (http://rustypliers.tumblr.com) though I am currently taking a break
while I take better photos and edit them.

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

Interview: Ray Wyse

Today we’re joined by Ray Wyse. Ray is a phenomenal visual artist and writer. They mostly write fanfiction but hope to publish some original work in the future. Aside from writing, they are also a dedicated visual artist who enjoys drawing and painting. They do a lot of portraiture work and their art is extraordinarily detailed. It’s clear they’re a passionate and talented artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

My work varies, but I enjoy writing, drawing and painting.
My writing is most often fictional pieces with characters I’ve created, and
while I try and branch out with my artwork my strongest pieces have always been
portraiture. In all my work I try and integrate what I know, in terms of my
experiences and imagination. I’ll mainly referencing my artwork in this
interview as it’s what most of my time and my education is dedicated to!

What inspires you?

Other people inspire me. I’m driven by seeing creators do
what they love and doing it well, it really pushes me to try and be better.

But for choosing what I want to draw or paint I’m inspired
by perception. I find drawing exactly what I can see boring, and I want to
explore more emotive ways of portraying people and places. Usually this means
playing with the features of the subject matter, taking them away or changing
them through distortion or obstruction.

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

I’ve always wanted to create art. I’ve taken it at every
level available to me through primary and secondary school, but it’s only
recently at college I became determined to find some sort of career in it. I
think most of our everyday life is the way it is because of artistic people,
from film to advertising to product design, and yet it goes by unnoticed.
Almost every field has a need for us, and when I realized that it only helped
push my interest in the subject.

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

I don’t really? There are maybe certain things I always do
that I’m not aware of, but as someone who’s still trying to find their own
style and techniques I don’t think I have any repetitive patterns, but I
suppose I always draw specific attention to the eyes or the obstruction of
them. I feel like that makes or breaks a good portrait.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

I would say that I know, I understand it’s frustrating
sometimes. There will always be others that are around your age, who you think
has work that surpasses your own. There will be times where you can’t get a
picture JUST right. But you have to realize that your art is always changing
and improving. It’s hard to notice day to day but try and redo a piece from
just a few years or even months ago to see how you’ve changed! Practice, there
isn’t a shortcut to progress! Support and learn from each other!

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I identify as asexual, but I don’t know where on the
spectrum. I’m in a serious relationship, but I haven’t been for long enough to
know whether or not I could be demi. Currently I identify as a panromantic ace,
meaning I can have romantic attraction to any gender but sexual attraction to
none.

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

I generally encounter confusion when talking to someone
about my sexuality. It’s difficult, because as someone who didn’t find a label
that worked for them until their late teens, I spent a lot of my childhood
thinking I was ‘broken’ or otherwise ‘wrong’. And hearing it insinuated from someone
else saying ‘how do you know? Maybe you just haven’t found the right person,
etc. etc.’ can hurt a lot. Especially if coming from other people in the LGBT+
community.

But I have to remember I’m valid, and that’s what I tell
them. I calmly explain that I just don’t feel sexual attraction, I never have,
and it really isn’t a big concern. And if they don’t accept that, I stop
conversing with them.

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

The most common misconception is that asexuality is
comparable to practicing abstinence, as if sexuality is some sort of choice.
Another common one is that all ace people ‘become’ asexual after some sort of
traumatic experience

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

I would say it’s not your job to educate others, and it’s
okay to not have everything figured out! You’ll hear about how it’s a ‘phase’
at some point in your life, and this will suck. But remember that no matter
what, whether how you identify changes over the years or if a label you found
at 13 still works for you at 33, you’re valid.

I’m not going to tell you it isn’t a phase and you won’t
experience doubts. I’m going to tell you that if it is, that’s okay too.

Take time figuring yourself out, research the spectrum of
different sexualities, and don’t feel bad if things change. How you identify at
this moment is still 100% valid and don’t settle for anyone that doesn’t
respect that.

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

You can find more of my work on Instagram! I also do
commissions; my username is at Rachel.Wyse
<3

I’m hoping to branch into other social media sites soon, but
for now the majority of my work is on Instagram.

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

Interview: CHM

Today we’re joined by CHM. CHM is a wonderful versatile writer. She has written in a few genres and styles. She mostly writes fantasy and historical fiction. When she’s not writing original work, CHM also dabbles in fanfiction. It’s clear she’s a 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.

My art is mostly creative writing. I mostly write fantasy
and historical fiction, as well as fanfiction.

What inspires you?

A number of things, but mostly music, and my own personal
experiences.

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

I used to read a lot, and that slowly got me into writing my
own stories. I also tend to daydream, and story ideas seem to spawn from
daydreams.

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 really like ending books with the title when possible.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Don’t apologize for your work when presenting it. Stop
yourself from saying things like “Sorry in advance” or “This is terrible, but”
because it’s not. It’s the best you can do at that moment, and putting yourself
down doesn’t help you improve.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m an AroAce lesbian. Oriented AroAces feel other types of
attraction strong enough to warrant their own labels in their identities. The
ones I feel are sensual and alterous attraction.

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

Never in my field, but in my personal life, I have. I
usually deal with it using calm explanations.

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

That we all hate sex, or that we just need to wait a while
for sexual attraction to happen.

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

No matter what you hear, no matter who says it to you, your
identity is real, and you have a strong community backing you up. It doesn’t
matter what someone else says about your identity, all that matters is the way
the words you use to describe yourself make you feel.

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

I post all my fanfiction on my Quotev account! At LOZelfafan

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

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.