Category: fantasy

Interview: Elowen

Today we’re joined by Elowen. Elowen is a phenomenal author who is currently hard at work on her first novel. She enjoys writing science fiction and fantasy. The novel she’s currently working on features an ace main character and it sounds like a fascinating story. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate 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’m a fantasy and science fiction writer, albeit still
unpublished. At the moment I’m working on what I hope will be my debut novel, a
fantasy novel set in a bronze age-world heavily inspired by Ancient Mesopotamia
(Iraq). One of the main characters is an asexual priestess, the other is a cis-het
single mother who fights against the religious establishment. This story is a
complete overhaul of my very first novel, combined with some elements from my
third, and it has taken me several months of research and false starts, but I
finally have a completed first draft that I think I can work with.

What inspires you?

Everything, really. The world around me, other people’s
lives and relationships, other fantasy and sci-fi stories, my own experiences
of being “the odd one out”. There’s a quote from Ursula Le Guin’s Tales from Earthsea that I have stuck on
my computer: “The great and mighty go their way unchecked. All the hope left in
the world is in the people of no account.” It’s this quote that inspires me to
continue working on my current novel. I want to try to tell the stories of
people of no account. The ordinary people who are made to suffer because of the
greed of those in power.

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

When I was six, I found out what a writer was and I decided
I wanted to be one. I still have my old notebooks from that time, with stories
that blatantly ripped off Care Bears and My Little Pony, though I’m glad to say
that later on, my stories became a bit more original ,-). Unfortunately,
although I definitely have creative family members, none of them are or were
professional artists, so becoming a writer wasn’t considered a proper career
choice, and my writing ambitions were reduced to keeping a diary when I was a
teenager. I went to university to study science instead, and later theology. It
was only when I moved to a different country that I came back to wanting to be
a writer. One of my “problems” is that I’m multi-passionate. I play baroque
violin, I was a fanatic badminton player in my teens, and in my early twenties
I got heavily into Irish dancing, for example. Only when I moved away from all
these “distractions” and started afresh in a different country was I able to
come to terms with the fact that I’m just interested in many different things,
and reasonably successful at pursuing those interests. My love for science got
me into writing science fiction, and my fascination with religion, mythology
and anything magical got me into fantasy. Fantasy, to me, isn’t ‘make-believe’,
it’s a modern type of mythology meant to explore fundamental ideas about the
world, and about life. Together with science fiction, I think fantasy is the
perfect genre to explore alternatives to reality.

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 love inventing religions and write about made-up gods. I
also love writing about mentors, and I think that’s because all my life I’ve
been looking for one myself. I had teachers and mentors, of course, but none of
them could really help me figure out where my real talents lie. They were all
specialists in their field, while I have to see ‘the big picture’ and explore
many things at once.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Do what you love doing, but play the game if you have to.
I.e. if you need a steady day job to support your own artistic efforts and have
stability in your life, it doesn’t make you any less of an artist. Keep
learning and stay curious. You’re never too old to try something new.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m grey-ace leaning towards being demisexual, and I also
identify as genderfluid between cis-female and non-binary. After having been a
happy single for most of my life, I’m now in happy, stable relationship with a
man, so to all intents and purposes I’m a cis-het woman, but I don’t feel that
way. For me, sex is a form of intimacy that I can enjoy because it brings me
closer to the man I love, but I’d have no problem going without it for the rest
of my life. It’s something to enjoy like a cup of coffee or a piece of
chocolate, nothing more. Sex has never played an important part in my life. I
am however a very touchy-feely type of person with people I trust, and that kind
of non-sexual contact is much more important to me.

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

No, because so far I’m only out on Twitter, where I use an
alias.

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

I think that having no interest in sex is often “infantilized”,
as if being ace means you’re not developed enough yet to join in with the
adults. At one point I was convinced that the only difference between YA and
adult fantasy is that in adult fantasy the characters explicitly talk about sex
and genitals, and have sex. I thought that my own writing was not adult fantasy
because I didn’t want to write about those things.

Another thing is that I can have platonic crushes, meaning
that I am attracted to certain people (or even fictional characters) for their
intellectual insights or artistry or their personality. One example is the
actor Alexander Siddig. I’d love to be able to have a deep conversation with
him one day, but there is no way on earth I’d ever be interested in any kind of
sexual contact. And yet many people confuse these things. I can also admire
physical beauty in certain people, but even then there’s no sexual attraction
involved, and many people find that hard to grasp. That always puzzled me,
until I discovered I was ace.

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

Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Sex is overrated. There, I
said it.  

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

Well, there’s nothing to find yet, but you can follow me on
Twitter if you like (at scriobhann_si).
I love connecting with other artists!

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

Interview: Wolfie

Today we’re joined by Wolfie. Wolfie is a phenomenal makeup artist who uses makeup to create extraordinary looks. She has done a number of different things with makeup, from standard beauty to more fantasy and horror related looks. She has also done special FX makeup. Aside from makeup, Wolfie also dabbles in a couple other mediums as well. 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.

One of the things I do is makeup and special FX. Be it beauty, fantasy or horror. I mostly do whatever has
caught my fancy that day or week. I have done photoshoots, short films and even a wedding or
two with my makeup.

Which plays into my other mediums, such as drawing and
painting. I have a ton of sketch books filled with art, some I give
away and the same with my paintings.

Along with costuming which has been trial and error. As for my leather working I am still a beginner, which I was
learning from my aunt and now my dad. Also have been dabbling into jewelry making.

What inspires you?

When I was a kid, fantasy (books, art etc.) and music played
in a big part in my creativity.

Along with a rich family heritage that led to being a Pagan
Witch, lets me see the beauty in magic and life that goes into my art.

My Aunt also who is deceased now, was also a big inspiration
to me.

Being a writer and creative person herself, part of the LGBTQ+
community and Pagan, she always encouraged me to not give up and to pursue what
I love.

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

Ever since I was little girl, I was always drawing and then
moving onto other things as I got older. Heck, I even wanted to be a manga artist at some point!

As for my makeup and special FX, I give that one to my
family. We have always been big on Halloween and doing creative
costumes, which led to me eventually finding conventions in my late teens. It would also be my early 20’s to mid-20’s that I would go
to makeup school for it.

Which I am always learning new and creative ways to improve.

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?

Mostly just my name and other account names I would hid in
it, or just smack dab where you can see it.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Just go for it. Self-doubt will happen where you think you
art, or you’re not good enough.

But it will be, maybe not in your eyes.

But others will love your art even if you think they don’t.

Never compare yourself to another, each of us is unique and
different. We go at our own pace and our artistic journey happen sometimes now
or a little bit later.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I am a proud Asexual Pan romantic 29 year old.

In my early 20’s I thought I was just Pansexual, but that
didn’t seem right to me.

It wasn’t until my mid 20’s that talking with a friend, that
they said “Uh Wolf, I think you may be Ace.”

So I looked it up and it started making more sense to me.
While giving me a feeling of relief that I wasn’t “broken”.

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

Oh boy, in my makeup field I have, since it slipped out one
time during class.

And mostly I just educated them, while being calm about it
and maybe a ‘wee’ bit of Sass when they asked a personal/ignorant question. But mostly, I just refuse to apologize anymore for being who
I am.

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

“Well, how can you be in a relationship if you don’t have
sex?” Is probably the most common thing I get.

Again I just calmly answers/educate, or (at times) Sass back
with a witty clap back that makes them go “Oh! I see! Sorry about that.”

But it is also just standing my ground and not letting other
tell me “oh but you just haven’t met-”

“Or have you seen a doctor?” etc.

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

It may seem you’re alone and others tell you that you are
broken, but you are not.

Don’t let anyone tell you differently, this is your journey
of discovery and your identity is real.

For your community sees you and you are loved, valid in your
right to not be silenced or harmed as you keep learning who you are.

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

My Instagram which I welcome anyone to join me! wolfie_shieldmaidenswitch

Deviantart: Moonlightwolfos

Thank you, Wolfie, 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: Alice Chrosny

Today we’re joined by Alice Chrosny. Alice is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in animation and character art. She enjoys drawing fantasy creatures and mythical monsters. Her work is extraordinary, showing an incredible eye for detail and color. It’s clear she’s a remarkably talented artist with a passion for creating, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I’m a 2D digital animator and character artist that loves
drawing cute, friendly content from fluffy fantasy animals to mythical monsters.

What inspires you?

Animation! From television to movies, I was always amazed at
how fun and alive drawn cartoons could be. They completely captured my heart at
a young age and I knew I wanted to work with cartoons. For more inspiration, my
friends and a bunch of webcomic artists I follow inspire me to keep going with
my art and stay motivated.

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

Watching Dexter’s Lab
and PowerPuff Girls as a kid and all
sorts of cartoons in general on Cartoon Network along with Disney movies, Looney Tunes, etc. Ever since I was old
enough to hold a pencil, I’ve wanted to work in the art field in some way,
primarily in animation.

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

I always write my signature with a dash and a tiny heart. I
always try to put or sneak hearts in my illustrations when I can.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

If you’re passionate about art and want to continue
creating, don’t give up.

Everyone learns and grows at a different pace and we’re all
walking our own different path. Life’s not a race and I know it’s hard not to
compare yourself to others, but you have to remember how far you’ve come. Draw
what you want for yourself, challenge yourself, take care of yourself, and be
kind to others and yourself.

You got this!

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I identify as a Romantic Ace

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

When I’ve had to explain to people, they don’t always get it
or just assume I’m just a “late bloomer” or know me better than I do. However,
I’ve never personally faced any ace prejudice in my field, so I consider myself
very fortunate.

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

That aces don’t want to have relationships or be married. It’s
pretty easy for asexuals to be confused or automatically assumed to be
aromantic, too, but that’s not the case for everyone. Some aces want to have
relationships and some don’t and that’s fine. Romantic love isn’t greater than
platonic love. Love is important and comes in many different ways and forms
that we give and receive.

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

You’re not broken and you’re not alone. You can’t let others
define and label who you are. You only know what makes you comfortable or not.
If a label or identity feels right for you, then awesome, but don’t worry if
you’re not sure. Everything’s on a spectrum, not everything fits neatly into
place and that’s OK. You’re gonna be OK. Keep going!

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

You can find my work at my website: http://alicechrosny.com/

And follow me on social media!

https://twitter.com/alicechrosnyart
https://www.instagram.com/alicechrosnyart/
http://alicechrosnyart.tumblr.com/
https://www.youtube.com/user/AliceApproved/featured

Thank you so much and I hope you have a Sunny Day!

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

Interview: Elizabeth Wambheim

Today we’re joined by Elizabeth Wambheim. Elizabeth is a phenomenal author who writes novels, novellas, and short stories. All her work features ace protagonists (how awesome is that!?) and it mostly falls in the fantasy genre. She has already written an ace retelling of Beauty and the Beast. She has also written a novel about the relationship between a male shepherd and a Viking woman. It’s clear she’s an incredibly passionate and creative individual who loves what she does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I am the author of a small (so far!) body
of published works that feature asexual protagonists and asexual relationships.
My biggest work so far has been a novel titled More Than Enough which is
a gay/ace retelling of Beauty and the Beast. My first piece was a
novella titled Wolves in the Fold about a male shepherd and a female
Viking navigating a relationship as well as language barriers. I love writing
fantasy; reworking fairy tales; and establishing soft, supportive relationships
between characters.

What inspires you?

Just about everything! Books, movies,
television shows, video games, and even music can be a source of inspiration.
If something catches at my attention, I file it away for use somewhere. My
first story in high school had an ensemble casts because I loved the
friendship/team dynamics between the four to eight main characters in the Tales
series of video games.

Real-world relationships are also
inspiring; if I notice an interesting dynamic between two people (be they
friends, family, or coworkers), I’ll make a mental note of it and it might wind
up as the building block of a fictional relationship. I also make use of
personal experiences: I like to be able to step inside my characters and
describe the way their emotions affect them physically. The easiest way for me
to do that is to write from a place of understanding—where do my experiences
overlap with this character’s? If I haven’t gone through exactly what they
have, what comes close? What did it feel like to be there? After really good
days and really bad days, I take a lot of notes about what happened and how I
felt.

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

I’ve been writing since elementary school,
but it was mostly something I did for fun. I took Creative Writing classes all
through high school and majored in English in college. After I graduated, I
realized there weren’t many fictional partnerships that reflected my
preferences or my experiences. I found the undercurrent of sexual tension
between would-be romantic partners to be alienating and sometimes
uncomfortable. So I started writing the stories I wanted to read.

While my writing is not what I want to depend
on for a living, it is a vital part of my life. I love the puzzle of crafting a
story from scraps of lived experience and fictional inspirations. Writing also
helps me validate who I am and how I feel; it’s a privilege to know that my
stories help other people, 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 love mythological and literary
symbolism, so there are almost always elements of that in my stories, such as a
scar used as a symbol of a character’s triumph over adversity or an oblique
reference to the “eating of the pomegranate seeds” in the Hades/Persephone
myth.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

You’re the only person in the world uniquely
positioned to produce the work that 100% appeals to you in form and content.
Work on what makes you happy.

Conversely, if you don’t enjoy what you’re
doing or you find that you’re bored with the piece, then take a break and
don’t feel bad about taking a break.
You’re a human being, not a machine!
Treat yourself kindly and you’ll come back to the work when you’re ready.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

Asexual and sex-repulsed as hell. I’ll say
that I’m biromantic, but my take on romantic love is best described by that
Pepe Silvia screenshot from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

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

I’ve worked in public libraries for the
last three years, and I haven’t experienced any prejudice from any of my
coworkers, thankfully! But I’m also not really open at work (either about being
ace or about being bi), so that might be part of it.

The only issue I’ve had has been that I
have a really hard time shelving titles in the romance section. The covers make
me kind of queasy (no one on them is wearing nearly enough clothes), so I just
avoid working in that section as much as possible.

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

On a general level: it’s a phase and
something we’ll grow out of, or that there’s something inherently childish
about it as an orientation.

On a personal level: being asexual means
that I’m inherently not interested in (or incapable of having) a committed
partnership with another person.

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

Where you are and how you’re feeling is
okay! Give yourself space to figure out how who you are and how you feel. Don’t
let anyone convince you that your truth isn’t a valid truth.

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

https://ewambheim.wordpress.com/ is the hub for my published work. I have
one short story there that you can read for free as a PDF, and it also includes
links to the Amazon pages for Wolves in the Fold and More Than Enough.

https://ajumbleofpages.tumblr.com/ is the Tumblr I use for sharing writing
updates.

Please also check
out the Goodreads page for More Than Enough: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36327532-more-than-enough

Folx have left some very kind and
heartfelt reviews there and on its Amazon page!

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

Interview: Ashleigh Nicole

Today we’re joined by Ashleigh Nicole. Ashleigh is a wonderful young up and coming visual artist who is currently studying illustration at uni. She specializes in character, concept, and storyboard artist. Her work is beautiful, showing an amazing use of color and line. It’s clear she’s a passionate artist with an incredibly 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’m a second year Illustration student and my work focuses
on concept, character and storyboard art, but I also like to create random
illustrations of my own. I also want to move into comics at some point!

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by plants, superheroes and fantasy- they
feature a lot in my work. But I also watch other people’s work on Instagram and
twitter and I enjoy getting inspiration from their work too whether its colour
pallets that I didn’t think of exploring or a brush technique.

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

I have always drawn, but I was actually set on becoming a
fashion designer since year 7. I changed degrees before I started because I was
filling sketchbooks more than I made clothes in my gap year and thinking about
selling my art. I still like fashion so maybe I’ll go back to it at some point.

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! I feel like I should though!

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Learn anatomy, perspective and colour theory. I still
haven’t done that to be honest but I’m on my way!

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I just go by asexual- sometimes demisexual but very rarely.

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

I have encountered people (not in the creative sector just
in general.) that think it’s a choice…I have no words. Asexuality is still a
bit unknown in the wider world so it’s mostly a general prejudice towards
LGBTIA+ people that I’ve seen.

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

Many people don’t seem to understand asexuality as a
spectrum. People have different levels, if’s buts and whys and don’t experience
things the same as another person.

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

Find people like you! Whether that’s online or in person,
speaking to people who share similar experiences is great!

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

I’m on Tumblr, Instagram, and YouTube under the username
mashmato!
My portfolio is http://ashleighnicole.myportfolio.com

Thank you, Ashleigh, 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: Ash Kleczka

Today we’re joined by Ash Kleczka, who also goes by Umber online. Ash is a phenomenal visual artist, an all-around fantasy enthusiast. They love using visual art to tell a story and highlight beauty. Their images show a unique style and a very vivid imagination. It’s clear Ash loves to create, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I’m a fantasy illustrator, a painter, concept artist, and
all around enthusiast… I was going to add more to that statement, but
honestly I think ‘enthusiast’ about covers it. I get really excited about
concepts that are self-reflective in some way, or that highlight an unexpected
beauty.

I really try to create art that tells a story.  

What inspires you?

Nature, mythology, the occult. Things that are taboo or
archaic. I’m also deeply inspired by role-playing games like D&D and the
character building process.

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

The simple, inelegant answer is that I got into visual arts
because I was dissatisfied with the attractiveness of some characters from a
video game I was into at the time – and I wanted to make characters that would
appeal to me.

It’s an ongoing struggle haha.

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 super-secret naming convention for pretty much any
character I’ve ever created ever is to try to match their
personality/appearance/some interesting feature to a bird or other natural
flora or fauna and then I build their name around the scientific binomial of
that thing.

So for example, one character named Cyril Alcyon is based
around the belted kingfisher megaceryle
alcyon
. Another is named Melia Edarach which is taken from the chinaberry
tree, or Melia azedarach.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

My advice is to just keep going. It’s OK for things to not
look exactly as they do in your head, or to be dissatisfied with where you are
with your art. It means that you have room to grow! Stay open to new ideas and
roll with the punches. Art, like life, is full of happy accidents.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

Grey-Ace/Pansexual

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

I’m not particularly open about my sexuality in the
workplace, but the few times it’s come up typically end with the person I’m
talking to feeling sorry for me. It’s not hateful – just a lack of
understanding. So I try my best to explain that it’s not a negative part of my
life experience. It’s just an orientation in the same way that being gay, or
bisexual is.

I have encountered prejudice
in my personal life however. One instance was in my last D&D
campaign. I played an ace/aro character, and was met with some questionably in-character commentary from
another player. That was really the first time I’d encountered something like
that in the wild before, and honestly…I’m open to advice myself.

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

That it’s something to be fixed.

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

Find people you trust that you can talk to, and be patient
with yourself. Sometimes it’s not as simple as just being one piece of the big
sex/gender pie. Sometimes you’re a triple decker slice of pie with whipped
cream and cherries.

I’ve found it really helpful to talk to my husband (who’s
allo) to see where we differ. Sometimes the answers you’re looking for are in
the empty spaces between two truths.

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

I have a website umbertheprussianblue.com!

You can also follow me on Instagram and Twitter at ThePrussianBlue

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

Interview: Lucas Wilga

Today we’re joined by Lucas Wilga, who also goes by luci online. Lucas is a phenomenal game maker and writer. They create tabletop role-playing games and the first one is entitled Sundown, which sounds fascinating and I highly recommend checking it out. Lucas has recently branched out into writing short stories set in the Sundown universe. It’s clear they’re an incredibly passionate and driven 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 make tabletop role-playing games, and I recently branched
out into writing fiction as well. The first game I’m creating professionally, Sundown, is currently in an open
playtest. It’ll have an official launch sometime next year. It’s light on
rules, and it’s set in this cyberpunk, biotech inspired fantasy setting. It has
transhumanism, politics, and sword cowboys. My work on it is mostly done, so
I’ve started occupying my creative time writing a serial of short stories set
in Sundown, starring a sarcastic
young monster slayer.

What inspires you?

Other games and works of fiction. I’m always itching to
design something new after I read a new game. Sundown itself came out of a modification of a different game I’d
recently picked up at the time.

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

I’ve always been imaginative. I entered the hobby at eleven,
and I started running games and designing adventures at fourteen. This
eventually turned into creating my own games, but I didn’t know I wanted to
make a career out of it until a year ago.

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 style is all about keeping people engaged, so my
signature has become brevity. I keep things short and snappy. Whether teaching
a game or weaving a narrative, it pays to avoid toiling too long on the nitty
gritty.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Especially when designing a game, start small. Keep your
scope limited. Know what you want to say and cut anything that isn’t in direct
support of it. Don’t overthink it. Don’t spend too long thinking about one
specific thing. Don’t try to create the perfect piece. You’ll burn yourself out
chasing perfection.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I don’t know if there’s a word for this yet, but I’m okay
with sexual things that take place entirely within my imagination. Things like
smut. Sometimes images are okay, too. But I have no desire for, and am usually
repulsed by, sex ‘in real life.’

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

I’ve had folk tell me to tone down the queerness in my work,
but I haven’t really encountered any sort of acephobia. There is a strong queer
independent tabletop role-playing game community, so I don’t really have to try
to sell to, or interact with, non-LGBT+ spaces.

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

The most common misconception, I’d say, is the idea that
asexual is synonymous with aromantic. Especially for ace folks in relationships,
it can get tiring to explain the difference.

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

This might be hard advice to follow, but just don’t give it
so much weight. It’s okay for your sexuality to shift or change as you grow as
a person and learn more about yourself.

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

Grasswatch Games is the company my two creative partners and
I created to work on Sundown. Its
website, grasswatchgames.com is
the hub for our current work. You can find Sundown
itself there, as well as my first short story. You can also find our Twitter, Facebook, and the Discord server we’re running Sundown’s playtest on.

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

Interview: CG Thomson

Today we’re joined by CG Thomson. CG is a wonderful fantasy author who is currently working on a seven-book fantasy series. She’s currently pursuing representation for the first novel of the series. CG is an imaginative and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I’m a fantasy writer,
currently working on the fourth book of my seven book series while seeking
representation for the first book.

What inspires you?

Everything. 🙂 No,
really. I have so much wonder for this world we live on. I find inspiration in
nature, humanity, everyday life. I can spend twenty minutes marveling at
sunlight dappling the ground, lose hours by the sea.

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

I’ve been writing since
I was three. My mother chose storytelling as a way to focus her very ADHD
toddler and whether I was simply telling her stories or learning how to write
them down, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t a writer of fantastic tales.

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?

There is always an
element of found family in my work, specifically a flawed heroic father figure,
a man whose daughter is not his biologically but chosen by heart. This is an
homage to my father who is (technically) my stepfather. We chose one another
when I was very young and he has defined my life like no other.

What advice would you give
young aspiring artists?

There’s so much advice
out there, and most of it is good, but no matter how good, no matter how
successful the person giving that advice, that does not mean it will work for
you. Figure out what you want from your art. Not everyone wants a career and
not everyone can make a career of it (I’m certainly still waiting to see) and
there’s nothing wrong with that. Figure out what you want and then figure out
what works for you. Sadly, there isn’t a formula for success, but if you’re doing
something you love and you’re improving regularly, you’re on the right path.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do
you identify?

I’m demisexual.

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

Interestingly enough, I
would have answered this with a no just a week ago, but when I tweeted a boost
to this website’s call for interviewees, I lost followers. That said, as a
cisgender female married to a cisgender male, I am heteronormative passing.
There is some privilege there and I acknowledge that and try to use it to raise
asexuality awareness.

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

That being on the
asexuality spectrum means a person must be sex-repulsed. Of course a person can
be, but frankly a person who is not asexual can be sex-repulsed. Likewise a
person can be asexual and sex-ambivalent or even sex-positive.

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

Understand that you
don’t have to “know” right now. You can be questioning. You can still be
figuring things out. No matter what, you are perfect and lovable just as you
are.

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

I’m currently seeking
representation, so there’s nothing out yet, but anyone wishing to keep up with
my process can find me at onaredhorse on Twitter.

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