This month we are pleased to interview the one of our rockstars neurotype ! She is a former DeviantArt Gallery Moderator (now known as a Community Volunteer), and is one of our Literature mentors. She is also part of the mental-health team as well as an avid forum user.
Read neurotype's Mentor Profile here!
Why did you join DeviantArt and what made you continue staying on DA?
Hah my friend told me to join so I could help her cut down favorites, but as it turns out there is a lot of good art to be found, and that is why I'm still here.
Where did your exposure to art originate?
All the way back, dude! I was doodling when I was three, my mom was cool with encouraging that shit.
What made you interested in participating in the community and in turn help as a senior mentor on seniormentors?
my grandmother, crumbling
The Woodlawn House GhostAnnabel Woodberg was finally the proud owner of the key to the house on Woodlawn Ave. It was on the cover of Better Homes and Gardens before spending thirty long years in the care of her oldest aunt before the woman dropped dead of something autoimmune. At times she felt guilty for being so happy about the damn place, but the truth was that five years of dying made one indifferent to the actual death. She'd moved on and in: all her boxes were waiting inside the living room once she ducked through the foyer.
"It's smaller than I expected," she said to no one. It was true: the imposing façade suggested that there were either twice as many rooms or that the existing rooms should have been twice as large. She spent a few minutes on the problem before her body encouraged her to give up. It was tired and the bedroom was decent enough. The furniture seemed to be legitimately antiquated, its veneer slowly disintegrating. She made a mental note to have someone revarnish the whole
You are a senior mentor for Literature. Could you explain to those of us who are newbies or those who might be interested what aspect of prose being submitted to in publications would you mentor in?
Short stories are the only thing I have real experience in (and let's be clear, that is not much experience, empirically speaking)! We're talking like, 500-10K words technically, although since most pro-paying publications prefer something like 2K and under, you should check yourself before you wreck yourself.
Preparing a story for publication is best done with beta feedback. You might think x is totally obvious, but it's only obvious to someone with your exact experiences. Or you might have a different idea of what a publication is looking for than someone else, and between the two of you, you can find a happy medium that is more precise (although this doesn't guarantee jack shit. Get ready for rejection. This is perfectly normal!)
Also...I had a lot of people help me navigate the confusing seas of publication. I think it makes a huge difference when you can ask someone if it's normal to get six rejections in a week, vs moping alone thinking you are the worst.
That said, beta feedback is helpful for the aforementioned reasons, even if you aren't looking for a specific place to put things. But I think having a specific goal is necessary to create focus. 'I want to be a better writer' is a great general statement but it is not actionable. 'I need to improve my sense of characterization because <publication> is interested in this', on the other hand, is. And incidentally, doing it will make you a better writer.
What form of art do you specialize in? What essential tools are at your disposal?
My personal favorite is charcoal, buuut I have this amazing set of greyscale Faber-Castell pens and the tips are so fine and responsive you guys
Amittedly I spend more time with the tablet. hello, undo button. hello, layers.
writing-wise, netbook/LibreOffice, phone/JotterPad, desktop/Word. I am not picky when it comes to writing.
editing, on the other hand....
Do you have any particular education or interests that made you seek to learn by yourself?
I have a strong interest in not spending money, self-study is certainly cheaper P: (I minored in visual arts in college, though, so there.)
Tell us a bit more about your career in art.
I've had a few publications here and there. I don't submit that often because it's time-consuming as fuck, but I try to keep at least one piece out to the magazines. I don't draw professionally but I go to a local art studio for shenanigans.
As a mentor, how would/do you assess your pupils and how do you continue with each pupil? Are there any hollistic similarities between the pupils you have mentored/are mentoring?
Well I put some specific requirements in my profile that should already get more advanced writers, haha. I don't have a giant sample size but so far everyone has been literate and - most importantly - genuinely interested in improving. That's the best part about this program, people knowing what they want and being confident enough to ask for it.
Anyway, I am fond of the Socratic method. I ask lots of questions.
Artists are sometimes stuck in the much discussed about artist's block and/or writer's block. How would one avoid that and what possible things can they do?
Writers'/artists' block is a crappy blanket term for a variety of issues. You could be uninspired because you are busy, stressed out, or depressed. You could be stuck because you have written yourself into a corner. You could be at a point where you have a lot of tedious rendering to do.
Break it down and solve the real issue. Don't be fucking complacent. Don't just say you're blocked and walk away.
You are quite active in the Literature Forum on DA. How do you think anyone (including those pupils from seniormentors ) interested in lit might get help through the Lit forum?
Realistically...you can put whatever you want in there, but read the goddamn rules! Writers are supposed to be literate. It says READ BEFORE POSTING at the top of the forum!
Okay, I'd like to leave it there, but so many people don't ask the right questions. I cannot stress enough how stupid - stupid - it is to come in with "how do I write" without explaining a) what research you have already done, b) where you are right now.
People are a very specific type of resource, and they are best used when google has failed, or if the question is too specific to be googlable. "where can I find information about x" should go to google. "where can I find information about x because I tried a google search and turned up nothing" can go to the forums, because the real issue might be how you're doing a google search, and that's something a computer can't tell you.
Above all, don't use the forums and be surprised when you don't get the answers you were expecting. The whole point of talking to strangers is you don't know what to expect. If you can't respect that, start with your journal.
What's your favourite work/artist/writer/poet on DA and outside DA?
fft I can't pick one. I can't even pick thirty. But offsite, Giacometti is the most obvious influence on my drawing style, so there.
Are there any rituals that you perform to the art gods/goddesses before you start on an artwork? What's your regular routine like before you start an artwork?
I sacrifice a...no. no I have no rituals.
LO! There's a major error in your artwork/writing and it will take a long time to fix it. How do you deal with it and what do you do?
Depends - if it's something I'm enthusiastic about fixing because it will be that much better, I'll get to it. If it's gonna be more of a maintenance type chore, I will go do five other things first.
I do not sacrifice any more of the...I do not sacrifice. of course not.
Are you finicky about having the perfect 49% opacity on brush even though 50% could have worked? Does a bit more water loaded on your brush annoy you? Are you okay with someone staring at drafts while you work on them?
Yes (although fuuuuck using a partial opacity brush, layers/masks foreverr); definitely; depends on the situation.
Do you have to have be in a specific state to do your art?
Yes, Illinois. It is where all my art supplies are.
Here's me looking over your shoulder looking at your sketchbook/drafts. What do you do?
Elbow you in the face and pretend it was an honest mistake. I mean, it was an honest mistake. Don't look at me that way!
Are the individuals in your family, relatives, friends supportive of you pursuing art/appreciate what you do as a hobby?
I'm sure they would be if I told them. It's never come up in conversation.
Evil Woman"My husband doesn't know." She kept her hands folded and head down.
"I think you should tell him," I said, not asking whether she was referring to the baby or the trait. I pushed my glasses back. "Look, I was an ultrasound tech once. I've been a genetic counselor for twelve years. I've never seen anything like this. Are you sure?"
Her head rotated upward. Her hands moved over the bump in her clothing. But, instead of protectively encasing the tiny lifeform, she started pressing against it. Trying to expel it.
"Calm down," I said. I reached over my desk and gripped her shoulder for a moment until she flicked my hand off.
"Calm down? This this thing. I know it's not something you deal with, not in your line of work, not in any line of work." Her agitation showed in the way her short nails were digging into her belly. "I'm sorry. I know you're trying your best, but there's something in my family. Generations and generations of it, as far back as we've kept our history together."
Cretaceous YardThe call came in at 1500 hours, exactly twenty minutes after Leviner returned from his break. He picked up the phone and listened.
"We'll be there right away, sir."
On the other side of the desk, his partner looked at him. "A homicide?"
"If only we could be so lucky," Leviner snorted, making Ellsie wince.
It was just another case of illegal dumping. Once the 'cera crew had cleared away the overgrowth of ferns, Leviner stalked his way in. "What do you see?" Ellsie called. Although the entrance to the small shed was large enough to easily accommodate Leviner, there was no way Ellsie was fitting inside. Not that it was her fault. Maiasaurs were designed to be out grazing in the fields, not solving crimes. Leviner tried desperately not to think of her as delicious, delicious cattle. If he even so much rumbled his stomach at her, she would turn him into a raptor pancake with one large foot.
Tromping over the carpet of flattened leaves, Leviner swatted a small dragonfly out of the way, deftl