Kenneth: I'm here speaking with the fantastic Asa B, a relatively new artist to the Futurama community, but one that has produced such fine art as to become an instant Fan Art Celebrity. With her wide range of styles and the ability to produce a brilliant picture every time, she is definitely a fan favourite. Asa, welcome.
Asa B: Thank you so much! Glad to be here.
Kenneth: To kick things off, how did you get interested in Futurama?
Asa B: Unlike many other fans, I didn't see the first episode until I bought the DVD. It was on TV here, although they never showed the entire series, and I remember just sitting down one day and catching A Flight to Remember. I instantly liked it and tried my best to catch it from that day on, although it was a bit hard. It also had a lousy time slot over here!
Kenneth: So have you managed to see the entire series now?
Asa B: Yes, I'm a proud owner of all the DVD sets!
Kenneth: Good to hear. Got a favourite set?
Asa B: Hard one. I think all of them is beyond fantastic, but if I'd have to, possibly 4th. It includes my favourite episode and has a nice variety.
Kenneth: And your favourite episode is?
Asa B: Didn't see that question coming ;) But, originally enough, my favourite is The Sting--being a fan of the Fry/Leela relationship. It just really sums up how great Futurama is, mixing romance, emotion, comedy and a song too!
Kenneth: A fan favourite episode for sure. Especially amongst Shippers.
Asa B: Yep, I admit I'm a huge shipper indeed.
Kenneth: I'll come back to that later, but let's discuss your art. How long have you been drawing?
Asa B: All my life, my parents tell me I did reasonably 'good' doodles as a little baby. However, I didn't really start developing it until I was around 13-14. That's when I discovered the internet also, and finding this huge source of all kind of art made me interested in making my own and getting better.
Kenneth: Have you ever taken any drawing classes, or is it all natural talent?
Asa B: I took a few anatomy classes 2 years ago, but that's it. I guess the rest just comes from practise and looking at too much fanart online ;)
Kenneth: You certainly draw like a pro. What tools to you use, both physical and on the computer?
Asa B: Thanks! I draw with practically everything I can find. But I just love drawing with my Col-Erase pencils, I have both blue and red ones. Besides looking sort of professional and neat, they're just so good to draw with! Practically no smudge and all around nice. But a regular pencil is good too, especially when I'm drawing something a bit more realistic and needs shading.
And on the computer I use PhotoShop. I got it a few years ago and I've simply been playing with it ever since, using bunch of tutorials online and whatnot.
Kenneth: Photoshop is an excellent tool, for sure. Do you consider yourself an art perfectionist?
Asa B: I'm a perfectionist at everything, I'm afraid. Definitely including art! I have to make everything look just right before I dare to show it to anyone.
Kenneth: Hehehe, and who says that's a bad thing anyway?
Asa B: I do ;) And you know, it can be time consuming...
Kenneth: But you no doubt get great satisfaction when a picture is finally completed?
Asa B: Yeah, that makes it all worthwhile, really. The whole process of making a picture is loads of fun, but seeing the final result is always joyous!
Kenneth: Is feedback important to helping you grow as an artist?
Asa B: Yeah, I think it's great when people tell me what could be better, definitely. It also just makes me glad to see others appreciate my work.
Kenneth: So what other artists out there do you appreciate the work of?
Asa B: You mean just in the Futurama fandom or in general?
Asa B: In general, most of my influences are of people whose art galleries I've found on the net. Two of those are Aimee Major and Kristin Bergh, who I've been watching for years. But as for famous artists goes, I absolutely love all the renaissance artists, Da Vinci being my favourite. So gorgeous! Also, I like many animators out there, like Glen Keane.
But in the Futurama community, I think everyone is doing a great job. I feel bad about picking out just a few names, you can't make me do that! I love how different styles everyone has and how they're helping to make the Futurama community stay alive.
Kenneth: Your styles have definitely varied. From show-quality, to realistic and many in between. What makes you decide what kind of style to do for a picture?
Asa B: I can't just stick to one style, it'll eventually bore me. But you know, this is actually a good question, because I'm not entirely sure what makes me sometimes use Groening style and sometimes semi-realistic and such. However, I always know what I want to draw before I actually start drawing it. So, if it's maybe a tad complicated pose, I prefer realistic because I think it's hard to make that look very good in the style of the show. But then again, that is also hard to draw. I guess that, all in all, it depends on what I'm drawing...if you get my drift. Probably not :p
Kenneth: I think I understand... a bit...
Asa B: Don't worry, I hardly get it myself!
Kenneth: You mentioned you got into the show late. Was it already cancelled when you first came across it?
Asa B: I followed it on TV, which was before it was cancelled. But since they never showed the entire bunch, maybe up to 3rd Fox season, my interest eventually faded away for some time. But last year I rediscovered it and became an obessive fan! But then it was already cancelled :(
Kenneth: Do you have any hope of its return, via Cartoon Network or any other means?
Asa B: I certainly hope so. At least I'm still living in the hope of some sort of return, because there's certainly enough interest for it. So I'm just trying my best to buy the DVDs and merchandise, and keeping my fingers crossed. Although I admit, it has been a while now since its cancellation...but I'm still in denial.
Kenneth: Did you ever show an interest in it's sister show, The Simpsons?
Asa B: I used to watch it all the time these years ago, but after another channel bought it over I've hardly watched it. Because I don't have that channel! Since then I've only seen a few at some friend's, occasionally. So I haven't seen any new episodes for a long time and can't really say what I think of it anymore. At least the old series I saw on TV were great. But I never showed it the same interest as Futurama, which I instantly fell in love with.
Kenneth: Back to Futurama, have you ever shown an interest in the other side of fanworks: fan fiction?
Asa B: Yes, I've read some fics on TLZ. I admit, I mainly like the shippy ones, but a good humour fic is always a great read.
Kenneth: Got any favourites in particular, or favourite authors?
Asa B: Layla's fanfic on PEEL is definitely the best one I've read so far, even though it's not yet finished. She writes beautifully and includes a fair amount of shippiness, emotion and comedy! Not to mention an exciting plot.
Kenneth: Ever thought about writing yourself?
Asa B: Not fanfics, no. I love writing though, that and art were one time my favourite subjects at school--I unfortunately don't have them anymore . But I prefer writing my own characters.
Asa B: I should add though, that I haven't written anything in years!
Kenneth: Have you got any original stories to share with us?
Asa B: I'm afraid not. Drawing just sort of took over my writing interest, and I haven't written anything for a looong time. I sometimes have these little plots in my head, but that's it. They usually turn out as drawings instead.
Kenneth: With Shippy fics, do you think that they can sometimes be a problem though? Such as the characterisation of Fry and, even moreso, Leela?
Asa B: Yes, I've definitely noticed them acting out of character in some fics. Partly why I don't dare writing one myself! I'd probably fall into that hole as well. Fry can suddenly be this incredibly sensitive, sweet and suave guy in shippy fics--which could work, but not without a fair amount of clumsiness and general Fry-ness as well. Can't forget that other part of him. But, not being a fanfic writer it's probably not appropriate for me to preach over writers.
Kenneth: Well, I always think that you don't need to be a movie producer to critic a movie, so you don't need to be a writer to critic a story either.
Asa B: Good point, that! But I feel bad pointing all these things out without being able to show them how it should be done. Well, maybe one day :-D
Kenneth: Got any pics in the works, btw?
Asa B: Actually, yes! I started drawing one earlier today, but it's taking me a while since it's a complicated pose.
Kenneth: Going to leak what it is?
Asa B: Eh, why not. It involves dancing!
Kenneth: Cool. Fry and Leela, just Leela, or somebody else?
Asa B: Fry and Leela, doing the tango. Seriously, I don't know how I came up with that.
Kenneth: Hehehe, in either case the Shippers will be happy.
Asa B: And that's all that matters, isn't it? Heh.
Kenneth: Choose the best: Chocolate, Banana or Caramel?
Asa B: Chocolate! Any kind. Now.
Kenneth: Hehehe, do you have a favourite character? I'm assuming either Fry or Leela?
Asa B: Good assumption ;) I actually have some troubles making my mind up between them too. But if you were to point a gun to my head (which you won't, right?), I'd probably say Leela. I can very much relate to her, and she's just so real and humane. But so is Fry. So...I'm sayin Freela :-D
Kenneth: LOL. Fair enough.
Kenneth: If you could clone any person into a blank robot, who would it be?
Asa B: Michael Palin, I adore him.
Kenneth: Which robot in the future would you like to own?
Asa B: Any kind of Cleaning-Bot would be ideal!
Asa B: But if I could have Bender...he'd be fun to hang out with.
Kenneth: Are you a sci-fi fan in general?
Asa B: Well, I like Star Wars and I watched Star Trek: Voyager bunches when it was on TV years ago. But I'm no hard-core fan.
Kenneth: Any other shows or movies you particuarly like?
Asa B: As for as TV shows go: Monty Python's Flying Circus, hands down. Brilliant in every single way. Anything with British humour is great, I also like Fawlty Towers, Blackadder and that kind. I guess being a Futurama fan contradicts that a bit (not being British etc), but it has the same wacky and silly humour.
And movies? All the Python movies are a favourite. But Aladdin, the Disney movie, is very close to my heart as has stayed so for many years and will stay that way. And I can't forget Moulin Rouge either :-d
Kenneth: I love those British comedies myself, and, yes, Aladdin is a brilliant cartoon.
Asa B high fives Kenneth
Kenneth: What about music?
Asa B: I like all kinds, but if I had to pick some genres and bands...well, for starts, The Beatles have been my favourite band for ages. But music from that time is great, I love rock from the 60's and 70's, especially The Doors, but also Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton and Alice Cooper. Probably forgetting some, but hey. As far as newer rock bands go, my favourite is the Finnish band Nightwish. However, I can also listen to good pop, although the mainstream Britney Spears and co disgust me! Then I really like Enya, Era, Loreena McKennit, LesiŽm and that kind of beautiful music. And then I also love Frank Sinatra...I should stop now. I like a lot of music. Classical music is also great, I love Chopin and Tchaikovsky.
Kenneth: Wow, you've got quite the range in taste.
Asa B: Um, thank you!
Kenneth: What web sites do you think have helped keep the online Futurama community alive since the show;s cancellation?
Asa B: When it comes to fanstuff of any kind, FM:TLZ is by far the best one! CGEF is also great, for being the biggest info source out there. And then there's PEEL for all sort of discussions. I just hope they'll continue like this for many years.
Kenneth: Do you think there'll still be as much interest in the show a year from now?
Asa B: Yes, I think so. Considering how there are constantly new people joining PEEL and fanstuff is being sent practically every day to FM:TLZ, that could easily be the case. I just hope the official comics will continue for a long time and other official merchandise of any kind to make the fanbase happy and active. (Although a revival of the series would be sweeter!)
Kenneth: How about some word assosciation before we wrap up. I'll give you 12 words and you give me the first word (or words) that pop into your head?
Asa B: Okay, shoot!
Asa B: John Cleese
Asa B: Death
Asa B: Hercules
Asa B: That Australian guy from Futurama (!)
Asa B: Heart
Asa B: Castle
Asa B: Sal
Asa B: A zero with a tight belt :p
Asa B: Disgust
Asa B: Error
Asa B: Hair
Asa B: Futurama (but of course!)
Kenneth: Cool. Before we finish up, is there anything you'd like to say to any budding artists out there or the fans in general?
Asa B: A little tip for budding artists: never stop drawing! No matter how hard the pose/idea is, draw it anyway. It might turn out better next time. And for anyone else, never stop loving Futurama! Even though it's cancelled, and might probably stay that way, we should never forget its greatness. And definitely keep on producing fanstuff.
Kenneth: Cool. Thanks for doing this Asa, and keep up the good work.
Asa B: Thank you! This was fun to do.