Featured Zinester: Cool Dog

Miquela Davis - Cool Dog

Cool Dog is the main character in a series of comic zines created by illustrator and comic artist Miquela Davis. Cool Dog, Davis says “is the coolest dog, but he isn’t exactly the smartest dog, and he always tends to end up getting into trouble because of how cool he is.”

Davis, who also takes inspiration from 90’s cartoons, pop culture, and music, hand-writes and draws her staple-bound zines. She’s been making zines since she was very young, but tabled at her first zine fest at OC Zine Fest 2015. LBZF will be her second zine fest.

When did you start making zines … and why?

In 2006, when I was 16. I was going through a bad period of insomnia and all kinds of weird stuff was happening. High school, ya know? My uncle went to college with Mark Todd, who co-wrote/edited the incredible tool of a book called Whatcha Mean What’s a Zine? My uncle gave me a signed copy because he thought I would be interested in turning my art into something else than just personal drawings, and I consider that book to be my bible. It somewhat saved my life, as dramatic as it sounds. I learned about Zines and immediately started making them. It wasn’t until a couple years ago that I actually started to distribute and publish them instead of just making single copies for me or my friends though, which I think is silly, I’d love to read my stuff from ten years ago!

What was your first zine called? What was it about?

Looking back, technically I made my first zine when I was 4. It was a handmade and badly stapled book filled with Sesame Street stamps and I made them have speech bubbles with nonsense gibberish inside. I think Cookie Monster died in it. I was an odd child.

But as far as legit Zines, the first one I made was called King 4 a Day. It was Green Day fan fiction comics I distributed to friends and I even turned it into a play we performed in my high school drama class. I was an odd teenager.

How do you create your zine content?

I spend a lot of time listening to music, so I’ll get some kind of weird ideas from that. I also take a lot from people I know. Cool Dog comes a lot from a person I know. My previous comics when I was a teenager came from lots of inside jokes with friends. I like drawing things I find funny and can visualize easily. Sometimes someone will just say something randomly in a conversation and an idea snowballs in my brain from there. I take a lot from the world around me and what I find humorous about it.

Why do you make zines?

They make me happy! They’ve opened so many doors for me, helped me meet so many amazing people, been a way to be in control of my artwork, they’re truly the best. Zines are so versatile and having the creative control over them really is everything, as well as experimenting and seeing where they can go.

What do you like about your local zine community?

It seems like it’s just blossoming, which is really rad to witness and meet all the people who are just getting into it or have been doing it for years and finally have an outlet to get their stuff out there. All the zine fests popping up have been a dream come true.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start making zines?

Do it. Just do it. Nike that ish. If you have something you want to make, you just gotta do it. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

Connect with Cool Dog

Featured Zinester: SBTL CLNG (subtle ceiling)

broken

SBTL CLNG is visual artist, writer, and self-publishing zine maker Carolina Hicks. LBZF will be her 16th zinefest, including international zinefests at Helsinki Comics Fest, Copenhagen Zine Fest, and Berlin Zine Fest in 2015.

In addition to tabling at LBZF 2016, Hicks will present a hands-on workshops, “Pain Magic,” centered around mental health and expression as a form of self-care.

“I want to open up a conversation about this DIY form of healing, coping, and surviving our own ups/downs/in betweens,” Hick says. “Specifically, why is personal zine making such an important form of expression and how can we weave creativity more into our everyday rituals.”

To create her own illustrated zines, Hicks employs handwriting and drawing, cut-and-pasting, photocopying, and digital editing. She sometimes uses hand-stitched binding along with the traditional folding and stapling.

This year, Hicks says she her zine topics are about “different textures of trauma, coping with my mental health, destroying self-destructive thoughts/habits, self-love (how difficult it actually is), healing, the different textures of violence we live in and amongst, misogyny/the patriarchy, grief, my own highs/lows + experiences that come with existing in a body.”

  • Pain Magic: Hands-on Zine-making Workshop with SBTL CLNG
  • 2pm to 3:30pm

What was your first zine called? What was it about?

Weird Times, winter of 2011. I was studying in this town Uppsala, in Sweden. I made the zine at this youth house called Ungdomens Hus. It’s a space made intentionally for youth of the city – they put on punk and metal shows, open mics, sell dirt cheap coffee + food, play records, have an arts/crafts room, an indoor half pipe – it’s a total dream. I was super lonely at that time and would go there a few times a week and just spend hours reading, drawing, and daydreaming alone.

I got inspired to make a zine of my own after reading a bunch of Swedish feminist comics (check out their scene, it’s really incredible- a good place to start is Galago Publishing) and other DIY fanzines there. I thought to myself, I could do something like this, seems fun. So I compiled drawings, collages, poems, and pictures I had made there and called it Weird Times, cause that’s exactly what I was going through. I owe my zine making journey to that super supportive staff + space, so shoutout to UH in Uppsala: älskar/saknar er och tusen tack. stor kramar.

How do you create your zine content?

I approach zine making as though I’m an archivist/scientist; the zines are my research about the ideas, feelings, questions, realizations, tensions, daydreams I stumble across in my mind, life, and experiences. They’re the work I compile as I navigate space/time in my body. I work in bursts, often getting it all out in a night or over a condensed period of a few days.

Why do you make zines?

I make zines in order to cope with the pain/bliss, dread/joy that comes with being alive. I feel things so intensely and so deeply, probably because I have depression and anxiety. Zine making balances me out in a way that’s been enormously therapeutic. The process from start to completion really helps me investigate, zoom in on the root of my traumas/fears.

The zines talk back to me, giving me tips for how to better heal myself or helping me realize something I hadn’t really noticed. In the process, I feel myself engaging in a dialogue with my subconscious and there is so much untapped/unlearned knowledge inside ourselves (Audre Lorde’s essay “The Uses of the Erotic” is a game changer!!). I make them to connect with anyone who’s listening and anyone who needs them. I make them to engage in a conversation with life, my inner self and the world around me. Plus, they’re just the best.

What is your favorite part of making zines?

The people, moments, and experiences that they lead me to. Their ability to take on a life of their own and move through space/time into people’s lives. It moves me to no end when a zine reaches exactly the right person, at exactly the right time in their life, and touches their mind/heart. As soon as they were convinced that they were alone and hopeless, the zine will pop into their life somehow and the words can comfort/relate/speak to them in any way: that is total magic to me!

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start making zines?

Your first and biggest block will be yourself. You’ll constantly stop and self-edit and convince yourself that what you’re making is shitty or not good enough. Do your best to override those initial self-deprecating thoughts- it’s mostly just fear that’s keeping you from making the thing you wanna make, saying the things you need to say. This sounds counter-intuitive, but at first you kind of have to ignore your own thoughts and let your gut make the zine. You’ll start getting better, more comfortable, and learning what works/doesn’t work for you with time and lot of mistakes. Once you just start, you won’t wanna stop and you’ll find your own flow/voice/style.

Also, I’ve been to so many fests, seen hundreds of zines, and honestly: there is so much empty/shallow shit out there. Really fancy paper, high quality printing, impressive binding, etc. but NO passion or honesty. The types of zines that affect me come from a place of genuine earnestness. Please, be real and true to yourself. Don’t be afraid to be raw or sincere- the world needs that now more than ever. Vulnerability is what’s cool and on the rise, pseudo-irony, fake depth, and apathy are tired and so! fucking! boring!

Connect with SBTL CLNG

Featured Zinester: AJB Design

AJB Design

AJB Design

Andrew Brozyna publishes his memoir and information zines as AJB Design. Andrew is an illustrator, letterer, and book designer and uses all of those skills in creating his zines. To create his zines, he illustrates his initial work by hand with markers and brush pens, types up the text and then combines everything in Adobe InDesign before printing and stapling.

 

When did you start making zines … and why?

In high school in the early 1990s I made a couple zines. They were funny stories about pop culture (poking fun of TV show characters mostly). I got into making them because an older friend in art class had a zine. So, twenty years later I was really interested to see that hand-made physical books have made such a comeback.

Why do you make zines?

I like drawing, and I like telling stories, so zines are a nice way to combine the two.

What are your current zines about?

Paris 1995 is my zine about when I went to France as a 16 year old. Last summer I found my old diary. The zine combines my old journal entries with recent commentary and illustrations.

Star Wars Quotes is a collection quotes from the Star Wars movies that I hand-lettered (illustrated in artful ways instead of using a font).

Book Stores is a collection of drawings of ten bookstore buildings that I’ve been doing for the past few years.

Read Like a Cat Sleeps is a short biography of Althea Warren who was the head librarian of the LA Public Library during the 1930s and 40s.

What is your favorite part of making zines?

My favorite part about zines is how they let me tell a good story to beyond my circle of friends.

What do you like about your local zine community?

The zine community is fantastic. Everyone is so supportive and genuinely interested in what other zine-makers are doing.

Connect with AJB Design

Featured Zinester: Kevin Uehlein Comix

irene - Kevin Uehlein Comix

Kevin Uehle, of Kevin Uehlein Comix, first exhibited at the Portland Zine Symposium in 2013 and is now returning for his second year at LBZF. His illustration, comics and sketchbook zines feature dense psychedelic art, funny comics, and darker dramatic comics. Each are handwritten and drawn, photocopied and digitally edited, then printed folded and simply stapled.

When did you start making zines … and why?

2007- I started work on my first minicomic. My friend Alex and I decided to put out our own books for Stumptown Comics Fest in April of 2008, since we were both interested in writing/drawing our own comics stories. I had done some terrible comics in college for my friends, a school newspaper, and the few classes I had that breached comics, but I had never published anything until that. Also in college, I saw a mini-comic that my friend Nate had made, and that was a big epiphany moment that led to an interest in self-publishing.

What was your first zine called? What was it about?

Guardrail #1- the main story was about insurgent mice fighting against an oppressive regime of frogs, which was loosely based on a fever dream I had as a kid. There were little backup comics; one was an anthropomorphic heart kicking the shit out of me (oh, the subtle metaphors) and an exaggerated tale of me backing up a toilet at a party and flooding the whole place.

How do you create your zine content?

I draw and letter on paper, either sheets of bristol board or in a sketchbook. I pencil with regular 4h pencils, then ink with Rapidographs and a Pentel brushpen (usually- sometimes I try out the old nib or brush). I use photoshop for cleaning up stray marks, splicing in replacement elements that I screwed up the first time, and sometimes coloring. I have also colored with acrylic paint, watercolors, and pencils.

Why do you make zines?

I like to have a finished object that someone can flip through, it feels like my time working adds up to something. I also want my work to be seen by as many simpatico eyeballs as it can.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start making zines?

Make something you would want to pick up and read.

Connect with Kevin Uehlein

Featured Zinester: Third Woman Press

Third Woman Press Collective Members

Third Woman Press Collective Members

Third Woman Press is run by a collective located in San Antonio, Los Angeles, Oakland and Chicago.

Core collective members Mariana Lui, Audrey Silvestre, Daniela Jiménez, Sara A. Ramírez, Kim Tran, and Brenda Rodriguez publish poetry, spells, essays and artwork by feminists of color, with a special emphasis on queer writers and artists.

The Third Woman Press Zine is a series covering topics of love, experiences, feelings, and personal affirmations. Each zine is handwritten and drawn, cut-and-pasted, and digitally edited before being printed and stapled into the final product.

The collective is currently finishing up Third Woman Press, a traditionally bound book, and recently has expanded their online repetoire with a new podcast.

When did you start making zines … and why?

Third Woman Press began its revitalization in 2013 with a call for submissions for a new anthology due to be published this year and a call for donations with which to fund the anthology. We saw so many excellent voices around us and wanted to be able to publish more quickly and in a more nimble format, so the Third Woman Press Zine was born.

What was your first zine called? What was it about?

#TRANSLIVESMATTER is our first Zine issue and it features writing by Trans Feminists of color and a beautiful artpiece. It is not easy to condense what it is “about” because the pieces all explore different subjects from a first-person perspective. It is a beautiful first issue and I must say that it features some of my (Mariana’s) favorite poetry from all of our zines.

How do you create your zine content?

It depends on the pieces. The first zine was a heavily cut-and paste version which received a lot of love and care from Richard Giddens, who was working with the press at the time. You rock, Richie! The design was then tightened up digitally. The later versions were also created in the same way.

Why do you make zines?

We love being able to amplify voices that are not often voiced in the mainstream. Even though you hear a lot more about queer issues in the news, the voices are very rarely queer people of color. We are so honored to be trusted by so many creative people to feature their work. We just want to make these voices heard!

In addition to zines, what are you passionate about?

We are passionate about media! In addition to finishing up our first anthology as Third Woman Press, which is a traditionally bound book, we are working on media online. We have a literary journal at thirdwomanpulse.com which can be more broad in presentation. We recently published our first episode of Teeny Tiny Radical Seeds hosted by our interns, two amazing Women’s Studies undergraduate students from the University of Texas at San Antonio, Angelica L. and Itzel A.. It features an interview with artist Julio Salgado.

What is your favorite part of making zines?

Providing a medium for people of color to stop being spoken about. We can speak for ourselves and our voices are beautiful.

What is your biggest challenge in making zines?

Printing costs, haha. We are a non-profit organization and we don’t make any money at all from the press. It is completely a labor of love and proceeds from the zines just get rolled straight into the next publishing venture. We make sure that the Zines are priced really low. We want to provide beautiful, full color zines to everyone who wants one. We just love publishing!

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start making zines?

Don’t wait for it to be perfect. Just publish it. It’s a Zine, it’s not a job application. The only one setting limits on it is you (and maybe the printing costs).

Why are you tabling at Long Beach Zine Fest?

A few of our collective members met at Cal State Long Beach, and we love the community. We are so stoked to be coming back for a Zine Fest! We can’t wait to see where the creativity goes.

What else do you want people know about you or your zines?

Everyone is welcome to purchase and read them. In fact, if you don’t identify as queer, feminist, or a person of color we would like for you to definitely jump in and read what we have to say!

Connect with Third Woman Press

 

Featured Zinester: MikaMoo Comics

mika moo lbzf

Sophia Zarders publishes MikaMoo Comics, an multi-volume illustration zine that she hand-draws and then manipulates digitally. Her printed zines are folded and stapled in the classic zine style, covering topics like mental health and happenings in her daily life that she feels are “intimate and (hopefully) relatable.”

When did you start making zines … and why?

I’ve been an artist my whole life, but I didn’t realize comics were my passion until college. Throughout adolescence, I experimented in different storytelling media (film, animation, script writing) but I really began exploring comics and graphic novels in college. Then, in 2015 I went to LA Zine Fest and fell in love with all things zine. That spring I tabled with some fellow artsy fartsy kids at Long Beach Zine Fest and now this year I’m tabling by myself at both LA and LB zine fests.

What was your first zine called? What was it about?

My first zine is called “MikaMoo Comics: Volume 1.” It’s a collection of comic strips from 2015 about mental health, job interviews, and punk shows. MikaMoo started as a comic diary for myself to post online every couple of days, and it certainly has been a great outlet for me to voice my feelings and frustrations with life in a creative way. I’ve been working on Jesus Freak, my online graphic novel, for 4 long years. There are about 60 pages up.

How do you create your zine content?

I make a comic strip whenever I get a good enough idea that I can kinda visualize. All of my strips are drawn out on Photoshop, which is actual hell. Then I post them on my tumblr and hope some people like it. I picked out about 20 of my favorite strips for a single zine, and now I have 2 volumes available in print. Thanks FedEx for being open late and having an extra long stapler.

Why do you make zines?

My MikaMoo strips are sometimes funny and always intimate. I often make them as a window into my depression and anxieties. However, through creating and posting these comics, I’ve realized how universal and shared these mental processes are. I also just enjoy making very weird strips too, which people seem to enjoy just as much. Creating MikaMoo Comics has definitely helped me learn to cope with my wrinkly pink brain and connect with people who have similar silly thoughts to mine. I really love sharing and selling my comics to an audience who I know will appreciate my art, passion, and identity. Comics and zines have become the most passionate and accessible outlet in creating my art.

In addition to zines, what are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about almost every art media: drawing and painting, music, film, animation, dance, etc. Film and animation are huge sources of inspiration for me, specifically in the storytelling and visual aspects of Jesus Freak. If I’m not working on comics, I’m painting people who influence my art and my politics.

As a member of the punk scene, I’m involved in making posters, going to shows, and dreaming of performing on a tiny, christmas light-lit stage. I’m working with some talented music-inclined friends at the moment, so who knows when that will manifest into a DIY band.

What is your biggest challenge in making zines?

The hardest part is by far staying somewhat up to date with creating strips and posting them online. My vulnerability as a creator is always a hurdle. There’s a part of me that constantly doubts my abilities as an artist, but I just have to burst through every time. I think that internal resistance is necessary. It’s also hard not getting feedback and attention toward your work when you want it. Sometimes my strips are a hit and sometimes they’re under the radar. I’m not always going to make hits and realizing that is tough stuff.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start making zines?

Making zines is so, so, so, so easy, and I don’t think many people are aware of that. You can make a zine about anything that tickles your fancy or ruffles your feathers (or both like me!) If ya got a creative wrinkly brain, choose your favorite medium and go for it!

 

Connect with MikaMoo:

Featured Zinester: CSULB Photo Kids

faces-canvas_finalThe CSULB Photo Kids are scattered between Simi Valley, Los Angeles, and Long Beach, but “collectively our roots as artists were connected in Long Beach, as graduates and current students of CSULB.”

The crew is comprised of Alyssa Bierce, Mike Lewis, Candace Wakefield, Colin Thompson, Mckenzie Stribich, Juliette Angulo, Romana Vera, Marlene Tafoya, Natalie Bouroumand, Alexis Chanes, May Roded, and Shelby Roberts.

The CSULB Photo Kids’ zines are handwritten/drawn, photocopied, screenprinted, and digitally created, with stapled and hand-stitched binding. Their collective zines fit into every genre of zine–memoir/perzines, social/cultural, political, photography, and illustration–with topics covering everything from the California landscape, the prison industrial system, suburban living and art school to families, bodies, and culture.

LBZF16 is their first zine fest, so stop by their table and show them some love!

When did you start making zines … and why?

Some of our crew have been making zines for years, others are just beginning to translate our work into zines and other handmade publications. As a loose community of makers, we have enjoyed the opportunity to create in a way that feels intimate and tactile.

In addition to zines, what are you passionate about?

We all come from a background in image making, as graduates and students of the photography program at CSULB. Digital photography, large format, screen printing, and photograms are all home base, and serve as a foundation for how we view image making and consumption. We are passionate about our work and the growing power of images.

What is your favorite part of making zines?

Making zines feels immediate and intimate. For many of us, the transition from art school students to real-time art practice has been a funny thing, and the hardest thing for many artists is making the leap between idea and product. There is something about working with zines that frees us up to just do.

What are some of the zines you will be featuring at Long Beach Zine Fest?

  • Me, 47 Times
  • The Worst Shit I Made Did in Art School
  • Forms
  • Girls Night Out
  • Art School Graduate Anxiety
  • IDs

Why are you tabling at Long Beach Zine Fest?

We are excited to be at LBZF to connect with the larger community of art and artists in Long Beach and beyond. This city and our university have helped nurture us as artists, and we look forward to representing that.

Connect with CSULB Photo Kids