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!