Featured Zinesters

Featured Zinester: SBTL CLNG (subtle ceiling)


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: √§lskar/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