Last night I attended a meeting for organizers and volunteers for the next Chicago Zine Fest. It was a room full of educators, fans of indie publishing, and zine publishers themselves. Lots of talk about the next Chicago Zine Fest, self publishing and indie publishing, and the love of indie culture in general.
I published zines in the 90s, and am currently working on returning to indie publishing with some work I’ve been doing in StudioLab. It won’t be long before my new title is ready to publish and it’s pretty exciting to be working on zines, graphic-novel inspired material, and incorporating more text into my artwork in general.
My background is in writing, and I’m still earning most of my living from writing, so it has been an interesting journey bringing my multiple worlds together between writing, music, and art.
One thing that I think is really fascinating about trends in indie culture overall is that today, “handmade” has a lot of weight and carries a lot of currency. But when I was self-publishing in the 90s, it seems that there was a more bias against hand-made. Looking back, my perception is that we really had not entered maker culture yet. Handmade and maker stuff has a great deal more respect these days, it seems.
That’s one of the reasons my first title in my return to zines and indie publishing in general is entirely written and illustrated by hand–no computers, no Word documents or PDFs were used to create the content for the zine. For better or worse, all the text is my own hand, all the pages were drawn to fit and not subject to external layouts or computer assisted layout.
I’m putting the finishing touches on this now, but the new title is a combination of observational writing, satire, and personal writing. I know it’s a lot of growing up in public, as it were, but this type of writing and artwork is new to me and it’s a lot of fun to explore–and pretty revealing, too.
Back to Chicago Zine Fest. Even now, moving into the end of spring and the start of summer, they are looking for volunteers and volunteer organizers to help make the next Zine Fest a reality in March of next year. I strongly encourage anyone who is a fan of zines or indie publishing to consider volunteering in either capacity. This is definitely a worthy cause and a good use of your time. You can learn more at the Chicago Zine Fest official Facebook Page.