Dublin Zine Fair Participant Interview #4

Sarah Cunningham

Sarah Cunningham is an illustrator from Dublin, Ireland. She is inspired by all things patterned & loves anything with a sense of magic to it. Sarah graduated from NCAD with an honours degree in Fine Art Painting & has had her work published in several magazines & books. In addition, Sarah also self publishes her own range of comics & zines! Sarah loves to use pastel colours & mainly works with felt tip pen & marker. Sarah draws upon her childhood memories & experiences to give her work a sense of the nostalgic & it is for this reason that her work is enjoyed by children & adults alike.She is obsessed with tea parties and all things quirky, a fact made blatantly apparent by her collection of Alice in Wonderland books, (she now owns over 150, all illustrated by different artists). Sarah is inspired by fairy­tales and myths and aspires to one day become a mermaid herself.




1. Zines are fun little hand held moments, whether they capture a memory,
a story or simply a collection of images. I like to tell stories and this
has always come across very strongly in my zines, they are like little comics!

2. My first memory of zines is from a trip to berlin in 2008. I came across a
group of artists selling paintings and zines on the top floor of a heavily
graffitied, abandoned building that was being used as a nightclub.

3. My first publication was a little book about a rabbit that was hungry and had
to get a part time job working on a carrot farm to earn money to buy carrots
(thrilling, I know). It was a childrens picture book that I self published, hand
bound and sold at craft fairs in 2007.

4. I started self publishing because I had something to share with the world and
didn’t want to wait around for a publishing house to maybe take notice. I had
always wanted to be an illustrator and I was going to make that happen no matter what.

5. I am heavily influenced by the fairytales, myths and legends my parents told me
as a child. I have always been fascinated by the idea of other worlds, fantasy and magic.
I am a collector and the treasures I collect play a big part in inspiring my work. Whether
it’s a pattern from one of my vintage teacups or a flick through one of my Alice in Wonderland
books ( I currently have over 150, all illustrated by different artists). I love to use pastel
colours and intricate patterns/details in my work. I like my illustrations to have a delicate,
feminine quality with something a little extra thrown in so they’re not too cutesy.

6. I use promarkers and felt tip pens to create my illustrations. I have tried most mediums and
these are the ones best suited to my style and the atmosphere I want my work to have. I am a
huge fan of watercolours and use those from time to time but once you discover promarkers you’re
hooked for life!

7. This is a tough one, but if I had to choose I’d have to say Exploding Comics by Amanda Spitzner
and Frank De Paula. It is so awesome! It’s witty and clever and the illustrations are to die for!!
I can’t wait to get the lastest issue!

8. The best thing about making a zine is that you’re completely in charge and all the decisions are
own to make, so you know that the finished product is exactly what you want to be putting out
into the public arena. I would say the worst part about making zines is the all nighter you pull
before going to print, although that can be kind of invigorating… so there’s no real downside
to making zines in my opinion.

9. I have several shops that sell my work including Jam Art Factory (both on Patrick Street and in Temple Bar),
The Winding Stair Bookshop, Queen of Tarts (both on Cows Lane and Dame Street), The Constant Knitter,
Urbun Cafe in Cabinteely and I Heart Design Gallery in Cork. I sell my zines through some of these outlets
and will also be selling them from my new website which will be launching in the next week or so.

10. My advice for someone wanting to start a zine would be, there are no rules! Stay true to your own artist vision
and don’t worry about what other people are doing! If you truely love what your zine is about that passion will
radiate off the pages and draw others in. In short, BE YOURSELF!