Dublin Zine Fair Participant Interview #11

We’re up to eleven now, just catching up on the day that i missed a post! There are sooooo many yet to post so DZF will be posting from the event as well as keeping our facebook event page updated with fresh photos and comments over the two day event!

Interview #11 comes from the extremely talented illustrator Sarah Bowie……..


Sarah  is an illustrator and comic-maker based in Dublin.  She loves creating fun and quirky characters and her portfolio is full of colour and humour.  She has a passion for children’s books and comics and will soon have to move into a bigger apartment in order to house her ever-increasing collection. She studied Visual Communications for the Web in Blanchardstown IT, and most recently worked as a Web Developer in the Digital Hub before taking a step back to concentrate on her illustration career.  She is an active member of the Blind Elephant Illustration Collective, who exhibit twice yearly and set each other a monthly illustration challenge (by prodding and poking each other with sticks). And when she’s not being poked with sticks, she creates strips for her weekly web comic, ‘Maud and Mouse’, a fun look at the daily life of one girl and her mouse.



1. What are zines to you?
To me zines are little, non-commercial treasures. Weird, wacky, odd and beautiful insights into peoples lives and imaginations. If the publishing world were a garden, then zines are that bit down the end that gets overlooked: where wild flowers grow madly and a whole ecosystem of bees, butterflies, hedgehogs, and badgers co-exist. Basically, the best and most interesting bit of the garden.

2. What’s your first memory of zines?
Quimby’s in Chicago, 2007. Brilliant comic shop. It also had an entire section dedicated to zines. I had never seen a zine before and was a bit overwhelmed. Also compared to all the high-end graphic novels, they were so affordable! One that stood out for me, was where the guy had printed onto grease-proof paper for the cover. Simple, but really beautiful, and was a technique I went onto use in a different way in ‘Rampion’.

3. What was your first publication? Please describe.
‘Rampion’, a very loose retelling of the fairytale Rapunzel. I wanted to make something that felt precious while also playing with the physical format of the book. I made it as an accordion book with flaps that folded out to reveal extra illustrations. Each book was quite slow to make, so I only ever made 50 in total.

rampion-01 rampion-02

4. Why did you start making zines/self publishing?
The need to tell stories, and wanting to see those in a very particular, physical format. And because I love books, physical books, and I wanted to make something small that was a part of that tradition. I was going through my medieval / William Morris phase at the time.

5. What/who are your influences?
Intially, the great medieval tomes and the precious book collection in the Chester Beatty Library. Also William Morris, and his need to get back to hand-crafted methods and basically his two-fingers to capitalism and industry. I’ve come out the other side of all that, and while I will be forever in love with the physical book, and have huge respect for the centuries-worth of craft, I am now excited by everything that’s becoming possible, minute-by-minute, through technology and the web.


6. What is your favourite material or method (in making your publications)?
At it’s most basic, I love to draw and tell stories, and I use the simplest methods available to me to do just that. Drawing, scanning, printing, assembling. I’d love to do screen-printing, it’s just expensive and I’m lazy about getting my own equipment. Someday.

7. Do you have a favourite zine?
I just love the variety. I love that everyone has there own unique take on things.

8. What’s the best & worst things about making a zine?
The best thing is that feeling of satisfaction you get when you’ve got your very own self-published, hand-assembled book there in your hands… your own voice, undiluted. The worst thing is when you leave everything till the last minute and end up frantically collating the night before/morning of the zine fair!

9. How do you distribute your publications?
Symapthetic outlets around town… like The Winding Stair and Jam Art. Also online.

10. Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to start a zine?
Ah just start it. Do whatever it is you want to do. Don’t question whether it’s right or wrong. Even the most terrible zine is perfect.