Week SEVEN of our Zine fair Participant interviews and we’re just loving the responses! Interviews will be posted daily in the run up to the fair THIS WEEKEND! Hope you’re all getting excited! Great reading this background information on each of our stall holders, what they like/dislike about zines and what inspires them etc…. Today’s interview comes from Dublin based illustrator Debbie Jenkinson…..
Debbie Jenkinson is an illustrator and comic-maker, living in Dublin 9. She loves sequential art; narrative and how we use it to understand life is endlessly fascinating to her. Having cut her teeth in an animation studio on the Jersey Shore, she returned to Ireland where, doing a MA in NCAD, she began to use new media to tell stories - postcards, wind-up devices, and hacked flip-clocks. She is the creator of the online comic REMORSE, and provides illustrations to clients, like the Irish Daily Mail. Other on-going projects include the Day in the Life comic series, where she visits people at work and documents their day in comics.
What are zines to you?
Zines, like comics, are like a slice of the creator’s life. They are so personal and unique to the moment and to the individual and because they are not made with commerce as the first consideration, they can offer an uncompromised insight into another mind. They are a great creative format for a story because of their flexibility, too. They can make use of endless styles and formats.
What’s your first memory of zines?
I remember there being photocopied comics and zines in school made by students. I like that they are so lo-tech, inexpensive and flexible. You can always make a zine – all you need is ink and paper and a way of making copies.
What was your first publication? Please describe.
I have had work in various zines, in school (I think it was called Out of the blue? And probably sold for an exorbitant 5 pence), and college mags. I made political cartoons for them, or one-panel jokes, none of which has survived, so it’s hard to recall now.
Why did you start making zines/self publishing?
I work for clients mostly, as an animator and illustrator, so when making my own stories into zines, I enjoy the feeling of freedom that comes with having creative control. Self-publishing is a nice counterpoint to publishing online, in terms of reach, for one; online, in theory, you can reach thousands, but a zine is personal, a limited edition, and specific. It goes from one person to another, it’s the anti-blog in a way.
What/who are your influences?
Mostly comic ones, like Craig Thompson, Jeffrey Brown, and Alison Bechdel. I love manga, too. Svetlana Chmakova, (my mentor on comics residency), is a great story-teller and artist.
What is your favourite material or method (in making your publications)?
Whatever is to hand – I like recycled stuff. One year for a Christmas fair, I made framed cork boards to put cartoons onto. (I had my floor redone that year!) I have used recycled maps to make comic booklets with – one called Trail about finding your way. That’s the beauty of a handmade zine – you can make the format and story come together to be one thing. This is an idea that charms me. I keep ribbons off presents and re-use them – collect cards, cardboard and paper all the time, and buy old frames and pictures in second-hand shops.
Do you have a favourite zine?
Ooh, I couldn’t say! That’s like Sophie’s Choice!
What’s the best & worst things about making a zine?
The worst is all the ideas crowd around in your head and you can’t get them to line up in an orderly fashion! (Yes, you know what I mean.) The best is the final thing, materialised, finally, imperfect as it might be, in your hand. Especially if you are really happy with it, which happens occasionally.
How do you distribute your publications?
Fairs and online, so far. Although I’d love to show work on billboards. I have my eye on one in Rathmines. What? They never use it!
Also I’d like to do some of that power-wash stencilling on the pavement. Also, the sides of buses?
Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to start a zine?
Start! Make lots of work, quickly. Take criticism, but not to heart. And be persistent.