Last week I went to the Music and Gaming Festival (MAGFest) with my husband Spencer and my friend Ben. I decided to put together a quarter-sheet zine to give to people at the festival. I ended up leaving the zines at various tables around the massive Gaylord hotel, and I traded some away at the little trading-only market. Often times the zines I left were gone within hours!
Below is the full zine, including Spencer’s three illustrations I placed in between the stories.
That’s the zine!
Here are those links: comix4you.tumblr.com and spencereverhart.tumblr.com. Below is a photo of me trading my zine at the trading-only market, taken by Ben Shrager! Then there are photos I took of the community band concert featuring Ellen McLain (voice of GLaDOS, Portal spoilers!), an amongus as seen from the Gaylord hotel atrium, and the little free library in the indie arcade where I dropped my last few zines.
I wish I made fan zines for when Juno Birch came to Cleveland, or when Trixie and Katya’s show came through. My plan is to make more of these for different events, then incorporate them into my personal zine, CIMZANY. That’s all for now!
I put together a “wisdom text” shelf after taking a meditation course with Lama Rod Owens. It’s full of texts that have helped me experience some liberation. I’ll describe this experience as one where I feel open, not stuck, an experience of not constricting around any particular thought or feeling, at least for a moment. I feel like I can choose.
So a few weeks ago I went to this shelf without much expectation. I took out Making Comics by Lynda Barry. And I started reading it from the beginning.
This is the spread where I stopped. Look at that last sentence! YES! I have FAITH in the “spontaneous ordering forces from which stories appear.”
I wanted to make artist trading cards immediately. I also wanted to try copying styles of artists I had seen online. So I made these three cards:
Each started with a squiggle. I made one with pencil, then I made one with colored pencils, then I made one with colored Flair pens. Then I was tired, so I stopped. The styles I tried copying (from memory) for the first two were Paul Peng’s and Hannah Lock’s. Their drawings make me want to draw. This is a quality that I find precious. The goal was to experiment, not to copy their styles well. The experiment was a success because I made three drawings.
Stories and characters took shape. I had faith this would happen.
First and foremost has been Comics in the Circle. I’ve been co-organizing this weekly meetup with Katie Starr since last October. We’ve had a great, high quality turnout with about six regulars and more people popping in and out. We’ve also hit a digital groove with a Zoom meeting every Wednesday at 7 PM.
Organizing this group has filled me with so much energy. Comics in the Circle is really becoming the supportive comics making community that I’ve wanted for years now. We have many different perspectives on comics, drawing, and writing — AND on the market and culture around it. Don’t let the weekly schedule intimidate you. If you want to pop in and say hi, please do! Or email/direct message me your questions.
Secondly is teaching! My second Comics Journaling class with Lake Erie Ink concluded last month. It’s a great paid gig. I get to lead Lynda Barry exercises and the like with students from middle school to high school. This eight week session had a lower turnout than my four day summer session, but we made it work. Zoom fatigue is real, and these last months of this Ohio pandemic winter have been mentally brutal for me. I have assumed it has been just as nasty for students, if not more nasty.
My weekly goal was to sit in front of the camera, make comics with them, and be okay while doing it. I found that if I could just sit and hold this space to make this work in the comp book, it was enough. The journaling exercises in Making Comics supported this honesty and openness. I try to be as real as I professionally can with students. The practice of observing your day on paper doesn’t need to be fun or high energy. I would say it’s a blessing, but teaching this practice in particular was my intention when coming up with ideas for LEI last summer: this compbook writing and drawing practice meets you where you are, even in the stormiest environment.
I took time off from my day job to teach two Friday workshops and one Saturday workshop at Lake Erie Ink’s annual Kids Comic Con. I led one exercise where you draw a monster’s entire life and another activity where you turn a lie into a one-page minicomic, inspired by something LB posted on her Instagram. I wish I had a kids comic con around when I was in school. Also all of the panels are up on their YouTube page.
Just today I led some exercises for Writers In Residence, an organization that teaches writing to youth who are incarcerated in Ohio. Then I’ll be doing another summer Comics Journaling class with Lake Erie Ink. I am not sure if it will be outside in person or online yet.
This Blog + Career Research
My third project is this blog. Okay, self explanatory. I want to navigate my portfolio to this website too. This is part of an overarching effort to research and solidify my creative career ambitions. Comics and writing? Illustration and comics? Comics and teaching and writing and editing? I am accepting unsolicited advice on how to make steady money off of creative work. 🙂
My fourth project is my upcoming perzine, short for personal zine. So… actually making comics! Lol. Self-anthology-style. This will look like a 24-page self published half-sheet (digest format) booklet. Very similar to King Cat Comics and Stories. I’ve been excitedly sharing progress on the Comics in the Circle Discord, to much encouragement. I need a regular place to put short story comics, illustrated essays, fanart, and maybe some comics that have resulted from doing exercises with other people. 24 pages lets me be picky and intentional, but it’s big enough to be satisfying for a lil’ sit down read on the couch. Easily sent though the mail too.
That’s what I’ve been up to. It looks like a lot, but I only do a little at a time. Between a full time job and other commitments, I put maybe 4 or 5 hours into my comics stuff a week. Thanks for taking the time to read this!
Hello! I’m excited to finally start this thing. I’ve been imagining it for over a year now and I’m finally brave enough to start it.
I intend for this blog to be my Super Official Internet Home for expressing my comics-related thoughts. In the past I’ve wanted to write WAY too much for any decent Instagram or Twitter post. It seems an old fashioned blog is what I’m after.
Social media has been a great tool for discovery and engagement. I’ll still use it! But I also find it abusive. Profit-driven content algorithms, quantitative engagement comparisons, slot-machine-like psychology, and insulation from the greater web — it’s all very gross. I like email and RSS feeds. They give more power to both the sender and the receiver. Start a mailing list! Start your own blog! Let me know about it!
What’s this blog about?
Expect my personal experiences making comics, going to meetups, experiencing festivals, maybe teaching classes. I want to get honest and vulnerable, contribute to the comics renaissance from my vantage point, and help people engage with comics making, because it is just so darn fulfilling and accessible! Paper and pen! That’s it, if you want it to be!
My affinity for comics making has led me to truly sacred community, at first in small doses, but now in HUGE heartwarming doses as I co-organize and co-run Comics in the Circle. I want radically inclusive community! I want to do more of what I love, and I want other people to find that too, and I want us to be well together. For some of us, making comics really helps.