Meet Damp Squib: An interview with the GSA Comix Club about their shape-shifting zine

Issue 3 of Damp Squib by Glasgow School of Art Comix ClubIssue 3 of Damp Squib from the GSA Comix Club

Damp Squib is a shape-shifting comic zine that changes theme, format and editor each issue. Published “sporadically” by the Comix Club at the Glasgow School of Art, Damp Squib brings together an energetic range of comic styles from a rotating mix of contributors (including, in the last issue, the editor’s mum).

The third issue, which came out in June, celebrates summer getaways with an “Action, Escape, Adventure” theme. Printed as a digital broadsheet newspaper, the latest edition of Damp Squib is just 4 pages but packs a big (if slightly chaotic) visual punch when folded out into a 750mm x 520mm poster.

We caught up with Comix Club president Peter McKenna and this issue’s editor Shona Spalding to find out how they put the zine together and what the future holds for Damp Squib after they graduate.

How did Damp Squib get started?

Peter: Damp Squib started as a response to what I considered was a lack of printed visual storytelling in circulation around the Glasgow School of Art campus.

I felt that comic art was being underrepresented at GSA in spite of there being a strong community of artists and designers who I knew were engaged with the genre. To rectify this I – alongside my fellow 4th Year Illustrators –established the GSA Comix Club as a society for the production and appreciation of comic media. We held a meeting, wrote a manifesto, browsed a long list of firework names and resultantly Damp Squib was born.

The first issue, “The Pilot Episode”, was a chance to test the waters and unsurprisingly we got loads of dead good submissions!

Issue 3 of Damp Squib by Glasgow School of Art Comix ClubComics by Santiago Taberna (left) and Lucy Grainge (right) in Issue 3 of Damp Squib.

What’s the process of putting an issue together?

Peter: We made the decision early on that we wanted Damp Squib to be edited and produced by a different society member per issue to keep the publication diverse and ever-changing.

Comix Club members propose their concept for the next issue at one of our meetings: they detail their idea for the theme, print method, colour scheme etc. and then we take a vote. The newly-elected editor then goes about producing the next issue, starting with a call for submissions.

Submissions are welcomed from anyone and everyone – not limited to GSA students – and it’s the editor’s job to collate this content into whatever printed format they see fit.

Issue 1 of Damp Squib by GSA Comix ClubIssue 1 of Damp Squib (“The Pilot Episode”) archived at the GSA Library Zine Collection.

The first issue is archived at the wonderful GSA Library Zine Collection. Where else can people find Damp Squib?

Peter: It’s the duty of the Squib editor to distribute the comic – so it’s up to them where they wish to put them. Usually we circulate them about campus: in the Student’s Association, the Reid and Tontine buildings and recently we had the opportunity to showcase them at the East London Comic Art Festival (ELCAF) in Hackney as well as our own Communication Design Degree Show.

Damp Squib at ECLAFThe Damp Squib team setting up at ELCAF in London.

The comics are free and so far each issue has been produced in a limited run – so when they’re gone, they’re gone! As a society we’ve archived copies of each issue and likewise the GSA Library holds a copy of each. Other than that, if you’re after a copy I’m afraid it’s a case of having to beg, borrow or steal.

Why did you decide to publish the third issue as a newspaper?

Shona: We’d had two different formats already so it was clear that the club should keep experimenting. I decided on newspaper because I really liked the idea of it folding out to two big pages of assorted comics.

Keeping the submissions thematically linked doesn’t tend to result in a lot of coherence visually, and having them all on one page keeps things busy and promotes my kind of comic ideal.

Issue 3 of Damp Squib by Glasgow School of Art Comix ClubIssue 3 of Damp Squib from the GSA Comix Club

Finally, what are your hopes for the future of Damp Squib?

Peter: Well, given that myself and the other core Squib members have now graduated from GSA, the future of Damp Squib is relatively undecided.

In its short lifespan I think the comic has made a bit of a name for itself so we plan on passing the comic over to some current students and hopefully they can continue to populate GSA with more sequential narrative publications. We did briefly discuss stealing Damp Squib and continuing to run it from outside the walls of GSA but I feel like that’s its home now and to take it with us would be down right greedy.

There’s definitely also a lot more to be done with Damp Squib. Like I said, it made it’s debut at ELCAF this year when a group of us ran a kind of pop-up-wheel-of-fortune-performance-mask-making-comic-generator-workshop down there (which we’ll be running again at this year’s Fresher’s Week) so I guess Squib is already moving into a more multidisciplinary realm and hopefully that will continue.

Issue 3 of Damp Squib by Glasgow School of Art Comix Club
Issue 3 of Damp Squib from the GSA Comix Club

Damp Squib is currently accepting submissions for a special “Cautionary Tales” issue aimed at incoming GSA students. If you have advice about “the sticky ends and how not to meet them” send an email to damp.squib@outlook.com by 31 August 2016. Keep up with Squib news on Facebook.

Learn more about our digital broadsheet newspapers. Our biggest format makes a big impression. Great for pull-outs, posters, and portfolios.

Lucy Payne captures warmth and character in her illustrations of strangers’ kitchens

10 Kitchens illustrated newspaper by Lucy Payne10 Kitchens by Lucy Payne

You can learn a lot about a person from their kitchen. That’s what illustrator Lucy Payne came to understand after creating several studies of her own kitchen. “I realised what a personal and unique domain it is,” she says. “I wanted to see what other people’s kitchens meant to them.”

Payne, a student at the Glasgow School of Art, put out a call on the Scottish Women’s Institute‘s Facebook page, asking strangers to let her draw their kitchens. The response was surprisingly positive. “People I didn’t know welcomed me with open arms into their most private, domestic sphere,” she says.

10 Kitchens illustrated newspaper by Lucy Payne
10 Kitchens by Lucy Payne

Payne ended up visiting, and sketching, the kitchens of 10 strangers. She’s collected these illustrations in a digital tabloid newspaper, 10  Kitchens. She chose newsprint because it allowed space for her big, colourful drawings. “It was also a cost-effective way to print a large quantity,” she says. “And I like the traditional, tactile feeling of newspaper.”

10 Kitchens illustrated newspaper by Lucy Payne
10 Kitchens by Lucy Payne

“Each drawing session lasted around 2 hours,” Payne says, “during which time I made multiple A3 sketches. Some people stayed and chatted throughout my visit and some left me to it – even leaving me alone in their house! I admired this trust and openness.”

10 Kitchens illustrated newspaper by Lucy Payne10 Kitchens by Lucy Payne

“With those who stayed, I found 2 hours provided a small, intense block of time in which to get to know the person. Some people played music, others fed me samosas and biscuits – all made me a cup of tea.”

10 Kitchens illustrated newspaper by Lucy Payne
10 Kitchens by Lucy Payne

Copies of 10 Kitchens are available on request – send an email to lucypayne.work@gmail.com if you’d like one.

Learn more about our digital tabloid newspapers. 

Our most popular product, great for everything from weddings to portfolios to posters. They’re easy to try out, with print runs starting at just one copy.

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Filed under: art, case studies, digital tabloid, food, illustration, students

From wild dogs to rotten apples, Jen Leem-Bruggen illustrates the scandalous 1904 Olympic marathon

Illustrated newspaper about the 1904 Olympic marathon by Jen Lee-Bruggen1904 St. Louis Olympics newspaper by Jen Leem-Bruggen

In August 1904, the first Olympic Games outside of Europe took place in St. Louis, Missouri. This historic Games is perhaps best remembered for its scandalous marathon, which was marked by a series of bizarre events.

For example, a former mailman from Cuba who, the Smithsonian writes, arrived at the starting line “in a white, long-sleeved shirt, long, dark pants, a beret and a pair of street shoes. One fellow Olympian took pity, found a pair of scissors and cut [his] trousers at the knee.” And it only got stranger from there.

Cuban marathoner Félix Carbajal,Cuban marathoner Félix Carbajal at the 1904 Olympic Games in St. Louis (Photo: Brittanica.com)

Illustrator Jen Leem-Bruggen presents surreal scenes from the marathon in a digital tabloid she printed last year. With a lighthearted touch she depicts runners chased off course by wild dogs, poisoned by rotten apples and, finally, carried over the finish line (following a disabling dose of rat poison and egg whites). What a race!

Illustrated newspaper about the 1904 Olympic marathon by Jen Lee-Bruggen1904 St. Louis Olympics newspaper by Jen Leem-Bruggen
Illustrated newspaper about the 1904 Olympic marathon by Jen Lee-Bruggen1904 St. Louis Olympics newspaper by Jen Leem-Bruggen

Leem-Bruggen included the newspaper in her graduate show at the University of Hertfordshire in 2015. It looked great spread out alongside the rest of her degree work, including charming studies of temptation.

Illustrated newspaper about the 1904 Olympic marathon by Jen Lee-BruggenIllustrator Jen Leem-Bruggen’s graduate show at the University of Hertfordshire in 2015

You’d be remiss not to be keeping up with this excellent illustrator on Instagram. Thanks for printing with us!

Learn more about our digital tabloid newspapers. 

Our most popular product, great for everything from weddings to portfolios to posters. They’re easy to try out, with print runs starting at just one copy.

Texas Joe’s brings barbecue history to London with Big Smoke Signal menu

TEXAS_JOE_015Big Smoke Signal newspaper for Texas Joe’s. Design by By Volume.

Texas Joe’s is making the Big Smoke a bit smokier. The barbecue restaurant opened in London this summer with a “spit and sawdust” approach that’s all about respecting Texas tradition.

(more…)

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Filed under: branding, case studies, food, traditional tabloid

Celebrating Morecambe’s print heritage with newspaper hats

Newspaper hat making workshop with Victoria Street Press at Street pARTy in MorecambeNewspaper hat making workshop at Street pARTy. Photograph by Bean Photo.

Here at Newspaper Club, we love discovering unexpected uses for newspaper. We’ve printed everything from photo filters to music singles to calendars on newsprint. But we’ve never lost our appreciation for the classic purposes of newspaper – like making hats.

Newspaper hat making workshop with Victoria Street Press at Street pARTy in Morecambe
Newspaper hat making workshop at Street pARTy. Photograph by Bean Photo.

Morecombe-based artist Kate Drummond recently hosted a free newspaper hat making workshop for Street pARTy, a celebration of local art and creativity. The event marked the installation of a series of new, large-scale artworks on Victoria Street in Morecambe Town Centre, including two murals that Drummond worked on alongside other artists: The Sands and the Seas Wall and A Morecambe Sporting Life.

Newspaper hat making workshop with Victoria Street Press at Street pARTy in MorecambeNewspaper hat making workshop at Street pARTy. Photograph by Bean Photo.

In a nod to Morecambe’s print heritage, Drummond designed a digital tabloid newspaper inspired by stories from Morecambe’s local newspaper, The Visitor, which was printed on Victoria Street for over 100 years.

“I designed the hat so that the print fitted exactly into where I wanted the folds to be,” says Drummond. It’s a tricky design to pull off, so Drummond used blank paper to make a model of her newspaper before printing.

“That way I could figure out where the text had to be to make it read all the way around the rim and work out which parts of the flat newspaper would be visible once it was folded,” she says. “When the centre pages are laid flat they’re quite abstract, but it makes sense once they’re folded into the hat.” A timelessly fetching hat, we might add.

Newspaper hat making workshop with Victoria Street Press at Street pARTy in MorecambeNewspaper hat making workshop at Street pARTy. Photograph by Bean Photo.

Youtube has some handy videos to teach you how to make your own newspaper hat, including this “pressman’s hat” variation.

Street pARTy was produced by Deco Publique. See more photos from the event with the hashtag #FantasticMorecambe.

Learn more about our digital tabloid newspapers. 

Our most popular product, great for everything from weddings to portfolios to posters. They’re easy to try out, with print runs starting at just one copy.

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Filed under: case studies, community, digital tabloid, folded, newspaper crafts

Newspaper of the Month: Ultramar

Newspaper of the Month: Travel journal Ultramar from graphic designer Manon Raupp

Our Newspaper of the Month for July is Ultramar, an intricate travel journal from Toulouse-based graphic designer Manon Raupp.

The digital tabloid documents Raupp’s time in Spain and Portugal last summer, incorporating hand-written notes, drawings, collages and photographs. Printed as part of her main postgraduate project, the newspaper included a postcard with a link to videos and experiments with sound collected during the trip.

Raupp is the co-founder of new publishing collective La Perche Carrée, which produces zines inspired by travel and urban walks. We caught up with her to talk about these publishing projects and her favourite music to listen to when travelling.

Newspaper of the Month: Travel journal Ultramar from graphic designer Manon Raupp

Ultramar is about your travels through Spain and Portugal. Do you have a favourite moment (or food or place) from your trip?

The best moment of my travels was probably when I got to Faro in the off-season. The atmosphere was kind of strange. Early in the evening, I went into a tiny bar. There only were a few friends chatting together, no tables or chairs but it was too late to turn back. An hour after, I was still siting of the fridge with some fresh beers, laughing along with them!

As a graphic designer and urban walker, you’re interested in “how we appropriate our geographical surroundings.” Could you share an example?

I developed an interest in urban concepts such as psychogeography and dérive while reading Situationist texts. I also got interested in “urban safety” through interacting with homeless people. I started thinking about the way I discover an area. For example, in Granada I decided to walk through the same streets (Albayzín hill) three times: in the afternoon, in the middle of the night and the next morning, writing down new details. I grew gradually more attached and familiar with the place.

Newspaper of the Month: Travel journal Ultramar from graphic designer Manon Raupp

You recently co-founded a publishing collective, La Perche Carrée, that focuses on small travel publications. What inspired that?

When I moved to Toulouse, I met my friend Zelda in art school and we thought the best way to discover the city would be by walking around together. We wanted to share our rambles and pretty soon every trip became a pretext to make a small publication. La Perche Carrée is the logical follow-up to converge these publications and set up a dynamic structure.

Could you tell us about some of the works you’ve published so far?

In the past few months, we’ve published projects for our post graduate degrees: Ultramar and Balade à Balma (which recounts a group walk in the suburbs of Toulouse) but also Porte France Souvenirs. For that one, we went to the Spanish border with a friend for three days and we each made a contribution : comics, pictures, poetry… We like to get diverse contributions.

Newspaper of the Month: Travel journal Ultramar from graphic designer Manon Raupp

You also publish a music fanzine called Ductus Pop. What music do you listen to when you’re travelling?

I usually think of a few albums before leaving. For example, during the Ultramar trip, I just had my Walkman and several tapes (it’s not a smart thing to do, as every case broke in the bottom of my bag) including Camp Counselors, The Soft Walls and a summer compilation by Track and Field records. Mostly lo-fi and dream pop.

Finally, what are your three travel essentials?

A notebook, a camera and some anti-mosquito lotion!

_____________________

About Newspaper of the Month

Every month, we give a £100 Newspaper Club voucher to one newspaper shared in The Newsagent. If you’ve printed a newspaper with us, share your newspaper (through the settings in your account) for a chance to win.

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Filed under: case studies, digital tabloid, illustration, Newspaper of the Month, photography, portfolio, students, The Newsagent, travel, zines

Printed Web #4 at ICP Museum

Printed Web #4 by Paul Soulellis at ICP MuseumMossless and Printed Web #4 at the ICP Museum. Image via ICP Museum.

We printed Printed Web #1, the first publication devoted to web-to-print art and discourse, as a traditional tabloid newspaper in 2013. Since then, the publication has taken many forms as the project has evolved: a print-on-demand magazine, an Apache server directory, a limited edition book hand-bound at Henry’s Bookbinding.

The latest issue is back in newsprint. Printed Web #4 is a special commission for the International Center of Photography and forms part of the ICP Museum’s Public, Private, Secret exhibition, the inaugural show in their new location on the Bowery in New York City.

The 40-page digital broadsheet newspaper presents projects from Wolfgang Plöger, Lorna Mills, Molly Soda, Travess Smalley, Angela Genusa, Eva and Franco Mattes, Anouk Kruithof, Elisabeth Tonnard, and Christopher Clary, with a text titled “Folding the Web” by Michael Connor, artistic director of Rhizome. Each artist contributed work that engages with the concept of privacy today in relation to public visibility and self-identity.

Printed Web #4 digital broadsheet newspaper by Paul SoulellisImage via Library of the Printed Web

Teacher and artist Paul Soulellis is the mind behind Printed Web, an offshoot of his Library of the Printed Web archive. Soulellis talked to Kate Palmer Albers earlier this week about the exhibition and Printed Web:

“Each spread [of Printed Web #4] was shown on the wall by using multiple copies of the publication. In this case, since the project was printed as a loose folio of newsprint sheets, we were easily able to separate the pages and fix them to the wall with magnets. Typically, my publications are displayed as objects to be handled…which sometimes feel ‘retail-y’ but ultimately this is a very good way to experience the work. The viewer is able to engage directly with the publication.”

 “Public, Private, Secret" exhibition at ICP MuseumImage via 10 x 10 Photobooks

“Because Printed Web publications are cheaply printed, they show the honest wear and tear of handling. I don’t mind that they bear these physical effects; this is a kind of evidence of the publication’s haecceity (its ‘what-it-is’), with its own material lifespace. I think of my publications as ‘poor media.’ Because Printed Web is always print-on-demand, copies are easily replaced.”

You can read the full interview with Paul Soulellis online at Circulation Exchange.

Public, Private, Secret runs 23 June 2016 – 8 January 2017 at the ICP Museum in New York City. For more details and opening hours, visit the exhibition website. Printed Web #4 is available to purchase from Spaces Corners at ICP Museum.

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Filed under: art, case studies, digital broadsheet, events, exhibition, museums, print's not dead

Mapping conversations about Modern Scottish Women in newsprint

Modern Scottish Women newspaper for National Gallery of Scotland and the Glasgow Women's LibraryModern Scottish Women: A Mapped Conversation digital tabloid newspaper

Earlier this year, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and Glasgow Women’s Library teamed up to invite a range of women’s groups to respond to the major exhibition Modern Scottish Women: Painters & Sculptors 1885–1965, which ran at the Scottish National Gallery from 7 November 2015 to 26 June 2016.

They documented the project in a digital tabloid newspaper, Modern Scottish Women: A Mapped Conversation, and launched the publication at Pig Rock Bothy last month.

We asked Claire Walsh, curatorial assistant at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, to tell us more about the project.

Modern Scottish Women newspaper for National Gallery of Scotland and the Glasgow Women's LibraryModern Scottish Women: A Mapped Conversation digital tabloid newspaper

We invited women from a wide range of cultures, ages and backgrounds to engage with the paintings and sculptures on display, and to respond to these themes through activities including creative writing, printmaking and themed conversations.

The key themes behind this exhibition – career sacrifices, women’s roles and responsibilities, strength, ambition, and equality – were the focus of our collaborative project.

Modern Scottish Women newspaper for National Gallery of Scotland and the Glasgow Women's Library
Modern Scottish Women: A Mapped Conversation digital tabloid newspaper

Modern Scottish Women: A Mapped Conversation lays out some of the group activities and brings different voices together on the page as a way of sharing experiences and thoughts on themes that resonate with the lives of many women today. The six groups involved are listed above and the colours relate to quotes from their discussions which are printed inside.

The groups involved include: Amina, Sikh Sanjog, Shakti Women’s Aid, Bonnie Fechters, Young Critics, Seeing Things.

Women in conversation about Modern Scottish Women exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern ArtWomen in conversation about Modern Scottish Women: Painters & Sculptors 1885–1965

The idea behind the project was to give a social-cultural context to the work and the themes that run through the exhibition, and to encourage these groups of women – many of which are themselves underrepresented in Scottish culture – to talk about the work and to engage with it.

We decided to produce a print publication as we were keen for the participants to have something physical to take away at the end of the project. As many of the women from the groups we worked with don’t regularly access online content, we felt that print would be more appropriate.

We worked with graphic designer Kirsty McBride, who recommended a newspaper format as it allows for the chronology of the content to be read in many different ways by rearranging the sheets. At the same time, the familiarity of a newspaper gives each arrangement a sense of cohesion. This was important as what we were aiming to capture was a series of non-linear conversations.

Modern Scottish Women newspaper for National Gallery of Scotland and the Glasgow Women's LibraryModern Scottish Women: A Mapped Conversation digital tabloid newspaper

This project is a precursor for an upcoming project run collaboratively by GWL and SNGMA, which invites members of the same women’s groups to participate in an artist and archivist-led project with the archive at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. It made sense to produce an archival object in the form of the newspaper so that the groups were themselves represented within the archive as well as being participants in the project.

You can read a copy of the newspaper at the Glasgow Women’s library and at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Archive and Library

It’s Nice That says B-SIDES is one of “the best bits that came through the letterbox in July”

B-Sides digital tabloid explores the visual language of Brighton through the eyes of graphic designer Ian Caulkett

We were excited to see Ian Caulkett‘s B–SIDES newspaper included in It’s Nice That‘s monthly round-up of “the best bits that came through the letterbox” for July. (more…)

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Filed under: case studies, digital tabloid, photography, The Newsagent

Peter’s Yard puts fika in print with The Perfect Host

The Perfect Host traditional mini newspaper for Peter's YardBeing a good host is more than a courtesy in Sweden – it’s a way of life. Swedes have long embraced the concept of fika, a daily gathering with friends and family to share conversation and baked goods. Peter’s Yard wants to introduce the rest of the world to fika, and they’re using their award-winning sourdough crispbread, and a traditional mini newspaper, to do it.The Perfect Host traditional mini newspaper for Peter's YardWarran Brindle of COUNTRY worked with Peter’s Yard to tell their story in a friendly, conversational format. The Perfect Host is an extension of fika: a neat little take-home catalogue to share history, recipes and advice with readers. It’s the next best thing to gathering around a table.

The Perfect Host traditional mini newspaper for Peter's YardThe Perfect Host on display at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City in June 2016.

The newspapers are distributed internally, displayed at trade shows and sent out to customers. Brindle is currently working on another edition of The Perfect Host for Peter’s Yard suppliers in the US.The Perfect Host traditional mini newspaper for Peter's Yard“We have always wanted to produce a newspaper for Peter’s Yard,” says Brindle. “We are both thrilled with the final result from Newspaper Club.”

You can see the full range of Peter’s Yard crispbreads on their website and find inspiration for creative toppings on Instagram.

Learn more about our traditional mini newspapers.

Stapled and trimmed like a magazine – perfect for catalogues, comics, and zines. These booklet-sized newspapers are a great way to tell your story, with the vibrant colours that come from traditional newspaper printing.

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Filed under: branding, case studies, food, traditional mini

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