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.

Posted by Sarah | Comments Off on Meet Damp Squib: An interview with the GSA Comix Club about their shape-shifting zine

Filed under: case studies, comics, digital broadsheet, illustration, students, zines

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. 

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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.

Posted by Sarah | Comments Off on From wild dogs to rotten apples, Jen Leem-Bruggen illustrates the scandalous 1904 Olympic marathon

Filed under: case studies, comics, digital tabloid, illustration, students

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.

Posted by Sarah | Comments Off on Newspaper of the Month: Ultramar

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

Newspaper of the Month: Penny

Newspaper of the Month: Penny MagazineOur Newspaper of the Month for June is Penny, a new, collaborative publication of illustrated flash prose. After a year-long digital experiment, Penny launched not one, but two print editions: a perfect-bound magazine and a digital tabloid newspaper. They polled their readers to pick the final format – and newsprint won!

Issue One features work from 34 established and emerging illustrators and writers, including Jerome Charyn (whom Michael Chabon calls “one of the most important writers in American literature”).

We caught up with co-editor Kate Thomas to find out why they made the leap from digital to newsprint and what the future holds for Penny.

Newspaper of the Month: Penny MagazinePenny Issue OneIllustration by Haejin Park.

Penny celebrates flash prose. What is flash prose and what inspired you to start a publication about it?

Flash prose is very short fiction, creative nonfiction or prose poetry. Flash prose is perfect for the new and unusual, because the reader gives less of their time and is more accepting of risks. It’s also a great disruptor to the everyday because it can be read on a break, a commute, really whenever and wherever.

We also wanted to be there for those who would love to read longer work, but are simply very busy. Perfect example, here’s what happened when I tried to take a picture of my husband reading our new issue of Penny tonight:

Newspaper of the Month: Penny Magazine, a publication celebrating flash fictionWhere does the name Penny come from?

Penny is named after The Penny Magazine, an illustrated British magazine (on newsprint!) from the 19th century, aimed at the working and middle classes.

Why did Penny make the move from online zine to print? Did this change your approach to the content?

Our main mission in publishing Penny is to bring more readers into the literary fold, and our move to print is a continuation of that goal. Print doesn’t have to compete with a thousand other things coming at you through your phone, and it also sits around as a reminder, inviting you to read it.

Printing on newsprint also adds a new level of interactivity, as the illustrations get second lives as posters, and in this issue, there’s even an opportunity for readers to be their own colorist for one of the illustrations (okay, it’s a coloring page).

If you’re more digitally inclined, you can still find all of our content online. Our approach to curation will remain the same: wonderful illustrated prose that is more than the sum of its parts.

Newspaper of the Month: Penny MagazinePenny Issue OneIllustration by Carlos Brito.

Penny was first printed as a magazine. Why did you decide to make a newspaper, too?

We’re actually putting them out at the same time. My editing partner, Jennifer McPheeters, and I have joked from the beginning that we are a modern-day version of The Odd Couple. She goes for all things classic, and I like to experiment, stay fluid, and pull in different ideas.

I’ve been obsessed with newsprint for years, and when we discussed the move to print, I seized on the chance to see our wonderful illustrations printed large enough to feel like it’s your whole world in that minute, and as a format it makes us affordable to more people. Jennifer envisioned a more traditional format that would look right at home on your bookshelf.

Realizing that we represented two different sections of our demographic, we developed both iterations. We’ll let our readers decide for themselves what a literary zine of illustrated prose should look like!

Newspaper of the Month: Penny MagazinePenny Issue One. Illustration by Rachel Lesser.

How do the illustrations and writing work together? Does one inform the other?

Our illustrated shorts are a call-and-response between talented artists. Sometimes the call comes from the illustrator, and sometimes it comes from the writer. But in every instance, the best combinations complement, rather than explain, each other.

What’s your favorite part of putting together a print version of Penny?

Hands down, seeing it in print. I’ve been designing digitally longer than I have in print, and though a print publication is not nearly as forgiving of mistakes as a website (you can’t undo a printed typo!), printed material gives a much more visceral satisfaction, and it feels a lot like finding treasure. I’ve been collecting old newspapers and magazines for years, so to make one is a real joy.

Newspaper of the Month: Penny MagazinePenny Issue One. Cover illustration by Mitucami Mituca.

If you live in the UK, you can get your hands on a copy of Penny in The Newsagent. Otherwise you can find it right here for $10 (or online for free).

Keep up with Penny on Twitter and look out for Issue Two, which is open for submissions now.

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.

Posted by Sarah | Comments Off on Newspaper of the Month: Penny

Filed under: case studies, digital tabloid, folded, illustration, Newspaper of the Month, The Newsagent, zines

A visual guide to a year’s worth of seasonal produce

Green Grocer digital tabloid illustrated newspaperMeng Yang is a Chicago-based graphic designer. When he signed up for an organic produce share from local co-op Green Grocer last year, he decided to document his weekly bounty through illustration.

Now he’s turned his drawings into a digital tabloid newspaper cataloguing 38 weeks of seasonal fruits and vegetables. It’s a wonderful visual guide to a year’s worth of organic produce – plus some cooking tips that Yang picked up along the way. Green Grocer digital tabloid illustrated newspaper by Meng Yang“I thought it would be an interesting idea to visually show the varying items that I picked up weekly,” he says. “And to highlight the quality difference of opting to shop at a local mom-n-pop shop versus the discount chains.”Green Grocer digital tabloid illustrated newspaper“Thumbing through a 52-page newspaper was the perfect format to showcase the sheer amount vegetables and fruits that run the gamut for 4 season’s worth of goods.”Green Grocer digital tabloid illustrated newspaper by Meng Yang“It was a fun project to collaborate with a fellow illustrator friend of mine, Johnny Decker Miller, and I’m extremely happy with the print quality from the newspapers.”

Thanks for printing with us!

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The dreamy comic landscape of Lila #2

Lila #2 illustrated newspaper by David Mathews

David Mathews is a Delhi-born illustrator, book designer and animator based in Vienna. Lila #2 is his digital tabloid newspaper – a story of friendship and affection over distance and between books. Through absorbing, dream-like illustrations, Mathews asks his reader: what happens when our lives and the lives of those dear to us begin to diverge?

Lila #2 illustrated newspaper by David Mathews
There’s no straight answer, but Lila #2 is a joy to puzzle over. Mathews says he chose newsprint as a tribute to “the heyday of broadsheet comics luminaries such as Krazy Kat.”  We love that Mathews has infused the classic, monochromatic comic strip landscape with hypnotic details and lava lamp hues. Lila1

Lila #2 is the second issue of what Mathews describes as a “sporadic, ongoing picture-story periodical.”

Lila #2 illustrated newspaper by David Mathews

Lila #2 is available in The Newsagent now for £10 (including delivery).

Head over to David Mathews’s website for more beautiful illustration – and see some of it come to life!

Learn more about our digital tabloid newspapers. 

Our most popular product, great for everything from weddings to portfolios, props and posters. Easy to try out – print one copy or print hundreds.

Posted by Sarah | Comments Off on The dreamy comic landscape of Lila #2

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

Newspaper of the Month: Washed Out

Washed Out by Jamie Kirk. A digital tabloid colouring zine for Mental Health Awareness Week 2016.

Our Newspaper of the Month for April is Washed Out, a colouring zine that aims to raise awareness of mental health through art. Created by UK-based illustrator Jamie Kirk, Washed Out is a collection of illustrations designed to be coloured in and to encourage readers to “explore creativity and eliminate stress” in the process of learning about mental health.

Washed Out by Jamie Kirk. A digital tabloid colouring zine for Mental Health Awareness Week 2016.

Contributors to the digital tabloid zine include French illustrator Jean Jullien, Spanish illustrators Brosmind and Portland-based artist Sam Larson.

Washed Out by Jamie Kirk. A digital tabloid colouring zine for Mental Health Awareness Week 2016.

Washed Out will be available to purchase through The Newsagent from the beginning of Mental Health Awareness Week on 16 May.  All profits will go to a mental health charity. Follow @feelingwashedout for regular updates.

Washed Out by Jamie Kirk. A digital tabloid colouring zine for Mental Health Awareness Week 2016. Printed by Newspaper Club.

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.

Posted by Sarah | Comments Off on Newspaper of the Month: Washed Out

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

An illustrated travel guide for far-flung adventures

One Day Travel Guide Newspaper by Claudia Castrone of Potpurri Berlin

Some minds wander. Others map out enchanting itineraries and doodle hypothetical luggage. Illustrator Claudia Castrone falls into the latter category, and we love her imaginative take on the travel guide.

One Day Travel Guide Newspaper by Claudia Castrone of Potpurri Berlin

Part of Berlin-based artist collective Popurrí, Castrone created digital tabloid One Day to coincide with Popurrí’s recent exhibition “One Day I’ll Travel The World.” Tasked with imagining a far-flung destination, Castrone chose to evoke the “longing for something or some place, but you are not really sure what or where.”

One Day Travel Guide Newspaper by Claudia Castrone of Potpurri Berlin

“The girl in my illustrations is packing her bag to travel to a tropical island, the moon, an imaginary place, the future, the North Pole. Maybe she went or maybe dreaming about it is enough.”

One Day Travel Guide Newspaper by Claudia Castrone of Potpurri Berlin

Adventurous armchair travellers can request a copy of One Day by writing to ccastrone@gmail.com.

Learn more about our digital tabloid newspapers. Our most popular product, great for everything from weddings to portfolios, props and posters. Easy to try out – print one copy or print hundreds.

Posted by Sarah | Comments Off on An illustrated travel guide for far-flung adventures

Filed under: case studies, digital tabloid, illustration, travel

Newspaper of the Month: Year in Refuse

Year in Refuse illustration newspaper by Alex Westgate

Our Newspaper of the Month for February is Year in Refuse from illustrator Alex Westgate. Proof that one person’s trash is another’s treasure, this digital tabloid newspaper is a collection of rejected concepts – ideas that were “too weird, unsettling and otherwise unpublishable,” says Westgate. We love them all!

Year in Refuse illustration newspaper by Alex Westgate

When the Toronto-based artist’s work isn’t getting rejected, it’s being used by the likes of the BBC, Reader’s Digest, AT&T, and the Washington Post. Westgate says he enjoys making images that are “both optimistic and irreverent” and word is he’s been working on a new zine.

Year in Refuse illustration newspaper by Alex Westgate

A few copies of Year in Refuse are still available for sale in Westgate’s web shop and he’s throwing in an awesome “Bad Seed” patch with every order. Now, who could say no to that? Thanks for printing with us!

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.

Posted by Sarah | Comments Off on Newspaper of the Month: Year in Refuse

Filed under: case studies, digital tabloid, illustration, Newspaper of the Month, The Newsagent

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These are the posts from the Newspaper Club Blog filed under illustration.

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