In today’s installment of “Meet this Zinester” we meet the awesome Sparkly Louise, creator of many sweet zines. So stick around get inspired and then make zines!
Who are you? Where are you based?
I’m a person who loves stories. They’re the first thing I fell in love with and the first place I felt at home. My adulthood so far has been me trying out being characters from books. Like- I wanted to join the traveling freak show/circus in Darren Shan’s Cirque du Freak so I took a job as a tree planter in British Columbia and lived in a tent and traveled around with hooligans.
My homes: Montreal (soul home and the place where I currently have an apartment), Boston (where my parents live), Greyhound bus (I’m a nomad at heart).
How did you acquire such a job?
Tree planter: I went to college in Canada where going to plant trees in British Columbia is a sort of coming of age experience. It sounded like something I would want to do to challenge myself to grow into the hobo of my dreams. So I looked it up and found a company called Coast Range. I emailed them and a few days later somebody called me up and interviewed me. It was the easiest job to get and the hardest job to do. We planted thousands of trees every day all day in all weather. Weirdly that wasn’t the hardest part though! I missed my introvert/making art time and my close friends back home. Plus I was super anxious (“Am I planting this tree right?!?!? Where’s my boss? I haven’t seen him for hours! I haven’t seen anyone for hours!”). It wasn’t for me. But I loved sleeping in a tent so much that when I got home to my Montreal apartment I set my tent up on my balcony and slept there.
What are zines to you?
Zines are an awesome/genuine/gritty/beautiful/fast way to share and experience rad art!
What was your first encounter with zines?
When I started posting my comics on Instagram, I found other cartoonists by seeing who followed Tillie Walden (my fave cartoonist!! Her book A City Inside inspired the first comic I ever made!) And it turned out that a ton of amazing humans/artists follow her! It was through them that I got my first glimpse of zines.
Tell me about your zines. What kind of zines do you make?
I like making that tiny kind of zine that only requires one piece of paper. I call them pocket zines. My friend @fastfeels made me a zine called “Song for the Sadness in Sunflowers” in that format and I loved the feel of it so much I looked up how to fold one on YouTube.
Zines are the place that I do my soul gardening, pulling up the weeds and showing them off. We all have weeds! No shame! And sometimes there are flowers too!
Which YouTube video did you use as a reference to learn how to make mini zines? I know there are many out there, but which one would you recommend new zinesters to watch?
Mini zine vid: https://youtu.be/00Hxh4pKwvM
What inspires you to create zines?
Ever since I fell in love with stories as a kid I have had a passion to make and share them!! And zines are my current favorite way.
What’s your favorite thing about zines?
I love the DIY aspect of zines! It can be so difficult to get something published in a more official way. It’s deeply satisfying to get my stuff into the world on my own!
Do you recall your first zine ever, what was it about and what inspired you to create it?
My first zine ever was full of little diary comics and interactive exercises. I was inspired to make it by fellow Instagram cartoonists.
Tell me a little about your zine-making process.
Usually, I make my comics alone with tea, candles, incense, and the window open. I don’t usually know what I’m going to make before I start drawing. I look up a picture on my phone or look around the real world and draw what I see and through drawing my thinking changes. The anxiety goes down and my thoughts can play with my dreams and feelings.
What kind of themes derive from such a beautiful process?
Cool question!! hmm I’d say I talk about feelings, identity, and queer love. The last one is very important to me cuz I grew up thinking it wasn’t ok to be gay. There are so many parts of my identity I have suppressed over the years and it really hurt me. Repressing things is natural for me. Being honest in my art is one big way I free myself from that– From shame and fear. It’s an amazing and joyful thing 🙂
What do you hope people get out of your zines?
I would be delighted if people felt that incandescent, totally magic thing I feel with art sometimes; or hugged, not alone; or if it helps them see something in a new way; or makes them giggle… I want it to be a good thing in someone’s life.
Do you sell your zines? If so where can we get our hands on them?
Thanks for mentioning the zine selling!! Totally forgot to add that! I send out monthly zine packages to people supporting me $5 a month or more on Patreon and I sell zines, pet portraits, and more on my Etsy shop.
Name two of your favorite zinesters.
@dustandwhiskey and @last.place.champ.comics are both consistently making funny, sweet, honest, and just plain rad comics! Plus- their drawing styles make me feel cozy and alive.
Do you have any advice for new zinesters? Is there a zine website or resource you would recommend new zinesters to check out?
Doodle! Read Lynda Barry books so she can inspire you to make all sorts of things and tell you that you are just the person to make them! Read Steal Like an Artist and Share Your Work! By Austin Kleon. Make the stuff you need to make. It doesn’t matter if it’s good. Like Kurt Vonnegut said, “To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.”
Interview conducted by Solansh Moya
Pictures provided by Sparkly Louise