Who are you? Where are you based?
Hello! My name is Natalie Windt, and I am originally from Santa Cruz, CA. I moved to Redding, CA, and then to Chico, CA (for college and then for work). I now work out of Chico while residing once more in Redding during this pandemic.
What are zines to you?
Great question! To me, zines are an empowering art form used to express oneself creatively and share information and stories with others. It is also one of the most welcoming communities in the arts. They have been a way for me to connect with others and to share segments of our lives and what we know, in condensed, paper form.
What was your first encounter with zines?
As kids, we were always making little books to “publish” as school assignments. My first self-made work was called “The Grandma From Heck!” as a six-year-old, about a nightmare grandma with strange and off-putting habits. She babysat for her granddaughters while their parents were away, and this work explores the very nature and complexities of the grandma-granddaughter relationship. . . Actually, it’s just a bunch of nonsensical scribbles and weird pictures about a smelly, elderly individual. I had a short mini-comic in high school that friends and I xeroxed and distributed around school, called “Sometimes They Call Back.” It was a mini-series of mini-comics about a mini-issue with a young man harassing my dear friend and me by calling too much. True story. In college, I was sent by Chico State University to AWP (the world’s largest book fair), where authors were tabling with their books, zines, comics, etc. This would be my first encounter with others’ work! And the first time I understood the meaning of both working in promotions and self-publishing as both an artistic expression and a business model.
Tell me about your zines. What kind of zines do you make?
I make illustrated zines on poetry, mental health, pocket poems and contribute drawings to other zines as well. Currently, I’m working on a mini-comic about an ass-kicking nun named ‘Sister Slit.’ I’m also putting together personal finance tips for a small pocket zine on financial health. Others have inspired me to make more informational zines to help with life issues and questions, such as; personal growth, financial health, minimalism, and self-care.
What inspires you to create zines?
I create zines because I have been writing and drawing since I was a small child. Zines are the perfect cross-section of my two favorite things to do; to share meaningful stories with others and to draw. I love making zines that I feel will make people laugh or that they can relate to. I hope to also get to the point where I am sharing what has worked for me and my life to improve a once seemingly hopeless set of circumstances, to help others thrive in adversity.
What’s your favorite thing about zines?
Discovering new work from others and points of view I otherwise could not read. Having sat at an editor’s desk for a publisher, I am very aware of talent that is passed on. The best thing about zines is that the world is not denied your perspective, which will resonate with someone out there and make them feel less alone!
Do you recall your first zine ever, what was it about and what inspired you to create it?
My first official zine of this decade in selling my art was a collage art piece in mini-zine form with images inspired by a poem written for my mother and a friend, who have both survived harrowing battles with Breast Cancer.
Tell me a little about your zine-making process.
I start by making thumbnails of potential images and then split the text about these thumbnails. From there, I attack each drawing rough sketch and turn it into a full piece. I have so many ideas for zines I keep them down in a journal for when I will have a chance to work on them. SO the first step really in my own process is brainstorming the concept of a zine and how it might look eventually.
What do you hope people get out of your zines?
If you’ve met me at a fest, I hope you get some fun conversations with me 🙂 My favorite part is tabling and meeting people I otherwise never would have met. It truly depends on which zine you are looking at, though. Some are written to inspire and encourage you, others to make you laugh. Ultimately, I hope people feel they are richer for having read or seen something I created because I am richer for the experiences that brought me to create them.
Name two of your favorite zinesters.
There are so many! But one I got to follow for some time, and then meet in person; Avy Jetter with Nuthin’ Good at 4 am, whose work is so important, especially right now. Check out Avy’s work for sure if you are trying to educate yourself on the black experience or if you’re a fan of truly gifted artistry. My other fave fave is Diaspora Savant Press (DS Press), whose work is so helpful to me as a sober POC.
Do you have any advice for new zinesters?
Make something! And do it now. Don’t overthink to the point of analysis paralysis. Anything to get one zine made, and you can find your aesthetic in the process.
Is there a zine website or resource you would recommend new zinesters to check out?
Follow @jordandishwater for updates on cyber and in-person zine fests, and follow hashtags such as #Zines #ZineLover #DIY #Zinester #Zine. From these, you can find and follow other accounts. Start publishing short work through contributions to other zines. You will gain confidence in your skills when you see them in print, and often you receive a free copy of the zine. Check out @SeaGreenZines blog, Instagram, or Youtube channel for frequent zine reviews and exposure to new work!
Interview conducted by Solansh M.
Answers and art provided by Natalie W.