Women in Art History Zine: How It's Made!

Updated: Jun 20

Hi all!


I get a lot of questions about how I make the zines, so thought it might be of interest to some of you to show you everything that goes into making one!


Deciding Who the Zine Will Be About


First thing that needs to be decided is who I'm going to make the zine about! I can really choose anyone I'd like, but there are lots of factors to consider. For example, I want to make sure I'm showcasing a diverse range of artists. I don't want the zines to just be about white, European women artists, and I also want to highlight artists who may have been forgotten about or marginalised for other reasons like sexuality or social class, that hindered their success as an artist at the time they were working. I will also look into which women artists have exhibitions coming up, so the zines can provide you an opportunity to learn about the artist before potentially going to visit their work in person. The decision will also be made on how much research is available to me about that artist, so the zine can be full of really rich, in-depth information about them.


Choosing the Illustrator

Once I've decided who the zine will be about, I start to look for an illustrator for the issue. This is one of the most exciting parts! There are so many talented women artists working at the moment, and I have so many favourites that I follow on Instagram. I'm constantly browsing through illustration work on Instagram and often 'save' work I like to my Instagram 'saved posts' so I can go back through them when I'm looking to commission for the zine. I try to choose an illustrator whose style will compliment the artist the zine is about. For example, for the issue on Tarsila do Amaral, I noticed one of my favourite illustrators, Fernanda Peralta, was also from Brazil, and her style also placed emphasis on nature and landscapes. I thought that this connection would really shine through in the illustrations, and it did! Once I have found one I think is right, I will then contact the illustrator and send them any photos I can find of the artist for them to use, but give the illustrator complete creative license. I want their style to really shine!


Research


Once the illustration work has been commissioned, it's off to the library for me! When I was living in York I was a student at the University and used the library facilities there to research the artists. Now that I've moved back to Norwich (my hometown) I'm using the library at the University of East Anglia. They have a great collection of art history books so I'm never short on material. Sometimes this stage is a real challenge, as highlighting women artists who aren't very well-known means there isn't a lot of in-depth research done on them. I often have to spend a while digging up information from different sources. However, I find this really satisfying, as it proves that there needs to be more research done on these women!


Designing the Zine


Once the research and the illustration work is done, I will send all the writing and the illustrations to my designer India Minter. She graduated from Norwich University of the Arts in Design for Print Publishing and also has a strong interest in feminism and women artists, so I really enjoy working with her. She is entirely responsible for the original, consistent design of the zines, and I am so appreciative of her and her creative mind!


Printing the Zines

After some back and forth between me and India, and some intense proofreading, it's time to get them printed! I use Dynamic Print in Norwich, which is run by Sarah Smith, a printer with over 30 years experience. The zines are printed on high-quality paper because I want them to be treasured and kept like a book would, and I think how they feel in your hands is really important. Also, these zines contain artwork that has been created specially for the zines by professional illustrators, so I think it is only right to do the work justice by printing it on as high-quality paper as we can.

Selling the Zines


Once I get all the zines printed I have a very exciting/nervous few minutes where I unwrap them and see how they've come out! They are then sold on my Etsy and at any fairs I might do. The price of the zines is based on the print costs, the illustration and design fees, the hours of research and writing, and the smaller costs like attending fairs, buying postage materials and Etsy fees! This project is mainly to promote and support women artists, not to make profit, so all the money raised from selling one issue, will be put into making the next!


Well, I think that's everything! Thanks so much for supporting this little project, it's grown to be something much more successful than I ever anticipated, and I am so grateful!

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