Creator Q+A | Lark Pien

Throughout the month leading up the the SFZF we will be running daily mini-profiles of some of the many zinesters, cartoonists, and other creative types who make the Zine Fest what it is. Today's creators are Lark Pien of Little Bird Books. Stay tuned for more!

Q. What is your all-time favorite zine/comic/etc (by someone other than you)? Who is your DIY hero?
A. I don't have an all time favorite zine, but i enjoyed Leland Myrick's run of Sweet, and Kevin Huizenga's black and white mini Gloriana with the fold-out centre left a deep impression on me.

Q. If you have been to the SF Zine Fest before, do you have a favorite/exciting/cringe-worthy memory?
A. SItting low on the floor in the middle of an island of tables and listening to the whir of jumbled voices and shuffling feet.

Q. What would you like to see more of in the small-press world?
A. More cartoonists drawing on each other's junk, please.

Q. If you could give advice to an aspiring DIY creator, what would it be? What advice do you wish you had gotten when you were starting out?
A. Find and read as many minis as you can, whether they're interesting or not... Trading is good... If you loan out your long-arm stapler, be sure to remember who you loaned it to... Don't give your art away for free, unless of course this is what makes you happy....

Q. What subjects/groups/themes/ideas/communities do you wish there were more zines/comics/etc about/for?
A. I'd like comics to function as a common use tool in public forums (on billboards, restaurant menus, etc.) I'm tired of having to choose between the comic events that are fan driven and the comic events that are market driven. It would be really nice to just see comics around, all the time, as another form of communication.

Q. What do you think the general public knows or thinks about small-press? How can the zine/comics community reach a greater segment of the public? Or is it better to keep the small-press scene more tightly knit?
A. The general public and particularly the publishing world believe that small press stories (and comics) are inferior publications. while this may be true in terms of volume or sales, it is not true in terms of quality. Just as there is a gem that wins the National Book Award, there's is a gem of a mini-comic that deserves high praise (to keep things in perspective, the inverse is also true: there are also bad bestsellers and bad minis). Somewhere amidst the jungle of stories there will be ones that will find your fancy.

In deciding whether to look at small press work, I'd urge you to consider your personal penchant for originality. The experience of reading small press works provides viewpoints often unique and new. May it be autobiographic or fictional, the small press story offers the uncompromised voice of the creator. It may reveal the creator's personal strengths, insights, quirks, and flaws. Do we not find these things endearing, inspiring, entertaining? For the adventurous reader, small press stories and comics are not to be missed.

Q. In addition to the kind of work you will be showing at Zine Fest, what other creative pursuits do you have? Hobbies? Passions?
A. I paint and draw abstracts; like listening to Drei Fragezeichen (3 Investigator) stories and brainscience podcasts; love my wii fit; love Eiichiro Oda's One Piece.

Q. What are you working on now? What are you gonna do next?
A. I'm retiring the little 4x4 animal series, which I have been painting since 2003. The abstracts will continue. My first non-comics children's book Mr. Elephanter will debut in late September this year.

Creator Q+A | False Start

Throughout the month leading up the the SFZF we will be running daily mini-profiles of some of the many zinesters, cartoonists, and other creative types who make the Zine Fest what it is. Today's creator is Meredith Wallace of False Start Independent Books & Zines. Stay tuned for more!

Q. What inspired you to get into small-press/DIY publishing?
A. My love affair with zines began about 10 years ago, when I was 12 years old. I was a total internet dork and would spend hours looking at websites made by girls my age and reading the message boards they would write on. Through those message boards I found out about Bikini Kill, feminism and zines. Reading zines quickly became an obsession and shortly after discovering them, I jumped right in and started my own zine distro, named Supernova, that I ran until I left for college. There was something so immediate and honest about these perzines I was reading. As an incredibly shy and anxious teenager, it was freeing to read the words of young women just like myself, women who were able to write down the words I couldn't speak. Zines were incredibly life-changing for me.

Q. When did you create your first zine or similar project? Can you describe it for us? When you look back, are you proud, embarrassed, both?
A. I made my very first zine when I was 12, and it was absolutely ridiculous! It was your average hideous cut and paste zine filled with rants, lists, and pictures of the Smashing Pumpkins. Luckily I was only 12, so I have age as an excuse. My first really serious zines were done when I was 16 and 17 and are short fiction/memoir. Looking back on them, some pieces are pretty cringe-worthy, but I'm actually surprised that they really aren't all that bad. I'm surprised that I had such a strong style and voice as a writer at such a young age. I'm also proud of having the balls to just go for it and self-publish as a teenager. I've been sitting on what I know is a great piece of writing for a year now, just because I'm too nervous to publish it. I'm working on getting back that teenage fearlessness.

Q. What is your all-time favorite zine/comic/etc (by someone other than you)? Who is your DIY hero?
A. This is such a hard question! Brainscan by Alex Wrekk is a classic, and she is someone I completely look up to for her DIY spirit and work ethic. She's a pretty amazing person. Truckface, by LB, is another long-time favorite of mine. There's something really beautiful about her writing. It's emotional, honest, smart, always makes me laugh and sometimes wanna cry. That's a rare combination. As for recent discoveries, I'm obsessed with Manderz Totally Top Private Diary. I could read each issue a million times and still never get bored of it.

Q. If you have been to the SF Zine Fest before, do you have a favorite/exciting/cringe-worthy memory?
A. No, I haven't! Which is insane considering I grew up in the Bay Area. I use the fact that I grew up in Marin County, the land of Volvo station wagons and soccer moms, as an excuse though. Without a license it's tough to get to San Francisco, and after going to Ladyfest with my mom when I was 13, she wasn't too keen on me going to any sort of 'fests' again for awhile. I think all the butch dykes did her in. It only made me love San Francisco even more.

Q. What would you like to see more of in the small-press world?
A. This is a tough question. I would like to see more short fiction, but mostly because that's what I write and it seems to be underrepresented. And I'd love more diary comics,for no good reason other than that I'm totally obsessed. Shotgun Seamstress, a zine by and for feminist, queer black punks, is also really amazing and probably the only one of it's kind. So more zines like that, please!

Q. If you could give advice to an aspiring DIY creator, what would it be? What advice do you wish you had gotten when you were starting out?
A. Stick with it! Don't get discouraged if people aren't into your project at first, but don't be too lazy about it either. Doing it yourself really is hard work, which is why most people get others to do it for them instead!! My main problem has always been staying motivated and on top of things. It's hard when you're juggling your day job, social obligations, remembering to feed yourself, etc., but if it truly is your passion, you'll make it work. That's just the way things go.

Q. What do you think the general public knows or thinks about small-press? How can the zine/comics community reach a greater segment of the public? Or is it better to keep the small-press scene more tightly knit?
A. When I'm tabling at an event I love nothing more than when someone who is completely new to zines picks one up, is totally blown away and starts asking me questions about it. I feel like the zine world can be a little intimidating if you've had no experience being a part of a subculture or a creative community before. I'd love it if zines were more accessible to people who don't venture into independent bookstores, or look online for distros. I feel like zines are kind of like a gateway drug to so many possibilities -- learning about alternative living, activism, feminism, anti-racism, sexuality, mental health. You get to read the stories that never get told. I would love it if somehow we could figure out a way to get zines into the hands of people that aren't out there looking for them already.

Q. What are you working on now? What are you gonna do next?
A. Right now I'm organizing the return of super*MARKET at Meltdown Comics, a little comics fest they put on a few years back. I'm making it a little more zine-oriented this time around, and am getting some really amazing bands to play (some members of which are writers, distro owners, or zinesters themselves). I'm really excited for it, but also beyond nervous! If you're in Los Angeles on August 14th get your ass down to Meltdown from 2-7 PM! Aside from that, I might be collaborating on publishing an anthology of one of my favorite zines. It's still in the works though and isn't a sure deal yet, but I'm hoping publishing will be False Start's next big thing!

Creator Q+A | superdilettante

Throughout the month leading up the the SFZF we will be running daily mini-profiles of some of the many zinesters, cartoonists, and other creative types who make the Zine Fest what it is. Today's creator is Carolee of superdilettante. Stay tuned for more!

Q. What inspired you to get into small-press/DIY publishing?
A. I was disenchanted with the art world, and started exploring other ways to communicate with people.

Q. When did you create your first zine or similar project? Can you describe it for us? When you look back, are you proud, embarrassed, both?
A. I was working at a photo processing shop in Columbus, Ohio, and I started drawing the photos that ended up in the trash because they were underexposed or the wrong color balance. I drew people's bad vacation pictures, people's eye-boogery cats, and people's white trash wedding portraits. I started photocopying some of them to put in letters to my friend TC, and then one day I thought "hey...I should make this into something I can send in to Factsheet Five!" I called it "Bottom Feeder", because I was making no money and was digging junk out of the trash. It also featured the creepy interactions I had with my customers. Looking back, it was a total mash-up of "Moonlight Chronicles" and "McJob".
I am still pretty proud of the earliest issues of Bottom Feeder. I think it had a nice singular focus, initially, that got diluted later on. And every issue had a color photograph glued to the cover.

Q. What is your all-time favorite zine/comic/etc (by someone other than you)? Who is your DIY hero?
A. Lynda Barry is for certain my DIY hero. She is psychological. As for all-time-favorites, does anyone remember Gogglebox?

Q. If you have been to the SF Zine Fest before, do you have a favorite/exciting/cringe-worthy memory?
A. Getting to hug, heckle, and throw stuff at Clutch McBastard is my kind of high.

Q. What would you like to see more of in the small-press world?
A. More zines, period! Everyone should make lots of zines!

Q. If you could give advice to an aspiring DIY creator, what would it be? What advice do you wish you had gotten when you were starting out?
A. My advice would be "get it out of your system", meaning "don't be such a perfectionist." The advice I wish I'd gotten would be to not worry so much about whether people liked or understood what I was up to. It's not like any of us do this to get famous or make money. I spent a lot of time worrying that no one cared what I had to say. Who cares? Just say what you want to say!

Q. What subjects/groups/themes/ideas/communities do you wish there were more zines/comics/etc about/for?
A. I just want to see more honesty and less posing. I really, really loved zines like "About My Disappearance" 1 and 2 because they deal with a subject that is still pretty taboo and isolating. I thought Dave Roche just did the most incredible job with such a difficult topic. I hope that it helped him as much as I know his zine has helped other people. I'd also like to see more zines by oldsters like me!

Q. What do you think the general public knows or thinks about small-press? How can the zine/comics community reach a greater segment of the public? Or is it better to keep the small-press scene more tightly knit?
A. Not very much, to be honest. The general public doesn't understand anything that doesn't have a bar code; they also don't understand endeavors that are outside the realm of "how can I make the most money possible from this thing?" I think trying too hard to reach people is fraught with peril. I'm a firm believer in just doing what feels right and letting people get it on their own time.

Q. In addition to the kind of work you will be showing at Zine Fest, what other creative pursuits do you have? Hobbies? Passions?
A. I spend a lot of time writing letters. I've recently become very interested in philately and pigeons, and collaborative narrative experiences. I also spend a lot of time with glue, a guillotine, and a perforator, at the San Francisco Center for the Book.

Q. What are you working on now? What are you gonna do next?
A. I am putting the finishing touches on a comp zine about people's specific experiences of their surroundings, I have another one about fictional saints in the works, and I'm doing a little giveaway zine for the end of August (road trip from SF to PDX and back!) with my friend Marissa Falco of Miss Sequential. After that, it's all about this rather elaborate zine/book/zook thing about people who don't really exist.

Creator Q+A | Jamaica Dyer

Throughout the month leading up the the SFZF we will be running daily mini-profiles of some of the many zinesters, cartoonists, and other creative types who make the Zine Fest what it is. Today's creator is Jamaica Dyer. You can also catch Jamaica reading her work at "Now See This", our third annual comics reading at the Comics Art Museum on Sept. 3! Stay tuned for more!

Q. What inspired you to get into small-press/DIY publishing?
A. I'd only seen newspaper comics and fully-colored superhero stuff as a kid, but as a teenager I started reading gritty little hand-drawn black and white photocopied comics that had such a hands-on personal approach that I realized it was something that I could make, too.


Q. When did you create your first zine or similar project? Can you describe it for us? When you look back, are you proud, embarrassed, both?
A. I was 15/16, and I created a comic called "Paranoia Park" about a girl who woke up in a coffin of circuitry after realizing the world around her was fake (original, I know). It was all inky and had mismatched text pasted onto backgrounds, very experimental, and looks NOTHING like what I do now. It feels a bit alien when I look at it now, but I'm proud of little me for taking that leap.

Q. Do you have a favorite memory the SF Zine Fest?
A. I stopped by last year, and met Susie Cagle and Helen Jo, and both of them are so talented and awesome! That was my favorite part. The whole place seemed very chill and everyone looked like they were having a good time, so of course I had to get a table of my own this time around.

Q. What would you like to see more of in the small-press world?
A. I like the unique touches, the slips of paper and cloth that some zine-makers paste into each copy of their books. With the ease of digital media all over the place, I'd like to see truly original pieces of DIY art coming out, I want to see more fantasy and fiction, and books that take advantage of the tactile experience.

Q. What subjects/groups do you wish there were more comics about/for?
A. I'd like to see more sci-fi monster stories geared at teenage girls, with screen-printed covers and kick-ass washable tattoos in every issue.

Q. What do you think the general public knows or thinks about small-press? How can the zine/comics community reach a greater segment of the public? Or is it better to keep the small-press scene more tightly knit?
A. I think it'd be better for the population as a whole if people made their own entertainment, when you realize that you can draw and write and create your own stories this puts the power back in your hands. I get nervous as technology gets more "user friendly" and gives the illusion of being creative, by customizing a character in a game or filling out questionnaires on a social networking site. I think kids are the ones that should be shown that they can make their own t-shirts, books, bags, animations and program their own websites, and not through some template, but by getting their hands dirty.

Q. In addition to the kind of work you will be showing at Zine Fest, what other creative pursuits do you have? Hobbies? Passions?
A. Well gee, I love making comics and painting, but I currently work in animation, and that's pretty great. I really enjoy the music scene in San Francisco, and the energy from the shows gets reflected in my drawings, and now I'm working on my lettering so I can start putting out concert posters.

Q. What are you working on now? What are you gonna do next?
A. Currently working on my next graphic novel. Along the way I'm printing smaller booklets of the completed parts of the story and posting the finished pages online as I complete them. I'm aiming to get this book done by the end of the year, then I want to focus on a collaborative experimental animated film with a fascinating musician that I know.

Creator Q+A | ButterSword

Throughout the month leading up the the SFZF we will be running daily mini-profiles of some of the many zinesters, cartoonists, and other creative types who make the Zine Fest what it is. Today's creators are MC and Jen Miller of ButterSword. Stay tuned for more!

Q. When did you create your first zine or similar project? Can you describe it for us? When you look back, are you proud, embarrassed, both?
A. MC suffered from a lifetime of non-completion. After years upon years of unfinished comics, games, bands, films, and/or any other artistic pursuit, money scheme, or combination of both, MC finally took one of his abandoned webcomics and with it made his first zine in 2001. It was actually a pretty good zine about a band of drugged-out nerds and their misadventures. It was loosely based on a gimmick band that he played the drums in called, The Geeks. After the luck of his first zine being pretty ok, popular, and well selling, MC went on to make many very lousy zines that no one liked. When he looks back on his first zine, The Geeks, he still thinks it was a good zine.

Jen co-created her first zine in 2007. It was called, Helicopter Arms and was comprised of comics made by her and a friend. Most of the comics were lighthearted jokes with a few repeating characters; a spoon, a mosquito and a squirrel. However, like MC's comics the pages were also riddled with adult language. It was due to this zine that MC and Jen were able to meet at her first DIY/small-press event and trade zines. When Jen revisits Helicopter Arms, she isn't very proud of it. In fact, she cringes when MC gets nostalgic and pulls it off the bookcase.

Q. What is your all-time favorite zine/comic/etc (by someone other than you)?
A. Long ago, MC ordered The Haunted House Handbook by Shawne Baines from the classified section of Fangoria magazine. It turned out to be a zine. It was a great zine.

Q. What would you like to see more of in the small-press world?
A. We'd like to see zines be more available. Every independent business across the nation with seating or a waiting room should have at least a small zine rack.
Q. If you could give advice to an aspiring DIY creator, what would it be? What advice do you wish you had gotten when you were starting out?
A. As far as advice, MC thinks had anyone ever bothered to give it, he wouldn't have listened. So he'd rather not give it either. Just go for it. You'll figure it out in some way. Be influenced by yourself, otherwise you'll be an imitator. And after all, that's what zines are all about anyway.

Jen's advice to someone making a zine would be to really view every page in your zine as valuable real estate. Zines can get expensive to make the more pages there are, and that becomes a bigger problem the more zines you make.

Q. What subjects do you wish there were more zines about?
A. More informational zines and entertainment zines please. We grow weary of the perzine and poetry zine trend. This is opinion. Many are quite popular.

10. In addition to the kind of work you will be showing at Zine Fest, what other creative pursuits do you have? Hobbies? Passions?
10. In addition to their webcomic ButterSword, MC and Jen also create a second comic for Vegan Mainstream called Plant Life. Aside from all this drawing, zine and game creation, and the making of grab bags, MC and Jen find the time for gardening, unusual home improvement projects, biking, hiking, knitting (Jen), scavenging for curbside treasure on bulky trash days, learning basic carpentry, and dealing with those damn day jobs.

Q. What are you working on now? What are you gonna do next?
A. Currently we are making preparations for our 2010 late summer zine tour. We'll be tabling in Portland and Dallas as well as San Francisco. After those thirty days of for what is to us a vacation, we'll return to ButterSword, and we'll have to learn how to draw again. Hopefully it won't take as long as it did the first time.

Creator Q+A | Zebratron / ZFA Works


Throughout the month leading up the the SFZF we will be running daily mini-profiles of some of the many zinesters, cartoonists, and other creative types who make the Zine Fest what it is. Today's creators are the folks at Zebratron / ZFA Works. Stay tuned for more!

Q. What inspired you to get into small-press/DIY publishing?
Small press seems to offers an uninhibited expression of ideas.

Q. Who is your DIY hero?
We've recently been inspired by Maria Sputnik and Jason Martin.

Q. What would you like to see more of in the small-press world?
More clues and signs.

Q. How can the zine/comics community reach a greater segment of the public? Or is it better to keep the small-press scene more tightly knit?
The Zebratron Friendship Association welcomes all readers. Animal readers (viewers) are also encouraged.

Q. In addition to the kind of work you will be showing at Zine Fest, what other creative pursuits do you have? Hobbies? Passions?
A. Billiards and music, making beer

Q. What are you working on now?
A. Zebratron's Popular Operators, a series of animated shorts.

Creator Q+A | Mockery Press

Throughout the month leading up the the SFZF we will be running daily mini-profiles of some of the many zinesters, cartoonists, and other creative types who make the Zine Fest what it is. Today's creators are Aaron Shadarko Almanza & Jef Scattini of Mockery Press. Stay tuned for more!

Q. What inspired you to get into small-press/DIY publishing?
Aaron: Reading a mock up on how to fold paper to make a tiny zine via a Happy Mutant.
Jef: Didn't see any reason NOT to do it, really. And Aaron dared me.

Q. If you could give advice to an aspiring DIY creator, what would it be?
Aaron: Shut up and make something.
Jef: Get back to work.

Q. What subjects/groups/themes/ideas/communities do you wish there were more zines/comics/etc about/for?
Aaron: More GLBT writers, illustrators, stories. OK and I want to see more adventure comics featuring pirates, people riding Sawhorses and maybe a flying car or two.
Jef: I'd actually like to see more zines to do with clowning and circusy/gypsy folk that doesn't include molestation. It would be nice for that community to do something with the written word. And also, yes to flying cars!

Q. What do you think the general public knows or thinks about small-press? How can the zine/comics community reach a greater segment of the public? Or is it better to keep the small-press scene more tightly knit?
Aaron: It seems that if it’s not polished or published/created by well known names or companies it’s not taken seriously. Not all art is polished.
Jef: I agree with Aaron. It also seems like the general public can't see art as anything other than a means to get rich and famous. As for keeping the community small... It's great that there is a support network, but the danger is in excluding ideas and being too close-knit. That way leads to stagnation and dragons. But not in the good way.

Q. In addition to the kind of work you will be showing at Zine Fest, what other creative pursuits do you have? Hobbies? Passions?
Aaron: You name it I work on it.
Jef: Actually, Aaron is lying. He refuses to work on getting me a mechanical marsupial. No matter how many times I ask and even name it, he still refuses to work on it. I'm kinda bitter about it, actually. When I'm not being bitter, I try to write longer works of fiction and then I have naps.

Creator Q+A | Crude Dude

Throughout the month leading up the the SFZF we will be running daily mini-profiles of some of the many zinesters, cartoonists, and other creative types who make the Zine Fest what it is. Today's creator is Jose Angeles of Crude Dude. Stay tuned for more!

Q. What inspired you to get into small-press/DIY publishing?
A. I simply got bored of mainstream publications. With their endless advertisements and boring viewpoints, they're more catered towards braindead consumers instead of individuals with a mind of their own. Eventually I wanted to see something I could relate to for a change since my lifestyle and values don't really fit with the status-quo. What better way then to just make my own crap. Like the saying goes, if you want it done right, just gotta do it yourself. Also I was attracted to the nontraditional means of printing and lack of filtering/censorship. I can practically publish an extremely perverse comic overnight just by stapling a bunch of xerox copies together. No waiting a year and a half for an inevitable rejection letter. Just gotta make stuff happen, not just wait for it to happen.

Q. When did you create your first zine or similar project? Can you describe it for us? When you look back, are you proud, embarrassed, both?
A. The year was 2003. I was a lonely, confused, angry kid in college trying to make sense of a senseless world I felt like I was a victim of. I did really crappy comics about stupid people pissing me off. They'd always get killed by their own stupidity. I stapled xerox copies of said comics (made at either SFSU or Kinkos in Colma at 3am) and that was pretty much my first mini-comic. I'm embarrassed by the under developed art and worldviews I had but at the same time proud that I had the guts to unleash such a crude publication which surprisingly got me some sort of following over the years.

Q. If you have been to the SF Zine Fest before, do you have a favorite memory?
A. My favorite moment was having my table next to Jeff Plotkin of Happy Freak show. I was a fan of his comic before and it turned out he read some of my stuff prior to the show too. Cool guy, I get a Christmas Card from him every year ever since that show in 2006. I also liked when one guy's mind was totally blown away by some poster I did. He really wanted it but was like "my wife would kill me if I got it". I wanted to say "...then get a new wife".

Q. What would you like to see more of in the small-press world?
A. More transgressive work. And by that I mean stuff that is genuinely transgressive, not transgressive for transgression's sake.

Q. If you could give advice to an aspiring DIY creator, what would it be?
A. Don't expect profit. Otherwise it's so easy to be discouraged and call it quits. Be willing to do trades with anyone anywhere. That's the best way you can leave an impact with your work cause fellow zinesters/artists/publishers know how to appreciate this stuff more than your average joe.

Creator Q+A | Ansel


Throughout the month leading up the the SFZF we will be running daily mini-profiles of some of the many zinesters, cartoonists, and other creative types who make the Zine Fest what it is. Today's creator is Ansel Schmidt. Stay tuned for more!

A. How can folks find your zines?
Q. I have no website. You know how Mennonites just picked a decade in the 17th century and decided that technological development was irrelevant after that point? Well, my decade is the 1980s.

A. What is your all-time favorite zine (by someone other than you)? Who is your DIY hero?
Q. My favorite zine ever is Sandor Ellix Katz's Wild Fermentation, which was later expanded into a book. A cookbook. In my imagination, Sandor Katz is this superhero who battles capitalism by day and by night retreats to a giant cave lined with fermenting jars of glass and clay. He wears a suit made of living kelp which makes him nearly invulnerable to attack.

A. If you could give advice to an aspiring DIY creator, what would it be? What advice do you wish you had gotten when you were starting out?
Q. I think I need some advice myself. When I was a teenager, I wish someone had told me to listen when people gave me advice--but then again, maybe they did tell me that and I ignored them.

A. In addition to the kind of work you will be showing at Zine Fest, what other creative pursuits do you have? Hobbies? Passions?
Q. I play gamelan. Also I like woodcarving.

Creator Q+A | Melaina Comics

Throughout the month leading up the the SFZF we will be running daily mini-profiles of some of the many zinesters, cartoonists, and other creative types who make the Zine Fest what it is. Today's creator is Melaina of Melaina Comics. Stay tuned for more!

Q. What inspired you to get into small-press/DIY publishing?
A. I first got into DIY publishing when I moved from the East coast to San Francisco *gasp* 11 years ago. I was struggling with finding a way to keep in touch with the friends I was leaving behind. Rather than write a boring form letter, I decided to start publishing zines with short stories from my life. The first several zines I published contained prose, collage and photography. At the same time I was self-publishing these zines, I was hanging out with my friend MariNaomi in her art studio, where we'd paint together. She noticed that I enjoyed telling stories from my life and enjoyed creating visual art and suggested I put the two together and start making comics.

Q. When did you create your first zine or similar project? Can you describe it for us? When you look back, are you proud, embarrassed, both?
A. The first comic I published was technically back in the second grade and was called "The Shy Boy Moved In." However, I only made a single copy of that one (fortunately for the rest of the world). My first zine intended for an audience outside of my family was written in 2002 and was called "Buttman III." No, there was not a Buttman I nor a Buttman II. I liked leaving a bit of mystery by starting with 3. I thought it was pretty good at the time, but I recently reread it and immediately hid it away on a shelf, where no one could find it.

Q. In addition to the kind of work you will be showing at Zine Fest, what other creative pursuits do you have? Hobbies? Passions?
A. In addition to the creative work that I will be showing at ZineFest (my comics), I also enjoy swing dancing and knitting. My comics are autobiographical or memoir style and I've also been working on what I call "Autobiographical Art" where I've been taking pages out of my high school diaries and turning them into collages or origami. I may bring some of that stuff to ZineFest this year, too.

Q. What are you working on now? What are you gonna do next?
A. Right now, I'm working on a comic called "Crash Course," which is about my attempt to learn how to drive again after taking public transit for 10 years. I'm hoping to have it done in time for ZineFest. Cross your fingers!