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.