Get to Know Your Zinester: Yumi Sakugawa & David Chien

Describe your zine style. What can we expect to find at your table?
I like to share my short comic stories and illustrated meditation essays in zine form. I like to explore memory, reincarnation, time travel, doppelgangers, the end of the world, inner peace, friendly monsters and, of course, the meaning of love. I will have many of my older comic zine titles at my table–and one or two completely new comic zines that will debut at L.A. Zine Fest. That, and some art prints.

Where do you work on your zines?
I oscillate between coffee shops and the big work desk in my bedroom. That, and I get a lot of amazing brainstorming done during long drives (the silver lining of driving in Southern California–lots of brainstorm time while stuck in traffic), long solo walks and right before I fall asleep.

What are your three favorite small-press/DIY publications?
So hard to choose just three! So here are three that come to mind. My recent favorite small-press read is Passage by Tessa Bunton. I love Imaginary Homework by Theo Ellsowrth. I can never forget Poor Sailor by Sammy Harkham.

What advice would you give to a first-time zinester or to an aspiring zinemaker?
Whatever you do, make it happen! Even if you don’t have a zine made or have never made a zine before, sign up and register for a zine convention and let that be your deadline for getting something done. There is nothing like a hard deadline and the potential embarrassment of showing up at a zine convention table empty-handed to spur the muses into making something.

What’s the best thing that ever happened to you because of zines?
Ever since I made my first comic zine in 2008 before I even knew that a zine culture existed, I’ve had so many wonderful things happen to me because of zine-making. I guess the best thing that has ever happened to me is the continuous opportunity to share my stories with as many people as possible and making amazing new friends along the way.

DAVID CHIEN

Describe your zine style. What can we expect to find at your table?
As a filmmaker, I am most interested in finding ways to expand on a story outside of a single movie. I recently found that the zine medium can be ideal for this. After all, so many books are adapted into films. It makes sense that a literary adaptation for a movie can be just as interesting, as long as the author focuses on nuances that would not quite work onscreen. My work with zines is a result of brainstorming for a new film project, or it goes into more detail about a narrative or character in a current project. I like to put emphasis on the text and find a handful of key images to pair with certain passages. This preserves something about a zine which I like the most in another type of book format: Children’s storybooks.

Where do you work on your zines?
I usually work at home or at a coffee shop. However, truth be told, most of the writing and planning is done in my head, with almost no other tools, while I walk around a park or neighborhood. Though I have and certainly rely on a variety of gadgets, I usually do my best thinking when I have very little with me and when I am traveling. 

What are your three favorite small-press/DIY publications?
I love the works of Lilli Carré, Malachi Ward, and John Marr.

What advice would you give to a first-time zinester or to an aspiring zinemaker?
Do not spend too much time thinking. You often have to begin as soon as you are able in order to avoid talking yourself out of it. There is a lot of crappy art out there getting attention and usually it’s because those artists got their stuff done before you did. So go and keep making art. It might be good.

What’s the best thing that ever happened to you because of zines?
I met Yumi Sakugawa.

Check out more of Yumi’s work here!

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