Get to Know Your Zinester: Emily Alden Foster

Describe your zine style. What can we expect to find at your table?

I have about 10 different zines and all of them are pretty different concepts and styles. I have a zine collecting the year’s best (fake) book reports (“The Book Reporter”), a mad lib/crossword puzzle/coloring book/literary zine (“Cross My Words and Hope to ___ (VERB)”), a zine about drawings I make while riding the bus (“Bus Drawing”), a sing-along zine with sheet music (“The Mongoosnuffle Song and Dance Book”), a soda-themed car-game zine (Would You Drink a Soda…), an owl tchotchke mystery photo-comic zine (“Say a Spirit to Spirit Hello”), the autobiography of a fictional dog (‘Paxinosa Easton: My Own Story”), and probably some other things that I’m either forgetting or have yet to make. I’m working on “A Humorless Treatise on Onomastics,” which is all about names and the eternal question: why are there so many names for hot dogs and so few for french fries or hamburgers? So, in summary, all really serious stuff.

Where do you work on your zines?

Either on my laptop, in my bed, with a cat weighing down my legs, or in one-half of the glorious second bedroom office space that my husband and I share. I tend to work on a lot of projects at once (I’m also a filmmaker) and do a little bit of each at a time. Unfortunately I’m also pretty bad at cleaning up after myself (whenever I try to pick up I find a project that I want to work on right away, which means my desk is usually covered with dominoes and clay and shards of construction paper. So I just work in bed when I can, because I HAVE to clean that up every night. Also, it’s much more comfortable, since my horribly ascetic office furniture doesn’t even include a reclining chair.

What are your three favorite small-press/DIY publications?

I’m sure everyone said this, but it’s really hard to pick just three things. The “Hero Land” series by Esther Pearl Watson is one of my all-time favorites, because who doesn’t like ridiculously frugal superheroes? I also really love anything made by my dear friend and table-mate Jennie Yim, who makes great autobio comics. I’m really looking forward to the conclusion of her “An Illustrated History of Personal Failure” series. It’s just as good as the title makes it sound. Another recent favorite is “Dad Tweets” by Amy Burek. True to the title, it’s a mini-zine collection of her dad’s tweets. I have it sitting out on my bookshelf and whenever people look at it I have to convince them that the contents are real tweets from a real dad, because they don’t believe it’s possible for a dad to be so funny.

What advice would you give to a first-time zinester or to an aspiring zinemaker?

You can do it! There are so many things you could do it might seem overwhelming, so maybe just start with something simple. My first zine was literally one sheet of paper folded in half one time, with a story and a picture, and people loved it. Or, at least, no one lit it on fire in my presence, so I assume they loved it.

What’s the best thing that ever happened to you because of zines?

I became a millionaire. JK, it was that I made a lot of friends.

For more, check out Emily’s website!

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