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Sub|Cul ‘18


In 2017 I made a conscious decision to try new things with my art projects. I participated in Inktober and in a Sktchy 30 day challenge. I also committed to making my first zine.

Zine-making is a lot of work! Especially when you are doing it in your spare time along with about a bajillionty other projects. But it was also a lot of fun. 💎

Print Design


I wanted to create something more along the lines of an anthology or a work review, rather than a narrative story. I had a series of new sketchbook drawings that were of fairly-good quality and that could be loosely themed together, so the concept seemed ideal for the content I had to work with.

I probably spent way too much time brainstorming zine names, but it was so much fun! I initially went for something quirky-sounding, but landed on “Sub|Cul” because my zine was a culmination of subwork - whatever that means - and because the name reminded me of a New Order song.

Sub-atomic Comic
A spaceship travels into the nano-verse and discovers strange life forms.

Hayakawas Variants on a theme from one of my favorite illustrators, Motohiro Hayakawa.

Unfamiliar Places Towns and cities found in imaginary places.


Having never done print work before, it seemed like all I did was make mistakes.

The biggest challenge for me was figuring out how to get the artwork and copy to evenly fill up the pages. 

Also, laying everything out so that it printed correctly was so confusing! I felt like I turned my brain into a Mobeius strip trying to get the imposition correct.

Margin and binding measurements took a lot of trial and error as well.

For the binding I wanted to do something more interesting than a basic staple, so I tried my hand at saddle stitching.

A few youtube videos and several thousand pin pricks later, I had it figured out.

I went with a waxed twine, which looked really nice with the paper colors. It was a little too thick though, and the eye of the needle ended up making holes that were a little larger than I wanted. 


I used a Canon Pixma for printing, Neenah for the cover, and a premium HP paper for the interior. I was really happy with the results, but the Neenah stock sucked up A LOT of ink and I had to order a second set of ink cartridges to finish the run of 25 prints. 

Although my intent wasn’t to make money off the project, I still wanted to go through the process of setting up a store and seeing how all of that worked. I went with Storenvy because it’s free and you can use Stripe for billing, which takes the smallest cut (out of the providers I researched) when making a sale.  

This reference and this reference are handy for figuring out shipping rates. Shipping ends up being expensive if you invest in quality packaging material. Be sure to calculate your weights correctly!

Cover close-up
Interior page, purple ink
Interior page, blue ink

© lee brenner 2019