What better way to reach diverse audiences than to share your work with zines and magazines? Some thoughts and examples on publications.
The first step in sharing my work
My uni (University of Leeds) happened to have a great little arts zine called The Scribe, which were supportive of students who wanted to submit writing and art across a broad spectrum. This was probably the first place I ever shared my work, so it was great to test the waters to a relatively small and appreciative audience.
Three of my early works ‘Drawings on the existence and absence of revolution’ published in The Scribe. I made these drawings during and in the wake of the Arab Spring (2012/2013)
The publication helped to build my confidence into sharing my work further.
Non-arts publications with same ethics
Another way to go about sharing your work is to find publication channels that are ethically on the same page as you. I found that a lot of themes I made political art about (global justice, structural inequality) resonates with the critical pieces in the more underground newspaper Slaney Street (published in Birmingham, UK).
The great thing about this magazine was that my art was carefully selected to be published alongside written articles, to enhance or illustrate them. Due to the strong ethics behind the magazine they also decided to pay me for my using my drawings, which was much appreciated.
Two of my political drawings published in Slaney Street in 2015: ‘Drawings on the existence and absence of revolution’ (top) and ‘On Bankers’ (bottom). Published under my first artistic project First World Aid.
Illustrated Women in History 3
A tribe of like-minded artists
I came across an Open Call from the Illustrated Women in History, a fantastic project run by Julie Gough of ‘A Pale Landscape’. Julie started the project to emphasize the achievements of great women throughout history. Julie: ‘I realised how little I know about women in history, and how we are not taught much more than the history of wealthy white men in school. I am attempting to illustrate one women a week to learn more about women in history, celebrate their accomplishments and hopefully educate others in the process!’ (From: Illustrated Women in History)
I submitted my portrait of Mary Lou Williams, a great jazz musician and composer. I made this piece as a commission (read more here). The great thing about this project is that I got to share my work alongside Julie and lots of other amazing artists, who had all taken to sharing the beauty and greatness of women in history who have made an impact. Also, the quality of the magazine was incredible, and Julie even run an exhibition of all the portraits.
My portrait of Mary Lou Williams published in ‘Illustrated Women in History 3’ (2017)
Read more here
Industry focussed fine art portfolio zine
After selling and exhibiting my art for a while, I realised I really wanted to share it with more people, especially since my body of work was growing and I felt I had discovered the identity of myself as an artist. I submitted two pieces to the A5 zine. This zine is industry-focussed and aims to draw attention to self-representing artists.
When I was on holiday I received an email from A5 magazine: ‘CONGRATULATIONS! After receiving hundreds of submissions for Portfolio #14 of A5 Magazine (May) we are pleased to inform you that your submission has been chosen to be featured in the magazine.’
This felt like such a compliment and recognition of my style. What’s great about this magazine is that they put ins erious effort to promote your work by sending the magazine to arts organisations, but also by promoting you online.
My art work ‘Games of Losing Hope (3)’ published in A5 Magazine, May 2018.
For me, I would love to get paid to publish my work in a leading non-arts magazine or newspaper that deals with the same political and societal issues that my work deals with. I like to think that my art tells a story on its own, but could also see some pieces published alongside articles. I want my art to be accessible and reach as many people as possible.
Some final thoughts…
Publications come in three types when it comes to the financial side:
– You get paid for your work (mainly in magazines or newspapers with a non-art focus where your work serves to illustrate, either profit or non-profit based)
– It is free to submit and get published and you get a complimentary (maga)zine for yourself (often in projects that are funded or self-funded and aim to highlight an issue)
– It costs money to either submit or to receive a (maga)zine (often when the main aim is to promote your work and when a lot of work is involved behind the scenes)
When you submit your work think about how precious you are about your work’s specifications. Sometimes the publicizer decides to make adjustments in terms of colour, background colour, size or proportion. Or, in case of illustrating an article, your work can be seen in a different light depending on the article where it’s published alongside.