Zine Supreme #6: Sophia Zarders
Welcome to Zine Supreme, a series in which I ask women and gender non-conforming folks making magic happen through the written and printed word about their work. Today's interview is with Sophia Zarders, who draws things and then puts them online.
WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO BECOME A CREATOR? HOW DID YOU START MAKING ZINES?
I’ve been an artist my whole life, but I didn’t realize comics were my passion until college. Since childhood, I've experimented in different storytelling media (film, animation, script writing) but I really began exploring comics and graphic novels in college. Then, in 2015 I went to LA Zine Fest and fell in love with all things zine. That spring I tabled with some fellow artsy fartsy kids at Long Beach Zine Fest and now this year I’m tabling by myself at both LA and LB zine fests. My zines are collections of comic strips from MikaMoo Comics, which I started last summer.
WHAT ARE YOUR INTENTIONS AS A CREATOR? WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO ACHIEVE WHEN YOU MAKE A ZINE?
My MikaMoo strips are sometimes funny and always intimate. I often make them as a window into my depression and anxieties. However, through creating and posting these comics, I’ve realized how universal and shared these mental processes are. I also just enjoy making very weird strips too, which people seem to enjoy just as much. Creating MikaMoo Comics has definitely helped me learn to cope with my wrinkly pink brain and connect with people who have similar silly thoughts to mine. I really love sharing and selling my comics to an audience who I know will appreciate my art, passion, and identity.
HOW DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOUR IDENTITIES IMPACT YOUR WORK?
A few of my comic strips are about being Black, but I haven’t really dove into other aspects of my identity. I probably should, but I tend to focus on shitty things that happen to me or that I constantly obsess about. Instead, my other creative work, particularly paintings, tends to focus on race, gender, and social justices. I will say though, there are elements frustration and anger underlying my art that is definitely fueled by the subsequent isms under our society’s colonialist thought. Symbolism is a clear tool in my art!
WHAT MATERIALS DO YOU USE IN YOUR ZINES? WHAT'S YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS LIKE?
I make a comic strip whenever I get a good enough idea that I can kinda visualize. All of my strips are drawn out on Photoshop which is actual hell. Then I post them on my Tumblr and hope some people like it. I picked out about 20 of my favorite strips for a single zine, and now I have two volumes available in print. Thanks, FedEx, for being open late and having an extra long stapler!
WHAT IS THE HARDEST PART OF THIS WORK - AND WHY IS IT WORTH IT?
The hardest part is by far staying somewhat up to date with creating strips and posting them online. My vulnerability as a creator is always a hurdle. There’s a part of me that constantly doubts my abilities as an artist, but I just have to burst through every time. I think that internal resistance is necessary. It’s also hard not getting feedback and attention toward your work when you want it. Sometimes my strips are a hit and sometimes they’re under the radar. I’m not always going to make hits and realizing that is tough stuff.
WHICH OF YOUR ZINES OR ZINES YOU'VE BEEN A PART OF IS YOUR FAVORITE AND WHY?
My graphic novel, Jesus Freak, which is also available online. While this isn’t really a zine because I haven’t printed any of it, I think it’s my favorite project at the moment. JF started as a film script I wrote right after high school. I decided to make it into a comic last year and now there are about 60 pages. The story centers around a teenage girl named Clementine who has to save her friends from the evil ghost of her deceased foster care guardian. I plan to start printing chapters later this year, but for now I’m making promotional tchotchkes like stickers, pins, etc. I’ve been working on JF for almost 4 years and I still haven’t gotten tired creating that universe. I really, really, really hope it’s received well!