Zine Supreme #9: Anna Beck
Welcome back to Zine Supreme, a series in which I interview badass zinesters using print to do their own thing. This week's interview is with Anna Jo Beck, who makes zines to feed your brain. (Wanna be featured? Email me: carmen [at] argotmagazine [dot] com.)
What prompted you to become a creator? How did you start making zines?
I've always been a creator; I think most people are until somewhere in young adulthood, when other things either take priority or you just get out of practice. But I loved the hands-on projects. Zines are an extension of that. I made my first zine in art school, half way through my BFA in illustration. Me and a friend collaborated on art based zines, and it grew from there.
What are your intentions as a creator? What do you hope to achieve when you make a zine?
The most meaningful and fulfilling projects I've done have to do with communicating skills or recommendations, something that adds value for the reader. For instance, my personal finance 101 zine: I intended to write something that sorted out all the reading and learning I had done independently as a young adult, and making this booklet to make it easier for people who are in a similar situation of financial literacy. I've made other zines on getting married at city hall, podcast recommendations, Spanish grammar, but they all impart knowledge I've attained, and are neatly packaged for others to benefit from.
How do you feel your identities impact your work?
I identify as a independent woman who believes that life is hard, but it can be easier with knowledge and proper breathing techniques. My sexuality, race, and other personal details don't really appear in my work as much as my design voice: clean yet approachable.
What materials do you use in your zines, and what’s your creative process like?
I used to do my zines by hand-collages, drawings, layers, photocopies-but have adopted Photoshop, and more recently InDesign. I still do by hand elements, like type and textures, but those are scanned in. The copy comes about from an initial brain dump and notes, then it's molded into a table of contents, and expanded into legible sentences from there. Once everything is in layout, and I've got a final-ish proof, I ask a couple friends to proof it, for spelling, tips, and factuality of content. I'm probably an outlier as far as other zinesters in this workflow, but I try to make sure my zines are as helpful and true as possible.
What’s the hardest part of this work - and why is it worth it?
Finding the time and brain space. It's a labor of love, but researching, mulling over, rephrasing, and double checking can be daunting and time consuming. But it makes me smarter and more knowledgeable about the subject, and makes for a really informative zine that I can be proud of.
Which of your zines or zines you’ve been a part of is your own favorite, and why?
The personal finance zine, for sure! It's a really taboo subject I like to blow open and make easier for people. I've gotten so much good feedback about how this zine has made the idea of managing money less scary for people, and it really warms my heart.
Carmen Rios is the Managing Editor at Argot Magazine, Digital Editor at Ms., Feminism Editor at Autostraddle, and a Contributor at Everyday Feminism. Her words have been published by BuzzFeed, BITCH, ElixHER, MEL, and Feministing, among others, and she was once a blogger and activist with the SPARK Movement, a writer at Mic, and Managing Editor of THE LINE Campaign blog. Carmen's successful work for over eight years in digital feminism—as a writer, social media maven, and activist leader—has earned her the titles of “digital native,” “intimidating to some,” and “vapid and uninteresting.” She's too honest on Twitter , too vague on Tumblr and consistently uses the same Instagram filter. You can also find her at carmenfuckingrios.com