Amelia’s Magazine 10th Anniversary Kickstarter Special

 

When I found out that Amelia’s Magazine was coming out with a new printed book, I could not contain my excitement! For those who are not familiar with the magazine, it’s a treat indeed – it’s a big tome filled with lots of illustrations, eye candy and made with love and dedication by Amelia Gregory. Ever since it stopped its print run a few years back (although it still exists as an online magazine), I was pining for the day when it would be brought back in its tangible, physical form.

And that day is finally here. To celebrate Amelia’s Magazine 10th year, they’re holding a special Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a limited edition book with the theme That Which We Do Not Understand which runs from now until 29th November 2014.

I sat down and wrote to Amelia to ask her some questions about the exciting new campaign:

Hi Amelia! Congrats on celebrating 10 years of Amelia’s Magazine! Could you tell us what’s in store after a decade of being such a big part of the illustration industry?

Thank you! It’s very kind of you to say I’m a big part of the illustration industry, but I feel as though I operate on the fringes, offering a forum for artists of all kinds to showcase their work. Many go onto much bigger things, which I hope is in part due to the exposure that I offer them. I hope that my 10th anniversary limited edition artists’ book, themed around That Which We Do Not Understand, will be a reminder that the printed medium can be an enormously important and influential way to share art with the world. After a few years of working entirely online it’s really exciting to think I will once again make a tactile object.

I’ve always appreciated that your magazine is a work of art – truly. The incredible amount of detail and work that goes to each issue is phenomenal. How did Amelia’s Magazine get its start?

It began life 10 years ago in 2004, after much deliberating and research. I wanted to make a magazine that was a very personal affair, unmuddled by the demands of advertising and big corporates. At that point I could not design so I persuaded a graphic designer to mock up a few pages of the magazine and went in search of a print company and paper merchant who might support me in my dream. Luckily I found Principal Colour and they have been an integral part of Amelia’s Magazine ever since. I’ve used a variety of high quality papers over the years, but now I am excited to be working with Antalis, who are providing beautiful recycled stock for my upcoming book.

 

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Tribal Cumulus by Mateusz Napieralski for Amelia’s Magazine That Which We Do Not Understand. 
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Shamaness by Essi Kimpimäki for Amelia’s Magazine That Which We Do Not Understand.

What were the problems that you’ve run into during the publishing of Amelia’s Magazine? Why did you decide to end its print run?

I always said I would create 10 issues and then see how I felt about continuing. By 2009 I was exhausted with trying to find the advertising to support the print costs (I was never very good at doing the required networking) and wanted to concentrate on creating daily online content instead. I also wanted to try writing some books and knew that I could not do everything so something had to give. On the website I no longer take advertising, which is not very sustainable as I currently have no income. But I am desperate to get back into print properly, and if all goes well with the campaign to raise funds for That Which We Do Not Understand then I plan to relaunch the website and print magazine, and have plans to make them self sustainable without advertising.

Why have you decided to use Kickstarter to fund this book?

I want to ensure that all costs are met and I don’t overproduce or get into debt. As any small publisher knows, it can be very hard to anticipate demand and I have had a lot of issues with storage and distribution over the years which I really want to avoid this time around. To secure a copy of the book a pledge must be placed because I will basically print a run to suit demand, with only a few spares destined for key bookstores such as the Tate. It’s going to be very beautiful: printed on high quality thick paper, with gold spot printing throughout. Kickstarter is completely nerve-wracking because you have to raise the entire amount or you don’t get any of it, so it’s a very good indicator of whether people like what I do.

When I got that email from you about a special edition printed book, I knew it was going to be good. Could you tell us why you chose the brief “That Which We Do Not Understand” for the edition?

In the past year I’ve had two late miscarriages and they have inevitably led me to think about things we don’t understand. We don’t really having a decent comprehension of why certain things happen to our bodies, or why certain events occur in our lives… and I wanted to explore the many ways that humans try to make sense of the world. It’s a very wide open theme and has already produced some amazing and very varied work. As well as opening the brief up to artists, for the first time I have also invited people to submit creative writing. I am super pleased with the response I’ve had so far! There are still a few days to get involved if any of your readers would like to submit work. (Amy: The closing date for submission is 16th November, so hurry!)

http://www.ameliasmagazine.com/art/that-which-we-do-not-understand-amelias-magazine-10th-anniversary-open-brief-for-illustrators-and-writers/2014/09/17/

I love that a big part of Amelia’s magazine is about collaborations. Tell me, has the collaborative process changed from when you first started, to this current day?

I love collaborating with other creatives, and you are right, this is what has made Amelia’s Magazine what it is! There are many challenges involved with working with so many people, such as keeping on top of multiple conversations, dealing with deadlines and giving very concrete instructions to ensure that submitted work is right for publication. Since the magazine’s inception the internet has changed dramatically, and I have had to keep apace with the myriad ways in which we communicate. Luckily I love social media, and am so thankful for the way it has enabled me to collaborate with people across the globe.

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Thanks so much Amelia!

To be a part of the campaign and to get your copy of the limited edition book, head over to Amelia’s Magazines’ Kickstarter campaign!

Artist interview: Sarah Dennis

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I was attracted at once to Sarah Dennis’ paper-cutting work when she sent me an email – and so I invited her to talk a little bit more about her process! I enjoy seeing how others interpret their style in various ways, especially if that means going for your strengths instead of measuring yourself against other people’s standards – like what Sarah has done.

Name: Sarah Dennis
Location: Bristol, United Kingdom
LinksWebsite | BlogShop

Tell us a little more about yourself!

Well, I have red hair and I feel like the red fox is my spirit animal! I  love orange, green and turquoise and seeing these colours together makes  me just so happy. If you were to take a peek into my wardrobe you would  find only these colours in different combinations. I feel like I can  speak fluent french but in truth I can’t speak a word, I just like to  pretend. I also like eating, cycling and dancing!

Where do you live? What stands out about living where you are, and what  is your daily schedule like?

I live in Bristol and I love it here! I have just bought my first house  with my boyfriend Tom, so it looks like I’ll be sticking around these  parts. I moved in just the other day, so my daily routine is a little  unsettled. In the flat where we used to live, I worked from home. I had  turned the downstairs dining room into a studio, which was great, it was  a nice big space with loads of light. Tom also worked at home some days  so I didn’t get cabin fever too badly. Our new home is quite old and in  need of some serious love, and I keep getting distracted sanding  floorboards and digging up the garden, so I’m currently on the look out  for a studio in Bristol. It will be really nice working around other  artists again. Bristol is the perfect place to be a freelance  illustrator, there are lots of artist studios and support networks with  lots of opportunities to collaborate with other people in the community.

 

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Are you a full-time illustrator? How did you begin finding work/commissions?

I am. It was initially quite hard to find enough work but in the last  few years I’ve been managing to get by on my illustrations, which is  great. For the first few years I had a part time job as well, but I  never felt like I was fully applying myself as an artist, so I got my  portfolio up to scratch and decided to dedicate all my time to making it  work. I put a great deal of effort into sending out postcards, writing  emails and connecting with as many people as I possibly could. Slowly  the commissions started to come in and it all snowballed from there. It  was a great feeling to be finally working on projects that I had dreamt  about while at university. I still have the occasional quiet patch, it’s  the nature of being freelance but it always passes and it gives me  valuable time to set myself personal projects and work on my artwork.

Your portfolio is filled with paper cuts as your medium of choice – what  led you to it, as opposed to other medias?

I have never been great at working with paint, I would always end up  with more of it on my hands and on the floor than I would on the paper.  I’m capable of making quite a mess so I like working with a materials  that won’t drip or spill. The good thing about paper is you can make a  mess but it doesn’t stain the carpet! And the result is very neat which  I like. When I was at university I did more collage based work, I used to  collect envelopes, wallpaper samples, old books or whatever I could find  and would make my illustrations either digitally or by hand. It was  after I saw a great exhibition at the Bristol Museum on oriental  artwork, where I discovered Chinese paper cutting, my head exploded with  inspiration. After this, I started adding more and more detail to my  work and using a paper cutting technique within my art and illustrations.

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What’s your favourite project so far?

Last year I was lucky enough to publish my first children’s book  ‘Cinderella’. This book is like no other I’d seen before. I designed the  book so that between each double page spread is a delicate paper-cut  page which interacts and cast shadows over the background illustrations.  It has always been an ambition to publish a children’s book and I was so  thrilled to be able to combine my illustration’s with my paper cutting  skill. Its was very satisfying to hold the final book and to see it in  shops.

Do you keep a journal/sketchbook, and would you mind if we had a sneak peek?

I do, although for my more detailed artwork I normally develop ideas on larger bits of paper to get the sense of scale right. But the sketch book for me is about about keeping a personal doodle diary and sketching  down ideas that emerge at random times.

 

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What or who inspires you?

I love nature, sometimes just watching a documentary will inspire me to  create a new piece. I’m really interested in the natural patterns that  emerge in nature: from the fractals in Romanesco broccoli to the  flocking of birds and fish. I also love to think a lot about the  incredible journeys that creatures make to survive. I have recently  discovered an artist, philosopher and professor called Enest Heckel. In  the 19th century he discovered and named thousands of new species. He  has hundreds of detailed illustration of marine creatures. I have  recently bought a selection of books all about his work, the detail,  composition and alien nature of some of these creatures just blows me  away. His work has inspired me to take an even deeper journey into the  ocean.

What keeps you motivated?

I have done a few different jobs in the past, and I know that working freelance as an artist and illustrator is what I want to continue to do.  I believe the harder you work on what you love the more likely you are  to land your dream project and have success in your career. I also read  a lot of design blogs and talk to other artists, friends and family who  help me keep focused and motivated.

What’s your favourite tool?

The scalpel, can’t live with out it.

 

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Where do you see yourself within the next few years?

I see myself in my new home, hopefully not surrounded by boxes but in a  lovely space that I have created to live in. I hope to a have a new  studio space thats large enough for me to start making large paper  sculptures. I have recently started running paper cutting workshops and  would love to have my own space where I can run classes and even have a  space that other artists can use to teach their own workshops. I hope to  be working on new and challenging illustration project’s as well as  having my own shop on my website, not just selling prints, but lamp  shades, cushions and cards.

What will be your dream project or collaboration?

I have starting planning a project where I work on a larger scale on a  theme of jellyfish and light. My dream is to develop these ideas as part  of an artist residency in Japan, I love paper and have begun a journey  into finding the perfect paper to work with. I’m really interested in  Japanese washi paper, I would love to learn the process of making my  own. I feel that making the paper from scratch and knowing more about  the material and its history would really benefit my practice and feed  my knowledge of working with paper and progressing as an artist.

 

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Tell us something random about yourself!

One of my favourite creatures is a kakapo, its a flightless bird which  almost looks like a cross between a parrot and an owl. Its only defence  mechanism from predators is to stand still pretending its invisible.  Unfortunately this tactic has not worked out very well for the poor  kakapos and they are almost extinct. I adore them, I have made myself a  kakapo plush toy which sits in my room and looks after all my things.

Thanks so much Sarah!

“All I wanted to do was draw”

I love doodle by Lim Heng Swee

I was speaking to a fellow well-known artist the other day – it was the first time I met him after conversing through email for the longest time. And it was just brilliant. I always love meeting new people – even though the relationship wasn’t technically new, the experience of meeting someone for the first time is something I treasure, because of the wonderful little surprises I know that lies in store.

Whether it’s nuggets of advice and inspiration, or a forging of new bonds; my mind just buzzes with excitement at the thought of hands that are extended in friendship, and where a new thread becomes interwoven in the colorful fabric that has become my life.

So we sat down and talked over lunch, and the more we talked, the more I was fascinated at his ideas. “All I wanted to do was draw,” said the man who turned to art after studying to be a mechanical engineer. “And now I can.” It was inspiring, and to which I thought was incredibly zen-like. My head was brimming with ideas on how he could take it further, and I told him what I was thinking of. He just shook his head and said “I’m happy at this point of my life – I am doing what I’ve always wanted to do. I’m drawing, and I’m earning a living for myself and my family. I don’t have to go big. I’m happy.”

If contentment had a face and a voice, it would be his.

His name? Lim Heng Swee of I Love Doodle.

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You’ll be able to read more of our conversation through the Work/Art/Play online course that starts in September – sign up for more details when we launch in a couple of weeks!