Archive for the ‘Zines’ Category

Douglas M. Ryan, I have your U-Pass.



Douglas M. Ryan, I have your U-Pass.  It was already expired when I found it, so I did not turn it in to Columbia. I was putting weird things I found on the sidewalk in a shoebox and recently thinned out the collection. If you ever find this blog post, your U-Pass wound up in a collage added to pages of an original art zine. If you are as epic a Columbia student as your hair and sideburns are epic, I know you will understand.


zine page 02





New Category: Cartoons & Comics

Surviving Winter Shellie Lewis

I started this blog to mainly do one thing: dump my art school education online for free.* (I saved you all tens of thousands of dollars. You’re welcome.) Also, I tried to serve as a translator for the real world to have a portal to the academic art world, but doing so in plain English, hitting some of the more interesting parts of theory or art history while avoiding any snootiness.

I looked to particularly post practical things that non-art people would not know offhand, like the difference between acrylic paint and oil paint. I added art media tips, digital resources and troubleshooting tips like getting oil paint off a dog. I’m kind of surprised how many people have needed to Google that last one.

Well, after 1,287 posts I am crazy bored of my own blog. Really, crazy bored. I never went for junk blogging: like ranking something via numbers articles, re-blogging other people’s content for quotas or teaser click-bait posts. It’s not too late, I can still write “CLICK HERE to Learn the Top 5 Reasons to Not Recycle Posts From Other Blogs!”… but I won’t.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes I’ve experimented with an animation program and have been doing cartoons and short form comics the past year when I found the time. The cartoons and comic art was mostly autobiographical and local Chicago stuff which I have circulated as physical media, and I’m talking photocopied zines; because that is exactly how you get wide circulation in the 21st Century digital world. The only thing more useless is large scale paintings that no one wants to buy and are hard to store in an urban apartment.

I am now adding a Cartoons & Comics category to this blog. This is what fine art programs tell you is garbage and anathema but what is most accessible to the general public –and probably the most appreciated art form. Basically, if it is fun and people like it, the academic fine art world will denigrate it as rubbish by calling it illustration, fan art, commercial art and a number of other things that indicate it is trash and not “art.” The fine art world can be really cerebral but also a real drag. They are cranky because of decades of economic distress.

Around 85 – 95% of Chicago’s smaller or entry level art galleries have gone under since 2008 and Chicago’s largest art show died in 2013. William Conger wrote an article about how art schools are self-perpetuating –that art schools just turn out students and some go on to work at art schools– and that it is impossible to have a fine art career anymore; then Judy Chicago went and wrote a whole book about the same subject. When it comes to the business aspect of the real world, art school teaches outdated information about having an “art career” that has no basis in reality. All the rap about “being serious” and doing things “right” to be a “real artist” is claptrap. The college I graduated from was repeating pedagogy from before I was born like a broken record, steps on a path that washed away and is a memory now. Lack of success which falls in the “paying your dues” mythos thus putting blame on graduates and not the school. Art school is people whose income comes from teaching ironically teaching you how to sell art in a way that would not even work for them. The things they added to the traditional “art career” pedagogy regarding social media and the internet for self-promotion is laughable.

Case in point: the last gallery show I had paintings in, about seven people came and they were all relatives of or dating the artists. No one bought anything. That gallery went under afterward.

The moral of the story is: never go to art school. They don’t teach any secrets and do not confer any kind of beneficial pedigree. There is plenty of informative books that you can read for free or cheap. You will find far more information online than will be taught in any degree program.

I have had all sorts of an art career but not a dime in profit from making art. I think you can make art or you can make an art career. I’m just going to wander off into the social media world and have fun. Check back for some cartoons or comics as they appear.

*Any ads you come across on this WordPress are being inserted by your Mac, Apple device, internet service provider, browser, etc. I still have zero ads or monetization on this blog. When I made this blog to be free, I meant it.

Read Mail Art Book Online for Free

February 21, 2015 Leave a comment



You can read a copy of an eBook titled Art Through the Letterbox by Mail Art Martha ( on this site here. The eBook is a short work (98 pages total) collecting mail art received from all over the world. A majority of the works are mixed media and collage art, with some paintings, digital pieces and printmaking works. This online eBook is an interesting way to document,  preserve and share a mail art collection. Make a cup of tea and settle in for a while!

Artist Trading Card Animated Zine

August 22, 2014 3 comments




Share artist trading cards with the world! Here is a zine I made as an animation you can link to, email, tweet and send any way you want. Share the idea of artist trading cards with as many people as you can. Short link to this post:

I Need Translations for an International Zine

January 29, 2014 Leave a comment

Zine Cover

UPDATE 2/08/2014:  final draft

My friend Heather Loresch recently returned from serving in the Peace Corps in the Ukraine. Heather has also been very saddened and worried by the violent protests and civil rights challenges that have erupted in Kyiv. She told me about learning painting from her wonderful art teacher. I asked if her art teacher participated in artist trading cards and Heather felt he might like them, but it would be hard to explain the concept since he does not speak English. I have been doing a lot of zines lately in addition to artist trading cards and set to drawing what “artist trading cards” are in a series of comic pictures.

I have finished the hand drawn art and now I need translations for three words: “artist trading cards”. The cover tells what the whole zine is about. I am using Google Translate but I have no idea if anything is correct or not, so I am trying to find people fluent in other languages to fact check my Google translations. The cover of the zine will read “artist trading cards” in many languages. The rest is all pictorial. I think it really gets the point across. If IKEA can do it, I can do it.

My trades in non-English speaking nation have been in the minority. Maybe the zine will help me spread artist trading card creation to new areas. Nothing gets around faster than the internet, so I will also make the panels of the zine into an animated GIF and put that online.  One two panel spread will throw the composition off a little but I think this will make a fine animated GIF.

Please email me a translation for “artist trading cards” or reply to the comments here. ARTG33K74 at gmail is a good email address. Thank you in advance!

UPDATE 1/29/2014: I got feedback from some friends and used a lot of Google Translate. I used “barter artist cards” a lot to try and indicate a swap and not commercial sales. Punjabi did not have a good word for “barter” and I used “mail artist cards”. It should make some sense, I hope. I tried to angle for as many non-Romance languages as I could fit in. Here is the first rough draft and show what I want for the cover. Changes will probably be made.

Call for Entry: Chicago Dictionary Collaborative Zine for March Zine Month 2014

January 23, 2014 Leave a comment

Self Publishers of Chicago has a call for entry for people to submit their own dictionary definitions for a collaborative zine. The deadline is soon and submissions need to be sent in via email by midnight on 2/26/2014. 

The call for entry is here:


I am getting the impression that some of the entries they will be getting are going to be super funny. One example made me remember Sniglets from the 1980s. I went in for humor and the satire at the same time. I hope they pick my submission. Meanwhile, I may try to think of another one if there is time.

bandwagon fan poster 8x10

Free Zine Pattern & Tutorial

October 11, 2013 2 comments

This is a basic eight page zine that is made from one sheet of paper. Print the template below for a practice copy. The orientation of the page numbers shows which way is up for each page. Accordion fold the zine to get your eight pages. Right click and open in a new tab in your browser if you are having trouble downloading the full size image. This is sized to 8.5″ x 11″ paper.


Here is a quarter fold zine pattern for 8 pages from one page. The differences are: you need to cut across the whole center dashed line, you need something to bind the pages together (like a needle and heavy thread or staples), and you need to print two-sided on one piece of paper. I marked how to flip the paper around in your printer or copier if the system you use is not automatic. I like using 110# cardstock paper for this pattern so inks do not bleed through the pages. Open and download this PDF for the pattern.  I placed the .jpg versions below.

Free Quarter Fold Zine Pattern



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