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Behind the zines: Russell Taysom

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For our second instalment of ‘Behind the Zines’ we speak to illustrator and comic artist, Russell Taysom, who’s cartoon-esque illustrations have been called upon by the likes of  NME, Reebok and Topshop, as well as a whole heap of independent bands and labels.


Alongside his commercial work, Russell is one half of the team behind the zine, Flabby Dagger. We pinged him over an email to talk zines and see why he thinks they’re so awesome.

Flabby Dagger, Russell Taysom, zine,

Why did you decided to start up your zine, Flabby Dagger?

I make the zine with my friend Charlie. We grew up making punk zines and so when we were working somewhere together with a bunch of other artists it kinda made sense to make an artzine. It started as a way to show our friends work but when we got more into it we started asking artists we admire but didn’t know to be in it and a lot of said yes!

How do you come up with the theme for each issue?

The themes come from conversations usually but we’re a bit slow on making the zine so there’s a whole backlog now. We should write them all down so people can carry on doing Flabby after we die.

Flabby Dagger, Russell Taysom, zine,

What’s the process you go through to create your zines?

First thing we do is come up with a theme. Then we both come up with a dream list of contributors and ask them if they’d like to be in it. Then we give everyone who’s up for it a deadline and a loose brief. Come deadline day we see what we’ve got and if it’s enough to make a zine. We put it into some kind of order and print it! We make about two a year so it’s pretty relaxed although we usually end up wanting to release it at some event so it can be a bit hectic at the end.

We think zines are awesome but what is it about zines that you like?

I like the freedom in zines, they’re not compromised by their advertisers or affiliations to other companies. I like the fact that it’s an inexpensive way to share your vision of the world that is open to everyone. I also feel zines connect people and create a scene whether they are music based and you’re interviewing bands or if they’re taking submissions.

Even if you do a personal zine all on your own you end up sending it out to the people who buy and then they might end up making their own zines and send them to you and that becomes a whole series of connections and people being inspired by each other.

Do you have a personal preference on zine size?

I like A5. It’s a good size to read and to carry about. You can put it in the middle of a sketchbook to carry it on a bus without it getting dog eared but it’s not so small you lose it.

What tips or advice would you give someone thinking of making a zine?

A zine can be about anything, so don’t worry if people aren’t making zines you want to make, any subject matter is valid. The art doesn’t have to be professional looking, in fact I like zines that don’t look at all like mainstream magazines. I think that’s more ziney. Don’t be afraid just get something finished and out there. You can always make issue 2 perfect but getting anything made is an achievement.

Also don’t be afraid to ask people if you want to interview them or if you want them to do something for your zine. You’ll be surprised how many people will do something for you even if it’s your first zine and you’re super young. Don’t get offended if people don’t reply, just ask some more people!

Any plans for your next zine?

Yes, it’s going to be VHS Horror themed and the cover is going to be 3D and it’ll come with the old 3d glasses (the ones with one blue sense and one red)

Feeling inspired? Check out our custom zine range and get creating!

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