This weekend I finished up these new quote posters for Mayday Underground, a popular local craft show. There are a bunch of different quotes, which I've been working on slowly in between jobs since January. You can get these and several other new posters right here.
In other, sorta-related news, I finally got around to answering some thoughtful, interesting emails after weeks/months of putting it off. I found this excerpt of my response to have some great questions regarding what it's like working for yourself, working at a small-press publication, and how to get started in publishing. I'm far from being an expert but I thought I'd post some of the email here to help anybody else looking for some insight.
Hope you enjoy reading it!
What made you realize this was the perfect way for you to live your passion?
I knew I loved working with food when I started my blog, hipsterfood. It's creative but it's also fulfilling in that it helps me explore and share veganism and cooking, two things that totally changed my life. Taking it further with Chickpea solidified it for me, especially when I realized I got to scout out food styling props, haha.
What ignited the spark in you to start Chickpea and how did the idea come about?
I loved the blog, but despite the amount of followers it had I didn't feel like it was very much a community. The Internet forces anonymity, quick judgements, and a critical mood (especially for something as 'radical' and incendiary as veganism) - I wanted something slower, something people could really absorb, and something that would bring vegans together. At the same time, I was getting into small, well-designed food-related publications and I thought, "why is this so meat-centric?" It was a natural conclusion to start up my own zine sort of thing.
How did you get started in this field, and what do you think has been instrumental in your idea coming to fruition in the form of Chickpea?
I went vegan and a week later I started the blog to document my process and journey - it was so simple and I wasn't even looking for readers. I just wanted to learn how to cook, and learn how to live my life according to my values. I wanted to continue this genuine effort in Chickpea - it's not a publication looking for money or a huge readership, it's here to teach and show real stories to people who are actually invested in it.
Do you believe there is a so called “recipe for success” required to developing and operating a magazine?
Most definitely. We're actually incredibly lax in comparison to many other small publications, even, but we're on a tight schedule and system. (We have to be, we learned the hard way at you bleed cash and time without a timeline.) We're very organized and have created systems for not only the business side, but creative work too.
But first and foremost, in a nutshell, the secret to success is to produce great work consistently and constantly, and be nice to everyone. Even if you really don't feel like it.
Great work includes incredible imagery and quality, thought-provoking writing. Amazing content will always, always get you in the eyes of more people, and if you do it often (at least twice a week, I used to do twice a day!) you can go really far.
"Being nice" means answering questions (I used to spend 4 hours a day answering Asks on tumblr about how to go vegan!), reaching out to even the most intimidating people, taking criticisms and hate mail with grace, and collaborating often with fellow bloggers and peers.
What is your favorite aspect(s) of your role at Chickpea?
Producing content is always my favorite part. From shopping for props to making food to shooting and editing, it's my real dream job. Opening photos from contributors for the first time is up there on my list, too - it's magic to see a gorgeous spread of photos after weeks and months of waiting :)
How would you describe your role and typical daily tasks?
Our tasks shift during the season, but most of my job is content creation, whether it's for the magazine, the blog, or shop. In the mornings I'll get all of the photography done (when the best light is in the house!), then edit for a couple of hours. The afternoon/evening is for posting, answering emails, and packing orders to be sent out. At night I'll come up with new ideas, make new products, and do some writing edits. The week before an issue comes out, I'm basically at my computer from when I wake up (9-10 AM) to when I go to sleep (4-5AM.) I also do a TON of dishes!
What are some ways that other people you know have gotten started in this area?
A lot of people start the same way I did - blogging for personal reasons - then as it gets bigger/more popular, and their skills get better, they get opportunities to publish a book, or get ad sales, or start bakeries or online shops. Between point A and point B takes a ton of unpaid and hard work, though!
What traits, skills, or experiences do you recommend for people looking to get into this area or starting a magazine or publication?
Number one: be prepared to be flexible, be a great multi-tasker with a capacity for high-stress situations. You must be a self-starter; this isn't just essential, it's something you'll be tested on every moment of every day.
More specific skills I use on a daily basis: publication design software skills, photography and editing, people & time management, copy editing, content development, art direction, customer service, working with major printing facilities (and print-ready design), working with PR departments and sales staff from press houses and retail stores, creating an interested audience, accounting & software, shipping rules & regulations, and much much more.
Most major publications have an entire team to do this, when you start out it's usually just you and maybe one or two other people. Print is 1000x harder than just creating digital content, and it's something you shouldn't just jump into. (I did, and lost a lot of money and time because of it, but it was a priceless learning experience!)
If you were me, what would you do to try to break into this field now?
Do exactly what it is you want to do, do it extremely well, and get yourself an audience. Go into it 100% and as long as it's captivating and stands out, it should work. We found our niche, we had a large audience starting out, we have a unique vision for what we're doing, and we work incredibly hard every day to keep it happening.
What publications, professional associations, or events that I should check out for additional information on this field?
I actually came into this with an anti-professional stance, so I've never been to conferences or joined any groups. I've always tried a DIY approach, learning from more general sources. Professional organizations make me feel intimidated and subpar, no matter how good I am. Here are a few resources that have helped me immensely: