Through playful illustration, Seed Magazeen brings kids closer to nature
Illustrators Jack Snelling and Lizzie Lomax’s illustrated magazine aims to inspire the next generation to care about the environment.
- Charlie Filmer-Court
- 13 January 2020
As environmental issues continue to make headlines, the impact that humans have had on the planet is becoming increasingly apparent. The difficult realisation that it’s most likely to impact younger generations was the catalyst for Jack Snelling and Lizzie Lomax to create Seed Magazeen, an illustrated magazine aimed at engaging kids with the environment.
“I had been chatting to my boss at work about how nothing like this is really around for children, and how they are the ones who are going to have to live with the long-term effects of climate change,” says Jack.
Having seen engagement on the topic during the school climate strikes, Jack had the idea of creating a project that would put his skills as an illustrator to good use: “Coming from making and publishing my own comics and zines, I contacted Lizzie whose work is focused around these themes, and asked if she wanted to make a kids environmental magazine with me,” he says.
Lizzie, who currently works at Folio agency, recalls how the project took off quickly after that: “We started throwing ideas around as early as January 2019, and then we had a weekend together where things really started to get nailed down. We were so excited by the potential and some of the ideas that it just dominated the entire weekend and we knew it was something we really wanted to commit to.”
After this weekend of brainstorming and planning, the idea for the magazine was fully formed and their aims continue to be the same today as when they first started out over a year ago. “We want the magazine to be something that kids enjoy and inspires them to get more involved with the natural world around them, whether that be understanding seasonal fruits and vegetables, making art out of the recycling, or just jumping in muddy puddles,” says Jack.
“Each issue includes comics, games, interviews and activities that try to engage children with themes based around conservation and the environment, without preaching or being frightening. We launch each new issue with free workshops, that guides them through one of the activities in the magazine, with the aim that they can go on to try it themselves at home.”
The activities have been designed to not need many materials and are able to be done without spending much money, ensuring that the magazine remains accessible to everyone. “Ultimately, we want Seed to be available for children across the UK – free in schools and libraries – no matter their economic background” says Lizzie.
In the two issues so far they have invited a number of illustrators and friends to contribute, including Olivia Waller, Michael Driver and Lauren Veevers. “They’re artists whose work we admire but are also good friends. We were grateful that they were able to contribute because they believed in the ethos of what we were doing,” Lizzie tells It’s Nice That.
“We don’t have enough to pay contributors sadly, but that’s why we came up with the Artist Series; we asked everyone who had previously contributed to the magazine, as well as some people whose work we just love, to create a two-colour risograph print – we then split the profits. It’s not much but it’s a way of trying to make sure our contributors at least get some kind of payment. Going forward we want to be able to apply for funding so we can commission and pay illustrators properly, for the right amount.”
Having previously raised money for each issue themselves, they recently managed to secure some funding from 7-4 Species, a fund that provides money for businesses making a difference to the environment. This will hopefully go some way towards helping them pay contributors in the future.
A vast amount of different illustration styles are present in the magazine, which pays testament to the breadth of illustrators and the openness of Jack and Lizzie to embrace different techniques. “We don’t consciously stick to an aesthetic when commissioning, but working with the colour limitations and the nature of riso printing gives the magazine a cohesive feel,” says Jack.
Aside from the variation that illustrations give the magazine, they also feel that it helps to promote creativity and a freedom of thinking for the readers. “With illustrations, we can interpret and adapt the subject matter and aren’t confined to realism; we wouldn’t want to put a limit on how exciting you can make something like worms,” says Lizzie.
The feedback and reaction from the readers definitely seems to reflect this too: “Something we noticed when we launched our first issue was that the children would colour in any available white space in the magazine,” says Jack. “It was amazing, and we think that might have something to do with holding a book already full of drawings; suddenly its not off-limits and you can make your own marks and impressions, it just adds to what’s already there.”
Seed Magazeen: About & Contents from Issue 1
About the Author
Charlie joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in December 2019. He has previously worked at Monocle 24, and The Times following an MA in International Journalism at City University. If you have any ideas for stories and work to be featured then get in touch.