- Lucy Bourton
- 7 May 2020
Indoors Zine: a zine about the great indoors entirely made from home
Download your free copy of Indoors Zine for some comfort (and a laugh!) while we’re all stuck inside.
- Lucy Bourton
- 7 May 2020
Over the past few weeks we’ve been working with Dropbox to visualise the effect Covid-19 is having on the creative community and the ways individuals are finding comfort. The result is a zine featuring 20 creatives collaborating in Dropbox Paper, discussing indoor living and working. In this first article we dive deep into some of their contributions.
As we’re sure you’re very aware, daily life has been a little different recently. The majority of us have been isolating at home for a number of weeks now, and with that, new habits have begun to form. In fact we’ve reached a strange halfway point. We’re a little more comfortable with this temporary way of life, yet still can’t shake the feeling that it’s exceptionally weird and worrying.
However, one respite in all of this is that no one is alone in this feeling. It’s of great comfort to know that we’re all in this situation together, picking up unlikely coping mechanisms, a new hobby or 12, or finding daily joys to keep us going. So, in an act to gather some comforting and hopefully smile-inducing material, we’ve been compiling these moments from a whole host of wonderful creatives around the world... and made a zine about the great indoors.
Gathering together illustrators, photographers and designers from across the globe, Indoors Zine is the result of 20 creatives contributing their ideas into a giant Dropbox Paper doc to collaborate and create. Each was given free rein on their own double-page spread and our contributors have been busy, either creating a guide to a new hobby (including still life friends and even a dot-to-dot), a depiction of their very own at-home set-ups (ranging from tips to keep your kids busy, to what not to do when getting tipsy in isolation), or simply a visual representation of their current lockdown situation.
We checked in with a few of our staff – the global bureau chiefs of Indoors Zine – and below are some of the stories of how they’re keeping creative despite the lockdown.
Pop on down to the bottom of this article to grab your free copy!
One of the many brilliant comics featured in Indoors Zine – a must in any publication – comes from Clarice Tudor, a hilarious illustrator isolating right now in Loughborough, near Leicester. “As an introverted freelancer, my life has changed very little due to lockdown,” Clarice tells us of her current situation, which also turned out to be the perfect inspiration for her comic.
Particularly keen to embrace the opportunity “of getting light-hearted and humorous, in a time when every other article and social media post is telling you what to do,” Clarice’s comic takes place on a BNO (big night out). “I went to a Zoom party shortly after lockdown began,” she says. “I thought it would be pretty tame but I managed to wake up hungover and full of regret without even leaving the house. Incredible really.” Mirroring how we can still make the same silly mistakes even when home alone, Clarice’s (annoyingly on point) illustrated reenactments show the “at home” versions of drunken embarrassment usually saved for the dance floor. Yet, even though it might leave you creasing in the morning, this kind of night out is exactly what most are missing at the moment and Clarice hopes “this inspires readers to have a laugh and act like complete clowns from the comfort of their own home.”
Working in Dropbox Paper to share her initial ideas and development, Clarice adds that working with the collaborative tool “was fantastic to get an intimate look into the other creatives’ ideas and processes,” she says. “I particularly like Tom Guilmard’s contribution, I knew it was going to be good from the start because I burst out laughing when I read his ideas in Dropbox.”
A similar illustrative contribution has been made by Lilian Martinez, an artist many of you will know under her moniker of BFGF. She’s currently at home working on projects and taking care of her online shop, “but trying to take everything one day at a time”, in Yucca Valley, California. Beloved for her illustrative prints, paintings, carpets and even cushions too, LilIan’s contribution to the zine offers the opportunity for readers to have their very own BFGF, and actually complete it too.
If you turn to Lilian’s page, you’ll spot a part drawing, part number loop for her “connect the numbers activity that I hope people will enjoy doing,” says Lilian, who choose to illustrate “things that bring me joy and comfort in my home: plants, fruit, art and self care.” Always wanting to contribute something for readers to get involved with too, Lilian also enjoyed looking at others’ work come to life: “Everyone did a great job. So many different styles!”
With a more photographic and set design-orientated contribution is Csilla Klenyánszi at home in Hoorn, a little town near Amsterdam with her five-year-old son. Loving the concept of a zine “to bring some liveliness into these (never-ending) times,” the photographer utilised the opportunity to create something her son would enjoy too. “We are stuck at home with my son, seeking for constant attention and entertainment,” says Csilla. “Obviously he doesn’t fully understand the seriousness of the situation and the implications of it,” but as an only child it’s understandably frustrating for him too, she explains.
So, Csilla explains they’ve been trying to “make the situation as fun as possible” deciding to create a series of characters from household objects to act as “a few imaginary friends that can temporarily replace the real ones,” she says. “So my contribution is basically a homage for the little ones, stuck at home, missing their friends, and without a sense of time, asking every day whether it is already today and whether they can play yesterday, now and/or tomorrow.”
While she was creating a series of imaginary photographic friends, it was the collaboration aspect of the project that Csilla particularly loved. “It’s nice to find a platform where – especially when you are suddenly isolated from the rest of the world – you can collaborate, exchange ideas and work on a project together from a distance,” she says. “I really enjoyed seeing how everyone brought their own personalities into this project and I was particularly looking forward to seeing new images popping up day after day on Dropbox Paper.”
Designer Ryan Haskins dedicated his spread to missing friendships. Currently quarantining in his apartment in Los Angeles, Ryan is actually on the hunt for a real-life quarantine pal rather than an imaginary one. His first thought on receiving the Indoors Zine brief “was that there was some kind of hilarious mix up,” he says. “One time I got an email from Parson’s saying I was accepted into their graduate design program. They then sent another email saying it was a mistake and that I was in fact NOT accepted. Fools.”
Joining the project and checking out the other contributions – “I loved being able to check out the other creatives’ work and found it to be super helpful and intuitive,” he says – Ryan decided to supply an opportunity for people to get in touch. “The final piece feels like a small slice of my brain,” he says. “I wanted it to feel fun and honest, not too fussed with.” With every square centimetre of space put to use, the designer’s double-page spread packs a punch, with nods to how those you’re quarantining with might be starting to drive you nuts – “You’ll be sick of me before you know it!”, “My coffee sucks”, and “Let’s become C-List celebs”. “Ultimately, I hope readers look at it and want to hire me for their next design or branding project,” says Ryan, with his signature dry humour. “But at the very least I hope it makes viewers happy. Even for just a small moment.”
Another contribution which will make you look twice is from photographer Pelle Cass, sheltering in Brookline in the Boston metropolitan area. “Creatively, I’m doing just fine,” says Pelle, when we check in. “I work every day (reworking photos from my archive) and hear from various photo people by e-mail and Zoom.”
It’s this process that Pelle has contributed to the zine, sharing “some of the topical work I’d been doing on the visual side of social distance”. Editing his usual highly populated works to fit within government guidelines, the photographs also work as advisory imagery too. “It was clear that I’d have to give some kind of advice. Luckily, it’s the kind I’m comfortable with, showing what I am doing and how I’m coping with Covid, and naming some things I like.” Even though Pelle’s works before were extreme in their busyness, his editing approach shows how jarring the new normal feels.
Reworking his own pieces is something Pelle may have never done before this happened, and looking to the future he adds: “There seems to be a little bit of feeling of openness and change, some of it positive, from several people I’ve talked to. Artists might end up with more clout, was one theory I heard a couple of times. I was very surprised to hear this since I’m anxious about basic things about the future, and thought the creative world would just shrink. This zine is just one example of encouraging things I’ve come into contact with lately.”
Elsewhere in this issue, as you’ll see in this article, we also have contributions from the undeniably hilarious German illustrator Nadine Redlich, a calming piece on meditation by Bloomington based designer Aaron Lowell Denton, a collection of outfits for Zoom calls by London-based Hannah Buckman, a delicious recipe to take time over by Saehan Parc and a guide to etiquette with your neighbours by Tom Guilmard.
About the Author
Lucy (she/her) joined It’s Nice That as a staff writer in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In January 2019 she was made deputy editor and in November 2021, became a senior editor predominantly working on It’s Nice That's partnerships. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about creative projects for the site or potential partnerships.