Indoors Zine: 20 collaborators create a downloadable zine all about indoor living
Download your free copy of Indoors Zine for some comfort (and a laugh!) while we’re all stuck inside.
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. Today, we take a further look at some of their contributions.
Last week we launched Indoors Zine, a totally free publication made through a collaboration between 20 different creatives from around the globe. Using Dropbox Paper to share ideas, sketches, updates, new stylistic tangents and their final renditions, each piece submitted represents the isolation setups of our vast contributors.
In Indoors Zine, you’ll find everything from a photographic still life of a self-care setup to an illustrated guide to rubbing shoulders (at a safe distance) with your neighbours. Each submission, however different though, shows a possible activity to fill your day spent in the great indoors.
This week, we get to know a few more of our contributors and what inspired their creations. Pop on down to the bottom of this article to grab your free copy!
A contribution which definitely piqued the interest of other contributors – as well as us, of course – is Tom Guilmard’s. Currently, in Milton Keynes, Tom’s double-page spread documents his own awkward (but sweet) ongoing relationship with his neighbours, giving some tips to readers in the process.
Describing reading the brief as “like that scene in The Pursuit of Happiness – it was the first work email I had since lockdown,” Tom took his time thinking about what to illustrate about his current circumstance. Settling on the idea of focussing on his newfound interactions, it was Tom’s neighbours who came to mind: “Our flat has a balcony and I’m always out there,” the illustrator explains. “I have never seen anyone else using their balcony prior to lockdown, but since it came into action everyone is out there all the time – it’s a bit like all the people who have never run in their life but have decided now is the time to start flooding the parks and go for a jog. I genuinely thought a lot of the flats around me didn’t have people in them – turns out I have neighbours!” Now surrounded with people who have little else to do, short interactions have begun between Tom and his neighbours, leading him to represent the over-compensating, always-apologising attitude of the British in this global zine.
Submitting several ideas to the Dropbox Paper document initially, Tom has since begun using the platform to “share initial roughs and animations for another project,” he tells us. “That sounds like a scripted lie, but it’s really not.” In general, working in this collaborative way leads Tom to comment: “I love all the work. I’m completely humbled to make work alongside all of these guys, it’s great to see everyone’s unique take on the brief, and then also getting a glimpse into other people’s processes,” he says. “It’s reassuring that almost everyone submits at the last second too.”
Another piece that readers looking after little ones will definitely be able to relate to comes from Studio Yukiko, otherwise known as Michelle Phillips and Johannes Conrad. Currently isolating at home in Berlin with their two-year-old daughter, “after the initial shock of watching the world plunge into chaos, experience projects literally evaporate and the announcements of Kindergartens closing, we’re doing fine again now,” they tell It’s Nice That.
Part of Michelle and Johannes readjustment has involved figuring out “some pretty nifty ways to keep our daughter happy and busy, and get some things done ourselves,” which they’ve kindly shared in their piece, Stories for Damage Control.
Finding it “actually really cathartic” to respond to a brief on the current situation, the working process also made Michelle and Johannes feel grateful for their wider team. “We’re also lucky to be part of a tight, wonderful studio team, so after we worked out the concept together, Ira Ivanova and Christine Meyer created the super fun graphics and illustrations,” they explain. Acting as a “fun collaboration” between their own team, “to be honest, everyone in the studio also helps to entertain our daughter so wonderfully on our daily video calls, so we feel we’re all in this together.”
The final idea is one that is three-fold, to represent the myriad daily hurdles parents may need to clamber over. Tackling three areas, each piece of advice given by Johannes and Michelle should hopefully help if you’re trying to limit “the amount of chaos caused by frustrated children who aren’t allowed to play outside anymore,” looking to find new ways “to keep them busy just long enough for you to put a few work fires out,” and finally help you find “sensitive ways to explain to the very little ones why they can’t go out or see their friends,” explain the pair. “Honestly, it’s probably all bad advice but we kind of hope it will lighten up the pressure a little on working parents feeling the guilt of both failing to provide continuous stimulating activities for their children,” Michelle and Johannes conclude. “We’re learning quickly that we’re never going to manage it all and, to be honest, that’s OK!”
Across the globe, but a few minutes away from each other in Brooklyn comes our next contributors, Na Kim and June Park, otherwise known as Panolo Blahnik. Joyfully brightening up our feeds with bread sculptures to resemble only the most fashionable pairs of shoes, the duo has contributed a drawing exercise for readers.
Na and June were excited to receive the brief “as we had just finished a conversation on how we can find ways to work collaboratively and keep Panolo afloat during the lockdown,” the pair tells It’s Nice That. “It presented us with the perfect opportunity to get inspired and get to work.”
Unable to collaborate together as they usually do – Na and June usually work in the same office – “working with Dropbox Paper (which we had never done before) was shockingly smooth,” they explain. “We normally use Dropbox to share any files or content regarding Panolo, so its interface and functions felt pretty intuitive.” They also add how “it was great to see what the other artists and designers were contributing in real-time. All of the ideas and sketches were so varied and impressive. We especially loved the proposals and pieces by Hezin O and Nadine Redlich!”
Deciding to present readers with the opportunity to spot unlikely shapes in bread by suggesting they draw their own characters, Panolo Blahnik’s contribution links to how the pair feels currently: “We’ve found that it’s hard to feel good, or focus, and tend to creative needs during a time like this. Our emotions and thoughts right now basically feel like scrambled eggs! So, we’ve created this exercise as a fun way for people to unwind and stretch out that big old brain in your head.”
Back in the UK, this time in north London, is illustrator Linda Nwachukwu. Currently isolating with her flatmates, and although missing “touching other people, I’m doing great,” she tells us. Choosing to make a piece depicting her personal self isolation set-up, Linda’s final illustration is a “time sequence of what my days look like.”
Like Tom, Na and June, it was seeing how the others were working that Linda enjoyed during this process, spurring on her piece too. Although she was admittedly slightly panicked at first, she soon realised the benefits of this process: “Apparently sharing your first drafts with other artists pushes you out of your comfort zone and can indirectly elevate the quality of your work,” says Linda. “Being able to see how all these amazing artists sketch, make notes, and develop their ideas was really cool.”
Depicted in Linda’s signature fluid style, the final piece jumps from moment to moment, describing how Linda’s “been trying to stick to a routine,” she tells us. “Sometimes it works, but sometimes it doesn’t, and that’s fine.”
Instead, Linda’s routine follows what feels right in that moment, echoing Kate Isobel Scott’s advice: “I figured that trying to do things that benefit your body and mental health is always a good idea, even if you’ve been procrastinating for five hours and it’s 3 AM.” As a result, the illustrator’s double-page spread is definitely one we can all relate to in its honest randomness, displaying Linda’s own routine of “stretching, obsessively cleaning my room, having conversations with other animals, attempting to cook, putting make-up on to do laundry and watching a lot of ASMR.”
Another contribution comes from Mirka Laura Severa, a photographer currently living in Amsterdam. One of our personal favourite contributions as it acts as a reminder of life going back to normal, Mirka’s double-page spread depicts the city’s residents still travelling (via bike) every day.
Simply wanting to “create work that is entertaining, light-hearted and simply fun to look at,” Mirka’s work is taken from her bedroom balcony, sitting atop a cyclist lane. “This turned out to be a great viewing platform to study isolated Dutch locals as they took to the eerily quiet streets over the past weeks,” she tells us. “My position from home allowed enough distance to follow the rules, yet be close enough to capture the cyclists’ unique expressions and wardrobes. If you like, you can give them ratings for their look and styling.”
For Mirka, who is one of the photographic contributors to the zine, it was actually the vast array of styles she sat between which she enjoyed most about the project. “For me, it was the first time working like this – as usually we only see the final results of an artist’s work. It took this uncomfortable feeling away of sharing something that wasn’t finished yet, and felt very collaborative,” she says. This process also seems to have encouraged differing styles and viewpoints with Mirka also commenting, “I really liked seeing the other peoples’ work and I think the whole zine turned out really nice! I like how the diversity of styles means it really feels like a zine.”
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.