Five zine makers weigh in on growing creatively, even with a day job

Five zine makers weigh in on growing creatively, even with a day job

The Komura; Black & White Zine Fair has fostered a community of creators who are more than meets the eye.

Photos courtesy of Komura;


The best thing about zines is that they come in many different forms. But for a medium that’s built on self-expression, protest, and accessibility, sometimes keeping it simple can be the most powerful move of all.

The radical possibilities of the zine in its purest form are at the center of the Komura; Black & White Zine Fair. Held on Sept. 21 at Warehouse Eight in Makati, the event gathered creators, collectors, and everyone else who champions the zine and keeps the movement going.

We talked to some of the creators and asked them about why they love zines and what it’s like to balance creative pursuits with the practicality of day jobs. 

Carl Cervantes

Carl Cervantes actually began to take zine-making seriously after attending a Young STAR talk and meeting YS artist Mich Cervantes (“No relation, apparently”). He recalls, “I was very interested because since I was a kid, I’ve made these tiny booklets that I didn’t know were zines.”

Once a freelance actor, he’s now taking psychology in grad school. It’s during his free time that he’s able to make his zines, which are influenced by what he learns in classes. “It’s always the in-between moments [that you get to] think about what you like,” he says. “Those are the moments that you fill with passion and joy.”

Roan Contreras

Programmer Roan Contreras also stumbled across zines at an art event, this time one centered on mental awareness. He’s only been making zines for a few months, but he’s found it fun and fulfilling to convert some of the games he has created, which tend to take time to finish, into zines, which he says take him less than an hour to make. The accessibility of zines is what he favors: “Kapag accessible sa [mga mambabasa] ’yung zines, kahit pabuklat-buklat lang, nakakarating pa rin sa kanila ’yung gusto mong iparating.”

Lizette Daluz

Comic artist Lizette Daluz, known for Ang Hari ng Komyut, is a software engineer by day. Joining conventions, art markets, and events like Komura has been helpful in allowing her to explore zines and find a community of her own. “None of [my job] is connected to comics,” she says. “But it funds my passion projects. Creating helps keep me grounded and gives me space and time to grow creatively beyond my day job.”

Miko Mendizabal and Andrei Venal

Also launching at the event was Iisang Halimaw, a collaborative effort by a number of artists and writers. Edited by Miko Mendizabal and built by Andrei Venal, featuring work by the likes of Dead Balagtas, Lakan Umali, and Karl Castro, the zine called for contributors to create work about “the same monsters that plague our society” then and now — timely for a release date that falls on the anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law in the country. “It’s not just a description of our society but also a means for them to see art as a weapon para makapagmulat, para makapag-engage,” says Miko. The zine is nonprofit, its selling price based only on production costs, with the added initiative to donate to farmers in Negros.

Miko and Andrei also balance zine-making with their jobs, the former as a sociologist and the latter as an artist. Zines, says Miko, “ang mga nakaw namin na proyekto, because we also have our day jobs.” Andrei adds, “Ito ’yung mga espasyo for people like us to engage creatively and create platforms and avenues for social issues.”

The zine fair coincided with what was at the time an ongoing call for submissions to Komura’s Creators Grant, which allows selected creators to fund and publish their zines with a capital of P12,000. This particular call for submissions prompted creators to tell a story involving alternative ways of living that wouldn’t be under oppressive systems, focusing more on content and concept. Submissions have closed and the winner (along with the subsequent produced zine) will be announced at the Warehouse Eight Christmas Party in December.

Komura co-founder Czyka Tumaliuan cites that many aspiring zine makers lack the means and resources to produce their ideas. The grant, which will continue funding different zines, is Komura’s way of encouraging more people to partake in the movement. After all, she says, “Anyone can make zines.”

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