Students may have encountered the little zines called the ilLUstrator that showed up across campus in common spaces and dorm lobbies. Opening them, you will find doodles, photos, collage work and ample drawings of frogs doing various activities. This is the kind of space that has a legacy and continued goal of sharing art that feels enriching and fun.
Juniors Grace Stahl and Rita Murphy have both been involved in The ilLUstrator since their freshman year. They took over leadership roles and now run the club as co-presidents after Claire Zimmerman’20, the former president, graduated. The meetings they attended were low-stakes and friendly. That energy kept them coming back. They often involved paper and craft supplies spread across a table and always had people gathered to chat and take a break from their schoolwork for the evening. Stahl comments, “I know how intimidating the art department can seem and how intimidating art in general can seem, but, in reality, it’s just fun.” Stahl continued, “We get to talk about funky cartoons, and we get to talk about how pretty comics are and that kind of stuff.”
The two both emphasized the importance of creating art that does not take itself too seriously and putting yourself in an environment that makes you feel like what you make is worth sharing and celebrating. Zines are a medium that they are both passionate about. Murphy even recalled that before they submitted their first drawing of an elephant on a skateboard, they did not realize how easy it was to be accepted. That drawing ended up on the front cover of that term’s edition.
The zine itself is distributed three times per year. Sometimes, it is purposefully themed, and other times a motif arises naturally without prompting. The ilLUstrator is currently accepting submissions for its upcoming edition with a deadline on Oct. 31. Even though this time around, the zine will be distributed digitally, there is still a great opportunity to contribute. Stahl and Murphy are excited that this vehicle of distribution will allow it to be more accessible to past members, people outside of Lawrence and students on campus alike.
In discussion with the two, they explained that the real delight of sifting through submissions to organize them for layout is seeing the range of art styles that come from creative members of the Lawrence community. The process for sending in work is easy, according to the duo. Scan or take a picture of your work, this does include photos of 3D pieces, though it has not been done much before, and then email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. You will hear back about it shortly after with a heartfelt thank you, and then you can keep a lookout for the release. Though they are not pushing a theme this time, they do expect that some submissions will be centered around Inktober or Halloween, which they are just as eager to see. You can also follow @theillustrator.lu on Instagram to keep up with news on the club and any virtual events they may be organizing in the future.