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Milwaukee Zine Fest + Jelly Legs Zine Launch!

Milwaukee Zine Fest 2014 + Jelly Legs Zine Launch

Hey everyone! I’m so excited to tell you about my awesome experience at Milwaukee Zine Fest! This recap post was a little delayed because I’ve been a bit busy (and reading this thought-provoking article about why I should probably knock that off), but I’m done making excuses, so here we go!

Prior to attending Milwaukee Zine Fest (MZF), my only experience with this type of event was earlier this year when I got my feet wet in the zine scene in Chicago (Fun Fact: the “big plans for later this year” I hint at in that blog post is referring to Jelly Legs). I had a great time in Chicago, but as with many things Milwaukee, I found MZF to be far more inviting and intimate. Plus, there was beer available at Falcon Bowl and that never hurts either!

I met some incredible writes, illustrators, designers, and all-around inspiring people. It wad able to talk to so many other bike fanatics who were beyond thrilled to get their hands on a copy Jelly Legs Issue #01. In return, I found myself giddy with pre-teen glee as I scurried along the aisles of zines quickly making trades/purchases. Some of my favorite finds include:

  • Neil Brideau’s Write Now & What is This? — Adorable minicomics filled with love and inspiration for children and adults alike. I wish someone would’ve given me Write Now (or told me about zines at all) when I was just a kid who was obsessed with writing.
  • Anna Jo Beck’s Biff Boff Bam Sock Issue 4, Nuptial Edition — I haven’t read any of the other zines in this series, but if they’re anything like this one, I know I’m going to love them! She’s got a killer illustration style, and this particular issue definitely melted my heart. Go pick it up!
  • Eric’s Junk Drawer Zine — This zine was made for me! I had the pleasure of talking with Eric at the event (his table happened to be across from mine), and we quickly realized that we’re pretty much the quirkiest of kindred spirits. We’re both obsessed with junk drawers and ephemera so his series was right up my alley! Only at zine fest can these kinds of oddball connections happen :)
  • Stephanie Lane Gage’s VOID zine — Refreshingly well-designed and fun little zine. However, my favorite purchase (not pictured) is this AMAZING poster I got from her which features her take on Mulder’s famous “I WANT TO BELIEVE” poster. She definitely had some fun playing with the type treatment, and to top it off, portions of it are in glow-in-the-dark ink. To say I’m ecstatic about that purchase would be an under statement. Thanks Stephanie for rocking my nerdy world!

Of course, I got far more zines than those listed/photographed above, but trust me, they’re all gems. Milwaukee Zine Fest, thanks for the incredible experience!

Jelly Legs Zine Stickers

A FINAL NOTE ON COLLABORATION

I had heard time and time again at numerous design events that the work you create in a group will always surpass the work you do alone. I always knew there was merit to that statement, but I never took the time to actively seek out those opportunities. When I first started working on Jelly Legs, I was doing it as a solo endeavor. However, shortly after I had started brainstorming what Jelly Legs would eventually look like, I went on the Bike to Brew ride in Chicago. It was on that ride that Iwas reminded of the close-knit comradery of the bike community that I’d come to love. I knew immediately thereafter that Jelly Legs needed to exist in a larger capacity, and the quality and quantity of responses I received (and continue to receive) from this community is absolutely astounding.

I love that sense of community that organically develops when people with similar passions come together. It’s the reason why I feel so lucky to be a graphic designer, it’s why I love zine fests, and it’s a big part of why I love cycling. Jelly Legs is truly the definition of a passion project for me, and I can’t wait to see how it grows and shifts over the years to come.

Be sure to snag your copy and some sweet stickers while they last!

Jelly Legs Zine Store

Pssst…if you

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, you’ll get notified about a sweet Black Friday discount coming up! Shhhh ;)

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Girl Meets Ground: The Hilarious Tale of Chipmunks, Gravity & Karma

Girl Meets Ground: A Lesson on Gravity

You guys. I have the most ridiculous story that is so absurd that I couldn’t have made it up if I tried. While social media may make it seems like graphic design is my only hobby, I’m also really into geeky activities and cycling. Today’s story, entitled Girl Meets Ground: The Hilarious Tale of Chipmunks, Gravity & Karma, focuses on my love of cycling, a run-in with a chipmunk, a brief lesson on gravity, and a plot twist. No chipmunks, bicycles, or girls were harmed in the making of this story. If you like to laugh hysterically at the misfortune of others, this one’s for you.

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While riding my bike on a bike path, I decided to go a few miles with no hands. This is something I do regularly, and despite this story’s outcome, I can still confidently say that I’m quite good at it. I was maneuvering my bike in and out of the striped lines that divide the bike path when I saw a chipmunk out of the corner of my right eye. “If he runs across the bike path, there is absolutely no way I can stop in time” I thought to myself. What happened next occurred in a matter of seconds, but my thought-processes made it seem much longer. THUD. After realizing I had run over something, my thought process went a little something like this:

“Was that a pot hole or did the chipmunk just run under my tire? Better look back to see— What is that flying through the air?! What just hit my hand?! Holy #$&*, that was the chipmunk and now it’s running into the forest!”

There I was, riding my bike with no hands, with a chipmunk soaring through the air at eye-level just a few inches away from my face! On it’s descent, it made sure to bump my hand and then scurry off to safety. I immediately started laughing hysterically at the air-born creature. How had I not fallen? How did it manage to run away? I had always assumed that I would fall off my bike if a chipmunk ran out under me, and yet somehow I managed to continue riding with no hands with no problem.

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I still cannot believe that that poor chipmunk got sucked under my tire and propelled through the air! I must’ve laughed for at least a few miles after that. However, the story doesn’t end here.

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I proceeded to call my dad, a fellow hobby cyclist, to tell him about the hilarity of this event. I’m still riding, with no hands, as my dad and I laughed over the phone about how insane the chipmunk fiasco was. As I was riding, I realized that I should really shift gears since the path was ever-so-slightly going downhill. Instead of putting the phone in my left hand and shifting with my right, I foolishly thought “maybe I can just reach across with-AHHHHHHH!

Silly Kristy, that’s not how physics work! My bike veered right, went off of the path, and into the foliage. My bike and I came crashing to a halt just in time for me to watch my cellphone propel into the forest before my face hit the soft, muddy earth. To my own surprise, I jumped up quick as a cat and organized my thoughts.

  1. Am I broken?All my parts seem to be intact. These scrapes are going to scar, and they’re going to make for an awesome conversation piece. Score.
  2. Is my bike broken?Seems functional. Still looks beautiful. Man, my bike is awesome.
  3. I HAVE GOT TO TELL MY DAD! THIS IS A RIOT!
  4. QUICK! Take a photo of this because it’s hilarious!

The photo above was taken within a minute or two of falling. I clearly look like champ. Over the phone, my dad told me that the chipmunk had it out for me. It is a bit ironic that I fell while bragging on the phone about how I didn’t fall. Yet somehow, I feel like that’s what makes the story so amusing.

I started to ride home, laughing and smiling the whole 10 miles. I noticed that my right arm and leg now sported small streams of blood which spread in strange patterns as they mixed with my sweat. The cut on my forehead was doing the same.

The faces I saw as I passed looked more mortified than concerned which seemed strange to me. “Why do people seem so horrified? I’m clearly okay and riding just fine”. That’s when I thought about what I must look like to them. I was covered in mud, gravel, and leaves. I had blood dripping down my face, and I was rapidly approaching them at 20 miles an hour while laughing manically. I’m fairly sure that’s how some horror movies start.

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Though that chipmunk is probably paralyzed, my bike is in the shop, and my body is covered in battle wounds (which my dad said gives me “street cred"), I still can’t help but laugh at how this all panned out. Though I did fall while I was riding with no hands, I blame this on lack of common sense rather than lack of skill.

What I think I appreciated the most is that as soon as I entered my apartment complex, a young couple came out of the elevator and walked past. The girl excitedly tugged on her boyfriend’s arm “Look! Look! Did you see that girl’s tires? She has BLUE tires! I am so jealous!“ The fact that my beautiful new blue tires were what the girl noticed rather than my bleeding, muddy body definitely made me even happier about those tires (which I already very much in love with). Now THAT’S a good purchase.

To add to the story, I had also intended to post the first of a new series, Mixtapes, featuring a great tape inspired by long summer bike rides. That post has been postponed due to this post. Classic.

What’s your worst wipe out story?

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Life in the Bike Lane

kristyblackbikes

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This moodboard is the first of many developments of my latest personal project. For months, I have been itching to start a zine called Life in the Bike Lane but up until recently it didn’t seem plausible due to time constraints. This moodboard is meant to emulate the type of aesthetic I envision for Life in the Bike Lane which will focus on road, fixed gear, and cruiser bicycles, their riders, and the cyclist culture.

Be on the lookout for updates about this fun development! In the meantime, dust the cobwebs off your bike and hit the streets while the sun is still shining!

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