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Gina McMillen’s Clever Comic Zines Lighten Up Life

By Jillian Mitchell

Gina’s delightful mini books pair relatable scenarios with charming, original graphics that will get you giggling. Her everyday experiences as a mom fuel her witty words and spunky illustrations.

With a background in sculpture, design, and education, it’s no wonder she manages to frame bite-size observational humor into an artful package. With hours worth of hilarious creativity on her Instagram page alone, you’ll come for the funnies and stay for the art.

Take a closer look at the in’s and out’s of the mind behind Gina’s Drawing Club:

Tell us about what you do! 

I’m currently drawing comics in small folded books called “zines” (pronounced ZEEN). They’re adorable treasures that document my journey as a mom in this dumpster fire known as 2020. 

What is the best part about what you create? 

Most of my art is autobiographical. I can always find a new idea by simply observing daily life. No idea is too small to draw or write about.

How do you stay inspired + avoid creative ruts? 

I accept creative blocks as the time to rest. I let them roll over me. Sometimes, I start by just drawing something random that’s on my mind, which leads to something new. I also try to switch art media when I’m in a creative rut. For example, I used to draw on the iPad every day, and now ALL of my work is hand-drawn. Changing my media helped me come out of a slump earlier this year. 

Favorite song(s) for boosting creativity? 

My work involves a lot of writing and wordsmithing, so I can’t listen to music during the early stages of creativity. Lyrics usually get in the way of writing out the language of a comic. Once I get an idea down, however, I play upbeat music while I ink and color a drawing. 

How does creativity bring goodness to your life? 

As a stay at home mom, my art is a connection to the outside world. It gives me a voice and keeps me positive when days at home with toddlers feel endless. 

What did you want to be when you grew up? 

Mostly, I remember wanting to be an actress. Also, I wanted to draw comics for the Sunday Funnies in the paper. I even made a series called “Frank the Pig” when I was about ten years old. It was a short phase of my childhood, but it’s curious how spot-on that was. 

What do people NOT know about what you do? 

Sometimes, ideas can take weeks or more to cook in my brain before I’m ready to draw them out. Yet, it only seems to take a few minutes of actual drawing for each comic.

What made you decide to start doing what you do? 

I’ve always been an artist in some form. Most recently, I wanted to make the most of my time at home. The thought of not having to go back to a full-time job is quite motivating. 

Where do you go when you need a break? 

Pre Covid-19: A coffee shop or a bookstore. Post Covid-19: I have nowhere to go except my little home studio.

Let’s be real, what’s the hardest/most frustrating thing about what you do? 

It isn’t easy to be funny on command. Especially if I’m just not feeling it. 

Does it feel therapeutic to create stories about motherhood? 

Yes, it gives me a perspective that I wouldn’t have if I just bottled it up. Before kids, I would write morning pages in my journal almost every day. Since becoming a mom, thinking up these little comics is the next best thing to morning therapy journaling. 

Favorite way to celebrate a job well done? 

Netflix’ N’ Chill – I love binging shows when I feel like I’ve earned some downtime. Like after a big deadline.

Follow along with Gina on Instagram for some illustrations + belly laughs, and check out her Etsy shop if you’d like a Zine of your own!

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Art, love, family, brunch, t-shirts, tacos or potted plants. Whatever you're using your gifts to create- we are here for it!

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