Anagram Poetry Portraits Zine…headed to LA Zine Fest 2018

Makers and artists, writers and staplers and people interested in such come together at zine fests. I’m excited about this one.

The LA Zine Fest is Sunday, May 27th at the Pasadena Convention Center, 11am-6pm. (quick intro for curious readers, zines = little magaZINES)

This is the first year where I’ll have a little space for my zines at the event. Jen Hofer, co-founder of the AntenaMóvil, a language justice organization, invited me to join the team and share some pages.

I’m very excited to contribute and decided to make a new zine with the event as a deadline. As it goes, I made this plan with 7 days to spare.

cover anagram poetry blog lornaphone


Days 1-3 ART

the request: I reached out to 30 women whose faces I wanted to draw. I asked if they could send me a selfie for this project and if I could write a poem from the letters of their name. Though that’s potentially a bizarre request that might need more explanation, most everyone responded within a few hours. It was heartwarming and also daunting. But more heartwarming. And then daunting again…I had a lot of portraits and poems to make.

image remix: I rearranged each selfie with the Fragment app, looking to generate multiple dimensions. I then drew the remixed images in Photoshop. I began on a steep learning curve as far as shading goes. I’m used drawing and filling in shapes. I’ve learned that I have more control over the subtly of contours with cross-hatching.

I used the pencil tool at 5px, 2px, and 1px to cross hatch the shadows and planes I found in the light. Found faces there.

Here’s Chenel King:

chenel king no words anagram poetry blog lornaphone

Days 1-3 POEMS

finding words: I looked to the letters in the names/pseudonyms of each person to create constraints for the different poems. A few scrabble cheat websites helped me mine for words.
drawing poetry: My dear Futura font served as the text template.

olivia poem process anagram poetry blog lornaphone

combining poetry/portraits: The portrait drawings and the poetry words were in separate files. I was working in an assembly line at first. Word here. Face there. I put the words and faces together in InDesign. Tried to make them make sense together.

olivia process anagram poetry blog lornaphone


concept clarification: I shared a draft with Guy Bennett, a writer and publisher (mind made books) who shares (encourages, guides) my fastidious layout fascination. He gave me useful feedback regarding the flow of the poems with the images and the potential content-loss with my center crease.

logistics: I absolutely agreed with Guy, but was unsure of how to reconcile the issue. At one point, I thought I would perfect bind the zines (glue instead of fold and staple). Folding makes more sense to me, I’ve done that more and I associate folds with zines more than perfect binding, but my page number was growing and I wasn’t sure folding would even be plausible. (Suspense!)

After printing tests, research, and a lot of math, I decided to do a hamburger fold with 8.5″ x11″  paper. So I just turned the page 90 degrees to the right. (I’ll use Occam’s razor to crop.)

sequence: I laid out the rough pages on my carpet to map a sequence, see how all the different selfies could all fit together.

I also embraced Instagram clipart and #LAZineFest shoutouts:

layout time anagram poetry blog lornaphone
2nd draft: I started a new InDesign document with the hamburger page dimensions and created a Photoshop file for each person where I could include both the art and the poetry typography onto a single canvas. In InDesign, they were just awkwardly bumping into each other.

For example
Ayana Young draft one:

ayana draft anagram poetry blog lornaphone

Ayana Young draft two:

ayana update anagram poetry blog lornaphone

Another example:

I couldn’t have made the subtle typographical lean into the drawing with this Rachel Oto page with the first draft concept.

rachel oto anagram poetry blog lornaphone

Days 4-5 ART

revision: As I found a flow in the cross-hatching, and learned where to take my time (and how to), I found a few drawings to revisit.

clarity: The original selfies served as my reference to inform how I shaded. The variety of light and shadow in the photos made every portrait a new drawing experience. If I had placed all the photos into a single filter, or played with all their levels to implement a consistent lens, I think I would have created a uniformity that works against the idea of this zine. I like the shifting reality throughout the pieces. It calls attention to individuality within a series.

Sandra Markarian in the shade:

sandra markarian anagram poetry blog lornaphone
drawing hindsight: I realized that by fragmenting the photos before drawing them, I gave myself many faces to draw for each person. I kind of like how I then got to draw the same face in different ways, but around day 5 I felt like I had created a challenge within a challenge and tried some alternative methods for the remaining portraits and in some revisions.

for example:

One of my first drawings was of my roommate, Carla:

carla before after anagram poetry blog lornaphone

copy/paste: The fragment I created presented duplicates that I at first drew as a single composition (above/right). When I went back, after some cross-hatching enthusiasm, I drew just a few panels and then copy and pasted them into their corresponding repetitions.

I like them both, especially seeing them here together.
reverse order: For 3 of the portraits (Jen, Sarah, Lorna), I drew them out first and then fragmented the drawings; I learned my initial process was probably best because, though. I got too attached to the drawings that it changed the way I remixed the images.

Here’s Sarah Norwood pre-fragment:

sarah norwood one anagram poetry blog lornaphone


Days 4-5 POEMS + ART

revision: I revised the poems and art as I began to see how the parts of the zine fit together. A lot of my poems had words that didn’t have to be there but that I had initially been very excited to find within the letter constraints

Days 5-6 FORMAT 

final decisions: In hamburger fold glory, I found the top bun to be a great place to put the name/title of the poem.

existential social media: For some, I added their Instagram handles beneath their names/poem titles. I’m still not sure about this. I think it speaks to reconciling authorship with art that is completely inspired by someone else as well as a deep respect for the names/titles/people and wanting to tag them.


Instagram clip art: I’m for it. Plus it was cool to share these drawings since I had withdrawn myself to make them into something o share.

instagram anagram poetry blog lornaphone.png


Cover: I knew I liked the Katie Space drawing for the cover. I changed it up a bit to fit with the title spacing I settled on.

Back: I showed an almost final draft to a friend. When I asked them what they’d like to see on the back, or what they’d expect, they said another drawing. Ha! Flattered and exhausted, I used the Amanda Gonzalez drawing as it’s layout fills the page in an interesting way.

Copyright: I decided to draw it out. There is not straight up print in the zine. It’s all penned. *Note the disclaimer

copyright anagram poetry blog lornaphone


Title Page: I went down a bit of a rabbit hole with this content. I found an actual anagram generator that found a bunch of cool phrases that hit every letter. I convinced myself to keep with my previous logic (omission and repetition) for the words.

I’ll share a few ‘true’ anagrams of “Anagram Poetry Portraits” since we’re here: attains merry propagator; oratory remapping strata; migratory sonata trapper

title page anagram poetry blog lornaphone

I would love to get to know more faces and names I can draw. I feel like that’s phrased funny, but…

I added a lil call to action at the end of the zine with some notes about other titles I’ve written. Tradition?


how to play anagram poetry blog lornaphone


I look forward to pursuing the tables and panels for what’s sure to be a shoulder to shoulder squeeze of page-turning eye feasts.

These are the zines I’ll have at the zine fest…though I just realized I should print that zine I wrote about zines…


zinefest 18 lornaphone list


You Can Find Me…

Facebook: @LornaPhone and @LAWordSalon and @AffectComic
Twitter: @LornaPhone and @LAWordSalon
Instagram: @Lornaphone and @LAWordSalon
Youtube: Lorna Alkana

I update my Exhibition Page with events and galleries that feature Lorna Phone art.

Check out the Disclosure Page to see a chronological evolution of my blog and art.

I share new art/discussions about the process of works in progress, and I’ll be delving back into my segments with Comic Lorna in my audiobio comic series called, Affect over the summer.

Current Collaborations:

Operator_Error– Collaboration on the album Affection has moved into collaboration on Affection 2! Plus, the band has released the album Minus the Umm in the meantime.

LAWordSalon– Creative community in Los Angeles, Long Beach, and on tour around you.  Green, esteemed, established, curious. @LAWordSalon Instagram and Facebook documents live music and art around town

Otis Books- I’m an editor for this publication based out of the Otis School of Art and Design in Los Angeles.  Check out our backlog.


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