Zine Review: Drawn Poorly Zine: Identity

Drawn Poorly Zine: Identity

Drawn Poorly Zine: Identity is an A5 collaboration zine of photography, art, and writing around identity in relation to chronic illness.

I have the impression that it’s is a bit cliché these days to call something powerful, but ‘powerful is the first and best word that came to mind when reading this zine. Over a dozen people have contributed to this zine, and I find myself going back over each page again and again.

Drawn Poorly opens on the inside front cover with an introduction to the zine and the people who made it happen – with contributions of work as well as financial contributions to bring the zine to life. Page one – a collection of speech bubbles on a black background, each with a quote response to the prompt ‘What Was Lost’ – sets a sombre and intense tone.

There are so many things about this zine that I think are striking. I love the variety of contributions. I love that pieces come with clear social media handles. I love that Drawn Poorly included quotes from people who have chronic illnesses but also from those who love someone who has a chronic illness.

Identity is such a complex issue, and the pieces really demonstrated that complexity without being coldly literal about it. I truly got a sense of real people behind the pieces – people who not only where dealing with their chronic illness but also what it meant (and didn’t mean) for who they are.

Kitty James’ piece ‘Identity’ resonated with me the most with how it can be such a long, lonely road to diagnoses and how labels can be very important to identity and not feeling alone.

“How could my illness define me when my illness could not be defined?”

I’m eager to read what comes next for Drawn Poorly. Pick up a copy, and let’s encourage them to make many more.

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