Illustoria is a print magazine for creative kids & their grownups. It celebrates visual storytelling, makers and DIY culture through stories, art, comics, interviews, crafts and activities. This high-quality, tri-annual publication is geared toward readers ages 6–12 and the young at heart.
From the Editor, Joanne Meiyi Chan:
Welcome to ILLUSTORIA, a place for visual storytelling and DIY culture. We commission and celebrate the works of established and up-and-coming artists, writers and makers. Our commitment is to providing a high-quality print magazine that inspires and delights creative kids & their grownups through original stories, art, interviews and activities. This is the origins of our story:
Two years ago when I was a children’s book editor at Lucasfilm, I had a vision for a new type of magazine for kids—one that would showcase stories and art while giving readers insight into the creative process. A magazine that, like any good book or entertainment for children, could be equally enjoyed by grownups.
Why a children’s magazine at such a precarious time for print? For one, for the love of print. But also because I really wanted to see this vision out in the world. As a mother of two working in the field of children's book publishing, I felt fortunate everyday to be collaborating with amazingly talented illustrators, comic artists and storytellers. At Lucasfilm I was surrounded by passionate people who shared a love of storytelling in all forms--through writing, illustration, animation, film, television, performance and music. It was around all this creative energy that I felt compelled to express something unique and true to myself. I was ready to create something meaningful that I could not only bring home to my kids, but share with them.
I wanted an experience where kids and grownups could enjoy comics and stories together, be exposed to contemporary artists and makers working their crafts out in the world, discover the next best song to put on repeat, find a fun new recipe to cook up for dinner, feed their imaginations and get inspired to make, journal, draw, craft and express something unique and true to themselves.
I was also witnessing the incredible renaissance taking place in the realm of children's books. Like wildflowers spreading on the High Line, new ideas and styles and voices were thriving. For all the agonizing over the decline of print publishing, there came a surge of high-quality picture books, graphic novels, chapter book series and early readers. Artists and writers declared a new playing field with the picture book manifesto. New indie presses and established houses dared to go against the tried and true and readers began to find books without pictures, graphic retellings of classics, oversized books that don't fit spine-out on bookshelves, books that enchanted big people as much as they did little people, books without happy endings and books that said something brand new and made us wonder.
Also all around me I saw a proliferation of quality print magazines that put content, design, and artistry above ads and mass production. These were magazines that I couldn't get enough of, that I wanted to pore over, collect, share and keep on my coffee table forever. They were founded by fellow staunch lovers of print who captured an audience eager to slow down and take in well-curated, beautiful, intelligent stories and pictures.
I was sure that a well-designed, thoughtful, contemporary children's magazine--one that celebrated visual storytelling and artists as much as it did a DIY ethos--was not only missing but would be welcomed by a new generation of parents and young readers. Where was the publication, like all those wonderful children's books, that I'd want to read and feel inspired by as much as my own two kids would? I couldn't wait to shepherd the idea to life.
Now, here we are in 2016 and that vision, the magazine, is taking shape. I have an awesome group of folks realizing and creating ILLUSTORIA along with me, whose smart ideas and playful perspectives have made it something bigger and better than I could have imagined. With backgrounds in design, comics, illustration, writing and publishing, they share a belief in the power of stories, art and creative expression. We are hard at work on our first issue, all about beginnings. In it we learn from Cece Bell about the making of her graphic novel El Deafo, discover how Andrew Bird prototyped a make-shift violin at age 4, glimpse into Aaron Becker's process illustrating Journey. On top of that we have original contributions from dozens of new and familiar artists and writers in the form of illustrated stories, comics, DIY activities and more.
I hope you follow along on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, and make sure to sign up for our newsletter so you get the latest ILLUSTORIA news in your inbox. If you like what you see, please let us know! I would be thrilled to have your company as we see this vision through and embark on this new adventure.