The activities have been designed to not need many materials and are able to be done without spending much money, ensuring that the magazine remains accessible to everyone. “Ultimately, we want Seed to be available for children across the UK – free in schools and libraries – no matter their economic background” says Lizzie.
In the two issues so far they have invited a number of illustrators and friends to contribute, including Olivia Waller, Michael Driver and Lauren Veevers. “They’re artists whose work we admire but are also good friends. We were grateful that they were able to contribute because they believed in the ethos of what we were doing,” Lizzie tells It’s Nice That.
“We don’t have enough to pay contributors sadly, but that’s why we came up with the Artist Series; we asked everyone who had previously contributed to the magazine, as well as some people whose work we just love, to create a two-colour risograph print – we then split the profits. It’s not much but it’s a way of trying to make sure our contributors at least get some kind of payment. Going forward we want to be able to apply for funding so we can commission and pay illustrators properly, for the right amount.”
Having previously raised money for each issue themselves, they recently managed to secure some funding from 7-4 Species, a fund that provides money for businesses making a difference to the environment. This will hopefully go some way towards helping them pay contributors in the future.
A vast amount of different illustration styles are present in the magazine, which pays testament to the breadth of illustrators and the openness of Jack and Lizzie to embrace different techniques. “We don’t consciously stick to an aesthetic when commissioning, but working with the colour limitations and the nature of riso printing gives the magazine a cohesive feel,” says Jack.
Aside from the variation that illustrations give the magazine, they also feel that it helps to promote creativity and a freedom of thinking for the readers. “With illustrations, we can interpret and adapt the subject matter and aren’t confined to realism; we wouldn’t want to put a limit on how exciting you can make something like worms,” says Lizzie.
The feedback and reaction from the readers definitely seems to reflect this too: “Something we noticed when we launched our first issue was that the children would colour in any available white space in the magazine,” says Jack. “It was amazing, and we think that might have something to do with holding a book already full of drawings; suddenly its not off-limits and you can make your own marks and impressions, it just adds to what’s already there.”