Marathon Day is a personal project that came out of my love for running. I started running cross country and track in high school, and since then I’ve run several marathons in different cities around the country. Running has been a great way for me to get away from my desk, and I often come up with ideas for projects when I’m out for a long run. When I was out for a run one day, I got the idea to create a 26.2 panel accordion fold zine to share my experience running marathons.
Illustrating the super long continuous image was the fun part. I really enjoyed trying to capture the joy and pains of running a marathon in this illustrated world I created. I wanted to capture the excitement of the crowd and internal mental struggle the long race can create. I included the outward dialogue between the runners and spectators as well as the inner dialogue going on in the mind of a runner during that last stretch of the race. The format gave me a lot freedom to play and experiment.
This project also challenged me. I was set on this accordion fold format so readers could go through the zine page by page, mile by mile, or see long stretches of the race at one time, but a long 26.2 page accordion fold zine isn’t the most cost effective format to send out to a printer. So, I ended up purchasing my own large format printer for this project. My living room was taken over for a few weeks as I printed and folded these nearly 10-foot long zines.
I was able to produce 20 zines for a local zine show, and it was so rewarding to see people enjoy the zine and page through all 26.2 miles of the race. It feels good to see a personal project through to its end. As an illustrator most of my work comes from clients in one form or another, so when I have the time it’s nice to work on something that I can have total control over. Having personal projects between the client work reminds me why I got into illustration: my love of drawing! It makes life as an illustrator so much more gratifying.