The kids are alright
Do you remember your favourite magazine as a child? The one you used to ask your newsagent to put to one side for you so you could save up your pocket money to get the next issue? A personal favourite of mine was Shout magazine. It taught me valuable life-long lessons such as how to plait hair, make a necklace out of clay, and always came with a free glittery nail varnish.
When I came across The Loop it reminded me just how much has changed in publishing when it comes to creating entertaining magazines for children, or should I say young people. Described to be a ‘magazine that thinks it’s a newspaper’, it’s a quarterly creation created by Eleanor Meredith and Claudia Boldt and published by Bolt Editions. ‘For kids who are into everything & anything’ (namely 8-13 year old boys and girls), it has an array of hugely diverse contributors that include the likes of MUJI toy designer Sato Hisao and the entrepreneurial Hackney Pirates, which all in all, makes for a fantastic read from cover to cover. With beautiful illustrations throughout, issue one features ‘extraordinary tales on everything from tongue-shredding mutant tomatoes to dogs in space, as well as a ‘who’s who?’ of mythical characters’, I was personally gripped at the article on ‘Why boys don’t wear skirts.’
The Wonder Gallery caught up with Claudia and Eleanor for a Q&A about everything ‘The Loop’ related…
1. Start from the beginning. How did you both come to meet?
We met in our shared studio two years ago, we both moved in through mutual friends and got on rather well and decided to start working on things together.
2. How did The Loop come about? What inspired its creation?
We initially bought a risograph printer as we wanted to use it for our own work. We then also printed for other people and curated our first travelling exhibition. This is why we set up Bolt Editions, www.bolteditions.co.uk. From there we started thinking about publishing, and children’s publishing especially, as Claudia is a children’s book illustrator she saw a bit of a gap in the market. We wanted to produce a publication that inspires it’s readers to make things and to encourage independent thinking. A lot of publications for children are related to TV characters, and we wanted to produce something that took its readers seriously. Something cool in form and content!
3. If you weren’t creating the wonderful Loop newspaper, what would you both be doing?
Maybe some sort of exploring, ideally a sort of culinary exploration!
4. What magazines or books did you read as children?
I really loved my brothers Tintin, although I just used to look at the pictures. I liked to stare at all the amazing photos in National Geographic too, I was quite an animal buff in my early years.
5. Tell us a bit about your exciting contributors.
We are really excited to have so many fantastic contributors taking part! Most of our contributors are experts in their fields, and then their writing has then been edited for the age group. We are really happy to have so many exciting people involved, the political scientist Nico Jaspers wrote a really interesting piece on nanotechnology, illustrator/animator Katharina Koall created a fantastic mythological who’s who.
6. What has the response been like so far?
Really positive, we’re really happy! Some great shops are stocking it and the response from children has been very encouraging!
7. Have you had to overcome many challenges whilst creating an engaging publication for young people?
Oooh lots of challenges, some were unexpected. Trying to get the tone of the writing right has been hard, as it was really essential to the publication that it wasn’t talking down to the readers.
8. If you could get anyone (dead or alive!) to contribute, who would it be and why?
Jim Henson! I love the funny and absurd humour of the Muppets. The Muppets and Sesame Street were my favourite TV shows when I was young.
9. If you were suddenly zapped into a time machine, what advice would you give your eight year old self (apart to read The Loop of course!)?
1. Keep drawing 2. Don’t throw away your drawings 3. Olives won’t be nice till your 17, so don’t waste your time trying to eat them.
10. Let us in on a secret, what’s next for both you and The Loop?
We are just getting the next issue together, and have fantastic contributors lined up, including some Scandinavian pop stars! We are hoping to launch a digital version soon and have an exhibition of The Loop artists.