Your guide to… Counterpoint’s ‘Survival’ issue

by Grace Wang in June 2017
Art & designHumourLiterature

I love the feeling of Counterpoint magazine in my hands. The rough paper stock and large format feels like a primary school sketchbook; the inky risograph finish is at once playful, inviting, and full of detail.

Each issue, the Edinburgh-based editors Sam Bradley and Bethany Thompson invites writers and illustrators to share their stories on a single subject. Their sixth print instalment is themed ‘Survival’, and there is everything from sidestepping sexism, to weathering wisdom teeth extraction, and “dodging the slings and arrows of our minds”. We asked Sam to give us his definitive guide to the issue.


It’s a funny colour
Our colour scheme for this issue was a bit of a challenge – it’s the first time we’ve gone to print without our signature blue. We like to keep things fresh and choose a different colour palette each issue, and we thought a Survival-themed issue was a good excuse to play around with bloody reds, wild greens and radioactive yellows.

It’s not perfect
Risograph printing leaves each copy of the magazine with its own unique quirks and imperfections – a misaligned column here, a soy ink smudge there – but it’s all part of the process we try and embrace.

There’s a free thing inside
Just like your fave pulpy teen mag, each issue of Counterpoint includes an exclusive pull-out-poster. We ask an illustrator to respond directly to the theme for a standalone A3 print, and Glasgow’s Jonny Mowat came back with a wonderfully striking image that we thought was perfect. Jonny’s piece is risograph at its finest – he uses the full saturation of each ink colour and utilises overprinting to create a really cool, darkly funny illustration.


There’s some second-hand information
We try and collect as many odd and unexpected angles on our themes as possible, and Jaiveer Mariwala’s article about the survival of objects is a great example. Based in New Delhi, Jaiveer wrote about growing up in Kerala and the how his connection to his brothers and sisters was forged in constant stewardship of hand-me-down shoes and second-hand school uniforms.

There will be dinosaurs
We managed to interview Rebecca Ball, who’s in charge of next year’s UK-wide tour of Dippy the Diplodocus, the Natural History Museum’s skeletal mascot. The interview was accompanied by an illustration from the amazing Bethan Woollvin, award-winning author of Little Red.

We’re still surviving
After thirteen issues, we’ve learnt to trust our intuition when choosing a new theme. The idea behind Survival came from a chat with a pal about what would be most useful to grab from your flat in the event of a zombie apocalypse, and we spun it out from there to include features like Nina Seale’s wonderful article on the work of scientists trying to save the Scottish Wildcat, and Katie Chappell’s beautiful, inspiring dedication to mountaineer Junko Tabei, the first woman to summit Mt Everest.


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