Pigtail Girls Zine Launch

Lindsay Payton illustrates Bucket Siler’s spooky fairy tale. Credit Lindsay Payton.

On Nov. 10, Santa Fe Zine Fest organizer Bucket Siler and local illustrator Lindsay Payton will release their new zine Pigtail Girls, a feminist fairy tale collaboration. Pigtail Girls is a horror fantasy story about a group of orphan girls living on the edge of a ravine that is supposedly haunted by a witch. The story opens with girls having recently gone missing in the ravine. After one of the girls, Marianne, disappears, her best friend Ellie decides to rescue her and ends up unraveling the mystery of the ravine. The zine features original illustrations by Payton.

“It’s so good. It drew me in right away,” Payton says. She thinks the story is engrossing with a timeless, eerie tone. Both artists have always been drawn to fairy tales. “A lot of the old fairy tales are really grotesque and that’s definitely an attraction. In terms of narrative form, there’s a lot that interests me about going through this threshold where the rules are totally different.” Siler describes her story as a fairy tale within a fairy tale. The world that the story exists in has its own mythology.

Payton was inspired by the classic illustrations of Hans Christian Anderson fairy tales when illustrating for the project. “I didn’t want to give away too much in my illustrations because I kind of hate when you’re going through a book that has illustrations and you turn the page and it’s like SPOILER!” Payton says. She read the work multiple times before picking out specific characters and scenes to illustrate. Payton’s work is mostly pen and watercolor as well as acryllic and pastel.

The two artists say they’ve enjoyed working together and seeing the differences and similarities of how each of them pictures the narrative. “A lot of the stuff that [Payton] drew or that stuck out in her mind were also on my mind too. It helped me see the story as a more multidimensional world,” Siler says. “Knowing that [Payton] loved this story and knowing that there were parts that stuck out to her informed my revision process.”

Bucket Siler and Lindsay Payton are extending the spooky season with their zine Pigtail Girls. Photo by Chris Dorantes

Siler is planning to expand Pigtail Girls into a novel, which she hopes to traditionally publish. While it would be up to the publisher whether or not the book would include Payton’s illustrations, Siler hopes she can continue to collaborate with Payton on the project with Payton. She plans to use to use the zine as a means of marketing the novel to publishing companies.

Siler and Payton have been working together on the zine for more than a year now after a mutual friend suggested they collaborate. They used Kickstarter to fund the project and met their goal in a mere four days. After 30 days, the project had raised $2,388 with 71 backers. With the money, the duo are currently planning to have a limited run in addition to the launch party which will be at 8 p.m. Nov. 10 at the music venue Ghost. Tickets are a suggested donation of $5 to $10. Zines will be available for purchase as well as original artwork by Payton. There will also be musical acts by bands Psirens, Lady Uranium and Scissor Lift. “It’s going to be a spooky lady party,” Siler says. She hopes the event will prolong the eerie season of Halloween.