A Preview of 100 Days of Feelings, Emotions, and Moments: Behind the Zine with Nia Wang

Creator and cat-lover Nia Wang shares how she used a 100-day painting challenge as a way to decompress and define her days. She spoke with us about her process and the pieces she included in her zine, A Preview of 100 Days of Feelings, Emotions, and Moments, which she made as part of Blurb’s 24-Hour Zine Challenge.

Where did the idea for A Preview of 100 Days of Feelings, Emotions, and Moments come from?

A few days before the 2021 100-day project started, my cat got sick again. I was so stressed out that when I got home from the vet, I had a brief moment to paint. By painting how I felt, it relieved a lot of stress and pressure within me, and that’s when I made the decision to paint a feeling, emotion, or moment each day for 100 days.

Watercolor painting using dark blues, pinks, greens, and white

As I kept painting, people started asking me if I would turn it into a book. Interestingly, that’s exactly what I had in mind, too. And I wanted to create something more than just a portfolio of my personal expressions—something that could be helpful or useful as well. When I saw Blurb’s newsletter about the 24-hour Zine Challenge, it was a perfect nudge for me to keep working on this project, sharing a preview of these 100 paintings in the form of a zine.

Why did you choose “Day 60: Thank God for Art” as the cover of your zine?

I tried many pieces for the cover design, and that one looked the most cover-like to me. I also remember the day I painted it was a hard day. I was really relieved and thankful to have a quiet moment to paint at the end of the day.

Which came first: the one-line poem or the painting?

It depended on the day. During the 100-day project, I would often paint at night before bed. I would take a moment to sit and recall my day to see if any feelings, emotions, or moments showed up strongly. Sometimes it came as a word, like on “Day 7: Sleepy.” Sometimes it was a sentence, like on “Day 2: Gratitude for the Hot Shower Before Bed.” Others came as a way I wanted to paint, like a brush movement, or a predominant color, then I would go from there. Often words came to mind soon after I would start to paint, but sometimes there weren’t any words, so I would leave it wordless.

Talk to us about where and how you showcase your work and how the zine challenge helped you persevere. 

I was attracted to the nature of Instagram stories that only last for 24 hours—letting the previous day go and welcoming the new one. I think it was my attempt to practice letting go in the digital world.

Blurb’s 24-hour Zine Challenge was a perfect push for me to continue transforming this personal painting challenge into a book. I had no mature design ideas yet at that point, so I thought making a lightweight zine would be a great warmup and practice for what was yet to come. Additionally, I find that having a set deadline, a specific page count, and a predetermined book size helps me take the first step in starting a bigger project. The constraints provided by the challenge eliminated any room for decision paralysis, making starting it easier.

What did you learn about yourself or your art in doing this project for 100 straight days?

I learned that I have the ability to be persistent and consistent and how to be patient with myself when I miss and skip a day. I learned I really enjoy working with words and paintings. While this was something I already knew as a manga lover, this project allowed me to explore it in a broader context. I also learned that making art is very healing for both myself and others who view it. It became evident to me that we humans have a lot in common with how we feel. Additionally, I received interest from people who wanted to learn how to express themselves through painting. As a result, I am currently preparing an art class about it. Mostly, I learned that life is a little easier when I paint.

Watercolor painting using light purples, yellows, blues, orange, reds, and pinks

Do you distribute this zine? How do you market your work?

I have distributed this zine through various channels. I shared this zine on Instagram and my website as well as through email and text, and I’ve also shared the zine in person.

What other types of books have you made?

I usually make handmade books in limited editions. They are either hand painted, screen printed, or printed on inkjet printers, then I hand bind each copy. They’re usually poetic short story books.

You mention how creativity is a powerful tool for self-discovery and healing. Can you talk more about how it has helped you?

I started painting before my earliest memories. It has been a natural language for me; however, in the pursuit of becoming a professional artist, I was influenced and got sidetracked from that natural inclination, and my relationship with making art became less fulfilling and more stressful. I couldn’t paint anything serious for many years. I couldn’t paint what I had been painting, and there was nothing new I wanted to paint. I thought maybe it was time for me to let it go completely. With a hole in my heart about my art, my personal life had also become quite challenging. It was from the strong desire of feeling better that I started to write and paint again. 

This time I allowed myself to paint whatever: the good and the bad feelings, the pretty and the ugly, in both real and imagined objects. That’s when I rediscovered how much I love to paint and make stuff with my hands, and how by doing so, I become more whole. One of the reasons I think painting is a powerful tool for healing is that it helps me to see myself more clearly, the things I like about myself, and those I want to improve. It has helped me to be in touch with what really is and accept what I see.

Watercolor painting using light greens, yellows, blues, and purples

What is your personal experience with self-publishing or publishing in general? Why did you go the self-publishing route with Blurb?

I have experience in designing books for a living, including art magazines, cookbooks, and non-picture books. I also illustrated and designed fiction books. I enjoy working with teams for each stage of making a book. 

When it comes to my own books, I desire a greater degree of creative control. It allows me to shape every aspect of the final outcome and have the freedom and responsibility from the design to the distribution. I especially like the freedom of printing one or many copies of my book using Blurb. I’m not very experienced in marketing and distribution, so gratefully Blurb’s bookstore makes it easy to publish my books and provides tips about marketing and distribution.

What’s next for you? Any other book ideas in the works?

I would like to keep working on and finish the big 100-day book as well as put together the art class and share the power of painting with more people. There is also a storybook I want to finish. It’s about a young woman who learns what freedom means to her from a journey she embarks on.

Anything we didn’t ask that you’d like to mention?

I would like to mention on a personal note that my 18-year-old cat passed away Monday, June 26, 2023. He was a very loving, friendly, and compassionate cat who loved everyone and enjoyed life to the last minute even though he was very ill. I want to honor him and the inspirations for the paintings he gave me. Lastly, I am immensely grateful for the love and support I have received on my artistic journey. It may have felt lonely at times, but actually, I was never alone.


Blurb is a self-publishing company made by and for indie creators. Ready to create your own zine? Blurb makes it easy to self-publish your own zine—whether you want to print it for yourself or sell it globally.

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