Liberate Your Creativity Through Zine Making
I’m a writer. Not a visual artist. I can’t draw, or paint, and until recently would have hung my head at the suggestion of creating an image to accompany a line of text.
But since the pandemic stay-at-home order I’ve been making zines with rudimentary artwork.
Originating in the sci-fi world in the 1930s and originally known as fanzines, zines have their roots in community and the promotion of a message central to that community. Also a core of the urban punk culture in the 70s and 80s, zines honed their anti-authoritarian vibe for fans of bands like The Clash and The Ramones. Today zine subject matter is unlimited and varied.
In this time of self-isolation and troubled attention spans, a writer — or anyone — can turn to zine making for the satisfaction of honing important ideas central to a larger project. A zine is, by definition, self-published and does not require an agent, a publisher, or a publicist. If you’re a writer, think elevator speech. Think book jacket copy. Or simply set a larger project aside to express an idea important to a cause or community you are part of. Writer or not, anyone can create a zine on any subject. Let the DIY effort of zine making liberate your creativity — collaborate with a visual artist or become one yourself by embracing the visual simplicity that is part of zine making.
If you are staying at home with young “co-workers,” zines are also an appropriate activity for children, though young children will need supervision making the necessary cuts that allow for folding a zine into a booklet. Often composed on a single sheet of paper, photo-copied, and physically distributed, a zine can also be formatted into a pdf and shared digitally or printed at home. Online zines abound.
With nearly a century of zine-making behind us, it’s no surprise that zines are being recognized as important historical and cultural records. In this unique period of our history, there’s no better time to record our own stories. We need each other’s stories now more than ever.
For more information and instructions, visit https://thecreativeindependent.com/guides/how-to-make-a-zine/ or follow the instructions below that pertain to the zine in the photo. Note that when you are laying out your zine, attention must be paid to the order of the pages, and some of the sections must be laid out upside down.
How to make your zine into a booklet
Fold the paper the long way. Now unfold it. Then fold the short way. Unfold. Now fold the ends to the centerline the short way. The folds should be as exact as you can manage. You should now have 8 equal sections–8 rectangles.
Unfold and cut a straight line the long way between the four center panels–in other words between the balloons and the torn heart; the question marks and the page that’s only text. Refold all your folds so they are sharp and exact.
Set the paper on its long-way edges, then push the cut center section in from the edges to form a diamond-shaped space. Now continue folding so the first page is “Every adoption begins with loss.” The last page of the booklet is the about the author/adoption resources page. The folding takes a bit of finesse.
What should you do with your zines? Give them to anyone and everyone you want to share your message with.