A zine is a self-made publication. Similar to magazines, they may contain writing, art, comics, photography, and editorial design. Unlike them, zines are usually created on a much smaller budget, and lean towards DIY principles; the content, format, printing, and distribution is up to the discretion and means of the people creating them. Zines are traditionally made with paper, but nowadays many people also make them digitally, and use platforms such as Issuu to publish them online.
The fact that zines can be made with a single copy paper, makes them cheaper and more accessible than many other art mediums. Their low-production cost has allowed them to be used in many grassroots movements, and has enabled many artists and writers to be self-published. A single paper (all we need for a 4fold zine) can be copied for 10cents at a local pharmacy or 99cent store, which makes zines a great way for anyone to be self-published.
While many people refer to zines as fanzines, these are typically known for their focus on pop-culture, entertainment, and the connection felt between an artist and a fan. Some people, like myself, make per-zines, which are personal, and focus on the person's feelings, thoughts, and self-made work. There are also collaborative or submission-based zines, which involve different people and can be a great way to explore a theme or issue collectively. Some zine folks get political, some use the medium to experiment with their art, and some use them to explore a particular interest or subject. Want to talk about pretty sky colors and the magic of blue? Make a zine about it.
The basic idea is that the contained document/paper is yours to do as you please; write what you want to say, show what you like, choose the colors, templates and paper that makes you happy. The way I see it is that if I'm investing my time, money, materials, and energy, I will make sure I create something that I'm content with. And that's why I love them so much; I get to do my thing, I get to process life in a contained file, and I get to develop something from conception to distribution.
Imagine being able to express yourself, get your work out there, and experiment with materials, and then having the control of where it goes, and who sees it. Zines are as democratic and accessible as it could get, and that's why I love them more than most things in the world.
This is the introduction of a series that will focus on the zine-making process from content creation, zine development, printing, and distribution. Sign up here to get updates.