When it comes to Zines, the world is your oyster. Nothing is off limits when it comes to subject matter for this creative, unconventional genre. However, there are a few things that you should know about Zines in order to help you master its art…
- Know what you want to say and think about how you say it
A zine may appear as though it was thrown together with little thought, but so much goes into forming and shaping the zine in order for it to effectively get its message across. The subject matter of zines can range from something as light as cooking to something as serious as sexual assault, but either way, they are thoughtfully crafted in a strategic way.
- Consider the physical appearance of your zine
This should probably be considered as a part of the first step that I mentioned, but it’s so important that I figured I’d make it its own. As much as we hate to admit it, we all (don’t deny it!) judge books by their covers. What your zine looks like should physically reflect the actual content from your zine while also being attractive. Sounds like a lot of work, but I don’t think it should be too straining 🙂
- Don’t be afraid to get craaaaazy with it
Zines are not meant to follow a strict form, nor are they meant to be directly informational or boring. If you’re creating a zine, it’s probably because you have a lot on your mind about a specific topic. If your mind is going crazy over it, let your zine reflect this! Playing it safe may feel better during the process, but in the long run, going out of your comfort zone and creating something that seems wild could feel good, even therapeutic.
Zine’s are a very creative process so I don’t want to outline too many steps, but this article shares some more great advice from the authors of the dope zine Born N Bread. Zines can get tricky because of the freedom it allows, so before starting mine I did some research on two popular zines:
Express Yourself – Feminist Expression Zine
This zine, created and established by Women/s Studies students at Chapman University, does an excellent job of showing how a zine can be empowering, fun, and meaningful all at the same tie. They include cuts-outs from magazines as well as hand-written messages related to feminism and girl power. They even include a playlist of girl power anthems and t-shirt making instructions. They definitely know what they want to say and are able to say it in an effective and different way.
Womanzine: 04 Body Parts
Womanzine is a digital zine filled with submissions of poems, art, and stories about women and their bodies. Because it’s a digital zine, there aren’t pages to flip through – just the ability to scroll all over the page, which really fits the somewhat chaotic presence of the zine. When you scroll to the left, you see a poem about a woman’s relationship with her mother. Other pieces in this zine include a somewhat morbid Little Orphan Annie cartoon, a folktale, and quotes that plus-size models have heard in the industry. It’s a bit heavier than Express Yourself, but it’s similar in the way that it comes together to create a visually pleasing and thought provoking zine.
So, future zine-r, I hope you’re getting excited to embark on this new journey! Remember, a zine can be whatever you want it to be – you got this.
(Or, as Tim Gunn would say – make it work, people!!)