So You Want to Make a Zine (part 1)

This was supposed to be a single blog, but when Jennie and I got together to write it, we had too many ideas to fit into a single entry.  We got carried away with different ways of making zines, styles, etc., so we decided to break this up into a few parts. 
We start with inspiration.

Even if you don’t write personal stories, specifically about yourself, every artist draws from life.  Expose yourself to the world around you, and sharpen your senses by paying close attention to what you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel every day.  What’s calling your attention?  I always carry a journal with me, so I write down random thoughts and observations.  I like to eavesdrop and script people’s conversations when I’m on the bus or sitting at a café.  Other people take snapshots with their phones, or sketch out images they like throughout the day.  As long as you’re documenting the stuff that jumps out at you in some way, you’ll see a pattern.  What you notice is usually in sync with what’s going on in your head. 

It also helps to revisit your favorite artists, books, magazines, and music to feel excited again.  In the same way, these artists help you remember the things that are meaningful to you.  Personally, I find it helpful to keep my influences physically close to me.  My bookshelf has a special “go to” section that stores all of my favorite writers.  Whenever I’m out of ideas, I always read some of the books on this shelf and often they help me find the words/images I need to get started. 

How do you get started?  Jennie came up with these brainstorming exercises:

1)..   Mind map everything you’re thinking about.  Write down the first 20 words that come to mind. 

2).    Write down snippets of conversations you overhear throughout the day.

3).    Take 10 minutes to take snapshots or sketch out all of the random visuals that catch your eye.

4).    For the next 24 hours (nonconsecutive), make a drawing/write a phrase for every hour.  At the end of those 24 hours, take your 3 favorite drawings/phrases and base your zine on those 3 hours.   

Now that you have something to build on, there are decisions to make.  Here are some key things to consider, before getting started:

1).    Zine / paper size
2).    Number of pages
3).    Style

Make a zine mock-up (or dummy).  Fill up the pages with content, get the words and pictures out onto the pages, and the dummy will help you find the layout or design for your zine. 

This is how a zine is born.  You must have writings and visuals, you must establish a size and page count, and after you’re done with your dummy, you print, staple and collate. 

In our next entry of “So You Want To Make a Zine” we will go over the materials you’ll need to put this all together.  In the meantime, keep working on those brilliant ideas.  Flow is what’s important!