So I ran a small poll on Instagram the other day, asking whether I should write about the Zine I created vs. my favorite writing places. It was a close fight between the two, really, with this post edging the other by a hair. But a win’s a win, so here is the promised blog post!
Now let’s cut the chase: what is a Zine?
I will be citing what I found on Wikipedia:
“A zine (/ziːn/ ZEEN; short for magazine or fanzine) is most commonly a small-circulation self-published work of original or appropriated texts and images, usually reproduced via photocopier. Usually zines are the product of a single person, or of a very small group. Zines first emerged in the United States, where the photocopier was invented, and have always been more numerous there.”
Think of it like a mini magazine that handcrafted by people (mostly) without the help from any contraption. Of course, there are no rules that say you cannot print your own zine, instead of handwriting/drawing them, but I digress.
I found out about Zines when I was watching this wonderful video by Ariel Bissett. Maybe it’s because I have this natural-born instinct to create an art in book forms, or maybe because I got bored writing novels after novels, I found this zine culture to be immensely interesting.
Unlike novels, one can exhibit as much freedom as they want when creating a zine. They can talk about sensitive topics, bash a certain public figure, rave about an unpopular rock band, or even publish collages of their summer trip to some undiscovered nook on earth. There is no rule to zine, aside than it must be short enough not to be confused with a magazine.
And having no rules to create, is perhaps the most liberating feeling in the world.
You know how I went as far as organizing my very own writing retreat in order to get out of my writing slump. Well, guess what? Now that I have learned the wonderful culture of zines, I’m thinking that I might not have to experience that writing slump, if I were to create several zines in between my longer writing projects.
Now if you know anything about me, you’d notice that I really like to experiment with my writing projects. And what did I do the moment I found this whole zine movement that had been going under the radar for me?
Yes. I decided to create my own zine.
But I didn’t want to just create a zine. I wanted to handcraft it.
No matter how enticing the idea of hiring a professional illustrator and graphic designer was to me, I ultimately decided that I would be making my own zine. No help, no special utensils. Just me, my regular stationary equipments, and a piece of blank paper.
The only help I had was perhaps a tutorial to creating my own zine booklets out of a single piece of paper. (If you decided that you would want to make your own, here is a link to a video that explains how you can make a zine-style booklet out of a single paper.)
So I waited until I had some free time, and then I just… wrote. Here are the rules I followed when I was making it:
- I can trace the content with a pencil and retrace them with a pen later, but I may not redo the zine if I mess up with the pen.
- I may not look for image references when drawing for the zine.
- Everything must be spontaneous. No pre-planning of the contents is allowed.
- If I messed something up, I have to rely on my creativity to cover it up / transform it into a piece of art somehow.
- No help from other people!
And guess what? All it took were 40 minutes of hardwork, a cup of coffee, and a slight dip in my pen’s ink reservoir to create my very first zine!
Now, I believe you would know this without saying, but I am not an illustrator, nor am I a calligrapher. I know the images I drew were abysmal, and that sad attempt of mimicking a calligraphy is sure to make some calligrapher laugh or cry. As a matter of fact, my neat handwriting is about the only thing I can be proud of in this zine.
But you know what? I didn’t care.
For every flaw this humble zine has, I poured my everything into crafting it. And even though I would be lying if I said I hadn’t wished for a better talent in illustrations or calligraphy, I still feel content knowing that I just made my very own zine.
I know it’s not perfect, but I find there’s a beauty in this imperfect piece of craft. And for me, at least, that’s all that mattered. I enjoyed every moment I had creating this zine, and I am very sure that I would attempt to make another one in the future, although this time perhaps after I took some calligraphy and illustration classes.
But you know what’s the most amazing thing about this zine?
Since I created this booklet from a single piece of paper (watch the tutorial video on how!), that also means I can mass-produce it using a photocopier.
Or scan it, and print it endlessly using my office’s printer!
Zine is truly a very versatile medium to create. In fact, I would totally encourage everyone who is reading this post to try and create your own! It doesn’t have to be perfect, like how I totally butchered the calligraphy there. The point is for you to have a “playground” to pour your arts into.
Here are some zine ideas that you may want to adopt:
- Poetry zine (like I did)
- Short story zine
- Photography zine
- Music Playlist zine
- Illustration zine
- Watercolor zine
- Pet appreciation zine
- Religious zine
- Tips & Trick zine
- …or any combination of the ones above. Really, it’s up to you!
I had a HUGE fun creating my own zine. And I hope I can infect some of you with my enthusiasm as well! Do let me know if you have tried creating a zine before, or if you’re planning to make one now, because it’s never too late to create something. (Especially something as cute and tiny as a zine!)
And although my imperfect zine is making me happy and all, I can’t help but to think that maybe I could enhance it by giving it to a professional illustrator and graphic designer to fix. I mean, they should know what they’re doing, so they can transform my humble zine into a professional looking one.
What do you guys think? Should I hire some professionals to redesign my zine? Or should I stick with this heartfelt, handwritten one?
Do let me know if you’re interested in getting a copy of my zine. I will be giving away three copies of my zines for free to anyone who requested them first! (Don’t worry, international addresses, you’re welcome to join, too!)
Happy zine creation and stay inspired, everyone!
I will be posting new content every Saturdays, be it writerly stuff, or just things that I like to write about. This includes my own stories, information about my books, and things that interest me. Keep yourself updated by following me on Twitter and Instagram.
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