For those of you who don’t know me, I am a zinester, aka someone who makes zines. Zines are basically mini magazines that you can create about any topic. Zines have helped me get out of a creative rut and back into writing and designing. For this reason, I think they are a great way to flex your creative muscle, especially if you feel like that particular muscle is out of shape. Not convinced you should start making zines? Keep reading for my four main reasons to start making zines!
1. Zines can be experimental AND budget-friendly.
Do you want to start a totally new creative project but not sure where to start? Maybe you’ve never been serious about photography before, but you’ve always been interested in the subject. Making a photography zine is a good place to start, since it’s a low-risk experimental project that can give you a crash course in photo composition, layout design, and printing your photos in color or black and white. You’re not investing a whole lot of time or energy building a photo blog, paying for a photography class, or printing high-quality versions of your photos. The same principles apply to pretty much any new creative endeavor that you can put on paper—think collaging, drawing, painting, writing, interviewing people, etc. Since zines are a pretty informal medium for sharing your work, you can try new techniques without breaking the bank or sacrificing a ton of time. Making a zine is a way to start a new creative project without worrying too much if it turns out to be a disaster or during the process you realize photography may not be a hobby you want to stick with.
2. Zines are supposed to be imperfect; which means they aren’t intimidating.
Perhaps the reason I started making zines was because I saw how imperfect they can be. Zines can be scribbly, scrawly, handwritten little scraps of paper that you staple together into a little booklet. Don’t get me wrong, some people make really professional, high-quality zines, but you don’t have to. And I think that’s the beauty in zine-making. I have seen people doodle for an hour on a single piece of white paper, fold it up into a one-page booklet, and voila, zine.
3. Zines have an end-goal already in place.
I like making zines because I can see the finish line directly in front of me. I know that in the end, the goal is to put together and print a completed zine. Whether it be a writing zine, travel zine, or compilation of doodles, I know I will at one point hold the final product in my hands. It’s a different type of project than something like “practice painting for 40 days” because at the end of 40 days you may end up with not one painting that is an actual finished product. Maybe you improved your painting skills over those 40 days, and that is great, but if you’re like me and have trouble finishing things, zines are a great place to start.
4. You can easily put the final product into the universe, give them to your friends, or even start and Etsy store.
Once you make a zine you can print lots of copies and give them to your friends and family, or even start an Etsy store where you sell them for $2.00 each. The first thing I ever sold on Etsy was my zine about going on tour with my band Litter Brain. It’s little accomplishments like this that made me feel proud of the work I’ve done, even if it was as simple as writing about my experiences and printing them into existence.