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Five great things about zine making

July 2019 – Author: R. Sergent

Five great things about zine making

This week we’re zine making at The Horsfall Creative Drop in! But what are zines? Where do they come from and why are they so great?

A zine (pronounced ‘zeen’) is a self-published magazine that can be in any format and any size. They can be about absolutely anything and are often used as a tool for activism because they’re cheap to make and easy to distribute. They are usually focused on less discussed subjects, giving people opportunity to have their say.

Zine culture can be traced back to the pulp science fiction magazines of the 1930s which were produced quickly and cheaply. It was in the 1960s/70s though that zine making properly took off with punks using them as a means of activism. They became popular again in the 1990s, particularly through the Riot Grrrrl movement. For female punks, zines were a way of creating space for them in an industry they felt they had no space in.

These days they’re still favoured by creatives wanting to share big ideas and create space for subculture and communities. There are makers who create series of zines specifically focussed on mental health, being LGBTQ+, disability or race providing loads of material to groups who aren’t always represented.

Zine terms

Zine – A self-published magazine

Perzine – A genre of zines ‘per’ meaning personal

Distro – A small company that stocks and distributes a range of zines

Here are just five reasons you should give a zine a go:

Anyone can make a zine
They are made to get messages out there and share ideas. They’re not exclusive to experienced writers and artists and any form can be used to create them. They can be a great way of giving new things a go and experimenting with different ways of presenting ideas.

You don’t need loads of money to make one
Some people do like to spend money on printing and materials for zines but you don’t need to in order to make them. You can use whatever materials and forms you’re most comfortable with. You can even make a zine using a single piece of a4 paper (check this guide out).

Zines are great collaborative projects
Lots of different skills can be used to make zines such as writing, planning, photography and distribution. This makes them a great project to make in a group. Get together a group with similar interests and discuss ideas for issues.

Zines can inspire change
Zines are self published so you can tell people exactly what your cause is all about and why you feel so strongly about it. If you sell your zines cheaply or make them free they will be more accessible and allow more people to read them. You never know who might pick up a copy and take inspiration.

Zines can help people feel less isolated
For people and groups who don’t feel represented in main stream media, they often find communities and allies within zine culture. Social media has had huge impact on how many people zines now reaching – giving more people opportunities to meet others similar to them.

We’re gearing up for zine making, ready to share our thoughts and get creative!

If you aren’t’ there just yet, there are loads of great places, sites and zines you can check out for inspiration.

Salford Zine Library– Manchester is home to the amazing Salford Zine Library which is based at Nexus Art Café. They currently have over 1500 zines.

Tender Hands Press – Tender Hands Press is an independent publisher based in Glasgow. They make some brilliant mini guides to zine making

Pen Fight Distro – Pen Fight is a radical queer art and zine shop based in Manchester.

Polyester Zine – An intersectional feminist fashion and culture zine.

Illustrated Women in History – A zine project which focusses on the lesser celebrated women in history

We’ll be sharing the zines from our making session on Twitter @Thehorsfall