Zines: what, how, why, where

Great summary on zines found in How to Make a Zine + Identity over on issuu

I’ve been making zines for years now, starting with ESC zine back in 2011 already. What’s a zine is easily the most asked question when it comes to making them: not how do you do it but what the hell is it. 

With the rebirth of the supertacular We Make Zines (a social network just for zine making!), it’s about time you all found out what a zine is and started making them for yourself!

What exactly is a zine?

Wikipedia defines a zine as “a small circulation self-published work of original or appropriated texts and images usually reproduced via photocopier” but that’s not quite all of it.

The handmade element needs to be stressed here, I think. We’re talking photocopiers, typewriters, film photography.

The content of zines too, is often hyper-personal. It is also often not covered in mainstream media, by people who might be marginalised or silenced.

That being said, a zine can be by anyone. You don’t have to be some kind of super alternative working class hero to make a zine. I mean, I make zines and I live a fairly privileged life in western Europe.

The emphasis is on low budget, and not just for practical reasons – the creativity you show in the format often forms part of the appeal of this more personal, niche product. – Creative Bloq

Rules of zine making

The rules are that there are no rules!

The great thing about making zines is that you can basically do whatever you want. There’s no set format, no codes that you might be breaking. Everything is allowed. Self expression is the key thing here.

Studying zines

I’ve read some books about zine making, but you don’t have to do that if you want to make zines.

The two I own are:

  1. Whatcha Mean What’s a Zine?
  2. Stolen Sharpie Revolution

Go buy the second one. No really. Go get it right now. It’s not required reading but definitely recommended.

How to make a zine

Here’s the part where I demonstrate how to make zines using helpful images found on Google image search.

Click on the images to go to the posts I found them in.

How to make a rad 8 page zine from a sheet of paper! magic!


folding out your zine for copying and distribution


a quick guide to zine formats from Whatcha Mean What’s a Zine?

Where to buy find/buy/trade zines

Perhaps by now you want to get your hands on your very first zine.


There are

Getting your work into zines

Maybe you want to get your work (illustration, photography, writing, whatever you are having yourself) into a zine, in which case I ‘d suggest browsing sites like We Make Zines mentioned above, groups like this one and this one on Facebook, or the hashtag #open for submissions on tumblr.

Thanks for reading! If I’ve left out any angle or resource, please let me know in the comments!