Despite only recently finding out about the existence of zines, I have been absolutely hooked onto the novelty of their delivery and content and was raring to try my hand at making one of my own. To preface, a zine is a self-published work, usually in the form of a small, printed booklet, which contains works of art and/or writing which may or may not be original content. They are usually made for small circulation, and communicate the producer’s unique ideas, making them an absolute blast to read. After successfully (albeit clumsily) assembling my very first zine over the summer, I was completely won over by it. So now, here are three reasons behind why you should make a zine.
Reason 1: Zines are beginner friendly
Ever felt so intimidated by a creative endeavour that you gave up on it even before you properly began? Relatable, but with a zine, almost anything is possible. The format is not governed by any rigid structure or set of rules. You are free to include anything in your zine, from collages to essays and even mind maps. You can make it as short or as long as you want. Down to the ‘quality’ of the work, from scribbles and doodles to full illustrations, you don’t have to worry about how professional the zine you make is– nobody can gatekeep you in your artistic vision because there is no right and wrong in a zine. It is precisely this flexible, accessible and open-ended nature of the zine format that appeals to beginners
Reason 2: Zines are incredible vectors for ideas
Not only are zines easy to make, they are an amazing tool for conveying your ideas. Its predominantly visual mode of communication and the essence of the idea is usually distilled into a short piece, thus making it easily consumable. Moreover, the lack of restriction on its length makes it easier to produce multiple small zines in a short amount of time. Personally, I always felt pressured to make my works longer, and this negatively affected me, as the additional content I intended to squeeze in made me feel like my work was deviating from its original concept. Therefore, with the acceptability and common nature of short zines, I appreciated how it facilitated my intent to have my zine stay true to its core idea.
Reason 3: Zines make for great gifts
Zines, whether digital or physical, make excellent material for collections, especially for those of you who love collecting books and printed material. Their portability and usually concise nature facilitates rereads and provides quick entertainment for us, whether it be during an MRT ride or while taking a short break from completing assignments. Additionally, their easily referenceable and archivable form is valuable to artists in particular, as they are constantly looking for sparks of inspiration from their own material collections.
It is precisely because of these reasons that zines are great gifts for friends as their existence is not only innovative but also meaningful as its production reflects one’s sincerity. Since zines can be easily made and even produced at home, conducting a zine exchange within one’s friend group can also become a fun bonding activity with souvenirs for everyone to keep to remember the event.
Hopefully I’ve managed to convince those of you who don’t know where to start on a creative project, or are hesitating to begin, to try making a zine instead. Who knows, it might help to clear your head and organise the many ideas you’ve had for a work, or even become your new favourite form of art to work with (just like me)!