Long before the internet gave niche communities their own space to share and discuss issues, ideas, and news, underground independent magazines - or ‘zines’ - were regularly written, photocopied, and distributed. Whether called ‘zines’ or not, people have been self-publishing for hundreds of years.
The first principles of zine-making are pretty simple. Make, arrange, copy, share. If you want to make zines, I suggest you keep it simple: Paper, pen/pencil, tape/glue, photocopier/scanner, printer. Make what comes intuitively. You don’t need to get fancy. What you make is going to be uniquely you and that’s the joy of it.
I highly recommend this book for all things self-publishing as personal practice - Whatcha Mean, What’s a Zine? by Esther Watson and Mark Todd. It’s got a great collection of varied how-tos by zine makers from the early 2000s. All the how-tos take different formats so it’s fun to flip through or simply dig in. It’s a nice artifact of self-publishing culture from the early ’00s. Watson and Todd did a great job wrangling all the involved writers and artists.
Comics and Cartooning Specific
Cartoonist and Educator Jessica Abel has put together a good resource on scanning and another on self-publishing that you might find interesting.
Getting technical about image reproduction:
Re: A Guide To Reproduction This is a work that I really liked for thinking about certain things regarding technical reproduction of mini-comics. Cartoonist and illustrator Jim Rugg talks about it in a really useful way on Youtube.
Finding a printer
If you have a printer at home, a photocopier at your job or library, that works! If you want to print color or large print runs, it’s going to cost a lot of money. That’s no good when you want to print and easily distribute your ideas.
An affordable printer that I swear by when I print large-ish runs of my work or that of others is Best Value Copy As of today, they offer 2.7 cent b&w printing and 9 cent color printing per page! https://www.bestvaluecopy.com/
I hope that helps! Send me a message if you have any questions as you dig into this stuff.
🎶 Currently listening to:
Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers - Ecaroh