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.

General Inspiration

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.

Here’s video on how to make an analogue 12 page zine by Nicki Sabalu. It’s short and fun. There’s lots more you can find on zines at the Douglas College Zine Library Webstite.

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