The Awesome and Empowering World of Zines
If your last encounter with a zine happened sometime in the ’90s, you might be surprised to find out that the art form is alive and well. Last month, illustrator and educator Kate Bingaman-Burt stopped by the Chronicle Books office to lead a mini zine workshop, and it was the most fun I’ve had at work in a long time. Kate’s enthusiasm for zines is infectious, and she started the workshop by sharing her personal collection.
As you can guess, we were like kids in a candy shop poring over these beauties. It was inspiring to see the range of graphic styles and materials, not to mention the wacky, funny, and sincere (sometimes all of the above) subject matter. But before we could read them all, it was time to get to work. Kate set us up with supplies—paper, markers, magazines, Letraset transfers—and we started creating our own mini zines.
We made our zines from a single sheet of letter size paper, folded and cut into a tiny 8-page booklet. Kate said she often uses that format as a creative tool to work out an idea, and I could see using it as a way to tell a snapshot of a longer story. We didn’t have a lot of time to second guess ourselves—we just had to pick an idea and run with it. Topics varied from favorite gummy candies to rock collections, from office confessions to love. Mine was about words that start with the letter T, a game I play with my son. I dug through Kate’s Letraset transfers to put together the words.
We finished up our designs, xeroxed enough copies for everyone at the workshop, then sat down to the serious work of folding. With a fresh stack of my zines in front of me, I had to agree with Kate: zines are cheap, but definitely an awesome and empowering form of printed expression.
What has your experience with zines been like?
To read more about all things design at Chronicle books, visit here.
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