HINTS FOR MAKING ZINES


I am so thankful to all the yahoo groups that I have been on over the past six years as I have worked with some of the best artists, teachers and thinkers. Everyone, including myself, at some point in time, was a newbie and started at ground zero. (isn't it fascinating that words like "newbie" and "ground zero" are words used primarily in this decade?) The generosity of others has astounded me, especially since many of us do not get to meet the people we talk to on an almost daily basis. I am honored and appreciative. Thank you all!

As with anything we do, we strive to do our absolute best. Sometimes we don't know how to get there, and others take us by the hand and show us the path or makes us aware of options. I have struggled and pushed myself to complete swaps, books, cooperative works and other challenges over the past years. I have encountered many problems along the way and have done a few projects which I was not happy with, but in order to meet my obligations, sent them in anyway. A majority of my work however, has been the best that I could do, and for that I am proud. We learn by our mistakes and move forward.

In having been in a few zine swaps, I have noticed some things that are of most importance in creating a zine that we put out into the world. I worked furiously hard on the ones I have made, encountering steep learning curves in Photoshop, printing problems, binding problems and agonized over my writing. I have spent much time thinking about the problems and pitfalls that myself and others have encountered, and felt I should share this with other zinesters. (another new word!)
Below are some guidelines that I want to share. Also, I am one who likes to get the biggest BANG for my buck, so those hints will be there too.

Paper: use the appropriate paper for the job. If you are printing a double sided page, make sure the paper is of the appropriate weight. You don't want your images to be showing through to the other side. Copy machine paper is fine for a zine that does not have any inclusions or attachments, but if you are adding things besides ink to you page, consider a heavier weight paper or cardstock. Or, you can mix and match papers, as long as you use the right papers for the job to be done. I print my zines myself for the most part and in full color. I have an Epson C88 printer, which rocks...and found the best paper ----at Sam's Club. Royal Brites PHOTO PAPER, Matte. 200 sheets are 25.00 or so for the box. That is about .13 cents a sheet. It is heavy so you can print on both sides, without a problem! It only comes in white of course, but I bet you could stain it, paint it lightly etc. and then print on it. (hmmm..something else for me to experiment with!)

Inclusions/Illustrations: make sure that you are using copyright free images OR text in your zine. Images taken from the internet without permission unless stated public domain or copyright free are not wise for two reasons. 1) they are usually low resolution and don't look great, and 2) it might be illegal. When in doubt, leave it out. I am not a copyright expert, have taken a seminar in it, and don't want you to be misguided by my information. I use images that are earlier than 1920. That way, I can alter them, print them, scan them, send as inclusions without fear of violating the law. Better to be safe than sorry. If I have any doubt ie: Maxfield Parish pictures, or modern photos of public domain art, then I don't use it. In my previous zine, OBSESSIONS, I wanted to use some information from a website in England. I wrote to the author who did not get back to me right away, and I just put in his website addy as I was on a deadline and could not wait for him to respond. That way others could still research the info themselves. He did get back to me after the zine was finished, and said that he had no problem with my quoting him. I will keep this in mind for future zines. Copyright is very complex and I don't have the energy or time to devote to it here, but am willing to help out in any way if you want to write me.

RESOLUTION: if you are printing out your zine to either bring to the printer OR printing your zine yourself, or printing up inclusions to be used by others in their work, print it at 300 DPI and on the best paper you can afford. I have been enclosing antique papers, but not all can do that. Make sure items are copyright free, print on great paper at a minimum of 300 DPI. I used Durabrite inks so I know they won't run or fade if someone used it in their own work too. If your inks are fugitive, or not waterproof, or if you don't know, then don't print up your own inclusions. The most upsetting thing is to be using a piece in a work of art, you coat it with an adhesive or finish, and it all runs!!!

SPELLING/GRAMMAR: I agonize over this in my blog and in my zines. The first obvious hint is to use spell check, but remember spell check doesn't catch all errors. It won't catch the difference between altars (shrines) and alter, as in change. Big difference in meanings. I read and re-read the zine over and over, then give it to others to proof. I read it out loud to myself and often catch mistakes that way. I have caught errors in many magazine articles and books, and proofing is a tough but necessary job. You don't want great art with poor writing. Keep it simple if writing is not your forte, but make sure that it is as good as you can make it.
You would not want to do a collage depicting Leonardo da Vinci and accidently use images of Michelangelo instead to portray him, unless you intent was to be humorous or to make him turn over in his grave! (they hated one another) When writing I keep on online dictionary/thesaurus open all the time.

BINDING: I have tried a few different bindings on my zine. A simple sewn binding is good for a small zine, I used it in my EAT MAN DRINK WATER. It was chapbook sized publication; too small for comb or spiral binding. So I used my Dremel and drill press attachment to drill 3 holes, used a upholstery needle and heavy waxed thread OR antique thick silk embroidery floss to make a simple binding. If you don't mind spending a little money, you can have them spiral or comb bound at Staples or Office Depot. My OBSESSIONS zine fit 2 to a small comb, and cost me 1.29 for the both. That was affordable. Heavy staples work well too. I am not a binding expert, but just make sure that your text and images are set up to allow the 1/4" needed for binding, whether you use comb or staples. Recently I had a problem with Staples as they punched into the text. I had never had that happen before, and I had done plenty of comb bindings. Guess it happens from time to time.....but I was not happy!

CONFIDENCE IN YOURSELF: DO NOT DO NOT apologise about your work saying this is the first zine that you did and you hope it is ok and you would do it better next time etc. Have faith in your work and in yourself. We all make mistakes. We learn, we move on. Many of you first time zinsters have done the most amazing jobs and I would not have known it was your first effort. I noticed others have done things like Vol 1 Issue 1..which tells me that they might be new at this, or this is the first issue and volume of a new idea. That is ok. I also like how people number their zines 3/7 etc. Perhaps it is my own pet peeve, and forgive me for it, but have confidence in yourself. Remember that song I HAVE CONFIDENCE! sung by Julie Andrews?
Was that in the Sound of Music? I am really dating myself here, LOL.

I am sure that there is more I could talk about, but I have covered a lot of ground here. I hope that this has helpful and I appreciate feedback.

Tomorrow back to another zine review.

All material here is copyrighted by the author. If you would like to use it in any publication or work, please contact me! Thanks! Patti

PS you can view my zines on Ebay and Etsy, links to the right of this page!

Comments

Sally said…
what a great post!!

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