Zines – the smaller, more budget-friendly homemade cousin to magazines and comics. I had never made one before attending the Baltic’s Zine Making Workshop, but this three hour workshop gave me an appreciation of the artists, activists and comedians who make them.
We made three zines: one which took us eight minutes, one half an hour, and another an hour. To begin the eight minute zine making process, we learnt how to fold a small booklet out of a sheet of A3 paper. Then we were given a challenge: choose a book by only the cover (without looking inside it), photocopy one page from it, and fill our entire zine booklet using that photocopy. We built on the ideas from the first zine in our second and third ones. For me, what started as a photocopy of a target with the title ‘The First Real Target?’ became an Alice in Wonderland inspired zine about dreams and the passage of time, using blackout poetry. Before I arrived, I had no ideas about what to make, but everyone came up creative ideas because of the structure of the workshop. I even stayed for an hour after the workshop was over just so I could finish my final zine.
Zines have been around for decades, and I can see why. You can make a fully finished product cheaply and quickly, and you have full creative freedom, making them perfect for creatives and crafters on a budget. There are zines about everything, from politics to Bruce Springsteen’s butt. There is nobody to tell you how to make your zine, or what about – they can be as niche or weird as you want them to be, and they’ll still fit into the art form.
So if you’d like to try your hand at zines, you don’t need anything other than paper and a pen. However, if you’d like some inspiration and guidance, look no further than the workshops at the Baltic. Who knows, maybe you’ll find yourself selling your zines at their Self-Publishing Artists’ Market in the future. Until then, happy zine-ing!