By Elly Neidzviecki
A common misconception is that ‘zine’ is short for ‘magazine,’ but I am telling you right now: that is incorrect. Whether you have yet to discover zines or you've already made a few, this article covers the basics, benefits and how to get more involved with zines, including how you can acquire some of your own!
Zines are little self-published books or magazines. To self-publish means you design it, write it, compile it. It's all up to you! But there's no need to over complicate; most zines are photocopied and stapled together. They can be about anything you want. They can be a collection of writing, photography, illustrations, articles - anything goes. All with endless possibilities for topics and no required length.
There are about eight rough categories of zines, but they can be a combination of them. There's the fanzines, zines about people's specific preferences in pop culture, for example: a favorite band or movie. Zines that include the work from multiple people are referred to as collaborative zines. Literary zines publish literary works (poetry, stories… ). Info-zines inform about one subject or another. Perzines (personal zines) feature stories of personal experiences. There are also comic zines, art zines and political zines.
Zines offer unique opportunities to experiment with different art styles and techniques that are commonly left unexplored in our regular English and art courses. Illustrate a poem, or write a collection of short stories to make into a zine. There are no guidelines you have to follow. You can also use whatever media you want to fill up your zine, from magazine cuttings to sketches. Zines come with so much freedom and room for experimentation.
In addition to that, the message your zine shares is entirely up to you. Have something to say? Along with your Instagram post, make a zine. Get people's attention and use whatever art forms and techniques you want to effectively get your point across. Zines are all about self-expression. As high school students, having a means to express yourself artistically, uncensored, to say what you want, is important and is easily acquired by making a zine.
Zines can teach you so much; because of the variety in topics, there's pretty much a zine about anything if you're willing to look for it. There are also plenty of zines just packed with gorgeous illustrations or a nice short story for you to appreciate and flip through.
Lastly, by purchasing, reading, and sharing zines, you can support other students and artists. ‘K!ckshit’ zine was started by two Toronto-based grade ten students, Leila and Melody, to share and support artists and creative voices, especially Queer and BIPOC people. Also, as a way to have more creative control, which isn't something they’ve had much of before. They also shared some advice for people looking to start their own zine. “You can do it. I know it seems insane to build something from nothing, but once you get that hit of creative motivation, nothing can stop you.”
Although getting into zines may seem daunting at first, if you have the right information, it's lots of fun. There are zine libraries scattered around Toronto available to the public (although they're most likely closed due to Covid-19). Ontario College of Art & Design University (OCAD) zine library, The Toronto Zine Library and the zine collection of the Toronto Reference Library are all good resources along with many online zine collections you can visit safely right now. You can also contribute to or purchase zines like K!ckshit, which is currently accepting submissions. Zines are perfect for students. Check out the resources below to get involved!
K!ckshit instagram: k!ckshitzinezzz