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Making Zines: What are Zines?

A guide to making Zines!

What are Zines?

What are Zines?

Zines are self-published, low circulation works. Most resemble mini-magazines or newsletters, though they can take on other forms. They may be monographs, having only one issue, or they may be serials consisting of several issues or even volumes. Some are made using cutout piece from other works assembled on a copy machine, while others are made on computers using desktop publishing software. Some have simple, hand-drawn art, and others have full color photography.

Zines reached their height of popularity in the late 90's and begin to decline with the growing popularity of the Internet and tools to create websites and blogs. Zines have experienced a renaissance in recent years, with the form being celebrated through festivals like Zine Fest Houston.

Why do people make Zines?

People make Zines for any number of reasons:

  • Fanzines/Fanfiction - usually unauthorized and non-canonical, these celebrate a particular literary work, movie, or tv show with ether analysis of the work or by extending it through fan created fiction.
  • Personal Reflection - many people use their zines as journals or diaries of their experiences, both personal and professional. In writing out their thoughts and reflections, it helps them work through problems. Sharing their stories helps others dealing with similar issues.
  • Political Protest - marginalized groups use Zines to draw attention to issues affecting them and to make their case for change.
  • Art - Zines can be used to share art that hasn't found mainstream acceptance.


Where can I see zines?

Here are a few digital archives where you can view scanned copies of zines.