How to Make a Zine


my first zine

If you’re looking for great art, you’d better stop here.

But this isn’t about creating a masterpiece. It’s about making a zine.

First: what’s a zine? It’s a small, self-published–or in this case, handmade–magazine. I learned about them at the 2015 SCBWI Southern Breeze Springmingle, a conference for children’s book writers and illustrators. I made my first zine there, thanks to inspiration (and instructions) from award-winning Latina author Meg Medina.

Tools to make a zine: old magazines, scissors, a glue stick, and paper

Meg showed us how to fold a sheet of legal-sized paper into a small booklet with 4 pages. Since each page has 2 sides, that gave us 8 surfaces to work with. We cut pictures and text out of old magazines and glued them into our zines, supplementing them with stickers, stampers, and other odds and ends.

The goal was to create a sort of storyboard for whatever we were writing. The images and words didn’t have to mean anything to anyone else; we just picked out what spoke to us, jogged our imaginations, or sparked our creativity.

remember to give your zine a back cover

Mine isn’t perfect (perfect’s not the goal). I got carried away and used images for several different manuscripts I’m either actively working on or just starting to outline. But that’s okay. I can flip back through it for ideas when I need them. Next time, though, I’ll make just one zine per story, to help me stay focused on the plotlines and imagery I want to use.

If you’re having trouble getting started, or you’re stuck with writer’s block, try a zine. It might kick loose your next great idea.