Behind the Scenes: The World of Zines


I’ve been learning a lot about Zines since R12 took on this project. She’s made about 20 issues and counting. It’s time to update her progress. Since the last post, she’s been able to share her project within the community in a few different ways.

She publishes her Zine every other day at our dinner table. We all eagerly await her creativity on those evenings. Her source book suggested finding a place to “carry” her zine for distribution so on our next trip to the library, she asked the librarian if they would put her zine out for patrons to take. Our little library has had many staff changes in the last year, so we don’t know these ladies as well and we weren’t sure how the request would be received. Providentially, she asked the right person. She’d asked the new children’s librarian who was delighted to carry The Artist’s Palette at the circulation desk.

Blog She Wrote: Making Zines

In preparation for requesting the zines be available, R12 did a lot of work in the publishing arena. First, she chose the issues she wanted to distribute. She wanted to be sure and choose a variety of issues that surveyed her best work.

Blog She Wrote: Zine Sharing

One of the many convenient qualities of her paper fold is that once you unfold it to make copies, all the art is on one side of the paper. That makes it super easy to copy!

Blog She Wrote: Zine Sharing

She included some of her favorites like this one which features drawings of Redwall book covers. That night she had us guess the covers.

Blog She Wrote: Zine Sharing

She chose zines that would show off her various choice of art medium- bold pencil drawings, painting, and collages.

Blog She Wrote: Zine Sharing

Collage doesn’t quite render as nicely as a copy, but it does make an interesting result.

Blog She Wrote: Zine Sharing

Another community outreach came through this year’s 4H Public Presentations. Her topic was “Behind the Scenes: The World of Zines”. She organized her topic and added several visual aids for the event.

Blog She Wrote: Zines

Not only did they set up a little stand for her Zine to appear inviting, they put up a sign identifying the creator and encouraging visitors to take one. She’s been back once since then to stock up the stash.

Additionally, the children’s librarian asked her on the spot if she would agree to teach kids how to make Zines at the summer library program’s craft hour. R is so excited about this!

Blog She Wrote: Zine Sharing

She did a terrific job making some posters for her 4H presentation. Of course her title poster had to have a life size artist’s palette!

Blog She Wrote: Zine Presentation

Every good 4H presentation has an outline. One of the things I love about R is her knack for taking something mundane, like an outline, and making it pop!

Blog She Wrote: Zine Presentation

After her first go round, the evaluators suggested R display Zine Terms so that the audience could more easily follow along. She took the advice to heart and created a Vocabulary Poster.

Blog She Wrote: Zine Presentation

I couldn’t resist a close of up the life sized artist’s palette complete this time with a 3D brush!

Blog She Wrote: Zine Presentation

In addition to the posters, she used a Power Point to highlight some of the important things she wanted to share. What I love about this most is her photography! She took all the pictures for her slideshow after composing some really creative shots.

Blog She Wrote: Zines

She prepared a history of zines which included information on how self-publishing has become much easier over the years. FactSheet5 anyone?

zine history 2

One slide I didn’t include, because it was more difficult to see, is the slide showing all the types of booklets you can make- staples vs none, size, various folds and wrapping bands. She even fielded questions on how to do some of the more complex folds.

The Artist’s Palette focuses on art- mostly drawing and this slide tells us that you can write or really put anything in a zine. Who knew E’s chemistry assignment would provide such a great subject for her photo?

Blog She Wrote: Zine Presentation

Special Edition Zines occur in honor of holidays and have a different fold because they have a pocket for giving something away to readers. So clever!

zines special edition 2

E-Zines are popular…bloggers publish plenty, don’t we? This is another well composed photo…it shows quite a bit of yuck on our school desktop keyboard. Yikes!

Blog She Wrote: Zine Presentation

Of course she wanted to tell others how she is sharing through the library. Every Zinester wants to get their publication out there to readers.

Blog She Wrote: Zine Presentation

Her presentation went very smoothly two times and she is poised for going to the 4H “district” level next weekend. She scored well enough to pass to the next level. It’s been a delight to watch her develop skills while working on something that is entirely her own (save for me bringing the book home from the library and casually mentioning it).

Whatcha-Mean-What-s-a-ZineThe book that started it all is Whatcha Mean What’s a Zine by Mark Todd and Esther Pearl Watson. I can’t say I was all that aware of the Zine culture before this book came along, but it’s been a fun project to mentor.

What are your kids working on right now in their free time? Feel free to leave a comment and share!

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  1. such a great project and i love how asking the librarians if she could distribute her zine at the library led straight to be asking to teach a class! I think a lot of people puzzle over PBH and can’t quite see how the pieces fall into place as you go along — the key is to *start*! With authentic learning, you simply cannot predict what’s going to happen down the road. 🙂

    love this SO MUCH — will share it everywhere!

    1. Thank you Lori! She was so delighted at the chance to teach others and she is so good at it too. I agree. Starting down the path gives an opportunity for things to happen. You just never know what it might be and it could be something bigger than you thought!

  2. What an amazing project! Your daughter has done so much work in research and production, and I love how she has shared her work with others. Thanks for sharing and inspiring us!

  3. This is all so fabulous! Please pass on to your daughter that I think it’s great that she is both pursuing an interest and finding ways to share it with others. 🙂

    1. I will definitely pass it on! I’ve been letting her know that both the “PBH Lady” and the “Person on Twitter who told me about the Zine Book” have been following her project. She is pretty excited about that. 🙂 Thanks for that Tweet! As you can see, it opened a whole new world for her!

  4. I really liked this article on zine publishing as a school/4H/personal art project. There are so many facets of the process for kids to learn. I’m hoping my 15 year old will be interested, too. Thank you for the article.

    1. Linda, it’s been so enjoyable for my daughter. Self-publishing can happen on any level. It’s fun to see each issue!

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