For the last couples of years, using zines as alternative forms of promotion has been a hot topic of discussion by professionals and professors in art schools.. Should artists commit a certain number of hours outside of paid work to create booklets as opposed to tried and true methods of creating a new single image for a postcard or email? To me, zines are a fun alternative to your typical single image promotion. It shows that you can produce a series of images which work together that a potential client probably wouldn’t expect from you off the bat (if you usually just produce single images).
Zines are also a great way to create something special that really shows your personal opinion on a topic, or a new way of exploring storytelling. Here are a few examples of what you can do by making a zine.
Scott Bakal folded a sheet of paper twice and created images that fold out to a much larger image. It’s a nice and simple way to build up a story.
Paul Windle made a zine of his favorite 1970’s baseball players to show off fresh new portraits of what these guys looked like through a contemporary lens. Also, who doesn’t like portraits of dudes with crazy facial hair?
Lily Padula’s Beach Party is a screen printed accordion fold zine with book boards for support. Each fold has a separate narrative which unfolds to an even larger scene.
Gemma Correll’s New York (and San Francisco) Diary 2013 is an illustrated diary of her travels in the United States. Each page is jam-packed with doodles and hand lettering that gives the viewer the leisure to dart their eye around the page and take in her cataloging of stuff she sees and short stories of uncomfortable moments.
Dasha Tolstikova’s Fox’s Day [A Simple Life] started off as an almost daily online diary of a character Dasha has developed. After a while it only made sense to take the best of the best from her Fox’s Day diary and self-publish it as a zine.
Aya Kakeda is known for her elaborate characters who like to hang out and go on adventures. In her zine Arrival, she creates a wordless story about two friends who find a mystery box and move it home to find out what’s inside while going through various hurdles to get there.
Kris Mukai’s humor and social commentary is at its best in her zine Commuter. In it she draws a series of comics about how gross and absurd public transit can be.
One of the great things about Zines is that you can share the experience of creating a zine with a friend. A good example of Zine collaboration is Dance < > Battle by Kim Sielbeck and Tory Sica. In this Risographed zine, each illustrator draws an image on the opposing side creating an illustrated battle of…dancers. Just think if you and a friend decided to create a zine together, you would not only create something fun and not singularly focused on you, but also something to promote yourselves together.
Miserable + Worthless is a collaborative zine of many illustrators, curated by Tuesday Bassen and Lindsey Eyth. Zines that are a group effort create the idea of power in numbers and helping to broadcast a focused message among a series of unique artists to later promote and share. Images pictured in spreads by: Angie Garland.
Zines are made cheap , sold cheap, and can be shared with anyone quickly and easily. Other than using zines as one-time promotional tools, why not think about creating a zine subscription service like Josh Lafayette did. He put it out there that every couple of months you can receive a couple of zines in the mail for a low fee. It’s one way you can expand on zine-making if it becomes something that you’re interested in pursuing.
So there you have it folks. There really is no end to what you can do or say in a zine to make it your own. So why not take a weekend to create something fun to share with everyone?!
Daniel Fishel is an illustrator and hand letterer who originally hails from the Keystone state but resides in Queens, NY. Daniel's has worked with a range of clients such as The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, Nylon Guys Magazine, Arizona Iced Tea, Lands End, No Sleep Records and many others. His work has been recognized by American Illustration, the Society of illustrators and 3x3 Magazine.
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