Making a Zine - Behind the scenes look

It seems that lately making a zine has become super popular in the mixed media art community. When you make your own zine you can create a wonderful, hand made and personal little piece of artwork. Creating these zines gives you the opportunity to share your artwork with the world because you can easily re produce them and give them away or even consider putting them up for sale.

Come and take a peak behind the scenes as I make my mixed media art zine. The Zine I created this time around is based around the poem "Because I could not stop for Death" by Emily Dickinson. There are so many elements that went into making this Zine I felt it really deserved it's own post. I'm sharing a behind the scenes video and a look at all the elements that go into making this zine so special.


Zines - the origin story

Making a Zine is definitely not a new concept or ideas. They have been around for many, many years and older zines made very creative use of the photocopier and different coloured papers and that is definitely something that I want to experiment with when it comes to making more zines in the future.

Zines can really be made on any subject at all, whatever your heart desires. The world really is your oyster when it comes to making these creative pieces of Art. Zines can come in all shapes and sizes and really reflect your own personality in their uniqueness. 

Creating a hybrid

My Zines have been made in a A7 size so their are 16 pages and they are all made from one single piece of paper. I do a lot of digital manipulation of the art work I make for my zine and it is very fun to create a wonderful hybrid of my artwork and digital elements. You don’t have to do this at all and you can easily create your own zine from a single piece of A4 paper, getting started is super simple.

Finding my Zine Inspiration

This latest Zine that I have made was inspired by the poem “Because I Could Not Stop For Death” by Emily Dickinson. I have always loved this poem ever since I first heard it in English class in school. The words and imagery have always stuck with me and I find the macabre style and subject matter very inspiring (you should see my skull collection, that’s a whole Zine in itself!) 

This zine is completely black and white and this was a very conscious decision when I sat down to start making it. I knew I wanted this Zine to have a spooky and macabre feel to it to reflect the words of the poem.

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.
We slowly drove, he knew no haste, 
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.
We passed the school, where children strove
At recess, in the ring;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.
Or rather, he passed us;
The dews grew quivering and chill,
For only gossamer my gown,
My tippet only tulle.
We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.


Letting go of control

The two main art materials I used for making the Zine are oil pastels and black ink. I really wanted to work with various tones and the colour values of the color black within the pages of my little zine. I could honestly work with black ink and water all day long. Watching the movement of the ink as it flows into to water and the unpredictable nature of it. It’s so exciting to give up control like this and just have to work with what you get in this process. Most of the times to effects that you can come up with just couldn’t be created if you even tried.

Getting busy and lost

I knew that I wanted to make the text really special for these little zines. That meant breaking out my vintage typewriter to type out all the words from the poem. Yes, that’s right, every word is typed out be hand and added to the images individually. When I create I often get lost in the process and spending forever typing out the words, cutting them up, glueing them down. This kind of busy work is perfect for escaping into your own head and just become so absorbed into your own little world. Often this type of work leads to the sparking of so many more ideas for me.

I typed out the words onto gridded graph paper so they have a really subtle pattern in the background and it gives the text another layer of extra depth.

Watch the process

I created a small video showing how I created some of the pages of my zines and you can watch me create, with the help of my trusty studio assistant, Archie. He's very critical and always pushes me to create my best work when I am arting! 


Do you collage?

I pulled together so many collage images and elements that I have been saving up for so long. My book shelves are groaning under the weight of these magical books and collecting them is one of my most favorite things to do. Popping into tiny second hand book stores and charity shops (or thrift stores depending on which side of the pond you are on!) is definitely my happy time.

With the images this is where I can marry the two words of digital and traditional art making. For many of the collage images in this Zine I have scanned them first and then resized them to what will work in my zine. Many of the images came from a wonderful book of etchings that I found just by accident and of course, my trusty Dover image books. Honestly I cannot create without them!

Trash Talk

One of the pages in the zine contains some images of flies which were taken from some packaging that I literally pulled from the trash. I took these images and ran them many, many times through the photocopier. Copying copies leads to this wonderful grainy texture to the paper and images. Playing with the toner levels on the photo copier machine itself is also great fun and it creates some amazing unexpected backgrounds.

I'm a one girl band

The main body of my zines are printed by me at home at the moment. I  am looking into getting them printed elsewhere but for now I am a one girl band making and assembling them. As they are re created in this manner I am determined to make sure that each of them still contains a handmade element to them to.

So for this special zine the extra little something something comes in the form of a wax seal. This little seal is a skull and I may or may have squealed and done a happy dance in the store when I found it. There was much muttering and under breath cursing involved trying to get it just so. I them figured out that it was much easier to melt the wax in a spoon first than trying to use the wax stick. And being the value hunter that I am I just bought a cheap little teaspoon to melt the wax and then pour it on. I’m not springing for a melting spoon just yet!

Want to adopt a zine?

The zine is up for sale at the moment in my Easy store and you can check it out here and I would love for you to take one of them home with you!

I am so delighted with how the Zine came together and I hope that you enjoyed hearing more about the behind the scenes of the making of it. I would love for you to let me know what you think about it in the comments below.