Z Is For Zine

In our world of the instant, digital and tweetable, it has become favourable to publish via the internet. This makes stumbling upon those who embrace hand-drawn illustration and traditional print methods all the more rare, and interesting.

A zine is a handmade, small circulation publication. Most are created simply with the use of paper, pens, a photocopier, and a stapler or needle and thread; the wonderful thing about zines is that they can be created by anyone with ideas or images to be communicate.

Distribution ranges, with some zines being created in their thousands, and others in batches of as few as ten or twenty. Yet unlike the majority of their glossier peers, zines are not primarily created for profit – instead, they allow illustrators and writers to feature their work and art in a public arena. More often than not, zines focus on niche interests: film, design, crafts, cooking. Dazed & Confused reportedly began as a zine.

Whilst relatively difficult to come by in the United Kingdom, the internet is now proving the perfect marketplace for writers and illustrators to distribute their zines. Browsing etsy.com, the e-commerce site for handmade and vintage items, I found scores of zines for sale. This may be the perfect place to start, if you are interested in purchasing a particular zine for yourself, or as an affordable gift, with prices starting at around one pound. Not only are they fabulous inspiration for your own writing or art, but there is something special about flicking through and passing on a small handmade booklet that someone else has poured their creative energy into.

Beautifully neat handwriting; miniature screen-printed illustrations raised to the touch; specks of dust from the photocopier screen; beautiful and witty drawings and stories. What could be more lovely than finding a zine fall through your letterbox?

Visit Helen’s Etsy shop and her blog. Dunfermline illustration by Jen Collins (hellojenuine.com)

Visit Beci’s Etsy shop and her blog.

Visit Isobel's Etsy shop and her own shop and personal website.