Make A Zine From Scratch | David Miller | Skillshare

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (30m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Examples of Zine Production

    • 3. Formal Considerations

    • 4. Layout

    • 5. Sketching + Writing

    • 6. Inking

    • 7. Covers

    • 8. Printing + Paper Choices

    • 9. Wrap Up

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About This Class

Zines are DIY, fun forms of small press expression; anything goes in a zine, but when "anything goes" it often is such an open-ended concept that people don't know where to start.  In this bite-sized class we'll put together a zine with the most basic of materials- no computers, no high-end printing or fancy art supplies.

 The goal here is to craft a personal story that communicates and has all the pages facing the right direction. Beyond that, the goal is to crack open our shells, overcome fear and get familiar with self publishing.  This is the first step.

Meet Your Teacher

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David Miller

Multimedia Artist For Primordial Creative studio


I'm David, a multimedia artist in Phoenix, and my studio is Primordial Creative.  


I have always been interested in the visual arts from an early age- drawing, painting, and clay- but around my high school years I became interested in photography for the social aspect of involving other people, the adventure inherent in seeking out pictures, and the presentation of reality that wasn't limited by my drawing skills.


One thing in my work that has stayed consistent over the decades since then is I have an equal interest in the reality of the lens next to the fictions we can create in drawing, painting, animation, graphic design, and sound design.  As cameras have incorporated video and audio features, and as Adobe's Creative Cloud all... See full profile

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1. Intro: Hi, I'm David Miller, a Phoenix, Arizona, multimedia artist, and today we're going to be discussing making your own zine from scratch. You're unfamiliar with zine culture. These are small pamphlets that could be entirely text political manifestos, ramblings of a madman, personal stories that could be many comics. They could be graphic design inspired. They come in every shape and size. Some of them include non magazine type material like CDs, stickers, buttons, cetera. What unifies scenes overall is that they are self published short run. These are not the kinds of things that you find in magazine stands in stores there, the kinds of things that artists create. There are a zine fest where artisan writers have their tables and you're able to pick up their wares for a relatively cheap price. Recent zine fest that I participated in when I went, walked around and checked out of his tables. You're looking at $56 average rate for is een some cheaper, some way more expensive, depending on the direction value. As I've become involved in zine culture, a lot of my friends have come up and said, I really like this stuff I want to express myself in these small magazine forms, and I am not sure where to begin. So I decided to make a class giving a good foundation for the most basic cuisine presentation I could think of. And that is going to be the autobiographical comic. The project for this class is to create easy. It doesn't matter if you can't write. It doesn't matter if you can't drop. Many of the successful zines that I've seen do not have the greatest, most eloquent writing do not have the most stunning, amazing artwork in them. But they communicated and they were personal, and those things mean a lot. They go a very long way in disease, so that is going to be our projects. And we're going to you just the most basic paper, the most basic of art supplies to make it. No computers will be involved. We're going to use a copy machine at Kinko's. Stick around, help you 2. Examples of Zine Production: So as I got into zines and seen making, I have had a lot of friends come out of the woodwork and say that they have a big appreciation for the scene. They'd like to be involved. They want to make a scene. They don't know where to start. So when I was doing research on my own, I picked up things that I responded to. This is smooth is by Simon Morton, all black and white autobiographical writing. The writing doesn't fill the entire page. There's quite a few pages to this not really sure how many pages, because they don't number the pages. There's drawings that are super, super simple and almost like a step above a stick figure and typically two drawings to a page, unless it's the beginning of the chapter. So as simple as this is, it communicates varying well. And because the subject matter is autobiographical, it keeps with the personal illness of the scene and my experience, having been to a few zine shows and had my work shown and meeting people who buy these things and others who make it. My experience is the culture is based around a D. I. Y aesthetic and personal relatable material. This is yard waste removal. It's on a lot. Fancier paper than smooth. Smooth was on kind of basic. Ah, printer paper, maybe a little the slightly more expensive printer paper that you can get in the store. Very fancy paper. Very fancy Graphic design and illustration. See some half toning around here. Then we have popped book or one of a kind. This is a compilation, has a lot of artists. It has, uh, screen printed and hand printed covers. There's a variety of papers in here, right? It's all comic style, you see different colors, and it even came with a CD. And the CD has music by the contributors of the issue. So a little larger, a lot more contributors vs these two, which only have a single contributor Fides, a really fun package and s'more akin to a magazine. If you're a beginner, as cool as those other ones are, I really feel like you need to make a few basic things to get the feel of the kind of content you wanna have and how to lay out pages. So we're gonna focus on something like Smooth, and we're gonna focus in the human smaller scale. I will say if you're ambitious and you want to sell your scenes or you want to connect to other people, it doesn't matter if it's kind of Ah, lower scale paper, black and whites I have I met more than one Z maker who said if they created something like this and they created something like this and had it on their table that they were more likely to sell more of these and at a lower price point, they were to sell something that had really high production values. And was a kid more to like a magazine or a common book? Because the D. I. Y. Culture that collects these kind of things, um, price point is an issue. They would prefer to buy something for three or $45 than something for $10 because you can get more of things that are three or four or $5. Correct. Also, when it's this personal, the quality of the paper and the quality of the illustrations, how fancy the illustration is and really does not matter. You hear a person who says they can't draw stick figures are okay if you're a person says you can't write a stream of consciousness, ramblings are okay 3. Formal Considerations: So for basic seen making, we're going to start out really basic. We're not going to use a computer or a typewriter. Our fancy printer, our fancy paper. We're going to start out with basic printer paper. We're going to do three interior pages and a cover, and we're going to do this as 1/2 full zine, which is for this. I feel like that's the easiest way for people to start because that's all it is. Is in a matter of hot dog bending. All this other stuff cover interior one two Interior three. Oh, in my own Z making. I have had some unforeseen things happened. One. The more paper you have and when you fold it, the more the interior pages push out from your cover. You can actually witness this in yard waste removal. There's a lot of interior pages, and because it's very thick paper, the cover does not allying with the interior pages. So in traditional bookmaking, what they would do is put it in a paper guillotine, and it would chop that off. And the publisher, when they create the work, would I know that they need to set that up. Three interior pages. That's not going to be a problem. The other thing you'll notice is that we have our cover. I'm calling this page one. This is for text to three for five apologies on how flat my voices as I'm doing the counting. Seven. Okay, nine 10 11. 12. Taking apart Page three in 10 on the same side of the paper. Four and nine, same side of the paper. This is where it's really confusing in the computer when you set things up because we're working directly on the paper and we already have her number on the sides. We're not gonna forget where things go. Six and seven is the double page spread five and eight on the back. 4. Layout: do very, very quickly out. Good idea to get all your ideas down and at least stick figure form 12 pages set. 1234567 This'd is my fold. All right, Uh, spread interior full, but the whole thing call it. Don't pay spread 89 10 11 12. So this is gonna be sitting off the journey on jury, so I'm gonna put one illustration and writing, uh, her page illustration. Top writing below to make it more interesting. I'm going to alternate where I put drawings. So I want to put art here. Are here. Maybe art appear, baby ERT appear. I'm gonna do my spread one big piece of art all the way across and have my writing there setting up from the journey. That's gonna be a car. Now, my layout, his super super crew. This is gonna be like entering South Dakota. The things that I can remember and at my brainstorm, this is a list before I even do this or could write it here. Um, I definitely remember car bingo. So that can be like a bingo card. Someone playing it and our car. Bingo. We made it up we We put down things that were things you would see on the road, like roadkill or billboards that featured old movies that weren't currently in the theaters , Hitchhikers, stuff like that. And then I remember a place called the Corn Palace. I remember there was a Gremlin sticker book I wanted. Um, I remember as a family, we fought a lot in the car, and I think a lot of that had to do with the weather conditions we were driving in and just general stress of being around each other. But I don't know where I'm gonna put that. I would probably put that down here somewhere towards the end, because zines don't have to conform to regular storytelling conventions. But, um, it is important. I think, when you're telling a story to evoke emotions and both positive and negative like arguments are, uh, their source of conflict. But I don't remember the resolution to any of these arguments, so that's what kind of shove it towards the back. In the meantime, I'm gonna focus on sort of the odd ball stuff that I remember. Like I remember playing tic tack toe against the chicken. I remember seeing Mount Rushmore, but in the rain. So that's a big enough thing that I can put is a double page spread. And then here's the little telescope in the person. Looking at it, I recall visiting a place called Dinosaur Park. This is gonna be car fight, and maybe you visual for that is like that dust cloud with fists coming out. I don't know might do that inside the car. Then I might bring back to the presence because a good way to end a story when it's a childhood memory type story is how you feel about it now. So do something about the present or the last time I drove through South Dakota, which I didn't go to any of these fun things. But I did recall there being some billboards saying Vegetarians not welcome here. Me being vegetarian. I definitely remember that. Um, I don't remember much else about South Dakota, unfortunately, so this will be heading home. I think I think we also went toe Montana in Wyoming, but those didnt not leave an impression on me. Okay, so, basically out the presence, uh, I could do a doodle of myself making this scene very simple when you do a story that is based on a trip, even something like Lord of the Rings is based on a trip from a photo takes from his home to Mount Doom. So it makes sense that there's adventures, requests or whatever that happened along the way because this is reality. I don't really have to sit around and think up fictional things that happened. If I was really concerned about making something that communicates to a wide crowd of people, I think there's a lot of people out there who would recognize their own childhood trips and relate to this kind of story. 5. Sketching + Writing: cover I will say for last because I do not know what I want on my color covers. I need to be I catching. They need to give people a reason to wanna fire book. I feel like I'll come up with a better idea for cover once I'm finished this. So when a drawing pencil, I'm gonna finalize it in regular ink pen when I draw. Personally, um, I draw with an unbroken line when I sketch things out. When it comes to Zine drawings, I've already shown you ones that are super, super simple, and this really is no difference. I feel like, uh, the idea that people can or can't draw is an illusion. Anybody can put lines on paper. You just need to be willing to put lines on paper. That's all it is. So for me, my sketches are really rough and draw a car draught as fast as I can because I want that outline it in ink. Anyways, I'm gonna make it kind of silly car. I'm gonna give it smoke at its exhaust when I give it a highway, mere scribbles the writing portion. I'm gonna be okay doing this in ink it's all gonna be hand running. Um, I might say it out loud. I like writing that is similar to conversational stuff, but the worst thing we can do is over. Think what we're doing. You know, look, for the absolute perfect were the absolute perfect image. Perfection is the enemy of getting anything done. And this is the, uh this might be the very first time you make a scene so quality, it doesn't matter. It needs to be breaking the ice. You need to get things down. So ah, when I was seven are when I was eight, we went on a family trip to South Dakota. Here we go. Finalize my artwork for that later. I want to get everything down in pencil. This is the one about the bingo card. No matter how good your ideas are, If they don't communicate than nobody understands, it's a good idea. And normally I would like a drawing. But it'll communicate better toe. Have the writing in this instance now, one strategy, if you are still unsure about your drawing skills and how to put this stuff out, is when you have your layout page. If you have an idea that you think is a very strong visual. Like I kind of prefer my Mount Rushmore with the rain that totally sticks out in my brain. Then draw those parts first, work on the parts that you have the strongest feeling or the most confidence about on that will help boost your confidence on other pages that you want to. Once I finish this scene, I'm gonna look up with the corn palace. Actually, looks like I think, uh, be very interesting to compare my memory with reality. So you'll notice when you did my layouts, it was very permanent. When I do, my drawings is very primitive. And when I do my final drawings with the pen, it's probably going to keep some of that same primitive quality. Teoh. That's okay. When you drop things three times, inevitably they get a little better. Some of my pencil lines will probably show up in the final Xerox process to all the rain lines are just a bunch of this. So I'm gonna do that in pen time strikes? No, I'm going to say we went to rush Mount Rushmore, but it was raining so hard we couldn't even see the guys make it there. Faces 6. Inking: So at this stage, I've done some pen work, just plain old pen. If this was thicker paper, I'd probably use a Sharpie or even like ink brushes and some the fancy art supplies. But if we are working low tech, my pen work already done the hard part by putting stuff where it goes. And if I didn't explain it when I did the drawing, I didn't look up what Mount Rushmore looked like. I'm just working from memory. I think it's Washington than Lincoln than some other people. So, um, Penn work? I still like my contour lines, which is when you don't pick up a pen. It all thinking were necessary. I have toe keep in mind that the aesthetic of this page involved. I couldn't actually see Mount Rushmore. So I'm just giving, like, small details their you know, their heads for shading. He ready shade with the pencil. You'd probably start off with the edge of your pencil and do that for me. I'm doing little lines where shadow tones would go, and if you're not a drawer in reality, there is usually a main light, usually the sun or the overhead lights, and then shadows correspond to where the light is not so make sure all my shadows air facing a particular direction. My raindrops are gonna be something like this. It's and so to showcase the rain it goes on this page or anything that you're drawing that you're not sure how to draw. Just think of what are the contributing factors will in rain. There's gotta be clouds and, um, eyes will put lightning and thunder just to get the point across. I can't draw thunder, of course, but I couldn't do plenty of dark clouds. Apply their darkness with multiple lines and then lightning bolts down. Drop one of those scopes. If you do a fell, you're gonna color something in totally black. That usually is the first place the eye is going to see. It's just natural for eyes gravitate towards darkness and fills. So make sure whatever you're feeling is something of value. Like my Kalpage, um, put the fill on his eyes. That's what I want people to look at anyways. Communicate with the eyes. If I left his eyes blank and I filled in our shirts, that probably would have been a mistake because it would have caused, uh, the viewer, the reader's eyes, to gravitate towards the shirts and rather than the faces. So, out of all the time spent on this, I spend the most time thinking I'm not going to show you the entire process. But this is where the artwork becomes titan and finalized and because it's think there's no going back, there isn't going to be opportunities to correct mistakes. And it's not like I can just throw this page Oh, and replace it with another page because I have artwork on opposite sides. 7. Covers: So when it came time to do the cover, I basically cheated a little bit. I did some printing in the computer, typed up in a font, found a graphic printed amount, cut him up. I made a copy with a little bit of drawing on it. And my name, uh, as faras the graphic that I ended up drawing. I did the outline of South Dakota also use a computer to look that up. So it's kind of cheating. And then because of the river that runs through it and splits, I decided to make a little preview of what's inside. We got your chicken, you got your dinosaur and you got your Mount Rushmore here. That kind of titles that I see fanzines that garner the most interest are usually kind of strange and mysterious. And I'm sorry if mine isn't really strange and mysterious. But uh huh it's representative of what's inside Zine and I feel like direct communication is the most important thing. Once you've got the ability to communicate down, you can start being little more mysterious. So make you cover that's representative of what's inside. Coming with a cover. Come up with a title that's representative of what's inside and print on a little nicer paper than your interior pages. It's worth it. This is the first thing that anybody who wants to read or by your zine we'll see so presentation is super important. 8. Printing + Paper Choices: once your pages a range, it's off to the printer, so we're going to go to FedEx Kinko's. We're going to check out some of the settings on the printer, and we're going to select a specialty paper to print this on for two reasons. One thicker paper won't show the lines on the other side. So if I were to print this out on the same kind of paper as I'm drawing this, I would see the drawings on the other side and the writing on the other side. And while there are a lot of scenes that look like that, I feel like it detracts from the reading experience when you can see what's on the other side of the paper. Reason number two to use different paper is you can get a lot of attention to using just by printing it on something that's not white 9. Wrap Up: So you made your first dizzy, and I would love to see it. Take some pictures. I don't have to be fancy just taken with your phone. Post it on a scale share product page. Tell us your story of making your zine Maybe communicate with other people in the class who made scenes and trade them back and forth in the mail. You might be wondering what's next, and of course, this is subjective, but I feel the next step. Once you've made Z Number one is to make Z number two. Look at what you've made and without being yourself up, be honest. See what areas where up to snuff and you're proud of and see what areas you think you could improve on Z number to improve on those areas. So that's it. I hope you get the scene bug. It is an awful lot of fun. It's a cool way to express yourself. Thanks for watching