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I have a question for you all about process.

When working on a zine, do you just start and fill out pages or do you have all your content ready before you start layout. I usually do the latter, but I am not starting this zine and am thinking of trying it the other way.

A heavy content zine would obviously not work well with just winging it, but this is gonna be more of a lighter zine with some illustrations. I am just not doing it and I want to. Any tips? Thanks!

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I honestly do all my zines the same stupid way. I pick a page size/format and then work on each story separately. I don't really look at it all as a unit until everything's written and I can call it done. I *do* go "ahh, we seem to have a lot of 4-to-6 page things here, I should add some short ones to break it up" and then write more accordingly, but I don't think of where things are going to go or whatever until I'm getting ready to collate. 

I do go in to it with a general sort of idea of the things I'd like to see accomplished, certain features or whatever, but a lot of times what I started with going in doesn't end up in the final thing.

I would really like to see a few more replies to this topic, since I am currently working on a zine with both typed and hand-written/drawn parts. I don't really have a "process", and I kind of wish I had more of one because every time I sit down to work on it, I don't really know...what to do, ya know?

I am fixing to make my first one. For the past few weeks, I have been carrying around my art journal and writing when inspiration stuck. I will even write article titles down as ideas. I am going to collect some blank paper, type up each lil story, and cut and paste them into zine format. I am just going to do a mock-up at first, fold some paper in half and paper clip each article into it. When I like the way it looks, I will glue each article into the book and go copy them. I am going to make a perzine.

*nods* That sounds like a good way of going about it.

I think making a mock up zine - cutting/folding the papers how you want them and seeing how many you think you will need definitely helps you get started. I will sometimes just write on each one what I imagine being there, like intro, x article, whatever, so I can better get an idea of how many pages I need and how it will look.

I tend to keep a list of ideas that I have in both a hand written journal and a text document on my computer. Then when inspiration strikes, I set about writing it up. I find it's really important to write down anything that might be a good idea because sometimes I've written good pieces that have come from one single jotted down word.

I usually accumulate a bunch of written content (usually on the computer) and artwork before I get this "feeling" that I'm done. Sometimes I'll write some of one piece and then come back to it later - working on other pieces in the meantime. So I'll often have stuff all over the place. It gets to a point where I need to start to collate everything otherwise I get overwhelmed; so I type out or neatly handwrite my finished written pieces on quarter size pieces of paper. Then I cut out the text and glue it onto quarter-sized pages. Usually I have background images on these singular pages and I lay the text around some images. I think I've got pictures on my profile of how I lay things out. 

I also try and keep a box of background patterns, clip art, drawings etc that I want to use so everything is on hand. If I ever get stuck on writing or drawing, I just spend some time on preparing that stuff or resizing artwork into 1/4 size. 

I then keep all the complete quater size pages together in a pile/ in a box. It's awesome to see that little stack get bigger.Then when I've reached a stage where I feel like I'm done or I've got enough content (sometimes I count how many pages I need to do) I kind of blue tac each page into the mock up zine and shuffle pieces around until it has a nice flow. Sometimes i need to write a few more pages to complete it. As crapandemc says, I also like to break up the longer pieces with some shorter pieces/ drawings. I also like to break up more serious pieces with lighter ones. 

Then I photocopy a good, clear flat copy and use that for reprints.

Good luck :D 



Charlee N said:

I would really like to see a few more replies to this topic, since I am currently working on a zine with both typed and hand-written/drawn parts. I don't really have a "process", and I kind of wish I had more of one because every time I sit down to work on it, I don't really know...what to do, ya know?

i always start with content.. but my zines are hella heavy content, and really thick.  but something i always end up doing is, after counting what will be the pages and rounding up to the next multiple of 4 [to get it all to fit as half sized 8.5x11 pages] i give myself extra pages on which to wing it.  usually if i have something like 80 pages of typed content, which would fit perfectly on 20 blank 8.5x11 pages, i will go ahead and add another piece of paper, so i'll have four pages to think about while i'm laying out the rest.

so maybe if you have a thing or two already, you could do some combination?

i also once read a zine that was just a handwritten story from he writer's past, and in the zine he wrote that he just gets some paper together, folds it, and starts writing.  when he's nearing the end, that's how he knows it's time to wrap up.  i thought that must be so challenging.

i guess it's a good way not to go over budget, haha.

Thanks a lot for all of your thoughtful replies; this has been really helpful! I think I've got a better idea of how to proceed now :) I think I definitely need to jot my ideas down, because I am very forgetful and ideas often occur to be at very inconvenient times, when I can't actually do anything about them XD As for all the stuff people said about doing mock-ups, and judging # of pages vs. amount of content, not sure exactly what how I'll work that, but hearing about your guy's processes helped me get a much better idea, so thanks again! ^_^

Sounds corny, but I keep a notepad by my bed and if an interesting idea comes to me I write it down. It actually works pretty well.
I have used this theory to think of time-machines, vampires, swedish meatballs and more.

It seriously works!

When it comes to actually making the zine, I aim for a quarter size, 16 page zine, and if that doesn't work out I just go with the flow and do whatever comes to me.

I just join with a bunch of film students to create a script in the style of the Exquisite Corpse. Ten of us will each write ten pages of the script with each one only getting the last three pages and a list of characters (and if one of the characters had been killed off in a previous section)

The Exquisite Corpse is done in collage a lot where you take a piece of folder paper and you have to draw/add to it without seeing the rest. 

This thread made me think of this in Zine form. A good push could be to motive to a create a short piece with say ten other ziners to create a random zine.

As for process, most of my work is comics, so a start with creating small quick stick figure thumbnails. I figure this can work with non-comic zines too. 

Yeah, I definitely know what you mean about seeing other people's work being motivating; this time, when I decided I would really like to begin work on a zine, but I hadn't done one in over a year, I began by cataloging at my local zine library, and it really helped! I get to sit for one or two hours every Wednesday, in a room packed with zines, and go through a stack of them--which is great because I actually have to read a bit through each zine and think about it first so I can catalog it correctly, assigning the right category to it, and writing a short summary; it gives me a handful of ideas for what to do with my own :D

Windowfog said:

This is a good thread. I'm always curious about people's processes, and I'm always struggling to find motivation.

My process is very similar to PonyPoyPress's. I just can't do anything unless I have all the content planned out. But I also get easily frustrated from overplanning so I usually try to do a quick visual mockup on paper by drawing out the little boxes for the pages and labeling for content just to give myself an idea to work with. I also think lists are great because you can just write down ideas under different categories and you'll see similar themes between some of them, which you can use as a theme for an issue and the rest you can save for other themed issues.

As for motivation, which is more difficult to find for some than others, sometimes attending a zine fest does it for me. Just seeing all the different types of zines, covers, and formats sometimes stirs something in me and makes me go, "Oh, I want to try and make my own!" Or consistently looking at amazing stuff (art, projects, books, whatever!) by other artists really helps me because it just somehow makes you want to try. Even if you're not that confident in yourself, sometimes it just looks so fun and inspiring that you just want to give it a go yourself.

I think making up a mock book is a great idea for ones that are not too long, particularly if they contain a narative and mainly pictures.

I always break mine up  with a good selection of several pics in boxes, full page pics and double page spreads. If you make a mock book (even an a4 sheet of paper cut and folded up and scribbled on) you can see how well the book flows and save the best visuals for the double page spreads. This way you can pace yourself right up until the very last page to leave the viewer with a feeling of a great zine!

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