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To borrow a word from the graphic design trade, what's your method of putting your zines together? I do mine something like this. I think it's probably pretty typical.

Needed- paper, pritt stick, scissors, printer, posca markers

1) Write articles either, often in a notebook (or sometimes straight onto the computer or typewriter) and type them up with the computer or typewriter. I format the text into small columns and paragraphs so that I can cut and paste them directly onto my backgrounds.

2) Prepare a background on a piece of paper slightly smaller than a zine page. The backgrounds come from my collage scrap box full of interesting bits I've seen and saved. I like the use the same backgrounds for one article to tie it together.

3) Stick the individual paragraphs and lines of text onto the background. If there's any drawings I prepare those on another piece of paper, cut them out and stick them on. Same with any clipart type pictures, I photocopy them from the book and then use the photocopy. I can't bring myself to cut books up. I tend to use pictures from either this 70s picture dictionary I've got, or vintage ladybird childrens' readers or vintage stamps.

4) I put the pages in a box on my desk and let them rest and ferment for full flavour.

5) Repeat steps1-3 until I have all the pages I want for my zine

6) Stick pages onto the master sheets

7) Photocopy double-sided onto A4/A3 as appropriate, cut with guillotine, staple with big stapler.

How about you?

Tags: how, to, workflow

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My method is exactly the same as yours, except I stick everything straight onto the master sheets instead of having seperate sheets for each zine page. Having said that, maybe your method of seperate sheets is more sensible since mistakes can be rectified quickly.
Catherine Elms said:
My method is exactly the same as yours, except I stick everything straight onto the master sheets instead of having seperate sheets for each zine page. Having said that, maybe your method of seperate sheets is more sensible since mistakes can be rectified quickly.

I used to do that until I had an issue where I put some things in totally the wrong order and the master ended up ripping when I tried to fix it (we don't have rubber cement in the UK, and pritt stick isn't repositionable, but far more environmentally friendly)
I've done the bulk of my stuff using this obscure typesetting system called LaTeX (everything except two of the anniversary issues of Haiku a Day --- one was a handwritten mini zine and the other was an audio cd). For my more conventional zine, which comes out twice a year, the workflow is normally:

1) Think of random ideas for articles. This tends to be a mix of new things I think of, looking at ideas I've come up with in the past but haven't used yet, and stuff I've started but didn't put in past issues because I ran out of space or time. These things get dumped into a directory.

2) Take various stabs at writing stuff. This usually either starts out as stream-of-consciousness writing about something, or outlining what I want to write. There's usually a couple of cycles of going back over stuff, followed by letting it sit for a while.

3) Realizing one day that "Oh crud, that deadlines that were months away are now weeks away". Start cranking out stuff.

4) Take the skeleton of the last issue, dump what I've gotten written into it, and start figuring out how things will be layed out. The past couple of issues I've done some long interviews, those usually end up at the back. Everything else I shuffle around based on how I want the articles to flow and what allows the layout to work (trying to shuffle things around so that article titles don't end up at the bottom of a page, or that there isn't sentence stragglers on a page by themselves --- I know there's a term for this, but I can't remember at all what it is). Small things are fixed by bumping bits of inter-article space in. Large things (like getting the number of pages to fit properly in the signature) tend to be fixed with random photos I've taken since the last issue.

5) First printout. Get a pen and start marking. I do this a couple times.

6) Fix mistakes. Grumble as fixes mess up the layout. Fix those problems.

7) Babysit my cranky laser printer (it works, and has a duplexer, and I got it for a steal when the local facility of a large pharmaceutical company closed, but it has ... issues).

8) Wonder where the hell my long-arm stapler is, then realize that I left it down in the studio. Wander down there, pause to consider the majesty of a nice eight foot long table, start a stapling assembly line.

9) Wonder why I have random pages left over, and start counting pages in everything I just stapled. If I find the messed up zine, fix it. If I don't, which happened to me last time, just act confused for 30 seconds and forget about it.

10) Hey, I have months now until the next issue comes out. Plenty of time....
I did my first zine using glue, pens, typewriter etc. and photocopied all the pages. I managed to make loads of mistakes and copy things upside down etc., making the whole thing rather expensive.

I still use the same methods, really, but I have a mono laser printer, so now my workflow is...

1) Make pages, using typewriter, photos, pens etc. in similar way to original post.

2) Scan pages, and paste into an Open Office document until they're all in the right order.

3) Export to PDF

4) Stick PDF into a little program called Booklet Creator which shuffles everything into correct order and formats correctly to print as a booklet.

5) Print pages. My printer is manual duplex so I have to rotate and flip the pages after one side has printed.

6) Fold and staple.

I'm relatively happy with this. Biggest problem I had using a photocopier was expense and limited access, and it made it difficult to produce zines, so when I needed a new printer, I deliberately went for a mono laser which lets me produce and print zines entirely at home. Journeyman #1 was done by photocopying originally, but I've since "digitally remastered it", by scanning the pages and laser printing it. It looks identical to my original photocopied ones but costs less to produce.

I'm reasonably happy with all of this, but I'd like to make it a bit lower-tech, really.
1. think of overall concept (my zines aren't 'magazines' as such, but a series of one-offs on different themes).

2. write a series of short pieces or one long piece on the theme. Format with different fonts, column widths etc to add interest. (Mostly interest for me rather than the reader! heh!) Print them out.

3. Decide how many pages it will be and what size. Make up a half- or quarter-size mock up on scrap paper and use it to decide where everything's going to go. Realise I don't have enough material to fit in a decent size zine, chuck a hissy fit and let it sit for a few weeks.

4. write some more, try again. Collect some collage materials, drawings etc together. Stick everything down with a glue stick onto base pages using the mock up as a guide. Some shorter pieces and headings I might hand-write directly onto the base paper with a Sharpie for variety. Proofread and fix mistakes with white-out.

5. Scan all the pages directly to PDF. Print out a few copies using my duplex printer. Staple or sew binding.
Be constantly irked by mistakes that I notice later on but I can't be bothered fixing.

6. [Later] Print a larger number of copies later if the zine seems to be selling well. For the zines with coloured covers, I colour them one by one when sold.

For mini zines:
1. Get a piece of paper and an Artline pen from the stationery cupboard at work. Sit at my desk with my headphones on and do the whole thing in my lunch hour. Copy it about 10 times using the work photocopier. It sure helps relieve stress!
I've done pretty much the same as you, printer-wise. I started out using the photocopier at work, but got increasingly paranoid that I was going to get caught. Then I sourced a copying place that seemed cool, but it closed down. All the other ones I looked at turned me off in one way or another. I can't let just anyone handle my babies!
Now I have a Brother printer which churns out something like 3,000 pages per cartridge. It's sweet.
But like you, I wish I could have the more 'authentic' feel of a photocopied zine.

Lee Osborne said:
Biggest problem I had using a photocopier was expense and limited access, and it made it difficult to produce zines, so when I needed a new printer, I deliberately went for a mono laser which lets me produce and print zines entirely at home. Journeyman #1 was done by photocopying originally, but I've since "digitally remastered it", by scanning the pages and laser printing it. It looks identical to my original photocopied ones but costs less to produce.

Now that I think about it, I guess my zine isn't copy and paste at all anymore!

1. write lists over a few months
2. edit and choose the lists I'd like to include in my zine.
3. cut a bunch of halfsheets. Draw a 1/4in border on each one with my trusty micron or thin tipped sharpie
4. type the lists onto halfsheets
5. decide which will have full page illustrations with them, and which will have the illustration on the same page as the list
6. start drawing. draw draw draw draw for about 2 months of working every day on it until all of the lists are illustrated
7. draw the section header pages
8. wait a while and type the intro. this part always makes me nervous because it sums up the whole issue and makes me write a few paragraphs on my life for the past several months. finding the right tone is really important. i always do the intro last.
9. figure out how many pages i have, make a mock up, tape the halfsheets into the mock up.
10. scan it all on a flatbed scanner. the pages are already in booklet format now.
11. adjust levels and make things crisp in photo shop. invert hand drawn titles so that they're white on black
12. look for typos. fix them in photoshop by copy and pasting the right letters over the wrong ones. haha.
13. finally decide on the cover.
14. take a photo for reference, turn up the contrast really high in photoshop, add a really thick lens blur so i just have fuzzy black and white tones. print it out. draw the final line drawing over it. this gives an ink wash look, but its all digital. 2010.
15. paste the cover into it spots in booklet format
16. save it all as pdf
17. send it to a printer

i use to photocopy them all when i got free photocopies, but as my zine got thicker and thicker and i moved and started to have to pay for photocopies (averages 60 half pages now) i just couldn't afford to go to a copyshop anymore. i found a good deal with my friends print shop. the quality isn't as great, but it's cheap.

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