Zine 1: ‘You are out of your everyday world’

…and out of my depth; I’m not an artist but I’m practising new skills and learning artistic techniques.  And the learning curve is at 90°!

teaser image zine 1
Work in progress.

This is the first “Thursday Thoughts Day” and it is a space to reflect upon the process of writing, making, and researching.  Below, are some reflections on the production of the first zine.

Making the first zine


  • 1 sheet A4 paper
  • Brush / fine-tip pens (any felt tips would work too)
  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Canon Selphy CP1200 & Card Size Colour Ink / Paper Set (or photos)
  • Sharp scissors
  • Bone folder
  • Paint brush & pot of water
  • Rotary cutter
  • Cutting mat

I’ve included a zine “how to” hyperlink at the bottom of this blog post.  You will notice, from the final layout for this zine, that I’ve somehow managed to put it in an unusual order!  While learning how to make I’ve learned new tools; a bone folder – I’m hoping it’s plastic, I’m a vegetarian – helps with gaining crisp lines on the folded paper. It does make folding and manipulating the paper easier – however, I think a ruler would do the job too. Roll the mouse cursor over the images below for captions.

The next part involved some technology – which might technically be cheating, zine aficionados please let me know – and printing photographs of a walk I made around the lake in March.  (You could use other photographs or other printed materials / Polaroid or draw,  I’m just not that great a sketcher!)

Selected photographs
Selected photographs and reproduced map of Hollingworth Lake

I reduced the photographs using a rotary cutter which was, in hindsight, overkill as I normally use it for cutting fabric. Scissors are better suited to this job.

I had sketched out a rough plan for the construction of the zine, however, because I stuck an image in the wrong place I reworked the order.

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There’s a strange place where creativity takes over from strategy – I don’t think I have the right word for it yet – but this is where words seem to come from nowhere and the layout changes because the eye seems to demand it.

choosing colours
Selecting colours and using colour to give a serious, slightly scary backdrop to the image of the spiked gateway.

no swimming page

The final layout and the mechanics of how the zine is cut and folded.

Final fold


Research and Writing

I was overwhelmed by facts and statistics while researching this zine. I tried to humanise this, for example, the capacity of the lake is “approximately 475 gallons” (Hollingworth Lake information leaflet, Rochdale Borough Council). Well, it sounds a lot but how do you conjure an image of this immense amount of water in the imagination? I used comparisons, the more unusual the better. Instead of 475 gallons: 365 billion teaspoons of water, or 2 billion pints of beer, or nearly 864 Olympic-sized swimming pools…

There is an emphasis on water throughout my critical, and creative, writing. Water is a recurring image in stories and poems that I’ve read. Perhaps because water and water rights are a personal concern this tends to resurface throughout my creative work.  I’ve included a link below for environmental campaigns as well as a link to craftivism.

I think the shifting colours of water influence my choice of words and thoughts. The transience of water, the shapelessness, constant shift and flow. I’ve tried to capture some of the unique properties of water; experimenting with felt-tip ink to produce colours that emphasise the words and photography.  I do like the effects, however, there was a little bit of “bleed” on the penultimate page. The next version that I make will take this into account.

Final layout

As well as the colours, images and layout, I’ve used montage: writing, cutting and pasting text from two documents to help make a ‘story’ for The Gem of the Pennines.

Links to:

  1. Zine making: Barnard Zine Library – How to Make a Zine
  2. Craftivism: Sarah Corbett and The UK Craftivist Movement
  3. Water and water rights: Friends of the Earth – saving water
  4. Water and water rights: Water Aid UK – campaigns for safe water, sanitation and hygiene.

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