SchoolArts Room

Fanzines: Self Published Tiny Books

By Nancy Walkup, posted on Oct 18, 2017

One of the best things about teaching art is that through informal interaction during project time the classroom can become a community and smaller groups that work closely together daily can become a kind of family. Some classes bond more closely than others. Given a class that became especially close and too few days at the end of the year to begin a big project, I had the perfect opportunity to give this tight-knit group the experience of creating their first “zine,” and also start their first art collection. After I explained the history of zines (short for magazine or “fanzine”), we discussed their appeal. They are easily reproducible, inexpensive, extremely adaptable to almost any idea, and can be shared and collected easily. Examples of zines are plentiful online.

Work by Carol Horst's students.
Fanzines (or Zines) are small, self-published books. This lesson was developed for Davis Publications based on the textbook "The Visual Experience," lesson "Movement in a Comic Strip," pages 198-199, and from an article in SchoolArts Magazine by Carol Horst.  
Zines: Making Fanzines to Share.
High School Studio Lesson
Carol Horst
Then students marked the pages so they could remember which were the front and back covers, and which way was up on each page. This paper was for practicing; final designs were re-drawn or traced onto a fresh sheet. Students also had to remember to leave a ¼” border around the edge, because standard copy machines crop slightly. Drawings in black pen resulted in the clearest reproductions.  This project is wonderfully open-ended: students can include words, tell a story, express personal interests, work with abstraction, include comics, appropriate magazine pictures, or explore any kind of theme they choose.
When the drawings were complete, I photocopied a class set of each book so that each artist could share theirs with every other student in the class. Each student was given the photocopies of their own zine and spent a period folding, cutting, and assembling their booklets before sharing their artwork with the class.
Each young artist went home with a meaningful collection: a stack of zines, created by their friends. These inexpensive little booklets, made in just a few days, turned out to be the perfect way to celebrate friendship and share art.
Carol Horst is an art teacher at Tehachapi High School in Tehachapi, California.
Work by Carol Horst's students.