TOP TIPS: ZINE MAKING

Today we are privileged to hear from Jeremy Staples, bedroom publisher extraordinaire and curator of Copier Jam!, with his top tips on zine making.

Copier Jam! installation shots.

In one way or another zines have slowly taken over my life since the early two thousands. From creating zines to running workshops, co-funding the Zine and Indie Comic Symposium and most recently curating a zine and indie comic exhibition titled Copier Jam!, which is part of the Print Council of Australia’s 2016 Year of Print celebrations.

I stumbled upon zines – these raw, crudely produced publications – via my love of punk! That said, I had no access to them before I started creating them. I didn’t know what I was actually doing was a zine, to be honest. I was just doing my own thing, with a group of friends who wanted to support the local music and art community. None of us had skills in design, layout or journalism. We did it together and it was completely DIY. The DIY process, complete freedom and lack of rules is what got me into them and why I keep coming back. The accessibility for the creator and consumer is something that continues to draw me to the world of bedroom publishing.

I love that zines are a platform for anyone to document, share a viewpoint or simply share their creativity. These little bits of paper can be on any topic imaginable!

This was one of my main motivations to produce Copier Jam!, an exhibition which highlights current zine and independent comic creators, collectives and distributors from across Australia. The exhibition includes publications alongside original art, layout, workings and even a zine vending machine from the Canberra Zine Emporium collective. On display are zines published from 1992 to the current day from seventeen creators.

Zine tips from Staples!

Have fun, think outside the square, don’t create invisible barriers and work with materials that you have on hand! Use the zine as a tool to showcase your work, document or even share personal tales from your life, travels or your mental health. Copier Jam! features work from outsider artist Philip Dearest. An artist who knows how to shock even the most seasoned fan of underground art. One of Dearest’s most renowned releases to date is the aptly titled Off My Meds, in which he undertakes a study of creativity during a month off his regular medication.

Share what your good at! Ashley Ronning is an illustrator, risograph printer and zine creator based in Melbourne. Ronning’s work was recently plastered throughout Melbourne as part of the promotion for annual Festival of the Photocopier hosted by Australia’s largest dedicated zine shop, Sticky Institute.

Read up! The Copier Jam! exhibition catalogue zine showcases interviews with all the creators in the exhibition and features a cover printed via Japanese toy Gocco printer, which is actually the little sister of the Risograph.

Still stuck for ideas? Vanessa Berry is one of Australia’s most respected zine creators and has been publishing since the mid-nineties. Berry created her Shopping List Stories zine that showcases found shopping lists and fictional tales about the people who wrote them.

Get amongst it! If you’re not comfortable or up to the stage of creating your own zine, why not submit to a collaborative zine. Callouts are made and generally based around a theme or topic. We make Zines is a good start along with following Australia’s renowned Sticky Institute – the Flinders Street zine subway shop and hangout.

The last thing I love about zines is the lack of rules! There are no limitations, no rights or wrongs other than making one solely for creating profit. The world is your photocopier! Dream with your eyes open, step away from the TV, put your dreams down on paper and start writing and scribbling your own revolution!

Copier Jam! poster – art by Philip Dearest; gocco print by Staples.

Copier Jam! will be on display at the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery until 7 August. www.thestaples.com.au

We hope you find these gems useful and invite you to send in your top printmaking tips to share to imprinteditor@printcouncil.org.au.