Image courtesy of bluestockings.com
The word on every art kids mouth: zine. Zines are the DIY publication of small, hand-crafted booklets made as a low-to-no cost alternative to magazines. An art form in their own right, zines are more than a scrapbook project. They are not only an excellent form of art therapy (especially during these times) but the pocket-sized creations also aim to inform, and produce, clever and often witty works that are publishable.
A culture around this has formed and there are groups of creative individuals who share their zines and sell their works. The most popular type of zine is a ‘fanzine’ which uses the format of a zine to praise or idolise certain people, groups, media, or works.
One local platform for the showcasing of these miniature pamphlets are @de_ziners . Their collective aims to develop the potential of what a zine covers and it is all on their Instagram account which has just reached its 100th post.
So who are @de_ziners?
@de_ziners is an Instagram account dedicated to the production of zines. The admin team consists of Oliver Trapnell, Iona Gibson, and Agelos Tsiligkanos.
Oliver is a Multimedia Journalist student and a freelance photographer. Oliver recounts the first time he was approached, by Iona, on the subject of zines and his first thought was “Who is that?” But after some research he knew it was not a who but a what. He even “saved a few photos to [his] phone because [he] thought the designs were awesome.” Soon after this discovery, a group and a weekend workshop were formed to create content. Oliver stated that “without these workshops I feel like my weekends would have been totally void.”
Iona Gibson was a Publishing student and now works full time in Digital Marketing and Communications. Recounting her first experience with zines, Iona stated that when she was 9 years old “the first time [she] ever heard about zines was on the floor of [her] primary school’s gym hall in Qatar.” At the end of that school day she went home and made several of her own zines and continued to do so for many years - “from that day, I was mesmerised.” In her second year at Kent, Iona went to a slam poetry event and discovered poets selling zines. From here she was introduced to modern zine culture and her zine hobby revealed itself to be something she could pursue, and exciting prospect to work on with others.
Iona also stated that “because of [her] degree, [she is] so much more aware of zines in terms of their history and significance within the wider scope of publishing.” To see printed works making a comeback in this technological age is not only exciting but something Iona hopes will continue to trend as a “beautifully unexpected phenomenon.”
Agelos Tsiligkanos is a Digital Marketing student. Agelos heard about zines and De-Ziners through Oliver, his flatmate. Agelos had “never had any relations to the artistic world” before 2019 but when introduced to it at university “all [his] fears about being criticised for artistic skills were swept away.” He finally felt able to express his artistic talents through zines and with his friends Iona and Oliver. To Agelos De-Ziners “tries to promote a niche form of art, inspire creativity, and engage everyone.” The array of content which De-Ziners covers helped Agelos to understand better topics such as LGBTQ+ issues and other topics which are not commonly acknowledged and explored in his home country of Greece.
The admins of @de_ziners have aspired to create an open and accepting platform for everyone to have a voice on. They want as many people/students as possible to engage and add to the accounts’ content.
So, if you want to try your hand at making a zine, then the easiest way to go about making it is to use the ‘8 page’ method. This involves folding an A4 sheet into what is essentially an origami book. And you can then create content and fill each ‘page’ of this folded book.
To give you an idea of what sort of topics De-Ziners looks for in content Oliver stated: “De-Ziners' zines tend to be about what interests [you], which broadly covers representation, inclusivity, and other current affairs. De-Ziners also have had a range of fruitful submissions covering taboo topics like sex to everyday life topics such as shopping lists and music. Even a zine entirely in Japanese was featured!”
In other words a zine can be on anything, as long as it interests you. So why not go ahead and try making one? And if you do, it would be great to see it on the @de_ziners Instagram account.