The Art Of The Zine

This academic year, I am pushing myself to make the most of every opportunity I have to exhibit my work. And so here I am, blogging about an exhibition before it ends.

The Art Of The Zine started out as a project a few weeks into our Book Arts/Self Publishing module. Our original brief was to to pick eight songs, in the same way someone would for Desert Island Discs, and to create a zine from them.

Once I got to the studio, I did end up dropping a couple of songs so I could have a front/back cover, and these were the ones that stuck out from the others. One of the most difficult things about this project was that even though I'd already changed the playlist to make it more harmonic for other people, it was still a brief that had originated with a personal question. Although I dislike making my illustration about me, the teenage angst theme was just too strong, and I spent a day on a zine in which me and my best mate from school were in each music video. Felling under pressure to have something complete by the end of the day, I forced my way through to the end, despite having felt the need to give up and move on to a new idea about lunchtime.

After photocopying it in negative in a desperate attempt to save the train-wreck, I had a few days of space to recollect my thoughts. I paid close attention to what I liked and disliked about everyone else's work while I sulked about mine having been the worse one by miles. In particular, I liked Max Low's. I think this was for four main reasons:

  • Minimal Text
  • Small and simple
  • Strong unity in colour, contrast and shapes
  • Matches with his other current work

To anyone else, it looks like my second zine is a completely new creation. It's easy to argue. The bands are different, the focus is on entire discographies and not on individual songs, there is text, it's collage. The list could go on. But here's the secret: this zine's starting point was the negative photocopy of the last one.

I consider the 'base' of a piece of work to be the point at which no matter what you do, the general level of quality has already been achieved. The issue with my first zine was therefore that it had a weak base, and no matter what alterations I did to it I couldn't get to the level of workmanship that should be expected of a level 5 student. I mention this because the base of my second zine was completely born out of the ashes of the old one. With relatively few alterations from there, I managed to create something I felt happy to submit for the exhibition.

Unfortunately, if you want to see inside the zine at this point you're going to have to find it in the exhibition, which is at College Road Campus, Hereford College of Arts. Learn more here.