Above: Page 2 of my journal zine Snow Piles. I looked outside into the yard after a snow storm and saw this scene. Micron pen on copier bond journal zine template. Click on the image to view an enlargement.
For the MCBA Visual Journal Zine 2011 Swap we had some guidelines that governed content and structure.
All zines were to be made by folding a single sheet of 8.5 x 11 inch copy paper in half twice to create an 8-page zine. The spine was to be 5.5 inches, which went with the grain direction of most commercially available copier papers (perhaps all?). This uniform sizing, with no bulky inclusions, would allow the swapped zines to be gathered by each participate and then housed in a simple slipcase of their own making.
The zine was to be made up of journaling the author pulled from his or her regular journal and reduced and fit to the 4.25 inch wide x 5.5 inch tall page. Each participant had to take into account the copier or printer used for outputting the two-sided piece and leave appropriate space at the edges of the pages. (Obviously, if one had access to a larger printer/copier and wanted to use larger sheets of paper a layout could be devised that would allow for bleeds off the edges of the page, but this would also require more trimming. One goal of this project was to increase participation by minimizing production costs.)
With this approach the journal zine could be a collage creation from various journalings and sketches. It could also simply be a straight forward reduction of a journal page (as most of us work in journals with larger page sizes).
The alternate suggested way to create a journal zine was to create the zine on your master 8.5 x 11 inch sheet of paper and use your original art on that page as your master.
I elected to make my journal up in the second way, creating a template for my pages, with a box which would contain my sketch. I then drew directly on the template.
I could just have easily drawn on pieces of paper that were the appropriate size, scanned the artwork; imported the artwork into a page make up program's layout; printed the two-sided document that I would then fold and cut to make the zine.
My choice was made for me both by my desire to print my zine from the original pen and ink work and by a problem with my printer (one side was printed weirdly because it's at the end of it's toner cartridge). I actually had to print my zine templates individually using the part of the page that was printing correctly, and then paste them up on an 8.5 x 11 inch sheet.
This didn't bother me at all because I love going old school with paste ups. Unfortunately the downside of this approach to production is that your final alignment is only as good as the copier operator. I no longer have a copier on site (I really miss my oversized copier which sadly the repair man could no longer find parts for). I had to take my master sheets to a copier shop to be copied. They heeded my request to even out the margins on the sides by watching their placement of the master on the copier, but they didn't worry about top and bottom margins. The end result is that on some pages there is a jump in the placement of my page "boxes" (the area within which I drew) across the spread. Happily this also doesn't bother me, calling to mind the handmade nature of the thing—and besides, it wasn't worth driving back to the shop to explain to 20-somethings who've never pasted up something and didn't understand what I was trying to do, why placement was important. They want you to create it on the computer so they can press a button and have it come out (and that's fine too, but not what I wanted to do).
Let's say you don't want to take either of the above approaches when mining your journal for content for your journal zine. Another approach that would be fun is a collage—simply take an 8.5 x 11 inch sheet and collage elements from your journal over the entire surface, repeat for another sheet and copy them back to back creating a "collection" that is more abstract and which when folded and cut into pages would read even more abstract. (And this idea could be taken to other lengths of fiddling and puzzling to create journal zines that fold back into a whole, and so on.)
Whatever approach you take, the end result will be a journal of sorts—either an actual journal of events recorded only in the zine (as in the direct sketching method) or a compendium of journal entries that represent what interested you over the course of its creation—a peak into your main journal.
I worked on a theme for my journal zine—"Snow Piles." There were plenty to draw all around me, and I happened to pick the 10-day warming period when it wasn't awful to stand outside and sketch!
A travel journal could be made on templates and then produced when you returned home so that you could share your trip with friends and family.
I think you get the idea, there's a lot of stuff in your journal, and a lot of fun to be had getting it out.
Tip: Always be sure to include contact information printed somewhere in your zine so that people who see it can find you and ask for more zines, tell you what they liked about the zine, and so on. I think you should also include a copyright notice, but then I'm old school about that too.
I'm going to create a page that combines info on the journal zine posts I've been doing, with the instructions the Collective received on laying out their master sheet and making their journals. I hope that some of you will decide to make some journal zines of your own. (You will find these instructions on the Journal Zine Swap Page.)
How to Get a Copy of Snow Piles—A Journal Zine Swap with You
I have printed about 40 extra copies of my journal zine. I would love to trade with interested parties. If you would like to trade one of your journal zines for one of mine please do the following:
1. Create your own journal zine following the instructions the Collective used (so that it will be the same size, etc.) You will find these instructions on the Journal Zine Swap Page, listed in the page list in the left-hand column of this blog. The instructions are important not just for size and structure, but also method of production. The project was designed to be simple and low cost (the cost of 30 double sided 8.5 x 11 inch sheets of copier paper for the original group).
2. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell me you have a zine (made to the Journal Swap Page's project specifications) to swap and to make sure that one of my zines is still available.
3. When you get my email confirmation that one is available you can send me your zine at the address I provide. As soon as I receive your zine I'll pop the one I saved for you in the mail to your return address. (Please write legibily!!!)
Please do not write and ask if there are any Snow Piles left if you have not yet finished your zine.
Your intentions may be good about finishing a zine, but I don't want to have to turn down people who have a zine completed because I'm saving copies for someone who is thinking about making a zine. If you request a zine swap and I don't see your zine in two weeks, and someone else requests one, you'll be bumped from the list. I don't see any other simple way to organize this without frequent emails back and forth. I can't keep track of that.
I look forward to making a new collection of journal zines with your help.
And I would love to hear from you if you make a zine swap of your own!