Noah's Blog of Totally Cool Things

You should make a zine

Electric Zine Maker is cool

I've been using Electric Zine Maker to make some sick lil' zines. It's been really cool to work with! It's as confusing as it is amazingly amazing :3 I made a series of cute little abstract art zines called "_____ emoji" :) You can read them here:

Part of the reason I really like this program is because of how beginner-friendly and easy to use it is. I've made a few zines before finding this tool, and the biggest issue I faced when making some of my first zines was trying to learn all the bells and whistles on whatever program I was using. Luckily at the time I was taking some newspaper journalism classes, which used Adobe InDesign, so I was able to work with the tool with a little more ease than someone who hasn't used it before. Granted, there were still a few things I had difficulty with, like font settings and margins and stuff like that.

I love InDesign, but I feel like it's far too complex for people and artists who don't want to worry about technical stuff. I think that's part of the magic with Electric Zine Maker. With that being said, EZM doesn't have everything. A tool that is absent that I think is one of the most important in something design-y like this is the Select tool. For the most part, this isn't too much of an issue, but sometimes when you make or draw something that's perfect but you want to move it, then it becomes an issue. There's a few other tools and things that are in EZM, but also EZM isn't supposed to be like other programs. It is it's own, unique, weird n' wacky thing (that, again, I love).

Anyways, you should make a zine

Anyone can make a zine, about anything. That means YOU can make a zine too. It doesn't have to be made with EZM, but just make a zine. Make a zine about how much school work you have. Make a zine about your pets. Make a zine about how deeply you care for chair design, whatever! Here's a few tools n' tips I recommend ranging from a variety of prices and complexity and stuff, but most of them are gonna be free and open-source because that shit is cooooool.

Electric Zine Maker

I already talked about this lol. It's a really cool program. I DIDN'T MENTION THIS WHEN I FIRST TALKED ABOUT EZM, but it also makes printing zines VERY easy. You are able to print directly from the program, with/without guides AND each different type of zine (8-page fold, square accordion, quarter size, etc) comes with a dedicated folding guide, which is especially helpful for some of the crazier types like the micro-booklets and the Tetraflexagon. If you are a beginner to making zines, or are an artist who doesn't want to worry about technical junk, this is the best bet to start off with.

EZM Screenshot


Scribus is an open-source desktop publishing program that is used for formatting documents. I personally haven't used it, but I see a few artists and zine-makers here and there who use Scribus as their program of choice. From what little I've messed with it, it seems like one of those things where it is confusing at first, but after 30 minutes of exploration and googling, you get most of it down. This is honestly a really good free software alternative to Adobe InDesign, and I can for sure see myself working more with this in the future. Some other free software tools that would pair well with this are GIMP and Inkscape.


Adobe InDeisgn

Regardless of your technological morals, Adobe InDesign remains to be standard for layout design, desktop publishing, formatting, typesetting, and more. If you can get over the pretty hefty price (or get it for free from school or something), then this is probably the best option, as it is the professional standard. The entire Adobe ecosystem is a very powerful suite of creative software and tools, pairing nicely with Photoshop and Illustrator. With that being said, like all Adobe products, it might take a while before you can use it efficiently and smoothly. It took me a while to use it without searching stuff up, and even now, it still takes me some time depending on the scope and range of the project. Overall, I only really recommend this to people who are familiar with the Adobe line of products (which I imagine is most digital artists), but if you really need the power and customization of InDesign without breaking the bank, I recommend Scribus.


Just make it by hand

The way the D.I.Y. punk gods intended. You don't need any of this crazy, complex software shit, just make it with some pens and markers and papers and stuff! Making zines by hand are the absolute BEST way to go when you're just starting your journey into zine-making. It doesn't have to be something you make copies of, completely unique one-off handmade zines are super cool. If you do want to make copies, the best thing I recommend is to just photocopy your zine, and print copies that way. Making zines by hand also allow for some unique creative abilities that are a little difficult to replicate digitally, like making collages and painting and stuff like that. Something you can do that is more fun with handmade zines are to gather your friends, order food, and just make a bunch of zines together. Handmade zines are love. Handmade zines are life.

DIY Zine

These are just a few options on what to make your zine in, but honestly, just do whatever you know best and whatever you have access to. Most public schools give their students access to Microsoft Office, which comes with some versions of Office. Another tool I see people use that's free is Flipsnack, but I don't know too much about it, seems interesting though. I also know people who make zines with Canva, which seems like another good beginner creative tool. Again, whatever you use, just make sure it's something you can work effectively and fun in.

What should my zine be about?

Anything. Seriously. Just make it about anything. There are so many articles and talks that discuss the freedom of making whatever, I don't have to explain it to you. Just do yo thang! If you like math, make a zine about math. If you like lifting, make a zine about the gym, do whatever!! If you are really unsure about what to make your zine about, then you must never think about anything ever.

Cool, I'll make a zine. But now I'm bored with zines. How's your life?

Well, I'm glad you asked. It's chill. I went to a portfolio event with one of my friends and it was really cool! Tons of cool feedback and tons of cool peeps! We stopped by a mall on the way back home, and my friend got me a Tamagotchi Gen 2 as an early birthday gift, so that was sick! Also, tomorrow is me and my partner's one year togetherrrr, so that's exciting! We're going out to dinner for it, I'm super excited. Just been messing with that, and plotting my next move.

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Thank you to my lovely gf for helping me write part of this while I was sick <333333