zine camp

Posted by on Aug 16, 2013 in Art Classes | 0 comments

I recently led a workshop on making zines as part of a professional development class at University of Southern Maine, called Building Literacy Through the Arts. John Holdridge, lead facilitator and senior consultant with the the Arts Literacy Project, had already jazzed up a group of educators, with mark-making, physical movement and performance, and poetry sessions. I arrived with my stash of zine-making supplies at Kaler Elementary School, rarin’ to go.


I began by sharing my collection of zines, many of them created by Maine College of Art illustration students in my Illustration 2 class, as well as others collected over the years. I consider zines the seeds of larger things, being authentic, small edition objects of great ideas. I also shared Whatch Mean, What’s a Zine? by Mark Todd and Esther Pearl Watson, a veritable bible of the origins and art of making zines and mini-comics.


Our theme was identity, and our prompt was “One Today” by Richard Blanco.

With only about 2 hours of making time, the format was limited to a single sheet of paper, folded into 8. Everyone wasted no time in cutting up text, collage patterns, music, and using rubber stamps and glue sticks. A little time was allotted for making black and white copies so zines could be distributed.


John led the circle of sharing his zine, about being thankful for the work of his hands.


It’s pretty amazing what brilliant people can create with so little. The short time frame and diminutive size led to compelling brevity, profoundly moving moments, and clear narratives, each packed with graphic punch.


Here’s the full cast.


A limited edition of copies was swapped, and then we were done. I’m delighted to add these pocket-sized stories to my collection, but better still, to have met such an exuberant crop of savvy teachers. May they spread the zeal of zines in their classrooms everywhere!


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