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Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Make A Shitty Zine

This is where I urge you to make a shitty zine, and offer up step by step instructions, which you should ignore as you see fit, while nevertheless making a shitty zine of your own. I know many of my readers make stuff all the time, and I am not yelling at you. I'm not really yelling at anyone, but I do want to strenuously urge action on anyone who's sitting on some super twee project that just needs to be made perfect before... blah blah blah.

We all have one of those. We just need to wait for winter to shoot the snow shots, we need to buy a better camera, we need to find the time to shoot at night, or whatever. Fuck it.

Make a shitty zine, and make it now. Or this weekend.

Step one: find some pictures. More than 5, less than 30. Choose photos that are strongly graphical, they're going to be rendered badly and will have to survive. Make 'em black and white to save money on printing. The photos can be on a theme (subject? graphics? whatever?) or not. But don't pussy foot around, if they're incoherent, lean in on that. Choose photos that absolutely clash, not pictures that kind of weakly interfere with one another.

Choose fast. Maybe choose more than you need, but choose fast. We're making something shitty, we haven't got all day. Move.

Step two: open up your favorite word processor. You can use google docs if you like.

Your document will end up a multiple of four pages long. 8, 12, 16, 24 are all good numbers. Maybe even 32. No bigger.

First page is your front cover. Make it punchy, make it grab the viewer. But something striking here, but don't give the show away. The cover is your first date, and we all know what you don't do on a first date, right?

Second page is the inside of the front cover, usually kind of throwaway space. Maybe shove some explanatory text here, or a shitty colophon, whatever. A graphic.

Third page might be a title page, or the start of your content.

Shove in your photos. Don't neglect text. You can do anything, though. A photo recto, and the word NO in a huge ugly font verso. It's fine. Stick a poem in. Stick a drawing in. Whatever. Mash the content in there. If you can't figure out how to do some layout thing in your word processor in a minute or two, do something else instead.

The main thing here is to find a riff you like and lean hard on it. This isn't a novel, we're not looking for development. It's a shitty zine. One note, played over and over, as loud as possible.

You are not Shakespeare, not today. Today, you are a Ramone. Photo Ramone, the most obscure Ramone, but nevertheless, a Ramone to the Bone.

The second-to-last page is the inside of the back cover, and it's another throwaway. Leave it blank, cover it with swearing, whatever.

The last page is your back cover. Put something glib here. Maybe a fake promo quote from someone famous named Norman. Remember to be on a multiple of four pages here. 8, 16, 24, maybe 32.

Step three: Save this document as a PDF.

Step four: There's a bunch of ways to do this, but you want your PDF document to come out on the printer two-up, double-sided, and pages rearranged to that it makes a booklet.

I use bookletcreator for this. Google it, and grab the free download. It takes your PDF and makes another PDF out of it which will print out properly.

Print out the latter PDF. Stack the sheets up, fold them in the middle, and staple. You might need to go to a copy shop and borrow an extension stapler, or get creative, or punch holes and use string instead. It doesn't matter, it's a shitty zine.

Congrats, author. If you don't find this empowering and fun, fuck you.


  1. Replies
    1. Damn, son, that is a shitty, shitty, zine. I love the weird cutouts, and that the title page in the middle of the fucking thing.

      The christmas tree slew me. What the hell, man?

      Well done!

    2. Aw shucks. It was inspired by an acid trip in 1969! All or part of the preceding statement may not be true!

  2. I might have to do this, thank you

  3. "Congrats, author. If you don't find this empowering and fun, fuck you."

    Yet more evidence that a career in children's TV beckons. Go for it!


    1. Tune in next week for another fun and creative episode of "God DAMN It! What now, you little bastards?!"