Let the Ink Guide You: The Power of Zines

By Jasper Abdullah

One of the most important things a teen can have access to is an emotional outlet. That’s where zines come in. Zines are self published magazines of all sizes that focus on telling one specific story or revolve around a couple specific themes. They’re a perfect intersection between writing and art, allowing flexibility for whatever medium the creator wants to focus on. 

Working on zines is an excellent way to get introduced to the world of publishing. For example, you could explore the realm of self-publishing or partner with organizations that will help you get published, such as Brown and Proud Press which is a QTBIPOC (queer and trans, Black, Indigenous, People of Color) Artist Collective. They work primarily through the format of zines, publishing work that ranges from an explanation of Marxism to an explanation on Anti-Blackness. The topics you can write about are limitless.

Creating art is a form of self-care. Besides making your voice heard, zine-making is an excellent way to pour your heart on the page without worrying about quantity. It’s flexible, meaning you can choose to express visually or linguistically.  Allow yourself to vent, dream, and even reminisce through your zines: they’re a very human, yet eloquent outlet.

Zines are for everyone to create. You don’t need any previous level of experience. Just grab some paper, markers, and bring your heart to work. Whatever you create will be beautiful. Check out the Zines created by students from several CPS high schools served by the GEAR UP grant, through the Center for College Access and Success at Northeastern Illinois University. Get Inspired to create your own and share with us at ChiTeenLitfest.org