It’s Ama-Zine!

What are you saying?

And to whom are you saying it?

These are the two questions I’m usually trying to squeeze out of participants in most visual thinkery conversations. Creating a Zine is a super way of boiling that message down – an irresistible little format for the organic transfer of a story, vision or idea.


I was re-introduced to Zines at last year’s MozFest (Mozilla Festival), where Zine pro Éléonore Mayola was facilitating a maker session. My 8-year-old and I got wonderfully lost in the process of conjuring a story of 8 panels: A front cover, a back cover, and six story panels in between – all on one folded piece of paper. We endeavoured to create a story about Bob – a sideways glance at the overlap of worlds my son and I inhabit, whilst breathing in the rich Mozfest air. “The mixed stories of Bob, series 2”. You know it’s a hit when you get to start at at the second series…

Library of Things

More recently, a few community minded supers (as in The Incredibles sense) and I have been plotting how to get a local Library of Things up and running. And as “make a zine” was my answer to any question about boiling down a vision, I set about making one. Of course with digital drawing, you can create something that’s very replicable and distributable – as the party happens all on one side of a piece of paper.

Live at the OERs

When I was thinking about running an Zine making workshop at OER19, Catherine Cronin encouraged me to reach out to potential co-collaborators. I’m really glad I followed such sage wisdom. Amy Burvall is one of the most creative educators I know, and while we beavered away on our proposal, I realised that Amy brought a completely fresh perspective on what I thought I knew a little about. In fact, it wasn’t long before Amy had educated me on Zine culture and the many different approaches to making a Zine.

The trouble with a workshop of this nature is that most people are uncomfortable with a blank piece of paper. In our Zine-storming session pre-workshop, Amy had listed 29 prompts to help with this (if you’ve read her Intention book, you’ll know how brilliant Amy is with this stuff). So it seemed obvious for me to try to bring them to life by illustrating them. It’s this idea ping-pong that made our workshop about 10 times better than if I was leading it on my own.

Ama-Zine Prompts by @bryanMMathers is licenced under CC-BY-ND

Now then, it’s super easy to make a Zine – at least – it is when you know how. This thoroughly brilliant video explains all you need to know in 3 minutes, but be careful – all that talk of hotdogs and hamburgers might bring on the nibbles! I know what you’re like…

Just in case they come in handy, here are the slides from Amy and my session at OER19:

Slaying of Self

There were so many great zines shared at the conference. So finally, here’s Reclaim Hosting & DS106 legend Jim Groom talking about his Zine-ful creation…

(So what are you waiting for? Get making!)

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