Online zines provide supportive communities, positive exposure

Chloe Sun

Juiced! Magazine. Ruin Mag. Pastel Serenity Zine. This past summer, I discovered the world of zines. Especially over quarantine, it seems hundreds of zines have been created on platforms like Instagram, calling for creators everywhere to submit their work for publication. I even decided to join a few zines myself and have gotten my artwork published a couple times. From my experience, these zines have created wonderful, inclusive communities that allow young creators chances to expose their work to a large internet platform, and I embrace their growing popularity.

Most zines are structured like standard magazines–there’s a team complete with writers specializing in music, art, fashion, and more, as well as artists, photographers, and graphic designers. Most zines start from one or two founders, but eventually gain popularity and attract more team members and submissions. Aside from their Instagram presence, zines establish websites and regularly produce print issues that audiences can purchase PDFs or physical copies of. What is amazing about these zine teams is that since everything is coordinated entirely online, they can be made up of people across America and even the world. For instance, I work with people living anywhere from Arizona to Australia to even India. Aside from regular team contributors, zines are usually always open for general public submission to their websites, and periodically open submissions for upcoming issues. During these instances, anyone around the world can submit their work–whether it be art, poetry, writing, or photography–for a chance to be featured in the zine’s next issue. These issues usually center around a theme which submissions should pertain to. Should one’s submission be accepted, the zine’s page designers will compile them into a magazine and release them for purchase.

Chloe Sun

As a regular art submitter to numerous zines, it is an amazing feeling to have your art blown up on a page or posted online for thousands to enjoy. Although there will always be rejections, in my experience the zine community has always been supportive and zines welcome anyone who would like to submit their works. Additionally, I recently joined a zine and became head print designer, which has given me even more insight into the zine world. Going through strangers’ incredible submissions and designing them for print is amazing, as I get to showcase their hard work in beautiful ways and even enhance it by pairing it with other work. Poems about love or dying grandmothers can be blended with photos of runway models or art about fast fashion. Self-portraits in the shower can be juxtaposed with articles teaching readers how to go thrift shopping. Because so many different works are submitted, zines provide a really broad range of really interesting content to look at, so no zine’s issue is ever the same. Being part of zine teams has also given me really close-knit, extremely supportive friend groups composed of strangers I will probably never meet in person.

All in all, I highly recommend getting involved in the zine world. It is an amazing way to connect with interesting people from around the world and there is always a zine looking for submissions or even new team members. Before you know it, you could see your work on a page someday.

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the HiLite staff. Reach Chloe Sun at [email protected]