An overhead of a zine, laid flat.

Whatcha Mean, What’s a Zine?

From school projects, to documenting my favorite song lyrics and book quotes, to writing stories, to grappling with difficult moments, zines are my favorite go-to medium. 

The most special thing about zines though, is how they allow you to build community through storytelling. 

San Antonio’s shared Community Vision, strengthened by nearly 12,300 people last year,  includes Community Results for the arts and for civic engagement: 

In 2030, San Antonio leads the world as a creative community. Here, the arts are integral to culture, history, and global connection. The arts strengthen the health of our community, help drive our economy, and enhance our quality of life.

In 2030, our entire community takes responsibility for our collective well-being. San Antonio fosters leaders across the community who collaborate to reach shared goals. Institutions across sectors value community-based knowledge and build trusted relationships.

As short, self-published art books, zines are meant to be shared. My journey in zine-making led me to build a creative community with other makers and grow in my leadership by facilitating workshops internationally, all while championing the Community Results. 

Mark Menjivar and Jason Reed, local artists and professors, gave me the gift of zines when I was a sophomore at the International School of the Americas. They visited my class for a day and taught us how to make them. My grade was going on a group travel experience, and the zines we created became a way to get to know each other better. 

When my senior year came around, my friends and I began a zine club with the support of our economics teacher, Eric Cavazos. Every week, we would meet and share stories, ideas, and challenges in a period of major transition and unknowns. Art and zines were a way to take a breath, have fun, and be creative. At the end of the year, we created and printed a mega-zine that documented a year’s worth of art and stories that we will be able to always remember. 

I love how versatile and easy it is to make zines. As long as you have a piece of paper and something to write with, you can make one. However, my favorite technique is collaging with old magazines or using colored paper. 

Mini Maker Faire

As we got more comfortable with zine-making, our Zine Club was invited to lead a zine workshop at the Central Library’s Mini Maker Faire. It was so inspiring to share my love for zines with others and learn from each other. Since then, I have led workshops for the SA2020 Team, a group of students in Poland, and CAST students. 

My most recent workshop was during SA2020’s The Collective, where I got to co-create and share zines as we celebrated San Antonio’s progress and looked toward the next decade. (Don’t worry if you missed my session, I have printable instructions for your use! Additionally, the recording of my session, as well as all of the other amazing and thoughtful speakers, is available until February 28th for ticket holders on Whova, and the Commemorative Report that documents the last decade of progress and challenges is available for purchase on the SA2020 store. I know I will be using zines to document my dreams and visions for the future of our city. 

More from SA2020