52 Ways to Be Creative: Mini Zine with The Drawing Club

About 52 Ways to Be Creative: Each week of 2019, I will take a course or take part in peer-to-peer learning related to art and all things creative. I’ll refresh a few forgotten skills, stretch into new areas, and share my experiences. You are welcome to join in. Message me and use the hashtag #52WaysToBeCreative if you do.

For week 3 of 52 Ways to Be Creative I celebrated the art of the low-tech zine with The Drawing Club.


  • Creating a zine is fun and easy

  • Going low-tech is a nice contrast to working digitally — during the workshop, we used paper, scissors, pencils, and markers

  • Meeting up with a relaxed group of artists and illustrators is a pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon!



  • £10.00

  • Supplies included: paper, pencils, and markers

The Drawing Club  by Manoyla Isik

The Drawing Club by Manoyla Isik

About My Experience

I met Manolya Isik a year ago when she dropped in to support Bill Wright’s Enhanced Illustration course at Central Saint Martins. The course was a lot of fun, introduced me to new digital techniques, and connected me a group of independent illustrators working in London.

Since then, I had my eye on attending one of her workshops. Manolya runs The Drawing Club, a monthly event held upstairs at SMUG, a lovely lifestyle store on Camden Passage in Islington, London. Each workshop has a different theme (plants and fruit are popular ones), and participants are invited to experiment with different materials in a relaxed and friendly environment.

Upstairs at  SMUG

Upstairs at SMUG

When we arrived, the materials were set out at each seat. She provided instructions and inspiration, including a few beautifully illustrated books and Sucre, a zine she produced with her friend, a French pastry chef.

We chatted a bit about the history of the zine, and Manolya mentioned its origins in science fiction.

A zine (/ziːn/ ZEEN; short for magazine or fanzine) is a small-circulation self-published work of original or appropriated texts and images, usually reproduced via photocopier. Zines are either the product of a single person, or of a very small group and are popularly photocopied into physical prints for circulation.

The term was coined in an October 1940 science fiction fanzine by Russ Chauvenet and popularized within science fiction fandom, entering the Oxford English Dictionary in 1949.

Zine, Wikipedia

Manolya took us through the process of folding and cutting the A4 sheet of paper, leaving us each with a small booklet containing a back and front cover and three spreads.

Mini Zine instructions by illustrator  Manolya Isik

Mini Zine instructions by illustrator Manolya Isik

As I folded my paper, I remembered a bookmaking course I took when I was a student at The Cooper Union in New York City. We were encouraged to take electives that stretched our creativity. I took a poetry class and bookmaking course in the same semester, and I decided to cross-pollinate the skills I learned to assemble a small book of my poems.

I creased the paper to create my mini-zine, and I thought of a bone folder I used to have. The tool was simple (made of plastic, not bone), but it made a massive difference in the quality and ease of folding each sheet of paper.

Bone folders ( source )

Bone folders (source)

A bone folder, bonefolder, or folding bone is a dull-edged hand tool used to fold and crease material in crafts such as bookbinding, cardmaking, origami, and other paper crafts that require a sharp crease or fold. The tool was also used when correspondence by letter writing was more formal and an art.

Bone folder, Wikipedia

From there, we were free to sketch ideas out, then dig into filling the pages. We were encouraged to open the zine up and sketch a poster or pattern on the full sheet of the reverse.

Min-zines created at the workshop ranged from Dan Parry’s science fiction story ‘Doomed to Be Repeated’ to a delicate booklet of Austrian desserts, from memories of childhood meals to a sweet story of kittens.

It was a fun workshop and a fantastic way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Read about other weeks, and look out for week 4 of 52 Ways to Be Creative.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments. Feel free to get in touch.