Monday, April 28, 2014

Another zine swap! - due May 27th

People have been clamoring for another zine swap after last year's wonderful exchange.
Rather than re-invent the wheel, I'm reposting my original tutorial for those of you who missed it the first time or need a refresher....

For this swap we are creating mini zines out of a single sheet of paper.

But first, what's a zine?
According to our good friends at wikipedia:

A zine (/ˈzn/ ZEEN; an abbreviation of fanzine, or magazine) is most commonly a small circulation self-published work of original and/or appropriated texts and images usually reproduced via photocopier.

For this swap, we are creating a particular style of zine:  one created from a single sheet of standard 8.5 x 11 inch  copy paper, with no binding or stapling required.
A few folds and a single cut transforms the paper into a small booklet.
You will create an original master zine and then make 4 color copies to send for the swap.

If you send a 5th zine for ME to keep, I will send you a zine in return.  Because ohmygod I love zines.  And it killed me to not keep every single one you guys made in the last swap.

I will outline the steps in photos, but if you learn better by watching and listening, I filmed an incredibly goofy video showing you the basic technique and offering a few tips.

To get started, choose your topic.
Ideas include:
  • A tutorial (I wrote one about how to make gelatin prints) 
  • A memoir (I wrote one about a road trip I took in 1989)
  • A rant (I wrote one about this past never-ending winter)
  • A fictional story
  • An illustrated poem
  • A tribute to your favorite .... (movie, hobby, artist, place, etc)
  • A mini art journal - you could scan pages from your art journal and shrink them down to fit on the small pages or create original pages just for this swap (I made one from some of my favorite pieces from the Index-card-a-day project)
 Don't feel limited by that list.  The content and style is complete up to you.  You can get more inspiration here and here.  
Plus, if you search this blog for "zine" you'll see some sample pages from all the zines that were swapped in July.

Next, you need to plan your layout.
I find it much easier to create the zine when the paper is still flat, rather than after I've folded it, but you need to know how to sequence your pages so they line up properly.

Here's a template:

and here's the master sheet of my road trip zine:

I used a piece of painted card stock as my base, and I cut appropriately sized rectangles out of more card stock to create the art for each page.  I glued the pages down according to the template and photocopied this master sheet onto standard copy paper.  It was a little tricky making sure my 8 rectangles were glued with perfect alignment to where the folds would be once I copied it.

For my gelatin print tutorial, I took one of my actual gelatin prints to use as the background for the zine:

I folded it so I could define the rectangles, then unfolded it, smoothed it out, and wrote directly onto that sheet (turning the paper according to the template so that my writing wouldn't be upside down once I folded it.)  I printed a few of my photos in tiny sizes and glued them onto the sheet.  The downside is that I kept making mistakes in my writing which would ruin the whole sheet and make me start over.  The upside is I knew my text and pictures would line up perfectly within the folds.

So now you've made your master, and made your photocopies.
It's time to fold and cut.
I suggest practicing this technique several times on plain paper before you try it with your color copies.
Fold it in half one way (I usually fold it back and forth and really crease it well on both sides)

Unfold it, then fold it in half the other way:

Now fold the edge toward the center and repeat on the other side.

Now you should have 8 rectangles and it's time to make the cut.
Unfold it, then fold it in half again this way:

Make a cut from the folded edge to the next fold line:

Unfold it and refold it this way:

 Now push the ends toward each other to make the pages pop out:

Fold it so the front cover is on top and the fold for the book spine is on the left:

Need to see it in action?


Swap details:
  • create an original mini zine out of one sheet of paper, using the technique shown.
  • make four/five color copies of that zine.  Keep your original for yourself, and send the four/five copies to me (cut, folded and ready to swap.)
  • Make sure your name and email address and/or website is on the back of your zine.
  • Put your zines in an envelope along with a mailing label with your name and address, and enough postage to cover the cost of mailing the envelope back to you.  You don't need to include an empty envelope, or postage for five envelopes.  You're going to get back five different zines in one envelope.  (so it would be nice if they envelope you use to send them to me is somewhat sturdy so it will be easy for me to reuse.)
  • You can also send me the cost of postage via paypal if you'd prefer -
  • Drop it in the mail no later than May 27th:
Karen Isaacson
PO Box 532
Shrewsbury, MA 01545
United States

Friday, April 25, 2014

"Inspired by...." postcard swap - Due May 19th

Here’s one I hope you’ll have fun with.

Choose a favorite artist and create a postcard in the style of his or her work. 

You can interpret your artist as literally or as loosely as you want.

You could re-create a famous painting. (want to try your hand at the Mona Lisa?) or interpret a famous painting using a different technique (Starry night in torn paper, perhaps?)

You could adopt another artist’s technique (want to fling some paint like Jackson Pollack?  Or use paper cut-outs like Matisse?)

You could focus on an artist’s favorite subject matter or motif.  (How about some giant flowers like Georgia O’Keeffe?)
The possibilities are endless.

Use any materials you want, but try to capture the essence of your artist’s style in some way.

The artist can be famous, or rather unknown.  It’s up to you.  Just be sure to write on the back of the postcard which artist you chose, and perhaps share a few words about why you chose this person, or how you approached this challenge.

Swap details:
  • You may submit as many as  four cards  (you will get back the same number you send)(you can interpret the same artist multiple times, or create a card for several different artists)
  • if you're sending me more than one, please make sure you insert waxed paper or parchment in between the cards so they don't get stuck together in the envelope
  • write “MMSA inspired by…” on the back of your card to remind your recipient why they are receiving this wonderful work of art in the mail
  • write your return address on the back of the postcard (in case of postal delivery problems) and your email address so the recipient can thank you. 

  • Add a note on the back explaining which artist you are interpreting.

  • include a mailing label with your name and address for each card you create
    (I will attach them to the cards I mail back to you)
  • Please attach the proper postage to your postcard (see below for postal guidelines).  If you don’t have any stamps and it’s difficult for you to get some, go ahead and send me money instead.  You can stick cash in the envelope, or send it to me via paypal (

  • international swappers are welcome - the postage cost is $1.15 per card (paypal account is

Postage and Card Size
You are welcome to make any size postcard you want, but please pay attention to the following postal guidelines
  • In order to use the postcard rate ($.34) your card cannot be bigger than 4.25 x 6 inches, and it must be thin and flexible.  A 4x6 card that is thick, lumpy or doesn't bend, needs more postage

  • If your card is a rectangle bigger than a postcard, but still flat and flexible, a regular "forever" ($.49 ) stamp is what you need.

  • If your card is an unusual shape (square, round) or is flexible but has some lumpy embellishments it will probably cost you the "non machinable" rate of $.70

  • If your card doesn't bend at all, the post office considers it a package and you should go get it weighed to figure out the proper postage.
You can find all the postal specifications (and a handy postage calculator) here:

Mail your cards no later than May 19th. (I don’t need to receive them by the 19th, they need to be postmarked by the 19th.)

Karen Isaacson
PO Box 532
Shrewsbury, MA 01545
United States

Brown and Blue - part 3

I have more lovely browns and blues to share with you tonight!

One from Carlene:

Three from Currie:

One from Eric:

Two from Gina:

Three from Jenny R:

Two from Joyce:

Four from Karen Y:

Four from Nancy:

More to come!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Brown & Blue postcards - part 2

I confess.  
I'm a wee bit partial to this color combination.  
My bedroom is brown and blue and it is an oasis of calm.  
I love what you're all doing with this theme.
I can't get enough.

Three from Alyssa:

Four from Care:

Two from Carroll:

One from Christie:

Four from Ellen:

Two from Jo:

Two from Leslie:

Four from Linda:

A series of these from Phillip:

One from Tammy: