*Please note that links lead to affiliate purchase opportunities.*
I'm going to be honest, as an occultist, I don't care so much about your new tarot cards or books anymore.
There's more to the occult art community than making tarot card variations and writing boring academic treatises on magick. I mean, really, we get it. We've seen it all a hundred times before.
Why you should make occult zines.
You know what? Fuck a normal grimoire.
I don't want to make an average, run-of-the-mill record of my magickal pursuits. I think I will chronicle them in zines.
Zines represent the ultimate in free press ventures. They are impossible to stop, and their ideas are unfiltered.
Before there were a million blogs on the web trying to optimize their SEO to drag in new readers to consume their never-ending bullshit listicles, there was the zine.
Zines, unlike many blogs, had an actual personality.
They weren't trying to sell you anything other than thinking for yourself. They were little pieces of art that represented your personality. Each one was unique to its creator(s).
Advances in digital publishing have made it super easy to make a zine that reflects your personality, and they're a great way to attract like-minded people.
The occult zine can act as modern, living grimoire.
Instead of trying to record your magickal works like a diary, which is rather boring and predictable, try making it into a semi-regularly published zine.
One, this keeps you accountable. Someone might actually read your work one day. You'll want to be reliable for them, as well as yourself.
Two, it's a great way to leave it out there as a legacy. Post it in a torrent, save it on Scribd, give it to the Internet Archive. Your digital occult goodness will last forever.
Don't know how to do all the design? No worries!
If you want to make it digitally first, our recommendation is Canva. We use the Pro version to create all ours zines, ads, memes, etc. and it's well worth the cost. This is, by far, the cheapest and easiest to use tool I've found to make digital zines.
You can, of course, also use things like InDesign, but those applications get prohibitively expensive quickly. I would avoid them if you want to keep the budget small.
Now, many people in the zine community are of the opinion that the only real zine is made by hand. As someone who spent a lot of their teenage years making zines, I can say that's certifiable, gatekeeping bullshit. A narrow-minded clique can't define what is or isn't a zine.
Don't worry, though, those types of zine publishers are easy to ignore and avoid. The environment of the zine community overall is helpful and sincere.
How to make an occult grimoire zine: the process in 6 easy steps!
- Come up with your idea(s), magickal theory, records of your magickal work, and write them down.
- Flesh out those ideas into something worth reading.
- Create or find art to put in your zine. You'll want some sort of snazzy cover design. (Be sure to credit artists.)
- Lay out the zine physically, using a cut-up method of creating, or lay it out digitally in whatever program you're most comfortable with.
- Make a mastercopy for physical reproductions via a high-quality PDF.
- Get started on the next issue.
You're probably thinking to yourself, "Yeah... so simple."
Relax. I'm gonna break this down for you, give you some suggestions and tips, and try to point you towards success.
Creating a physical vs. digital copy of your zine (and why you should do both.)
I love all things digital. It's easy to copy and distribute via multiple streams. I also feel there is a lot to be said for something physical you can hold in your hands.
The good news is all you need to become a successful publisher of your zines is a relatively cheap printer and a copy shop. You can make an envelope sized zine and ship it domestically for around $4- $7.
You can also work with zine distros for publication. For example, the zine distro we plan to set up soon involves sending us your digital proof, and we print it and ship it for you.
All you really need if you don't want to go digital (which I will explain further down) is some paper, pens, and some imagination to get started. The tools you use, the additional things you put in, that's all up to you.
The standard zine size I see most frequently is digest sized. Basically, take a normal piece of 8.5 x 11 printer paper, fold it in half. Tada! That's digest sized.
This gives you four sides on each piece of paper to spew your madness, collages, art, or whatever out there.
Take your master copy to a print shop, have them run off some double-sided copies for you, and bada-bing, you have a zine.
There are tons of other options, too, but here's a Google search for you: how to make zines. Tons o' links and tons o' ways to make 'em. Welcome to your next rabbit hole!
I do most of my work digitally.
The 21st Century zine maker has a lot of options. Most are free or at least affordable.
I have a cheap ass, AIO computer I got for less than $1100. This handles everything I need to make zines, podcasts, videos, and more. Don't be fooled by entitled shit heads making you think you have to buy $3-$4K rigs. Will they do better? Yeah, but you can do this on the cheap.
I make all the zines with a program called Canva. I think it costs around $15 a month or so. It's all I've ever needed to make zines.
I use the MidJourney AI as my artistic collaborator. Cost me $30-$50 a month.
I do all my original artwork on an XP-Pen Digital Artist Pro 12. It's small, affordable, and works very well for an inexpensive digital pad. Wacoms are nice, but these are in anyone's ballpark, ranging from $100-$500.
All of my writing is done in OnlyOffice. I upload it all to my Proton Drive. I use a Chromebook for all of my writing and other work on the go, so it just makes sense to use the Google environment. Plus, it's freely available for everyone to use.
Printer setup is OPTIONAL, but it cost me roughly $1k to get this all going. I use an Epson EcoTank. It prints exceptionally well and the ink is affordable for a lot of printing.
Put it out there!
Put it out in the world. Tell people about your magickal experiences. You can talk to us about selling your zine on our store, or you can start a Patreon, or you can open up a Gumroad store.
The options are endless and there IS an audience out there that wants to hear what you have to say.
You just have to say it.
Follow Joe on Twitter @chaosmagicksite.