Zine World: A Writer's Workshop - Course is closed

Department: Visual Arts

Instructor: Siloh Radovsky
Instructor's Email: sradovsk@ucsd.edu 
Prerequisites: None

Course Description

In this intensive course, we will use the format of zines — self-produced magazines — to explore the craft of writing and the potentials of genre. Because zines operate at the intersection of literature and art, this workshop will also allow writers to explore the visual element of their work. How does the addition of found or drawn images influence a story’s meaning? How does the layout of words on the page “teach” readers how to engage with your writing? These questions will be explored in tandem with the craft of writing itself, as we approach the difficult work of writing with a playful attitude towards form. Burgeoning writers with interests in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and experimental genres alike will develop fundamental skills they will use in the university setting (and beyond!) — transforming ideas into drafts, giving and receiving feedback, and developing a sense of artistic intent. Through activities that include discussions, studio time, shared readings, and workshop, we’ll form an artistic community where participants will hone their creative skills and expand their familiarity with genre. We’ll explore a wide repertoire of zines (including early fanzines and their more contemporary iterations) to prepare students for their final projects, which they will be given free rein in regards to form. 

We’ll also share some studio time with the visual arts course “The Expanded Portfolio” to generate visual content to work with, and at the end of the course we’ll host a shared “zine fest” where students from both courses will share their work. By the end of the session, students should have increased confidence in using word and image to share ideas, as well as in navigating the creative process itself. They should also have a preliminary understanding of genre conventions as well the understanding that these conventions can be broken. This course is designed for students interested in creative writing, art history, literature, design, book-arts, and/or visual arts. Students who are interested in creative writing but who do not plan to pursue it in higher education (including those who are interested in science!) are very encouraged to attend. Zine writing, at its heart, is a portable practice, and can be taken with you regardless of the academic path you choose ahead. 

Learning Outcomes

  • Improve creative writing skills
  • Connect creative writing to a visual arts practice (or use of found images)
  • Develop analytical skills for in-class readings and discussions
  • Engage critically with creative works across genre and disciplines
  • Gain familiarity with different genres of graphic texts (historical + contemporary)
  • Locate topics of interest and curiosity in writing through independent projects and an introduction to the artist statement
  • Develop effective and respectful techniques for workshop participation
  • Develop skill-set for completing open-ended, creative assignments

Course Outline

Intro to Zines / Writing as a Process

  • We’ll establish writing as a process and learn some tools for navigating it
  • We’ll briskly traverse the history of zines and the forms that preceded them (from illuminated manuscripts to commercial magazines) before settling into focused prompts, using genres of zines as “templates.” Included in the week’s assignments — write a short fan-zine on the topic of your choice.

Writing as a Community Practice / the Internet Changes Everything

  • We’ll dig into the collaborative writing workshop, where students will learn to give and receive thoughtful, encouraging, and generative feedback on their writing
  • We’ll discuss what it means to be creating printed media in the digital era. How do digital forms influence the work we’re doing? What factors are at play in our decisions to either engage or reject that influence? How does it influence the ways we include images in our work?
  • As we continue to explore different genres of writing and zines, students will start to zero in on both form and content for their final project.

Zine World / Magazine World

  • Students will engage in the writing and revision process for their final projects, developing sense of voice and confidence in directing the creative process. 
  • We’ll have a lighter reading load for the final week, or rather, reading will be more self-directed.

*Courses vary by experience and exposure to content. Instructors have the ability to change content and pace to serve the needs of students.


Learn About the Application Process