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Creating an Interactive Digital Zine to Illustrate My Experiences

Do you want to learn how to create a zine digitally? This creative therapy intervention can be used in teletherapy sessions with children to aide in expressing thoughts and feelings! Zines can be created on digital platforms and then shared during teletherapy sessions to process various therapy topics such as COVID-19, quarantine experiences, and social activism. Keep reading to learn more!


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Let me start by saying that 2020 is definitely one for the books-literally! The world has seen so much hardship over the past year. Each month appears to fly by with a new challenge each week. The rapid changes and distress we have all experienced have put our resiliency to the test.


As mental health professionals, we are very aware of the impact the pandemic and violence we are being exposed to can play in a child's life.


Creativity and adaption to technology are now a way of life for us as we continue to find engaging interventions to utilize with our clients to address their concerns. We are pushed out of the comfort of our traditional environments and familiar interventions.


Like you, I am in constant research mode, looking for new ways to help my clients process these current events.


I have found a digital format to create zines for use in therapy. What is a zine, you might ask?! Keep on reading so I can share this cool and creative therapy activity with you.


Let's get to it!



What is a Zine?


A zine is a mini-book that is self-published on a topic of choice. A zine can focus on a particular social issue, idea, story, etc. In particular, this publication can be best described as a cross between an edgy magazine, illustrated DIY book, and collage.


Zines have been around since the 1970s and used to be the popular blogs of our current day. These publications were not only visually stunning and provocative but also a means of social activism and self-expression. This is the very reason why I have found zines to be the perfect addition to our digital art therapy tool kit.

Our current times call for therapeutic interventions that help clients document, express, and process their current experiences.



Digital Book Editors


So here is the most excellent part of this intervention. There are two free book creating editors that can be used online. [By the way, not an affiliate of either resource I will be mentioning here.] Both editors are intuitive and straightforward drag a drop platforms that children and teens can easily maneuver.





Book Creator


The first platform, bookcreator.com, I believe, appeals most to tweens and teenagers. This platform is a little advanced compared to the other platform I will be discussing in a second. In addition to creating a zine, clients can also experiment with keeping a visual diary/journal or create a digital comic book.


The platform allows the client to develop their own private account, and they can share a link to their completed digital book. Book Creator provides for each user 1 digital library and 40 digital books free of charge!





Bonus Tip #1: Check out my blog post, Adventures in Teletherapy: Part 1, to learn how to use a mobile app called, PicCollage, to create collage pages for the digital zine!

Clients can upload their own images, add web links, search google for pictures, and use built-in text, graphic, and drawing tools as well as options to change format, size, textures, and patterns to pages within the book. Once completed, the client can hit the read button for an animated flip through a book.


Clients can even choose to record their own voices narrating their completed books! Book creator is available in Spanish and many other languages as well. Click here for the Spanish Book Creator website and visit the language setting help article here to set this feature up via mobile app and/or desktop!


Bonus Tip 2: Use Book Creator to create a digital comic book story, a digital art journal, or self-care zine! For more information on creating a self-care zine, check out this article from NPR here.


Story Jumper


The second digital book editor is called Story Jumper. This platform is for elementary-aged children. Similar to the above platform, children can use a drag and drop editor to create a digital flip through book with their own images or choose to use drawing tools, text, or graphics provided within the book platform.


The photos are child friendly and do not allow children to engage in google searches within the platform, which I think is great because it is much safer for this age group. Although Story Jumper is not available in other languages, it is straightforward and easy to understand because the editor is visual and does not require much reading to use.





Resources About Creativity & Zines


If you want to create a physical zine, check out the following link from NPR that discusses "Quaranzines." You can check it out here. This interesting article provides an excellent illustration with step-by-step instructions on creating your own zine.


If you want more information on the benefits of creating zines during the pandemic, check out this other article from NPR here. Lots and lots of really cool and free resources are out there!


Do you need some inspiration?! Check out #quaranzine on Instagram and the following website about a quarantine zine project that accepts submission from individuals! There are many very great examples!


I will hit you with another dose of Art Therapy Rx next month! Stay safe out there! Oh, and don't forget to leave a comment below!

What did you think about this creative therapy intervention?


How do you use storytelling and books in your sessions?


With Love,

Lauren



Related blog articles for creative teletherapy resources!

  1. Therapy resources: COVID-19 Edition

  2. Adventures in Teletherapy: Part 1

  3. Adventures in Teletherapy: Part 2

  4. Diversity & Acceptance: Resources for therapy



Helpful Links & References:

  • https://daily.jstor.org/before-blogs-there-were-zines/

  • https://www.quarantine-zine.com/

  • https://www.npr.org/2020/05/28/863068957/how-to-make-a-mini-zine-about-life-during-the-pandemic

  • https://www.npr.org/2020/05/27/863291205/quaranzines-bring-readers-together-despite-distancing

  • https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/quaranzine/?hl=en

  • https://www.npr.org/2019/12/30/792439555/making-art-is-good-for-your-health-heres-how-to-start-a-habit

  • https://legacy.npr.org/assets/img/2020/01/03/LK_Creativity_Zine.pdf

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be utilized as a form of self-help, personal clinical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The content on this blog is meant for educational purposes and to provide clinical art therapy directives/resources for trained mental health professionals. This information is by no means a substitute for therapy.


Affiliate/Earning Disclaimer: Lauren Graham is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. In addition I an affiliate of the PlayTherapySupply.com. As an Amazon Associate and an affiliate of Play Therapy Supply, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases that are made by clicking on the affiliate links provided in this post. I only recommend products that I believe to be valuable and purchasing through my links is the same as shopping through Amazon. The only difference is you will be supporting my future work. Thank you!

© 2019-2020 The Primed Canvas

Lauren Graham, LPC, NCC, LCDC, ATR-P

Houston, TX

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