About this class

Course Description + Introduction

Zines, you’ve heard of them and if you are a part of the creative community or just enjoy reading in general, you’ve probably been exposed to one at some point in your life. Zines are, at their very essence, are independently created and published magazines that tell niche stories for niche audiences. Historically, they have been the platform that the counterculture used to freely share ideas. From the perzines of the 1930s to the underground punk rock zines of the 80s and the feminist manifestos of the 90s, zines have influenced creative culture and society as a whole for decades. They disseminate the voice of people under oppressive rule, they inspire people to take a stand through their art and they have a unique way of building community. This month, we are going to talk about zines and their latest rendition the digital zine and how you can utilize the concept as a form of self expression or promotion for your creative work. Whether you are an artist and illustrator looking to showcase your work, a designer who wants to create a unique portfolio or someone with a bigger creative idea wanting to bring it to life on pages with a team of fellow creatives, this class is for you. I’ve done a lot of creative work over the last 15 years - but some of my most memorable experiences were during my time publishing my indie zine: Halfstack Magazine. What started off as a fashion project, launched into a 6 year self directed  creative journey showcasing the best of Indie Chicago creatives in fashion, art and music. I did this alongside some of my most creative and inspiring friends that included photographers, artists, writers, graphic designers, stylists, makeup artists fashion specialists and so many more. You can check out our old kickstarter launch video here!


Hello everyone! If this your first class with me, welcome! If you are a returning student, welcome back! I am Jen and I will be guiding you through this creative course. I’m a freelance graphic designer, illustrator and educator based out of the midwest and I run Bella + Sophia Creative studio. If you want to learn more about me, you can visit me online at: www.bellasophiacreative.com and you can check out my youtube channel: The Freelance Life. There, you will get a behind the scenes view of the work I do as a creative freelancer and educator  as well as access to a huge library of additional free tutorials relating to art, design and illustration. I am a huge advocate for sharing knowledge in accessible ways and I have found online courses and places like Youtube are great places for this and help me to connect to a diverse group of people looking to learn and grow. 

In today’s class, we are going to be learning about and designing our own digital zine! I published the indie Creative Chicago focused zine Halfstack for 6 years and today I am going to share more about that journey, offer some insights on designing and creating for zines and show you how you can make your own zine using affinity publisher and the online platform issuu.com. 

What the class is about

In this class, we will creating a digital zine that features personal work. This can be used as a portfolio piece and a great item to use when pitching. I will walk you through the process of designing and launching a digital zine using Affinity Publisher and the online platform issuu.com 

Before we get into the nitty gritty of designing, though - I will share more about zines, the history of zines and the evolution into digital zines. I will share my personal zine story and utilize the indie zine I launched: Halfstack as a case study. I’ll offer insights on collaboration as I worked with what started as a 3 people team that evolved into working with over 20 creatives over 6 years. We will review the importance of having a concept and inspiration focus to guide the creative decisions you make. Then,  we will talk about creative direction and designing your zine right before we jump into layout design in Affinity Publisher. 

Even if you are not familiar with Affinity publisher, I will make sure you feel comfortable working in the software and walk you step by step through the process of laying out your pages. I will touch a bit on using mockups to display your art work, typography and concepts behind grid design. Then, I will walk you through the process of uploading your zine to issuu.com 

Who the class is geared toward 

This class is geared towards anyone interested in learning how to use Affinity Publisher to design their own digital zine. Whether you are a beginner or pro, this course will go through all the steps necessary to launch your zine online so you can showcase your work to the world in a fun and creative format. 

Tools needed 


Affinity Publisher - check it out here (currently 30% off as of 11/24/2021 - https://affinity.serif.com/en-us/publisher/-)

4 Visuals pieces of art work (can be illustrative, digital design, surface pattern design, photography etc - what ever you want to feature. Each with a paragraph descriptions.)

1 Headshot and

An artist statement (basically a bio about yourself and your work)

Mockup Resources

Creative Market



Course curriculum

    1. Setting up the file

    1. What is a Zine?

    1. The evolution to digital zines

    1. My Halfstack Journey

    1. Thoughts on Collaborations

About this course

  • $20.00
  • 19 lessons
  • 2 hours of video content

Discover your potential, start creating today!

Pricing options

Purchase individual courses at $20 each or get access to all 25 courses for $22/month. Buy an annual subscription up front and get 2 months free!

Student testimonials

“The class was extremely informative and explained things in a manner that was easy to understand. The instructor was very thorough and provided examples visually. I feel very confident that I can execute these instructions and be successful in it.”

Michelle Hoover

Meet Your Instructor

Jennifer Lezan

Designer | Illustrator | Educator

Hello! Welcome to The Creative Studio | Learn-Design-Create, my name is Jen. I am a Chicago-born Latinxer (I'm a proud Puerto Rican and Mexican American) millennial, an educator, and a freelance creative with experience in graphic design, digital media, illustration and surface pattern design. I am also a mother of two who is in on a mission to reach all the creative goals I've set for myself while trying my best to be a positive influence on the world. I have 10+ years of experience in the fashion and creative marketing industry in both the corporate world and teaching as a professor in Higher Education. Over the last 3+ years, I have taught and connected with over 13,000 students online. I am working on building course offerings that bring people a new perspective and opportunity to take your design and art skills to a new level. I am pushing for continued growth, running my indie studio, Bella+Sophia Creative, while also using my skills to help others interested in starting a career in the creative industries. My hope is to inspire others through creativity and help you find your creative voice. I look to inspire others as much as I look to be inspired. I'm so excited to get to know all of you! I am SO glad YOU are here!