So I’ve created a few comics and zines and learned a few things about self-publishing since I moved to Portland, Oregon almost twelve years ago. During that time I’ve had the opportunity to learn about and use a plethora of different programs, tools, and local shops to get my creations into people’s hands. Earlier this year I taught a zine-making and self publishing class and it forced me to take a moment to compile a list of all of the best resources I’ve come across over the years that don’t break the bank but still allow you to create awesome work. And now I’m sharing this list with y’all!

The following list is broken into five segments:

  • Free to low-cost programs that you can utilize to create your zines and comics;

  • Places to go in Portland to get your stuff printed up all nice;

  • Distributors of small press and self-published work in Portland;

  • online distribution channels;

  • And downloadable zine templates.

This list will be updated regularly as I stumble across new stuff that might be of service to creators in Portland. At some point? This list will be expanded to include more national resources for printing and distribution. Have a favorite free to low-cost program you use to make your stuff? Have a good printer in your area? Drop me a line via the “Book Pharoah!” section of this website and send me links and what-not!

Free to low-cost programs you can use to produce your zines plus the operating systems they are compatible with:

  • GIMP (Mac/Windows/Linux) - Free: GIMP is a very good free photoshop alternative that even allows you to save files as .psd's (Photoshop format). You can download GIMP here.

  • MediBang Paint (Mac/Windows/iPad/iPhone/Android) - Free: A versatile photoshop alternative with great tools for those who are making comics. You can download MediBang here.

  • Affinity Triangle (Mac/Windows/iPad) - One-time payment of $20 - $50 for each program, depending on the version: The Affinity Triangle is a trio of graphic, photo editing, and publishing programs that rival anything the Adobe has to offer. Affinity Designer is a fully intuitive graphics program similar to Photoshop; Affinity Publisher is, dare I say, easier to use and better than InDesign; Affinity Photo is a strong image editing tool. All three programs save in all formats - including PSDs - so you lose nothing in file sharing. You can check out the Affinity Triangle here.

  • PDF Split and Merge Basic (Mac/Windows/Linux) - Free: A great free program that will allow you to merge your pdf zine pages into one master pdf file ready for print. You can grab PDFSAM Basic here.

  • (Desktop App [Monthly fee of $6 per month] for Mac/Windows; Online: Limited use per day: An online browser-based set of apps that will let you convert images and a variety of other files into PDF format. You can check it out here.

  • Cheap Impostor (Mac - One-time payment of $35): Cheap imposition software that will allow you to easily set up your master pdf for seamless printing. You can check it out here.

Places to go in Portland, OR for printing:

  • IPRC: The Independent Publishing Resource Center is a great resource for practically all of your self-publishing needs. Check them out here.

  • Postal Annex+: Local chain of print shops with great pricing and customer service. Find a PostalAnnex+ location near you here.

  • ColorHaus PrintCo: Local print shop with a variety of paper and printing options that are great with printing your work in hi-res color. Check them out here.

Distros in Portland, OR:

Online Distribution - Online storefronts

Downloadable templates