The 3 Best Independent Zines for Art and Adventure

In a galaxy far, far away from traditional broadsheet newspapers and old glossy mags, we find the world of independently published zines. Stylish. Smart. Fine-tuned storytelling. These days independent magazines are thriving. Curated as well as an art exhibition; the zine offers a unique platform for self-expression and the diffusion of ideas about the world around us.

Here at Òr we’re always on the look out for the creative and the unusual. The zines we love range from visual arts to kooky bits of history, there’s-something-you-didn’t-know titbits to good old-fashioned tales of adventure. Our new found love of collecting independent mags has made our stash a treasure trove for anyone who’s interested in art, nature, travel, photography, writing and well, just bizarre stories.

Art and adventure are the bread and butter of what we do here at Òr, so we’ve hand-picked 3 zines from our treasure chest to get you inspired, wherever you might be…

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Ernest Journal

The one for history and nature

Now in its eighth issue, Ernest publishes stories of adventures in the old vein - the long, meandering type re-told by a grand-parent filled with nostalgia. Read about Ben Langworthy, who travelled around the British Isles with a sketch book drawing every lighthouse on the coastal line. Hear about the search for the extinct Bison hidden deep in the Carpathian mountains or even, learn about the history of the Sirocco wind. If for nothing other than impressing your friends with your knowledge of these quirky tales, Ernest certainly delivers an intriguing read with its collection of extraordinary stories.

Bound like a classic novel and printed on thick velvety paper, Ernest is a delight for all the senses. Pieced together by an eclectic mix of thinkers, the scope of this journal is impressive. Here we have a melting pot of writers, illustrators, mountaineers, home brewers, professors, wild swimmers and activists - perfect for a long leisurely read.


Illustration from Ernest Journal by Ruth Thorp @ruththorpstudio

Illustration from Ernest Journal by Ruth Thorp @ruththorpstudio

Rucksack Magazine

The one for travel

Think inspirational double-paged travel photographs mixed with intrepid tales from across the world and you have Rucksack Magazine.

Every issue of Rucksack showcases a different theme. So far 2019 has seen The Winter Issue, The Pursuit Issue and the Island Issue (our favourite of course). Each contributor is given free rein to tackle the theme in whichever way they like, leaving an ocean of ideas for the reader/contemporary nomad to explore. The photographs are good enough to frame and hang above your bed. There are interviews with everyone from professional journalists and photographers to everyday people doing extraordinary things. Truly the one if your’re looking to indulge in a little escapism through some incredible visual story-telling.


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Art North

The one for art & artists in the North of Scotland

Lastly, we have a truly unique and trail-blazing publication from our corner of the map. Despite facing unique and adverse conditions (one of its issues was a week late due to a severe power outage!) Art North prides itself on not only representing artists based in the far North but delivering up-to-date information about events and exhibitions. Debuting this year and located in one of the most northernly points in Scotland this publication is making serious waves already addressing hard-hitting subjects such as climate change and female representation in the arts. We couldn’t recommend supporting this small, locally based publication enough.


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You can pop in and find any of our independent magazines here in our shop in Portree on the Isle of Skye!

Nell Sleetmagazines, literature, travel, art