Comic books capture the readers’ imagination through pictures that come with short texts. Besides the comic’s storyline, the printing process of a comic book can be a decisive factor in whether you are going to be a successful comic artist.
If you are self-publishing a comic, you must research the different publishing/printing options available for comics today. This blog post will talk you through important information to be aware of and some points to consider before you publish your first comic book.
Important Talking Points Before You Print Your Comic Book
Page sizes for comic books differ based on the genre and the type of comic you are willing to print. The Standard size for comic books is considered to be 6.625″ x10.25″, but the size for your comic is not restricted to the standard comic page size.
There are 3 types of binding popular in the comic-book industry- square (perfect) binding, stapled binding, and saddle stitch binding.
GlueBinding uses binding glue to create a durable, well-bound comic; however, this type of binding comes with a greater cost since binding glue is more expensive than most other binding techniques. Nevertheless, the durability of such a binding technique means that square binding is often popular for high-end and large comic books that contain more than 64 pages.
Stapled Binding is exactly what its name suggests; this binding process staples your pages together to put together your comic book. The main drawback of this type of binding is that larger comics (containing 96 pages or above) cannot be held very well using staplers, so you might have to switch to square binding instead.
In Saddle Stitch Binding, pages are bound together by stitching with thin threads of wire. This method is only suitable for comic books containing up to 64 pages.
Though more popular for comic printing, color printing is much more expensive than its black and white counterpart. On the other hand, colored comics also tend to sell better than BNW comics- so maybe opting for the more expensive option of color printing is, after all, worth the money.
Types of Comic Books
The word ‘comic’ originates from the United States before quickly gaining recognition in Britain and around the world. Out of the many types of comics out there, superhero comics are the most popular. The word ‘comic books’ is synonymous with superhero comics. This brings us to our first type of comic:
Superhero comics are usually printed in 6.625×10.25 trim, but some limited edition or special versions may be found in larger sizes. Commonly coming with full-color, vivid images, superhero comics are not cheap to make.
For a visually appealing, neat-looking comic book, we suggest you keep a gap of a quarter-inch (0.25″) from the edges. Additionally, for digital artists making the comic art, make sure to calibrate your monitor for all the colors to be displayed accurately on your screen to avoid any unwanted surprises when you set yourself to publish the final piece on paper.
Originating from the East-Asian land of Japan, Manga comics are a tough test for publishers.
Manga art can be made digitally or manually, and the sizes of manga are often a tad bit smaller than standard-sized comics. Manually-made mangas that are initially drawn on paper first need to be scanned, and the images need to be corrected for smudges and blurs- tidying up the image digitally.
Digitally created mangas also need some correcting so that the different shades of gray appear perfectly. So whether you are creating manga art digitally or on paper, they still go through an intensive image-correcting process before being published.
Each image also needs to be touched up to avoid overlapping repeated screen-tones to avoid the moiré effect. For those who are unaware of this effect, moiré is an unwanted side effect where the images appear with a weird lattice pattern.
The cover for manga comics almost always comes in paperback, with their covers often printed on a card in monochrome recto while lying on one side. This is because the monochrome covers are often accompanied by a jacket.
Sci-Fi and Fantasy
This genre of the comic is often printed in the standard size and is loved by fans because of its rich, detailed, and elaborate art. So naturally, this makes colored books of this genre more popular than greyscaled counterparts, but some well-detailed greyscaled sci-fi and fantasy comics may be able to grasp the readers’ attention just as strongly.
Dramas and Memoirs
Readers of this genre of comics usually don’t have a preference for action-packed, vibrant images, mitigating the need for expensive color print. Therefore, when printing Dramas and Memoirs, you should consider printing black and white (or greyscale) in bitmap format.
On the contrary, such comics are text-heavy, so you should make sure that the texts are large and readable.
As days go by, comics are evolving into collectors’ items, which can sometimes be quite pricey. However, this genre of comics is not one for the collectors, meaning that they should be low-priced. In addition, they should be vibrant and colorful enough to capture the readers’ (children, in this case) attention while being inexpensive enough to convince the parents to buy the books.
Kids’ comics should be durable and colorful, with a strong cover stock, and should have larger fonts with fun art to take the young readers into a world of imagination.
Comic-Printing Process (A Summary)
- Choose the Size.
- Determine the Color-Scheme.
- Choose the Paper Type.
- Choose the Binding Type.
- Find a Printing Company.
- Add Content to Your Comic.
- Add Colors to Make Your Book Appear More Attractive.
- Review and Refine.
A Step-by-Step Guide on the Printing Process of Comics
Choose the Size
Depending on the genre, your comic may be manga-sized, standard-sized, or any size larger or smaller than that. Therefore, it’s important to determine your genre and choose the right size for your comic.
Choose the Color Option
You can either choose your comic to be black and white, greyscale, or colored. While BnW and greyscale may be cost-saving options, your genre of the comic might demand colored print.
Choose the Paper Type
Offset paper is most popularly used for the inside content of comic books, but other options such as gloss-covered card stock and matte-covered card stock also exist. Research and explore the different paper materials to determine what suits best for your needs.
Choose the Binding
As explained above, three main types of binding exist in the market today- glue binding, stapled binding, and saddle-stitch binding. Depending on your budget, preference, and book size, you can choose any three listed above.
Choose a Printing Company
The availability of printing companies varies based on where you reside. So, it’s up to you to research and find out the best printing company near you.
Besides, some online printing companies also offer high-quality print and don’t require you to be physically present in the shop. You can submit your comic book PDF to such online printing companies, and they will get your book printed in days.
Adding Content to Your Comic
It’s time to sort out your book pages, make a final decision on the color scheme, binding, and paper type, and for making the art for your comic.
Comic art can either be created manually or digitally. Manually-created art is scanned and corrected to blurs and smudges, essentially turning it into a digital copy.
Artists often mark sound effects and word balloons with a blue pencil, entering the texts digitally. It’s always a good idea to stay in touch with the artist and the printing company in general to discuss and implement changes and corrections.
With texts added digitally, along with images, word bubbles, and sound effects, your comic-making process is near complete. Now is when the coloring process should start.
Modern technologies offer a great, rich color gamut and are done digitally. Each specific one from the four base colors is allocated with a code and is assigned to each part of the art. Determine a color theme, and make sure the art, in its full glory, is good enough to capture the readers’ imaginations.
Review and Refine
Once texts and images have been added, it’s important to proofread and ensure that everything is exactly how you want it to be free from mistakes and well-suited to your taste and preferences. You should only give the green light to publish your piece once it’s perfect.