Oct162020: Printing a Webcomic

“Hi! I have a big question. What are things that you need to consider when you want your webcomic to be printed into a bound book? I’m planning on making my first webcomic and I’m open for the potential for it to be published, but I don’t want to run into too much technical troubles (eg. images aren’t in right resolution). This is probably a broad question, but your advice would be really helpful.”

asked by luneandbarbecue

Hm, ok, just some basic things.

1. At least 300 dpi in your preferred printing size. Won’t make much difference if you go above 400, except it tortures your computer more.
2. Best to stick to standard book sizes to keep costs manageable (it costs more to cut paper into a non-standard size). I personally use A4, the standard European comic size. American publishing uses 5 x 7 inches, 7.5 x 9 etc. Take a book you imagine your comic printed as and measure the dimensions.
3. Add 0.125 inch bleed around the page and DON’T draw anything important or panel borders near the inner edge of this bleed.
4. Read up on live/safe area, trim areas, etc. A google into printing basics will do.
5. Keep your layers separated in this order: text, speech bubble (colour and outline separated), panel border and lineart, colour. Makes moving things easier in the future.
6. Keep your original layered files.
7. When posting your webcomic online, get rid of the bleed, scale down the image and save as JPG or PNG.
8. CMYK colours instead of RGB.

Optional stuff:
9. Plan your comic in terms of double page spreads. Even if you only post single pages online… in book form, your comic will be seen mostly as a double page spread. This helps you plan your page turn reveals and transition scenes better.
10. Relatedly, think about the gutter (where pages dip into the book spine). Make sure you don’t draw or write anything super important in there unless you are able to request a lie-flat binding from your printer.
11. Use true black for text if your text is black. (it’s not #000000 or the darkest black in your software’s palette) Cos it makes the text print out better. For my personal work I usually don’t bother though. It’ll be ok.

Reimena Yee is a graphic novelist, artist and flamingo enthusiast.

She writes and illustrates quite a few webcomics and graphic novels. When not making books, she lulls away her time with essays on craft, life and experiences in the publishing industry. Some of her thoughts of art and life are rather unstructured and will evolve over time as this blog matures, as they should be.

Currently committed to being Alexander the Great's death doula. Is a nerd for all things spooky and historical.

Melbourne / Kuala Lumpur

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