Printing anything professionally can be daunting, let alone trying to print your own comics. While the team here at PaperScape Press are here to help, here are a few pointers to help you better understand the setup and requirements for your peace of mind when it comes to printing your books!
Print-Ready Set Up
Ideally, before you start your artwork you’ll be thinking about setting it up for production. This can be the difference between making something that’s a little off and making a comic that looks store-bought.
Bleed & Margins are the two important factors that should be taken into consideration even before you put pen to paper and start drawing your books, especially if you want edge-to-edge printing and flashy illustrated spreads. Bleed is the extra artwork that extends beyond the edges of a page and is designed to be trimmed off. Margins mark the internal padding or ‘safe area’ that ensures nothing important is trimmed off any important graphics and text should be inside this area.
Gutter, much like margin is about making sure you don’t lose any important info. For books and comics this means leaving a little extra room where you know the centre fold of the book will be so that you don’t distort your picture of text. This means that is you’re making a glorious two page spread the middle of the spine is not a good place for a speech bubble!
We recommend a minimum of 5mm as a margin and 3mm of bleed allowance on all sides. If your preferred software doesn’t allow you to add bleed this means the final size of your file should be an additional 6mm in length and width.
CMYK is the preferred colour mode for print. We recommend using it from the beginning, if your software or scanner allows, for a more accurate on-screen representation of how the colours in your file will print. CMYK stands for “Cyan Magenta Yellow Black,” which are the four ink colours used in printing. Since these aren’t backlit like the (RGB) colours on a screen CMYK includes a smaller range of possible colours that can be recreated in print. This means that the colours you have in mind on screen may be impossible to recreate when printed.
DPI (aka “Dots Per Inch”) refers to the quality of your file when creating your digital file or scanning your pages for print. Ensuring you have at least 300dpi will make sure your pages are at a high enough resolution for your files to be printed without pixelization. As a general rule, the higher the quality, the better—but keep in mind, the file size will get bigger too.
So, if you’ve made sure that your print file has been set up with the above in mind you should be ready to export! When exporting for print the ideal file is a high resolution pdf. Export your book as pages (not spreads) and, if your software allows it, add crop marks so your printer knows where to trim your book.
We hope this has been helpful! If you have any questions that you think we could answer, feel free to get in touch. Otherwise, keep an eye out for future tips and tricks into printing your comic!