DIY comics for beginners Pt. 4

Posted: Tuesday, August 12, 2003
By: Darren Schroeder

Cover of DIY comics for beginners Pt. 4

How do you get your comic printed?

If you have access to a photocopier you can just run off as many as you want, otherwise take your artwork to the copy centre and ask them to do it for you. If you do this make sure you have a mock-up of the finished product, with page numbers and a full description of what you want so they know what you want them to do; they can't read minds and you don't want to have to pay for a stack of waste paper. Ask them to do one test before they do the whole run.

Comics come in a variety of formats so don't feel that you have to stick with what I've described so far. Part of the appeal of small press is that not everything looks the same, and a novel design can make your book standout.

A favourite of mine is the A5 sized booklet. An important thing to realise when you are making a booklet is that your pager count has to be multiples of 4 (for pages per sheet of paper). The last publication I produced in this size had the following specifications:

A5 booklet B/W. Convite White card 210gsm (Cover) and A4 both sides white 80gsm inside. Collated, folded and stapled trimmed x 150 booklets. Translated, this means that it used standard photocopy/printer paper (80gsm) for the interior pages and a heaver card (210gsm) for the cover.

To make things simple for the printers I get good quality A4 sized copies of all the artwork with good margins and make the comic up in an A4 clear refill with page numbers. I give this to the printers to make the comic up from. They are also given written instructions on how many copies/format etc. and contact details so they can get hold of me if they discover a problem during printing. Remember, if you give them your work in a muddle then you'll get a muddle back.

You might want to vary the colour of the cover card to attract readers attention, and perhaps experiment with colour illustrations. A useful tip a member of the smallpressnet mailing list suggested was to print colour panels separately and then past them onto the cover. Have a talk to the printer and see what they can offer, or take in a sample of a comic you like the look of and ask them if they can do the same for you and what they would need from you to achieve it. And remember, get a quote so you know if it's in your price range.

As technology advances some copy centres are able to print from files on disk, so if you have access to a computer and scanner, you can just scan your originals in, format them, and give these to the printer. You should of course find out from the printer what format they can use.

How much can you charge?

You have to be realistic about this. By all means try and recover your costs if you can, but always ask yourself "What would I pay for something like this?" Have a chat with the local comic shop owners and see what they think. If you are going to be selling through them find out what mark up they want (the difference between what you charge the comic shop and what they charge when they sell it). They will want to make some money on the deal. Remember that no one is going to get rich off a mini comic so keep things in perspective.

DIY Comics

Pt. 1 - Writing
Pt. 2 - Artwork
Pt. 3 - Materials
Pt. 4 - Publishing
Pt. 5 - Copyright
Pt. 6 - Distribution

If you have a comment or question about Small Press then feel free to contact me