I looked into having copies of my comic printed professionally but to make it work my while, I would need to have 1000 copies done and it would still set me back 400 quid. So I thought, I’ve got a laser printer and a colour inkjet printer, why not just do it myself? The great thing about doing it yourself means that you can do them even cheaper per copy and you can do a little or as many runs as you can physically manage.
Not in the slightest.
There are many factors to consider that you probably wouldn’t ever think of before you start trying to print your own comic. And here they are whether you like them of not.
Your laser printer is great on paper, but not on card.
To make my copies look a bit classier I bought some coloured card in different colours. I made sure they weren’t too dark as this would add a certain je ne sais quoi to the proceedings. I had no idea what a logistical nightmare this would be. OK, I use the phrase “logistical nightmare” frivolously, but it was a “mild pain towards the posterior region”.
Light blue card was too thick for the laser printer, but dark blue was OK.
Pink was a terrible colour to print on as the ink instantly started to rub off.
The other colours had the print stick well or come off in varying degrees to their colour.
Darker blue (not the light blue that wouldn’t go through) held the print the best.
This isn’t in any way a guideline as I’m sure different makes of card will have different results. Just test it before you have to throw away a ton of pink card with flaky black bits.
Consider using your inkjet printer
Feeling a bit defeated I suddenly had a grand idea. Why not use my inkjet printer on the card? It won’t look as good, but the print will stick to it. I also realised my inkjet printer gives you a few different options on where to place your paper. My laser printer has to
bend the paper round to print, which would explain why a certain thickness, like my light blue card wouldn’t go through. However my inkjet printer allows you to pop paper/card at the top and it prints without bending it. This printer also does CD printing so it would make sense that it would be versatile. So not only was I able to print some covers off without the ink coming off I could also use the previously unusable thick card. Hoorah!
Think about your ink
I’ve got this awesome front cover which looks like the shower scene from the movie Psycho and it’s got a black border and the image of the woman is encased in a circle to make it look like a spotlight which I was inspired by from the opening credits of the arguably best Batman movie with Adam West. However that’s a lot of ink being used and a lot of ink coming off the fingers of prospective readers. For the next issue the background will be white. In fact there will be plenty more shades of grey and white in the next issue. I reckon I could save a whole cartridge by doing that.
Another problem I had with ink was when I decided to make a cup of coffee while doing a long print. This was the moment my laser cartridge decided it was running out of ink. I came back to find one side printed out great and the other side of about 40 pages ruined. If I‘d just sat next to it and checked each page as they came out………
……….oh never mind, at least the coffee was nice.
Formatting the pages
This was fairly straight forward. I made sure the page was A4, landscape, 300dpi and CMYK. I fitted two finished pages to each side and grouped them into the pages that would be printed on each bit of paper. I.e.
01 side a (pages 01 and 20) – side b (pages 02 and 19)
02 side a (pages 03 and 18) – side b (pages 04 and 17)
I would recommend writing this out first, doing all your pages in Photoshop and saving it as a PDF.
I would also suggest doing a print out of a single issue to see if you’ve done it all right.
Finally, buy a long armed stapler with a ruler printed on it and staple them together.
All in all it would only set you back about 35p a copy, less if you have less black to print. As I mentioned at the top you can get then done for 40p each at a printers, but you’d need to order at least 1000 and have an audience to sell them to, to make it worth it.
And now for something much more interesting
I have to say reading all of this will be terribly boring to most of you so I’ll end this blog entry by posting an amazing picture of the amazing comedian Bec Hill holding an incredibly rare issue of Action Comics issue one featuring the very first appearance of Superman which she was at the DC Head Office in New York. Jealous? Just a tad.
Mike Belgrave will also be at the Edinburgh Fringe with his kid’s show Mike Belgrave’s Krazy Komedy Show 4 Kidz, Free Sisters 3.45pm 31st July 2014 – 16th Aug 2014
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