Comic book page work size and templates

This is for my own reference but hopefully it can help someone out there who are self-publishing as well.  The print size of my comic book is 6.5″ x 10.5″.  I get them printed at imPhotoGraphics with 100 lb. gloss text cover and 80 lb. paper for interior pages.  I like the safe zone on the pages to be 5.75″ x 9.5″.  This gives it 3/8″ margin on the sides and 1/2″ on the top and bottom.  I like to get the maximum amount of drawing area and this proportion does that for me.

I drew on Strathmore Bristol smooth 300 series for issue 1 of my “Hiraku” comic.  I read that Mark Schultz uses Strathmore Bristol 500 series in a plate surface so I’ll try that out for issue 2.  The pad I bought comes only in 14″x17″ so I just cut it down to 11″x17″ to fit in my Itoya portfolio.  I do my layouts on regular printer paper and put it in a 8.5″x11″ portfolio with sleeves.  I print the safe zone out so that I know what that area is in scale.  This is the file I use.

border line indicates safe zone

border line indicates safe zone

For the full size page that is 11″x17″, my safe zone is 9.25″x15″.  When sized down, this will give me a 3/8″ margin on the sides, and 1/5″ on the top and bottom of the page.  Here is the template for that.  You can download this to use if you decide to draw the whole thing digitally or you can print it on the 11″x17″ Strathmore pages.  I have an Epson Stylus Photo R2400 that prints up to 12″x18″ so I print these borders on that.

small border represents the safe zone, larger border is full bleed size

small border represents the safe zone, larger border is full bleed size

My Photoshop print settings are Photoshop manages colors with SPR2400 USmoothFineArt_PK profile, Rendering Intent: Perceptual, Black point compensation box is checked.

My printer settings are for Paper Size US B (11×17), Media Type is Presentation Paper Matte, Photo Quality, Page Layout Settings – expansion set to minimum.  The multiplying factor to get from 6.5″ x 10.5″ to my full bleed size 10.2″x16.5″ is 1.57.  So to convert the panel measurements from the layouts to the full size page, I just multiply it by that number.  So a 4″ panel edge from my thumbnail layout page  x 1.57 = 6.28″.  This is close to 6.25 so I’ll just use that number to round it off for the transfer.  I like my gutters to be 3/16″ of an inch wide so I make room for that during the panel size scaling process.

After I pencil my pages, I scan them before inking them with my Mustek Scan Express A3 1200 Pro at 300dpi.  It’s an inexpensive large size scanner that gets the job done decently.

I don’t write a full script for my comic.  I only write story beats.  It’s just a list of events that must happen in order for the plot to move forward.  From that list, I do my page layouts on printer paper.  I just finished laying out 24 story pages for volume 2 of Hiraku on the 8.5″x11″ paper last week, so today I’m starting pencilling.  🙂

Another 24 pages!  :)

Another 24 pages! 🙂