When working on your first comic book printing project, one essential question you need to ask is whether to print your comic in black and white or color. Both black and white and color printing have advantages and disadvantages for comic book or graphic novel formats.
Learn about the importance of color printing for your comic book or graphic novel, the pros and cons of color printing versus black and white, and the value of investing in a high-quality printing service like Comix Well Spring.
How Coloration Works in the Comic Book Printing Process
To understand the importance of color printing for your comic book or graphic novel project, you need to understand how the printing process works. Today, digital tools have mostly replaced older, manual methods of color printing. This allows publishers to print color more quickly and produce more saturated tonal variations in your work.
In the early days of comic book printing, printers added color spots one layer at a time. This process was lengthy and cumbersome and often limited the expressiveness of the colors in the final product.
However, as comic book stories became more complex and widespread, printers in comic book printing were replaced with the much more efficient Ben-Day Dots method. This method uses smaller dots of color printed at varying distances from each other on the page.
In most cases, printing companies using the Ben-Day Dots method use a combination of four primary colors, yellow, black, cyan, and magenta (CMYK), to create all the hues you see on a page.
By combining these four colors on the page via dots, printing companies can mix them into new color patterns and shades. This process is more efficient than the older method and can usually create much more evocative and complex colors.
Today, most four-color printing is done digitally, which is faster and better for creating deeper colors. However, if you want to publish your comic book in color, it’s a good idea to determine whether your illustration method will translate correctly with CMYK printing.
Some design programs used for creating comics use red, green, and blue (RGB) coloring. This digital coloring format doesn’t always match up with CMYK on the page. Ensure you translate these colors in a digital program with CMYK pigments, or work with your printer to determine the best way to end up with the coloring you want.
What Do You Want to Convey to Your Audience?
When determining the importance of color printing, the first question you need to answer is what you want to convey to your audience visually. Color printing represents different things to an audience than black and white printing.
The relative value of color versus black and white varies between projects, but you should keep a few common qualities in mind when deciding:
- Color Printing
Color printing can add deeper detail to your comic book. If the color of a character’s clothes or uniform is vital to the story, printing your project in color can help convey major plot points or characterization to your readers.
Color can also add different types of emotional affectations to your work. This is especially true with positive emotions. For example, printing in color can convey the associated emotions much better than black and white if you want to convey a beautiful sunset or a pleasant summer day.
- Black and White Printing
Black and white comics can highlight lighting and shading better than color printing. If you want to direct your reader’s attention to your linework, black and white may be the better option. This is because color tends to give readers too many visual stimuli and take their attention away from the actual linework.
Finally, black and white printing can better convey darker and grittier emotions than color printing. If you are writing a comic noir, a gothic horror story or any other comic with a dark and brooding atmosphere, black and white printing may be better than color.
What Kind of Paper are You Using?
When it comes to color printing, the paper type can play a major role. Comix Well Spring uses high-quality uncoated paper in bright white, silk, and cream/off-white shades. Since the exact shade of the paper can impact saturation and intensity with color printing, the paper stock you are printing your comic on can play a major role in how important coloration is for your project.
How Much Do You Want to Spend?
The importance of color printing often comes down to cost. Full-color printing is usually less cost-effective than black and white printing.
If you want to save money on your project, you may consider black and white printing. If color printing is crucial for the design and tone of your project, but you want to keep costs down, you should compare your coloration against other factors that determine cost.
For example, the paper weight also plays a role in the cost of printing. Are you using lighter or heavier paper? Are you using standard sizes for your pages or larger sizes? What’s the final page count? Longer works will be more expensive to print, so shorter and lighter projects will probably save you more money on color printing than heavier, more expensive projects.
Publish Your Comic Printing Projects with Comix Well Spring
Regardless of whether you choose color or black and white for your comic book or graphic novel, having the best printing service is essential. Comix Well Spring provides independent comic book creators with professional printing services for comic books, comic strips, and graphic novels.
Our printing services offer fast turnaround times of around two weeks. We print saddle stitch and perfect bound books with high-quality paper and superb coloration.
In addition to our printing services, we also offer exceptional customer service and comic creator resources on our website, including free comic templates and helpful articles on our blog. To get started on your comic book or graphic novel, call Comix Well Spring at (734) 927-0044.