If you’re considering printing your comic book or graphic novel, there is plenty of specialized knowledge to help make your finished product as professional and polished as you can. One crucial aspect of the printing process is choosing the correct dimensions of your comic.
Bindings, trim, bleeds, paper type, and other decisions determine the quality and price of your creation, and some of these also affect the dimensions of your comic book. Here’s a little more information about these industry-specific terms and how they can work for you.
To fully understand the ins and outs of the printing process, you need to learn the lingo.
Each moment is encapsulated in a panel on the page, and a row of panels becomes a tier. The gutter is the area between the panels, both horizontal and vertical.
The sheets of pages need to be trimmed so they are all the same size. In offset printing, the trim cut is done by a machine in batches. The trim size refers to the size of the pages after the trimming process.
A bleed is the area outside the trim. If you want an image to go all the way to the edges of the paper, you should draw outside the live area, which falls inside the trim cut. This way, when you have an exceptionally stunning piece of art like a splash or a spread, you can make it stand out.
When you are in talks with a comic book printer, one of the things they ask you is whether you want saddle-stitched binding or perfect binding. The type of binding you choose depends on the book’s length and how much you’d like to pay for the entire printing process.
For longer works, like graphic novels, a perfect binding supports the higher page count with a spine. There is a minimum page count you must have if you want to make a perfect-bound book.
Comics that meet the requisite number of pages can opt for the slightly pricier perfectly bound book. The bindings are easily readable when they’re shelved, and the perfect binding offers a sleek, weighted aesthetic.
The majority of comics you come across are saddle-stitched, which is when the printer uses offset printing to print out parent pages, which are then folded and trimmed to the page size you’ve requested.
Once the pages are folded in the right order and facing the right way, the spine is created by stapling the pages together through the middle. Saddle-stitched comics are easy to store and transport.
Your binding will influence the way your book looks and how easy it is to store and transport.
Comic Book Dimensions
There are a few common sizes in the comic book industry, and the most standard size is 6.875” x 10.438” bleed, which are the dimensions before the pages are trimmed down. Usually, this amounts to 6.625” x 10.187” trim.
You can request custom sizes, like 5.5” x 8.5”, but you always want to pick a size that is quickly shelved and reads logically. Individual narratives may benefit from a unique comic book size. However, if it isn’t a necessary design detail, opt for the most used dimensions, which are also the most cost-effective.
Since the paper needs to be trimmed, which is when the edge of the pages are cut down, you should make sure that all the lettering and artwork falls in the live area, which is the leftover area at the edge of the pages.
The 6.875” x 10.438” wasn’t always the standard size for comics; dimensions have changed as comics have changed. Depending on the price of paper, the standard dimensions of a comic grew and shrunk, and the number of pages also changed.
Number of Pages
In the Golden Age of comics, comics were usually 64 pages, which accounted for 4 or 5 adventures between the covers. As the price of paper went up, the page count shrunk to 48 and then to 32.
If you want your book saddle-stitched, you need to submit a manuscript with a page count divisible by 4. Additionally, the number of pages in your book will be twice the number of sheets of paper. Since the book is stapled in the middle, 2 pages are printed on 1 sheet of paper.
Types of Paper
Another vital style decision is that type of paper you want the interior pages to be, and if they differ from the cover. Most comics use uncoated paper for the inside and a glossy, heavier paper for the cover and back. The glossiness works well with cover artwork, which is usually a showstopper.
Along with comic sizes and bindings, you have to decide between black-and-white or color printing. Like noir detective thrillers, the pages look great when printed in black-and-white because the strong contrasts mesh with the comic book’s themes.
Color printing makes the most use of the gorgeous artwork inside your comic book. If you want your creative output to really shine, opt for color printing, at least for the cover.
The Final Word
There are many creative aspects to making a comic book or graphic novel, and there are also technical factors that you have to consider to make a polished, finished work.
Comix Well Spring can help you get from a great idea to a finished comic book in no time. With our expertise, you can make the right choices in dimensions, trim size, and binding type for your comic.