One important aspect of comic book and graphic novel printing is the type of coating you choose for your cover and interior pages. Different coatings elicit varying effects on the appearance of your text and illustrations. They also provide varying levels of protection from sunlight, fingerprints, smudging, and bending.
It is essential that you choose a coating appropriate to your genre, audience, budget, and desired comic book aesthetic.
So, which coating should you add to your comic printing? Consider the different paper coatings and how they affect your finished product to make the best choice.
Basics of Paper Coating
Raw paper is made from ground-up pulp from unusable lumber and tree waste. During the process, the wet mixture is sprayed onto machinery that presses and dries the pulp until it becomes paper. Although the finished paper product is usable, it is far from the type of paper that printing companies use to print books.
For professional print quality, printers use coated paper, which is smoother and more protective than raw sheets of paper.
Although there are different types of paper coatings, all of them u se Kaolin clay as their base. Kaolin clay is a natural substance with a long history in the papermaking and coating industry. Kaolin clay is mixed with various other minerals and chemicals to create a coating that is sprayed onto the paper’s surface.
The result is that the clay and other materials coat the surface, filling in the rough, raw areas of the paper. This gives the paper a smoother appearance and provides protection from the elements. It also helps the paper more effectively absorb ink, which is especially important for full-color printing of comic books or graphic novels.
Types of Paper Coatings
There are three main types of paper coating in the printing industry. These are glossy coating, matte coating, and UV coating.
Matte coating is a thin coating layer that covers most but not all of the bumps and uneven spaces on a raw piece of paper. Matte coating provides the paper with a flat, smooth appearance.
This is due to how the light hits the paper’s surface and reflects back to your eyes. On paper with matte coating, light is dispersed by the ridges in the paper’s surface, creating a soft, subdued look.
Gloss coating is a type of coating that gives the paper an ultra-shiny look. It goes on thicker than a matte coating layer, which means it fills in all the minuscule ridges and bumps found on the surface of raw paper. Because it creates an entirely smooth surface, light reflects directly back to the source, making a lustrous, professional appearance on the page.
A special type of gloss coating is called gloss UV or simply UV coating. This type of coating is similar to gloss in its shiny appearance and chemical makeup. However, UV coating is tougher than glossy coating because it’s cured by UV light during the application process.
Curing the gloss causes it to harden, making it extremely durable and protective against UV rays and wear and tear.
What Coating is Best for Your Project?
When deciding which type of coating is best for your project, consider the comic’s final appearance, who will be reading the comic, your printing budget, and the standard choice for your genre.
Whether you choose a saddle stitch book or perfect bound book format, think about your finished comic’s final aesthetic when selecting the right coating. The UV coating on the front cover gives your finished product a completely professional appearance and protects it from fading caused by the sun over time.
Standard size interior pages look great with both matte coating and glossy coating. Matte coating is preferred for comics with lots of text because it makes reading the words on the page easier. Glossy coating on highly-illustrated interior pages, especially when you choose perfect binding, is the industry standard.
Your intended audience may affect your choice of coating. If you plan to market to a younger crowd, you’ll likely want to go with a UV-coated cover that provides durability and helps prevent tears or rips. Your interior pages can benefit from a heavier paper weight with a gloss coating because they will produce vibrant images and hold up against smudging and fingerprints.
When you are printing on a budget, matte-coated paper is the least expensive option. This is because it is more thinly coated, so it uses less product. However, like many buying options, you might consider going with a slightly higher gloss coating finishing upfront to provide more protection in the long run.
The genre of your comic book might also dictate what type of coating is right for you. Superhero, science fiction, and fantasy are all great options for gloss coating pages. These genres typically use full-color illustrations in vibrant hues to tell their stories.
These work best on gloss-coated paper.
If you work in Manga, horror, noir, or a darker genre that uses a lot of text or black and white drawings, you may be better off with matte paper.
Making Your Final Choice
When you print your comic, choose a trustworthy, professional printing company like Comix Well Spring. We provide independent comic book creators with a simple online ordering process where you can select the size and paper coating for your project.
Our paper coating choices for interior pages are:
- 60# uncoated
- 70# uncoated
- 80# gloss
- 20# cream uncoated
- 60# cream uncoated
For your cover, we offer:
- 80# gloss cardstock
- 80# gloss
- 12 pt UV coated
- 100# gloss cardstock
- 80# matte uncoated
- 12 pt holo-chrome covers
The availability of each type of coating and paper weight may vary depending on your choice of staple stitch or perfect binding.
Print Your Comic With Comix Well Spring
If you are looking for professional, top-tier comic book printing services, choose Comix Well Spring. We provide excellent customer service for comic book creators who use our services. We offer digital printing for graphic novels and comic books so that you can self-publish your story and get it into the hands of your fans.
When you’re ready to get your story to the printer, we’re ready to help. Please contact us with any questions about our paper coating options and what works best for your project.