Printing Comic Books | Comic Strip Factory | David Durkee

Printing Comic Books

We got a question today from a man who wanted to make a printed comic book for his grandson, and was wondering what we could tell him about printing services, pricing, and how to do it. Here’s what we told him.

We don’t have any partnerships with printing services and I’ve never done this myself, so I can’t get specific about details or pricing, but this should be doable. I googled “online print pdf as book” and found many companies offering this service. It might be better to search for booklet rather than book. If you are near an Office Depot or Office Max, they offer printing services that include things like booklets. You can order online, but there’s an advantage to having a place nearby where you can ask questions in person and see samples. My daughter printed a college portfolio project this way.

I would like to point out things in Comic Strip Factory that are relevant to making a book.

  • The program supports multiple pages in a document, so you don’t have to make each page its own file. Everything in the file is kept in memory, so there may be a point at which you run out of memory and the program will slow down significantly. At this point it would probably be a good idea to make a new document to add additional pages. It will probably support a lot of pages before this happens, but it depends on what you put into the comic and how much memory you have, so I can’t predict it for you.
  • If you find you want to split a multipage comic that you find has too many pages to work with, the best way to do it is duplicate the file, then delete the first half of the pages from one copy and the second half of the pages from the other. Pages can only be deleted one at a time.
  • If you make any modifications to characters’ color palettes in the comic (e.g. make Fred’s shirt stripes blue instead of red), and you make the book in multiple files, you will have to propagate those color changes to each file. So hopefully you’ll be able to make the whole book in one file.
  • The program exports to PDF. This is the only export format we have that can export a whole multipage document, and it is also the best format for uploading to book printers.
  • One book printer I saw said that all colors in graphics had to be CMYK. Comic Strip Factory uses RGB colors, and I don’t know of a way to convert them after exporting, so it would be best to avoid a printer with this requirement. 
  • Comic Strip Factory has a command to add page margins in the Comic menu. They are set to 0 on all four sides by default, but you would probably need to add margins for book printing. It is best that you research your printing plans first so you know what page sizes and margins you want to use before you start creating the comic. Comic Strip Factory can resize pages or add margins after the fact, but this will cause some rearrangement of objects in the panels and you’d need to go over every panel to make sure it still looks good and that no balloon text has been cut off.
  • The program doesn’t have a way to add page numbers automatically, but if you want them you can add them manually with the New Text Block command. You’ll probably want them in the margins, so you’ll need to use the Free from Panel command to keep them from clipping to a panel. I’m afraid you’ll have to position them manually on each page.

I hope these tips help.

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