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Make A Modern Comic Book
This video will show you how to make a modern comic book in Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator. We’ve also included a transcription of the video below so that you can follow along. Enjoy!
00:00 – Introduction
Hi, my name is Sam Schauer, and I’m the prepress manager here at PrintNinja. Today I’m going to walk you through how to create a custom book template in Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator. For this video, I will be creating a modern comic book, but you can use this video to create a book in any custom size you’d like.
Before we get started, I wanted to go over some resources we have available on our website. First, let’s look at what the industry standards are for modern comic books. Starting from our homepage, www.printninja.com, let’s click on the Printing Resources section. From there, we’re going to look at the Printing Industry Standards section. Here, you can find industry standards for all different types of books and games. We’re going to look at the comic book section and then reference the Design a Modern Comic Book section. Here, you can see the standard comic book trim size is 6.625 inches x 10.25 inches. While watching this video, you can also reference our interior page set of guides to follow along. That’s located in the File Setup section, under Creating Your Document. Here you can find file setup guides for InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop. First, we will talk about setting up your document in InDesign.
01:34 – Adobe InDesign
We’ll start by opening Adobe InDesign and creating a new document. Select Print, and then enter the trim size of your book in the width and height fields. For this video, we’ll be making a modern comic book, so I will enter 6.625 inches x 10.25 inches for the page size. Next, we’re going to enter the number of pages in our file. In our file setup guide, you will see that your number of pages in your file should be the page count of your book, plus two additional pages for the front and back inside covers. However, since this will be a saddle-stitched book, I’m going to add two more pages to account for the front and back outside covers as well. For other binding types, the covers spread will be created separately, but for saddle-stitch books, the covers spread will be formatted identically to my interior pages, so I can add those pages to this document.
I’m going to make a four-page book, so I’m going to enter eight pages to account for the front and back covers, and the front and back inside covers, in addition to my four interior pages. Next, I’m going to check facing pages so I can create my artwork in spreads. I’m also going to start on page two so that all of my eight pages will be in spreads. This will allow me to create my front and back covers as one full spread if I would like to have my artwork connect across the gutter. I’m not going to add any columns to my document, but you can always adjust your columns after the document has been created, if that will help when designing the book. Following along with our interior page setup guide, I’m going to set my page margins to .125 inches. These margins will indicate the ⅛ safe zone on all sides of my spread. Any important text and graphics must be at least .125 inches inside the trim line to ensure they won’t be trimmed off during production. Lastly, I am also going to set my bleed to .125 inches on all sides of the spread. Any artwork that touches the edge of the page must extend ⅛ of an inch past the trim line to account for minor trimming variances when designing pages for offset printing. Make sure that the slug is set to 0, and then click create.
Ok, so here’s my document. I can zoom out and see that my file consists of four spreads with eight total pages. The first spread is going to be my cover spread. With the back cover on the left, and the front cover on the right. The second spread is going to be what I see when I open the cover of my book. The front inside cover will be on the left, and the first interior page, or page one, will be on the right. The third spread will be the next spread of interior pages, with page two on the left and page three on the right. The fourth and final spread will be the end of my book, with the last interior page, or page four, on the left, and the back inside cover on the right.
04:52 – Adobe Photoshop
Next, we’re going to create our document in Adobe Photoshop. We’ll start by opening Photoshop and creating a new document. Select Print, and then enter a file name for your document. Make sure to include the page number in your file name, since we will need to create a different file for each page or spread. In this video, I’m going to create my front and back covers as individual pages, and my interior pages as spreads. Therefore, I’m going to name my first file “Front Cover.” However, you can always create your front and back covers as a full spread if you would like your artwork to connect across the gutter. Next we’re going to enter the page size of our document. Unlike InDesign and Illustrator, Photoshop does not support adding bleed, so we will have to add 0.125 inches on all four sides of our page to make sure the bleed area is included in our document. Since our modern comic book will have a trim size of 6.625 inches x 10.25 inches, I’m going to enter 6.875 inches as the width, and 10.5 inches as the height. You can see that the total page size is going to be 0.25 inches larger on both dimensions than the final trim size of my book. Make sure that the image resolution, also referred to as PPI or DPI is set to 300. Anything below 200 PPI is considered low resolution and may result in a pixelated image. Next, set your color mode to CMYK. While both 8-bit and 16-bit are acceptable, most people choose to work in an 8-bit color mode. I would also recommend leaving your background content as white or setting it to transparent.
Next, open the advanced options. Always make sure that the color profile setting is set to “Do not color manage.” I also recommend keeping your pixel aspect ratio set to square pixels. Once your settings are correct, go ahead and click Create. Now I’m going to create the first interior spread of my book. This spread will contain the front inside cover on the left, and the first interior page, or page one on the right. To do that, I will go to File>New to create a new document. I am going to name this file “spread one.” This time, I’m going to set my page dimensions to the bleed size for a full spread. To do that, I’m going to double my page width, and then add the 0.125 inch bleed area on both sides. For my 6.625 inch book, that comes to 13.25 inches, plus 0.25 inches for the bleed, totaling 13.5 inches wide. My page height will remain 10.5 inches. Make sure the rest of your settings are the same as before, and click create. Now I’m going to create the next two spreads of my book. Spread two will be page two on the left, and page three on the right. Spread three will be page four on the let and the back inside cover on the right. The last document I’m going to create will be for my back cover. Once again, I’m going to set my dimensions for an individual page, which will match the settings of the first spread I created for my front cover. Now I have all eight pages of my book created as three full spreads and two individual pages for my outside covers. The eight pages consist of my front and back cover, the front and back inside cover, and the four interior pages.
09:58 – Illustrator
In the last part of this video, we’ll be going over how to create our modern comic book in Adobe Illustrator. To get started, we’ll open Illustrator, and click Create new document. Select Print, and then enter the page size of your document. For my modern comic book, I’m going to enter the final trim size of 6.6.625 inches wide x 10.25 inches tall, since that is the size of each individual page. For this video, I’m going to create my front and back covers as individual pages, and my interior pages as spreads. Next, enter .125 inches as the bleed size on all four sides of the page. Note that some earlier versions of Illustrator may not support adding bleed to your document. If that is the case for you, just make sure to add 0.25 inches to the width and height to include the 0.125 inch bleed area on all sides of your document. Next, open the advanced options settings, and select CMYK color as your color mode, and high or 300 PPI, as the raster effect settings. You can leave the preview mode as default and click create. Now I have the front cover of my document created. Next, I’m going to create additional artboards for the interior pages of my book as spreads. To do that, go to Window>Artboards to open the artboards panel. You can see that the front cover is listed as artboard one. You can also rename your artboards by double-clicking on the title.
I’m going to start by creating a new artboard. When I create a new artboard, it’s going to match the dimensions of the artboard I currently have selected. Since my first artboard is sized for an individual page, I’m going to have to adjust my artboard dimensions to create a two-page spread. To do that, I can go to the artboard tool, and select artboard two. Now I can adjust the new artboard by entering the correct width for a full-page spread. To get the full spread width, all I have to do is double my page width. Since my modern comic book will be 6.625 inches wide, the full spread width will be 13.25 inches. You can see that when I make my artboard wider, it’s now overlapping with my front cover. You can use the rearrange all button to adjust the spacing between your artboards so they no longer overlap. Now I have my front cover as an individual page, and an additional spread for my front inside cover on the left, and my first interior page or page one on the right. I’m going to create two additional spreads by selecting artboard two and clicking Create new artboard twice. Artboard three will be page two on the left and page three on the right. Artboard four will be my last interior page, or page four, on the left, and my back inside cover on the right.
I’m going to now create one last artboard for my back cover, which in this case I’ll be creating as an individual page. However, you can always create your front and back cover as a two-page spread if you’d like your artwork to connect across the gutter. In order to create my last artboard as an individual page, I’m going to select artboard one, and then click Create new artboard. I’m going to select the new artboard in the list and move it to the end to make sure I don’t get confused about which artboard is which. As I mentioned earlier, you can also rename your artboards by double-clicking the title to make it easier for you. If I zoom out, I can now see all five artboards that I have created, consisting of two individual pages for my front and back covers, and three full spreads for my inside front cover, inside back cover, and my four interior pages.
15:00 – Thank You!
Thank you for following along, and I hope the resources in this video will help you when designing your own book. As I mentioned earlier, you can use this video to create a book at any size you like. Just substitute the modern comic book dimensions with the trim size of your own book. Before I let you go, I wanted to show you where you can find our cover setup guides to help design your cover spread for binding types other than saddle stitching. Starting from the home page of our website, once again we’ll click on the printing resources section. From there, go back to the file setup checklist. Now select the book printing file setup guide, and then click cover file setup guides. Here you will find setup guides for all the binding types we offer. There are many more resources available on our website to help you with every stage of creating a custom book, so be sure to explore on your own – and you can always reach out to us by using the contact us button for any questions.