Getting Print Ready Files

File Setup (article) - Print Ninja

Prepress (podcast) - Dirty Old Ladies

I covered a lot of this already in the section on file setup so check that out if you haven’t already.

Some additional things to focus on now that you’re looking to print, are:

  • Provide full bleed files. Printers need extra space beyond the normal area of your page since the point where the page is cut (A.K.A. the trim line) can be somewhat inconsistent. This whole area of the page that gets trimmed off is known as the bleed area and must be included in your interior pages. Here’s a nice visual guide by PrintNinja to help you out. A couple things to note about this area:

    • Measure the bleed area and make sure your art doesn’t go into it. Obviously you don’t want to lose part of your art so keep it on the right side of the trim line! The exception is…

    • Your comic’s bleed panels (borderless panels) should extend all the way to the edge of the bleed area. Yes, most of it will get cut, but like I said, the trim line shifts around a bit. Filling the page out completely ensures you don’t get a white ring around your page if it’s accidentally cut too wide.

  • Know if your printer accepts CMYK or RGB files. All printers print in CMYK but some printers (KaBlam for example) prefer to do their file formatting in RGB. Make sure to talk with your printer about it if it’s not posted clearly on their website. (As an aside, I’ve heard KaBlam actually DOES accept CMYK files and those files turned out more accurate when printing than the RGB ones.)

  • Make sure to include all the required front matter! The front matter usually comes on it’s own page at the very start of a book (hence the name) and contains all the important information about your book like copyright details, credits, ISBN, printer details, publisher/distributor info, your contact info… all the fun stuff. You often have a legal obligation to include this stuff so don’t forget to allocate space for it!

As for the actual logistics of file preparation, Print Ninja made a great guide for setting up interior pages and one for cover pages.