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Old 08-07-2009, 10:24 AM   #15
Thomas Mauer
Letterer & Designer
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Magdeburg, Germany
Posts: 853
Thomas Mauer will become famous soon enough

Originally Posted by sv9cannon
This thread raises a question. And pardon me for my stupidity, but I'm new to lettering. This all started with trying to letter my own comic, which I must say was a rather pleasant experience, but anyways, here's the question.

Is there a standard size that the artist should do the pages in?

My artist scanned in his stuff at 300dpi at 11" x 15". I'm pretty sure the proportions are correct, but I'm not sure how this translates to a printed page.

The panel gutters are approximately a quarter inch at the outside of the page. And I made sure not to put any word balloons to close to the edge. Does all this sound right? I just keep hearing about the 11x17 art boards, which i know is the size of the page and not the drawing area.
Tell your artist to scan at a minimum of 400dpi. 400-600dpi is the norm as it gives you more detail in fine lineart.

Keep in mind that standard comic size is 6.875x10.4375" (or 6.875x10.5" if you want to be on the safe side or not deal with too many fractions).

In Photoshop, create an 11x17" and an 11x15" file.

Resize both images to 6.875" width (comic size) and you'll get the following heights:

11x17" = 6.875x10.625"
11x15" = 6.875x9.375"

The 11x17" board just needs a little bit trimmed off at the bottom if you resize from the width.

The 11x15" board is missing 1.0625" document height after resizing from the width.

To get around this problem, you could resize from the height. You'd get the following:

11x15" = 7.655x10.4375"

As you can see, that leaves you with 0.78" more width than standard size, so live area guides have to be ruled differently on 11x15" and 11x17" boards.

If you don't want to do too much math, here's how:
  • Create a 6.875x10.4375" file with a white background.
  • Draw a 6x9.4375" box and center it. Change the fill color to black.
  • Deselect the top 6x9" of this box, so only the 6x0.4375" part at the bottom is selected and change the fill color to gray (that's how you get the properly laid out 6x9" live area version onto the template without a calculator).
FOR 11x17" BOARDS:
  • Resize the document to 11" wide
  • Add canvas at the BOTTOM to get a 17" height (anchor at top)
  • measured top margin: 0.8"
  • measured side margins: 0.7"
  • measured bottom margin (9" live area height): 1.807"
  • measured bottom margin (9.4375" live area height): 1.107"
FOR 11x15" BOARDS:
  • Resize the document to 15" high
  • Add canvas to get an 11" width (anchor at center)
  • measured top margin: 0.72"
  • measured side margins: 1.19"
  • measured bottom margin (9" live area height): 1.347"
  • measured bottom margin (9.4375" live area height): 0.72"

Depending on what kind of paper you work on, you rule these lines, decide which live area height on the final page you want to stick to, and that's how you get your properly sized live area.

After this, all the artist needs to do is:
  • Have all outer panel borders fall onto the live area guides.
  • Keep all essential artwork inside the live area.
  • Extend all potential bleed art to the edge of the art board.

Resizing becomes a snap, you won't even need those above templates, and the pages will always be at the correct size with no bleed art problems whatsoever.

Of course if you're drawing for different print dimensions, you'd have to measure the margins again after the above method. Shouldn't be a big problem though.
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