Any comic creators that would like to help with POD color-guide project?

Simply put, a lot of webcomic and comic creators use POD, or Print-on-Demand, digital printing services to print small run comic books; versus using offset printing services.

The truth of the matter is that some companies — like Lightning Source, do large (and cheap) POD digital print runs for comic books and graphic novels — are heading that way instead of offset printing. Technology is bringing up the quality of digital printing, making it a more viable option for comic printing.

Still, digital printing is still the way to go for all small, and many medium sized comic properties (regarding their marketable audience). You can listen to a whole episode on what The Webcomic Beacon found to be viable options for printing. Though, essentially, nearly all of the digital printing services researched, produced very similar results.

Ok, Fes, you are rambling. Get to the point.

Ok, so my idea is to put together a “color guide” of sorts. Complete with various colors from the computer, and printing them out. Using a digital file for comparison. It would also include degrees of color, to see where the capabilities of the digital printings are. What colors dull. What percentage of color difference can you REALLY see. What BLACK looks best, etc.

In addition to basically printing out colors, I want to compile several pages of various people’s works. Various styles. All together so we can all really see what is happening. Does the way you use gradient shading or background change? Do your color choices get muddy when printed? There’s a huge difference between RGB (colors of light, produced on TVs and monitors), and CMYK (colors of pigment, what REALLY prints). Sometimes your choices matter when you print like that. Maybe it doesn’t matter at all to you.

Anyway, my hope is to collect maybe 20 difference pieces from people. There will be a template, but everyone would get one full page to do whatever piece of colored art they want (think of it as a page advertisement). Be it an assortment of characters, a comic page, an independent full page art. You would also include a paragraph somewhere explaining what you used to create it and how (Photoshop, Tablet, RGB/CMYK, Bpelt, undercolors, hard lines, anti-aliased lines, etc).

The plan would be to compensate everyone who participated with their own copy of the final book. Then trying to recoup the costs of that by having it available for sale online, and at conventions. Remember, it also gets paired with a digital file. The project would also have a home on The Webcast Beacon Network, complete with links to all participants.

This is an idea in progress (though I already have several color pages ready), so thoughts and ideas welcome, including questions and concerns.

I offer a weird way to help people figure out if digital printing with POD services will do them well, as well as seeing how it works with different styles. I still have to develop a proper template, as well as all requirements of submissions, but this post is to find out who would be interested in helping to make this happen.

I’m hoping to get at least 20 pages of a variety of styles. The total number of pages, and the number of used submitters, would ultimately determine the costs to me for printing out a book for everyone, and mailing them a copy. So I will possibly not accept all submissions if I get a lot, and final sections will both be judged on artistic skill and overall variety of submissions.

Who I will use to print has yet to be determined. Though as I have stated, digital printing seems fairly equal across the board, in quality. I will look into Lightning Source, but they have higher marks for using their service, of which I need to investigate first (I know they have a minimum page number, and they may have a minimum print amount). I may end up printing “test” books on multiple services, and then selecting the “best” one(s), depending on how they handled the RGB and/or CMYK submissions.

Yes, I would be accepting either RGB or CMYK files for this, though I will likely do conversions on my side using Photoshop CS5.5. RGB files will need to be converted for most printing services, and CMYK would need to be converted for Ka-Blam. It is highly possible submitters may get TWO copies of the book from different services… depending on the results I ultimately get.

Please leave a comment here, or email if you are interested in submitting a page.

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I should clarify that all kinds of styles AND skills would be welcome as submissions. COLOR, B&W, and grayscale (see below).

Everything from simple linework with void space, to complex coloring covering every inch, will be considered.

Though when it comes down to picking from an overabundance, I will need to select from both “the best” and “most varied” submissions.

Please note, I will only be printing in color, so B&W and grayscale submissions would need to be straight converted by me, pre-converted by you, or worked on in CMYK or RGB first. I’ve personally printed B&W in a CMYK and RGB style (last two pages of the Ardra first issue comic book). It can certainly matter how you handle your B&W and Gray art, mixed in with color art, as you would have to print the whole thing in color.

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