The popularity of comic books has endured for nearly a hundred years. Today, the genre is booming, with graphic novels of popular titles appearing as well as big sales of original works. Digital printing today makes self-publishing a practical option – but choosing the right paper is essential to create the best comic books.
Comic books first emerged in the 1930s. At first, they were often reprinted humorous comic strips from newspapers. But, as they took off, they began to feature unique content. The first superheroes comic book was published in 1938. Action Comics No. 1 featured the debut of Superman.
Today, the comic book industry’s worth is estimated at around $4 million. Growth is particular fierce in the young adult and middle-grade markets. The industry is forecasted to continue to grow at a yearly rate of 3.3% through 2026.
The great news is that it’s easy for aspiring graphic artists to get started in their chosen field. All you really need in order to practice and hone your skills is pens or pencils and some good quality paper or artboards.
If you like to draw with inks, however, you should choose a paper with a smooth finish. This way, the pen will glide across the paper and you can get the smooth lines and finish you want.
With the advances in digital printing in recent years, aspiring graphic artists have many options open to them when it comes to publication. As well as seeking agents or selling into publishers, it is possible to go down the self-publishing route if you are willing to invest in printing.
This needn’t be expensive. Digital printing means that it’s now affordable to produce very short runs professionally. Plus, home printing is now of sufficient quality to make it possible to print and publish your own comics at home.
If you are interested in printing your comic books and graphic novels, it’s worth considering the type of paper on which to produce them.
Comics are traditionally printed on relatively lightweight matte paper, probably around 60gsm. This made them affordable to print. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t us paper like this to print your own comics at home.
However, if you are printing very small runs at home, the cost differentials between a 60gsm paper and an 80gsm paper are marginal, so you might want to opt for a thicker paper with greater strength and durability.
This high-quality paper is much whiter and smoother than traditional matte papers, so you’ll get wonderful colour and contrast and a more polished finish to your work.
Traditionally, comics were folded and sewn together using either a stable-bound or saddle stitch binding. This is an affordable option for traditional comics which use the same paper for their covers as their interior pages.
Today’s graphic novels require something a little different. These publications are of a much higher quality than traditional comics, more akin to books. Often, they feature special collector’s editions that are made to be treasured for many years.
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