Making of Junkyard Chase 11 – Pre-press

 In writing

So now that we’ve selected a printer, we sometimes find that each of them have some different requirements. In Minute Man’s case, they requested that I pre-press my .pdf documents (the final file I send to them for printing) to account for the fact that the book will be saddle stitch and not perfect bound.

“Wait a second, bald man…you lost me.”

If some of you are saying this while scratching your heads right now, let me back up a second.

There are several kinds of binding for your print books, and I’ll talk about the two most common to the comics industry below:

1) Saddle Stitch: This is the staple format you see with your monthly comic floppies. No doubt many of you have recreated this binding at home with homemade comics back when you were little (or are still doing it today – some people I know do this with their convention sketch books to save money).

The trick with Saddle Stitch binding is that you’re not printing on a single page (front and back), but you’re actually printing on 4 pages at once. So you have the following pages all in one:

First page, last page

Second page, second to last page

The trick here is to make sure the odd numbered pages are always on the right when submitting your final document to the printer. Numbering your pages may help with keeping them in order (which, for this project, I didn’t do).

2) Perfect Bound: This is the format of graphic novels, which have pages that are two sided glued into a center binding. This format I find to be a little easier to pre-press because you just have to account for the front and back of a page. However, trying to do something fancy like spreads can get tricky, especially since sometimes your artwork can get buried in the gutter of the binding.

There are a ton of resources on the internet on binding and pre-pressing your materials if you want more detail, or feel free to ask a question in the comments below.

Suffice it to say, since Junkyard Chase is such a short story, doing the saddle stitch pre-press work didn’t take very long. Since Jeong had already sized the pages to meet the print specs (remember, we looked these up a few posts back), all I had to do was make sure they were to spec, then align them so they would print correctly.

First and last page on the front, second and second to last page on the back, etc….

After you get the files in the format the printer wants, send them off via whatever method they prefer to receive them (Minute Man has an FTP site for larger files like this), and they send a confirmation e-mail with approximately how long the job should take.

And then four weeks later, we have…well, we’ll talk about that next time. 🙂

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