Comics & Side Projects

How to make a microcomic in under 5 hours for less than $20

With TCAF coming up, I wanted to make a comic that would be blisteringly fast to create and very cheap to print. Here’s how I did it:

1) Simple art

I picked a graphic style based on Greek funerary urns. The imagery is aesthetically pleasing but it’s about as difficult and time consuming to draw as making stick figures. Which is to say, not at all. Making the thumbnails, penciling and inking, scanning and cleaning up the scans and arranging the images using Photoshop took about four hours.

2) Maximize paper

I divided a letter sized sheet into the following grid which would allow me to print 8 pages per sheet. This means every time I print out one sheet, I am printing 16 pages (i.e., two copies of the microcomic per sheet). This also means I could print 4 cover pages per sheet.

horsepowergrid1

side one

horsepowergrid2

side two

horsepowergridcover

3) Find a cheap printer

I wanted to print 50 comics. Because printing the black and white pages was so cheap, I “splurged” on the paper stock for the covers.

  • 25 double sided black and white on office paper @ $0.06 = $3.00
  • 13 single sided black and white on coloured heavier weight paper @ $1.00* = $13 — You only need 13 sheets to make fifty covers because you are printing four covers per sheet. Unfortunately, this means you’ll have two extra covers (4 x 13 = 52). TOTAL: $17

If I wanted to double the number of pages i.e., a 16 page book instead of 8 pages, that would only increase the total cost by $3.00! * Honestly, I don’t remember the exact cost but it definitely wasn’t above $1/page. [edit: I found the receipt. It was $0.75/page, or $9.75 for 13 pages]

4) Hand bind

Hand binding can be pretty time consuming, but with a microcomic, it’s a breeze. Printing everything, cutting the sheets down to size and stapling these microcomics took me about one hour. (In contrast, I’ve made hand bound zines with thread and working at a fast clip, I could only whittle my time down to five minutes per zine. 5 minutes x 50 zines = 4 hours and 10 minutes. And that was just doing the binding.)

5) Enjoy and share your finished microcomic

So there you are. If you have $20, one afternoon and a little creativity, you can make 50 microcomics too!

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