Just another template for making comic books? I think not! It may be a bunch of nondescript lines and boxes to you, but it’s an opportunity for me to bore you to death with details.

What’s different about this template (the Krita file, not the PNG fallback) is that the areas are rendered with vector blocks. This allows for some shortcuts and customization.

For instance, to quickly trim the page (if you’re not batch processing), go to the trim layer and select image > trim to current layer from the menu.

To check dimensions on the fly, use the select shapes tool on the layer/area in question. The dimensions in pixels will appear in the tool options docker.

SINGLE PAGE

These are the dimensions of standard American comic art in print, received from on high by comic book professionals.

Imperial measure

  • Bleed: 6.875 x 10.4375 inches
  • Trim: 6.625 x 10.1875 inches
  • Live: 6.125 x 9.6875 inches

Metric

  • Bleed: 17.4625 x 26.5113 centimeters
  • Trim: 16.8275 x 25.8762 centimeters
  • Live: 15.5575 x 24.6063 centimeters

Important

Everything past this point is actually wrong. Sort of.

I went to a great deal of trouble to create a comic page template that emulates commercial boards, but find now from a pro that those measurements are wrong–a bit.

They’re not disastrously wrong, but since my aim is to provide professional-level resources, I must provide as precise a template as possible.

However, the template below *does* emulate the commercial boards–so there’s no reason to trash them altogether. The sin the commercial boards commit is rounding the measurements to simplicity, which means they might still be useful to some artists.

Get the more accurate, revised version up there at the top of the page. The following is the commerical board-based template.

Introduction to the commercial board

A few things you need to know about this template, and about me. First, I provide the best information I can on this page, but I’m not a super expert by any means. The information I provide is based on research and experimentation, but I am not the final authority. I’ll try not to steer you wrong, but listen to people who are smarter than me.

Now on to the template. There are two variations (single page and double page) and downloads are included for different resolutions, but for simplicity I will stick to the singular, the template, as it’s all sourced from the same file.

The construction of the template is super simple, consisting of vector blocks to keep initial resource usage low, and to allow for your own customization. This is intended for high-res production, so it’s important that your file isn’t a resource hog from square one.

Download links

Go ahead and download what you want, if you’re ready. PNG files are provided as a flat multi-app friendly alternative. For details and more customization options, keep reading.

SINGLE PAGE

DOUBLE PAGE

Resolution and dimensions

The template is initially set to a working DPI and not the true DPI. Keep in mind that DPI–dots per inch–does not represent just the pixel dimension of your digital art, but the relationship between the pixel dimension and the print size.

This template experimentally deals with an additional relationship: the original art board and print size. The dimensions of the template are based on full-size commercial blue line boards which recommend reduction of 67%. Therefore, our high-res 600 DPI template is set to 420 DPI–420 being exactly 67% of 600.

So by initially setting our work file to 420 DPI, the area measurements on the surface of your file will exactly match the full-size art board. What would measure an inch on your board will measure an inch in your file. It may sound confusing now, but it can be a big help to have the original board as a frame of reference.

Converting it to the print DPI is simply a matter of adjusting the DPI and print dimensions separately, making sure to leave the pixel dimensions alone.

If for some reason you think this configuration isn’t quite right, or you need a custom dpi, the vector-based template should behave itself upon resizing. I expect the dimensions of the commercial boards that these are based on are generalized, and may vary from publisher to publisher. So use these as a starting point for your own production template. It is a good idea to customize the template; adapt the template to your work, not the other way round.

The innards

A glance at the innards:

  • Rulers
    The rulers provide imperial measure around the edge of the trim area.
  • Gutters
    The gutters demarcate the third and quarter divisions of the live area.
  • Live, trim, and bleed
    The live, trim, and bleed boxes are separate, solid blocks.
  • Info
    Arbitrary rectangles above and below for title, issue, page number, etc. Use as you see fit.

Having the different areas as separate physical blocks allow for some shortcuts. For instance, to quickly trim the page (if you’re not batch processing), go to the trim layer and select image > trim to current layer from the menu.

To check dimensions on the fly, use the select shapes tool on the layer/area in question. The dimensions in pixels will appear in the tool options docker.

To switch to other units of measure: with the layer still locked (so you don’t accidentally shift the size) select the entire text in one box and type in for inches or cm for centimeters, just the two letters.

Lettering guides

Earlier versions of this template included experimental tricks for including lettering guides, with most ideas being entirely too resource-heavy. I’ve found that it’s best to simply use Krita’s built-in grid function.

Use three subdivisions to create a 2:1 ratio. The height of your characters will actually be (y spacing)*2, so the example here set to 29 px will yield characters 58 px tall. For a recent sample page, I found 24 px to be more reasonable for fitting in lots of dialogue. You’ll just have to see what works for you.

More to come

Coming up next, templates for panels and ideas for making your own, and most importantly the new MOO presets, featuring our manga mascot cow girl, Koriander!