As the second comic that I've printed and published, it's still somewhat of a learning process. When it comes time to think about printing limitations, risograph, screen printing, paper size, paper weight, layout, binding and assembly process, there are a lot of decisions that need to be made throughout. I worked with Matt Davis at Perfectly Acceptable to get the interiors printed on risograph—once he had some breathing room after the printing rush before CAKE. He did an amazing job getting the halftones and registration just right.
While he went into production on the interior, I began work on screen printing the cover, bake and inlay. I wanted to incorporate similar colors with a little bit of gold flake ink that I had leftover from a previous project. Printing went smoothly as I worked late into the night. On my third to last pull on the last layer, it dawned on me that I may have repeated a mistake I had made on my first comic's cover. After a quick pause and comparison, I confirmed that I had, in fact, laid out the cover backwards (cover on the back, back on the front). I was tired at this point and buzzing a bit from the smooth printing session, so I finished up the last layers, shutdown the shop, and made my way home to get some sleep; content with how the colors turned out and ready to come up with a solution tomorrow.
The next day, I printed the end sheets with some of the sketches I made while I came up with the finalized characters. Once those dried, I cut some of the covers to size and began working out a solution for attaching the cover. I made a few prototypes using tape, and tried out a glue stick, but I questioned the permanence of these two solutions. I took the prints over to Kyle Baker to have them cut to size and dropped by the Sonnenzimmer studio to see if they had any suggestions for a fix. After talking with them for a bit, Nick busted out some PVA Glue and we did a quick test. This seemed to do the trick.
After dropping off the fresh cut prints at the studio, I hopped on my bike and rode to the nearest art supply store to buy them out of their PVA glue. Now, the question of how to completely cover the end sheet and edges with glue without turning the work table into a gluey mess. I had some blank scraps of paper leftover from Kyle's cuts, so I grabbed four of those and lined them up with a fan blowing over them. I figured I could cycle through these while the fan dried the glue.
Once I had the cover and back page glued in place, a large stack of books on top seemed to help out with any warping from the glue. This gluing step was labor intensive, but it yielded a nice blue element on the binding and gives the cover a little more structure. All in all I'm very happy with how they've turned out. If you want to pick one up, they're up in the shop now.
What I've learned from this project:
- Don't layout your cover backwards
- Screen print on same size paper as riso and cut it all down at the same time to save time and $
- Try to think through entire production process before hand to save time and manage cost
- Gold flake ink dries quick, a little spritz of water helps unclog screen