Monday, June 23, 2014

Wicked Women - Preparing the Files for Print

We're in the home stretch with the Wicked Women paper doll book!  I've been adding text to the images and preparing them for print.  That's what we'll be looking at today.

I've self-published several books and, I have to say, it's a very satisfying process.  I love seeing the final product and I'm thrilled every time someone purchases one.  I create art because I love it, and sharing it is the best part.

To get started, make sure you have all of your edited files ready to go.  I cleaned up my watercolor scans and fixed any fitting errors, and now I just want to add a little bit about each character.  I made sure to use public domain characters in this book.  I'm a small-time artist and seriously do not need to deal with lawsuits over proprietary characters.  Likewise, if you add any text to your images, please make sure it isn't copyrighted.  The text included in this book is my own - I looked up each character & wrote a little paragraph.  I like context and this was a nice way to include a little.

Anyway... Open up your file in Photoshop.

Here I have the Wicked Witch of the East.  The background is simply a layer filled with white.  I have the hat and hat tabs on their own layers and the costume and tabs on their own layers.  I then created a group my clicking on the folder icon at the bottom of the layers panel & dragging the layers into that folder.  Now I can position the group and not the individual elements.  It's a very useful little tool.

I've also added margins to the image.  Margins are important for printing. offers templates for book interiors in a Word format.  From that, I determined that a 1/2 inch was sufficient.  I've had to tweak some books in the past to fit the publishing requirements, particularly ones with full-page images. I use use a slightly-larger-than 1/2 inch margin on all of the interior pages.  It's less of an issue with images like these where the background is white.

To add a margin in Photoshop, make sure your rulers are turned on and simply drag the margin line out from the ruler.

Position the image so that it fits within the margins.  I can't stress this enough!  If your images fall outside of the margins, it's a pain to fix it later.

I decided to write my text in Illustrator and bring it over to Photoshop.  The type tools in Photoshop are not great, and I find this method a little better.  InDesign would be an even better option, if you have it.  I typed up my paragraph in Illustrator, selected it, copied it, and then pasted it in Photoshop.  There are several ways to paste it (as seen in the image above).  I chose Smart Object.  It retains the original information from the file and can be edited in the original program (ie: Illustrator).  I don't fully understand Smart Objects but they look great and work well for my purposes.

I have everything I need in my file.  I like to save the .psd file and save a .jpg file.  I'll keep the .psd files in case anything needs to be edited later, and I'll use the .jpg to create the .pdf for printing.

I've previously explained the whole process of creating a .pdf file, as well as creating a cover and uploading your final files, so there's no need to go over it again.  I will mention this, though: make sure all of your files have the same dpi (and that should be 300 dpi).  We spent all of that time getting the fit right on each outfit and it would be awful if that was ruined by something as simple as mismatched dpi!

And to wrap things up, here's a preview of the front cover! 

I'll post a full preview next week once I finish putting the whole book together.  Any questions, feel free to let me know!

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