I’m a bit late with this week’s blog post, but in the spirit of ‘never explain, never apologise’, here we go!
Great news this morning, as the Lords reject the anti-protest measures Priti Patel added to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
That’s great on two fronts: one for UK democracy, and one, much more selfishly, for my comic, which will continue to be relevant given that the legislation will continue to be fought out between the Lords and Commons. (I mean, I’m not really that selfish, but it is the best outcome for me, ha ha).
Literally a few minutes ago the Protest book went to print (I’m calling it a book now; it’s managed to rise up the rungs from my initial conception of a zine, through comic, to its actual incarnation as a book. It has a spine, and a lovely matte cover, and because it’s 80 pages long, it is almost a centimetre thick – that’s a book, right?!).
Over on Instagram (where you can also see a grainy video of the proof copy taken in a dimly-lit room), I used a laboured analogy that I’m going to wheel out again now. Bear with me.
Down here in the south, we tend to think of the UK as being mainly England, with Scotland plonked on the top. If you were planning to travel the length of the country, it’s tempting to think you’ve almost finished when you cross the Scottish border. But, as those who live further north know very well, Scotland makes up an entire third of the length of the country.
And that’s what making a comic is like. You think you’ve finished when you’ve drawn the last page, but the print preparation, proofing, colour adjustments and retweaking takes almost as long again. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: if I was one of them there rich comic makers, I’d definitely employ someone to do all of this for me.
My life seems to have been shaped by a years-long battle with RGB and CMYK and I really thought I’d got it this time. Reader, I used Affinity Photo so I could create my files in CMYK. I diligently saved them as CMYK TIFFs. And then like an absolute chump, I exported them ready for print as TIFFS.
So that added a bit of time and worry. I’m really glad I sent off for a proof copy print even if it delayed printing by a week, because I found not only a typo and a spread that hadn’t worked quite right, but that many of the images had a slightly grey cast.
Not massively grey – as my friend Simon pointed out, the kind of muted tones we’re used to seeing under the overcast English skies – but enough that it was the first thing I noticed when I opened the envelope and pulled the proof out.
Simon also lent me what is surely one of the most lovely things on earth – his set of Pantone swatches – and showed me how to use the eyedropper tool to see how colours would actually print out.
Based on this, I’ve tweaked everything to be a bit less cyan and a bit more yellow, and because I can’t just go on getting endless proof copies printed, I’ve called that good. I’m now in that awful period before the comics arrive where I could in theory have accidentally catapulted them into horribly garishness because of the difference between screen and print. Or I could have accidentally reverted back to former versions as I made my tweaks. I don’t think I have, but this is the sort of thing that plays on my mind in the wee small hours.
As I say, I’m not really constitutionally cut out to make comics this way. Maybe I should go back to the old photocopiers… or, more realistically, maybe I should spend a bit more time working out a file naming system so I know exactly which are the most recent versions etc (‘amended amendments’ was my finest file name for this project).
Next time. Next time I will do everything right.
Next up, I need to decide how to sell these online. At the moment I’m tending towards a simple PayPal button on this site.
The exclusivity clause in my contract with The Nib (for my Guerilla Gardening two-pager) has run its course so I’ve added that to the site. I also did manage to get a pitch in for their Cities issue by deadline. Three pitches, actually. Haven’t heard back yet. Maybe I never will? Watch this space.