Quickguides: more layout tips

Now that you know the basics of laying out a live area, you can learn some tricks that will help you with the task of laying out different ratios and types of pages and we can also start discussing bleeds.

Lay out a live area at the right ratio without measuring anything.

Let’s start with a neat trick that will help you make your live area the right ratio without having to go through the trouble of bothersome measurements and calculations:

Let’s say we want to do a comic that will reduce to the size of a standard american comic. That’s a 6 5/8″ x 10” and a 2:3 ratio.

  1.  Rule one corner of your live area.
  2.  Line up the printed comic book  in that corner.
  3. Trace the outline of the comic book.
  4. Use a ruler to pencil a diagonal from bottom corner through top corner of the comic book. Continue as far as it will go across your bristol board.
  5.  Now any rectangle you build along that diagonal, starting from the bottom corner, is guaranteed to be the same proportion as your print size! (Make at least one side a whole number (like 12”), for easy sizing down later.)

Tick Marks for Mass Productivity

When you need to lay out many pages of the same size, this is a quicker, easier, and more fool-proof alternative to laying out each page from scratch.

  1. Lay out one page perfectly. Measure everything twice. Check right angles with a triangle, BUT AS YOU’RE LAYING IT OUT…
  2.  Extend lines to the edge of your bristol OR make a tick mark at the edge of the page while the ruler/T-square is still firmly in place. Do the same thing for your gutters between tiers, vertically and horizontally.
  3.  Gather up a set of your pages with the “master” layout on top.
  4.  Line them up so they are all flush. Spread them out carefully so that about 1/8” of the all the edges on one side are revealed.
  5. Take a ruler or T-square,  and line it up with one of the tick marks. Run a pencil across all edges of the other pages.  Repeat for all tick marks, both side and top.
  6.  Now use those tick marks to lay out each page individually. Voilà: you have all of your pages measured out and consistent.

Here are more layout related quickguides: