Preparing comic for print (process talk)

Whenever I prepare new projects, I find myself sharing/rehashing the same information to contributors. So here I’ve finally put it out to the public.

My process is

  1. Draw on paper at larger size
  2. Scan in grayscale/bitmap
  3. Convert to grayscale
  4. Do all my drawing edits (at the larger size)
  5. Resize to working print-size
  6. Convert to bitmap (50% threshold)
  7. Convert to grayscale (so you can use layers)
  8. Tone, letter
  9. Flatten/bitmap (50% threshold)
  10. Ready for print + book layout



I usually draw LARGER, but in the same aspect ratio as the final printed version. 

Just make sure to resize the linework to fit the template first, and then tone the resized page.



Have a template (I use photoshop) handy and draw directly in it. Use the rulers and guides on in Photoshop (VIEW → SHOW → GUIDES). I’m accustomed to working with inches despite being Canadian, but I’m also under the impression that most print shops tend to think in inches too.

I’ll work at print size (document size, +/- bleed), 600dpi


If you are drawing 1:1, I recommend just scanning straight into bitmap mode, but if you’re having issues with the scanner picking up your lines (ex. thin/light inkwork), you might want to scan in grayscale mode first, mess around with the levels of the lines, then convert to bitmap (50% threshold).
Here is something I did a long time ago about bitmap conversion. The output in mycase would be 600dpi (instead of 300 dpi in the image, which is how I used to work). Messing around with bitmap modes is also an interesting way to get digital “screentone” effects.

At this point I’ll also do any edits (like redraw faces so they’re less crooked).



  1. Make sure you’re in grayscale mode now. 
  2. Resize your image (edit→transform, hold down shift while dragging a corner to keep it proportional) to fit your template
  3. Bitmap your linework (again)

Here is an example of a scanned drawing formatted to fit the digital template (no bleed, but need to consider laser printer/photocopier gutters).


One of my fav places for royalty free tones (make sure you grab the ones for 600dpi, or whatever resolution you’re working at) are created by the gracious Katsumi Michihara, and can be found at  http://chotto.art.coocan.jp/tone-.html (can use them as pattern/stamp brushes, or pattern fill).

 So why should you even use digital screentones? For me + Love Love hill, we use them because they can be reproduced very easily with consistently good results. You can photocopy them, you can print them off your own laser printer, and they look great in digital output or offset output. Flexibility is key here.

Bitmap only carries black+white pixel information, so your linework and tones will be super crisp and sharp. If your tone-dots are too close together, you should be aware ofmoire effects. 

A few different ways to apply screentone digitally (I’m sure there are more)

  • Pattern fill
  • Pattern brush
  • Work in gray tones, use bitmap halftone settings
  • Use scanned tones (already bitmap), copy paste

  • Define a selection
  • edit → define pattern. This turns your selection into a PATTERN. NOTE that theimage I have selected is ALREADY IN PURE B/W NOT GRAYSCALE.
  • Name your pattern

If you have the pattern stamp tool selected, you should be able to see the new pattern there from the drop down menu!

You can also use patterns to “fill” areas, or do fine painted application by using the pattern-stamp tool.

  • Always keep your linework SEPARATE from your tones. So, create a NEW LAYERfor your tones.
  • Select the area I want to fill. I’m going to fill it with the flower pattern I defined previously
  • Edit → fill
  • Pick your pattern from the drop down menu

Unless you are using a completely hard-edged pixel brush, or have created a hard edged selection (no feathering/anti-alias), it may be good to have the pattern fill/brush settings on DISSOLVE because it keeps the edges completely B/W.

CAN YOU SEE THE DIFFERENCE? It is subtle, but it is there. It becomes more problematic if you try to fade out the edge of your tone, airbrush-style. If you’re going to do that, copy-paste your tone layer into a new document, then BITMAP just the tone alone (with any mode you find pleasing WITH EXCEPTION OF 50% threshold). Paste the bitmapped-tone back into your original working file.


Instead of going back to the menu over and over again to pattern-fill each section, what you can do is do all the flats in different tones of gray.

When you’re getting ready to create the B/W version for submission, mass select one shade of gray, fill with the pattern of your choice. REPEAT! I mainly use 25%, 50%, 75% increments of gray (and their B/W pattern tone equivalent).


Don’t overtone your pages. I personally love things that are high contrast, but sometimes having a few tones of gray helps your eyes focus, or differentiate between background/foreground. Don’t be afraid to leave lots of white. Don’t fill your page with 50% gray (unless you’re going for some kind of lighting effect), it will flatline your page.

AND– you don’t have to tone at all if you don’t want to. I HATE TONING so I try to keep it to a minimum.



Disclaimer: other people work in different ways. This is just how I go about preparing my files.

Many thanks to figarizzle and saicoink who got me into creating comics for print, and for steering me towards the right path (BITMAPS) for linework prep and digital tones!


*photos above show the unbound proof-copy of the book from the printers (no spot gloss yet!)*

Pre-orders are now open up until May 9th, 2014 (11:59PM EST) for:

  1. Individuals who would like to pre-order + pay + pick it up in-person at TCAF,  Anime North, and tentatively Otakuthon.
  2. Individuals who would like to order online (shipping charges apply).

Regular orders will open after TCAF! Please pre-order to maximize your chance to get the bonus item :).

Thanks!! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

The sports you’ll find in this comic anthology include: logging sports (sumafu/dirchansky), roller derby (zaralt/Laura Tryon), roller blading (jakface) , turkish oil wrestling (ukiiukii), field hockey (Cat Bluemke), and dodge ball (figarizzle/Kim Hoang). The cover is graced by belugachop/koyar’s running team!


Hi everyone! Just wanted to let you all know that Love Love Hill will be attending and exhibiting at TCAF 2016 this year! The whole gang will be there @figarizzle @belugachop @dirchansky @ukiiukii and @zaralt

We plan to debut the next LLH anthology! This year’s theme is…

~ Shoujo Flower Body Horror ~

Please look forward to it!

For more information about TCAF, check their website! Lots of amazing guests and exhibitors :).


Saturday, May 14th, 9am-5pm, and Sunday May 15th, 11am-5pm, at the Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge Street, Toronto.

Admission is free.


Hi everyone! Wanted to let you know about some really great and exciting events coming up for the Love Love Hill family and friends… in chronological order:

Kim Hoang x Dames Making Games: Build Your Own Dating Sim workshop (Thurs, October 16th, 2014) @ 6:30pm - 9:30pm, Bento Miso Collaborative Workspace (Toronto)

figarizzle is hosting a free workshop at DMG about building dating sims!

Do you have a weird and great idea for a dating sim or a visual novel? Want to explore a new interactive medium to tell YOUR stories? Are you an artist or a writer who loves games, but doesn’t know where to start? Perfect for beginners, and especially ideal for artists! No knowledge of coding needed, but you will acquire some general programming logic, should you want to learn more later.

Click here to play figarizzle’s 2p competitive dating sim BLUSH OR BURN that she created as a part of The Pixelles.


Mouffe x GamerCamp Pop-up Arcade (Sat-Sun, October 18-19th, 2014) @ Gamercamp, Hotel Ocho (Toronto)

figarizzle and her fellow Mouffe team members will be showing off their Critical Hit game Mouffe at the Gamercamp Pop-up Arcade

Mouffe is a daydream simulator: while lying down inside a tent and using a quilt as a controller, players set off abstract animations projected onto the ceiling of the tent. It is an interactive art installation that is part-game and part-toy that is equally enjoyable for a single user or a group of friends. Lie down and experience visual, aural, and tactile satisfaction in a quiet, intimate space. Press buttons, things happen. Relax and Play.

Check out the Mouffe trailer here, it looks amazing! The Mouffe team will be at the pop-up arcade to chat and answer any questions! Tickets to the arcade can be purchased separately from the conference itself!


SNOW: film premiere by Ryan Couldrey (Mon, October 27th, 2014) @ 7-11pm, Revue Cinema (Toronto) 

The film adaptation of our dearest puppy and supporter benjaminrivers’s comic, Snow, is coming out!! All proceeds go towards Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.

Dana is a woman who doesn’t deal well with confrontation. She likes her job, her friends, and the cozy comfort of her neighbourhood—Toronto’s own Queen Street West. But when the world forces her to stand up, will she be able to handle it?

If you can’t make it to the premiere, you can also watch the trailer and get a copy of the film at their official website!

Love Love Hill deeply regrets missing the call extras to be in the background scenes of the film but we are excited to see what this is going to be about…!?!


Saicoink x The Beguiling OSCP vol.6 book release (Thurs, October 30th, 2014) @ 6pm-onward, the Central (Toronto)

Please check out fellow LLH contributor saicoink’s book launch for the final book in her wonderful series, Open Spaces Closed Places (OSCP). There will be a talk and signing on October 30th in Toronto! Montreal is next on her book tour list, so follow saicoink for more details.


Love Love Hill x Canzine Toronto (Saturday, November 1st, 2014) @ 1pm-7pm, 918 Bathurst (Toronto)

LLH members sumafu, figarizzle, and belugachop are exhibiting at Canzine this year, hopefully with Life on the Hill 4 in tow…?! Please drop by, say hello, and watch us battle our comic rivals dashobak…!?


Other goodies:



Thanks for coming out to the OSCP6 book launch in Toronto with saicoink and Canzine Toronto!

Next show is ExpoZine (Nov 15-16th, 2014) in Montreal with belugachop in attendance! 

We’ve updated our online store with copies of Life on the Hill 4 and The Red Wagon!

Thank you for your continued support! If you ever have questions about our books, self-publishing, comics, etc. please send us an ask!