Saturday, May 19, 2007

SELF-PUBLISHING PART 2: Self-Publishing Tips For Artists

by JessicaDelfino under Hacks & DIYs

Say you are making a comic book, a coloring book or a comic strip. In some ways, these are easier to reproduce than a manuscript. However, there is often post-production, which is why Staples Superstore can be so handy. They have a paper slicer that they will let you borrow, glue sticks, scissors and staplers - all important tools of the old-fashioned, yet not-to-be-underestimated cut-and-paste trade. Recently, I went to Staples and asked to borrow the big paper cutter, but they said no. They said someone sliced themselves, and now no one can use it. One clumbsy dumb ass ruined my slicing recources. But I kept showing up and asking nicely, and promised I wouldn't sue, and finally, they will let me use it again. If your hometown Staples won't let you use the slicer, just buy your own. They are about $20 brand new, for a half-assed but workable cutter.

I have considered purchasing my own or some time now. I found an old one for sale at my local pizza joint. The guy who runs the place also sells odds and ends now and then, and one night when I went in for a cheesier kind of slice, he had a big old art class style slicer for sale. You know, the one with the big arm that comes down and would just chop the head off a barbie doll in one swoop. If I didn't live in a refrigerator sized NYC apartment, I would have bought it. It was $5. I still think that I should have just bought it, but I really do not have any place to put it. I would have had to use it as a door mat or something. So until I live in a barn in Sweden with all the room in the world, I just go to Staples to do my slicing. I can't think of one city in the whole world where there is not yet a Staples. Normally, big business kind of makes me lurch, but call me a hypocrite, I love me some Staples Superstore.

What with Photoshop now, anyone can make their own artwork and simply print it out. If you can't print at home because your parents will beat you if you use their printer, you can't afford the ungodly cost of ink or your printer is broken, try going to the public library to print out your work. Most libraries will let you print at least a few pages for free or very cheap. Once you have printed what you need, you can copy them at Staples or at your day job. If you don't have Photoshop and can't afford to pay a grand for a copy of it, though it is worth every penny, for the love of man, get a copy from your friend who is in art school. If you can afford to pay for Photoshop, you shouldn't be reading this column.

If you can't afford ink for your printer, try using those ink replacement kits, for example, the Polaroid Ink Jet Refill System. This is a kit that comes with ink in a tube, a needle and some rubber gloves so you don't get ink all over your brand new suede jumpsuit. You take an old, used up cartridge out of the printer and basically fill the needle with ink and squirt it back into the cartridge. Be sure to read the instructions carefully, some printers don't use them, or you have to somehow trick the printers into taking them, now with the damn sensor chips on the cartridges. Who the hell does Epson think they are, anyway?

If you want to save a few bucks on your ink, don't forget to recycle your old cartridges if you buy your ink at Staples. They give you three bucks off your new cartridge. That is how you know replacing the ink yourself is legit. Because Epson themselves do it. That's right. For all I know, I'm using Madonna's old ink cartridges in my printer as we speak. So, if the printer companies can do it, why shouldn't we be able to do it, too?

A good program to use if you don't have Photoshop for very basic layout and cut and paste work is IrfanView. It is free to download off of the internet and you can do a plethora of crafty photo or scan work using it, including resizing, etc. The Paint Program of old is a piece of crap, but you can also use that do make some funky little pieces of art.

I personally made my own CD inserts, and I'm very glad with the way they came out. I first took a few dozen photographs of myself and other objects using my digital camera, which I uploaded into Photoshop and manipulated. I then laid out my two sided, 6 paneled insert using Photoshop. I typed in little witty Delfino-isms, pasted various images of my own face, put contact information and on the last panel, chopped up and glued my face back together in a brady-bunch styled 9 panel face-off with myself. The trippiness of it inspired a caption that reads, "Smoke pot and stare at me." I put my art on a disc and also sent a back-up e-mail of the work to myself, making sure it was saved in a high resolution of 300 dpi. At my day job, I printed it out using their nice color printer and then copied it 100 times on their very fancy color copier. It was glorious. I have since photocopied the magnificent color version to make a black and white copy that I can afford to copy myself, as I am no longer employed at that place of business.

I'm too busy making great art to work at some hovel in midtown, slinging antiques all day. I mean, who the hell is Christie, anyway?

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