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Comics 101
The latest art tips and techniques, reviews and interviews from my studio. Updated here and at World Famous Comics!

Comics 101 Archives

Comics 101 for 03/09/2006
Advice on Resolution for Digital Artwork and Pursuing Licensed Work

Hello, I love your art! I had a quick question for you. I noticed on your site you mentioned you work from line art that is scanned at 300 dpi. I've been told that 600 dpi is the norm for line art and I've been scanning all my art like this for years. Now I'm hearing that the industry standard is actually 1200 dpi. I was hoping to get a professional opinion about this whole thing. Is anything beyond 600 dpi not necessary? Thanks for your time. Please follow the link below if you want to see some of my work.

Take Care,
Hi Mark,

Thanks for contacting me. You have some great artwork yourself on your site too. I believe you are referencing some of my Comics 101 articles in my archives which were written probably four or five years ago when 300 d.p.i. (dots per inch) or p.p.i. (pixels per inch) was standard. These days I'd say that's the bare minimum you should save your artwork at for coloring or printing. For the publishers I work with I find that 600 d.p.i. is usually the maximum. Anything bigger is really unnecessary but working larger than 600 d.p.i. is great if you have a really fast machine that can handle huge files (especially if we're talking 10" x 15" page art or cover art). For the past few years I've been working with 400 d.p.i. files which is a nice flexible middle ground when passing artwork to colorists or editors. Even then, I'm thinking most files get inserted into layouts and still go to press at 300 d.p.i. But, I could be wrong since I'm not a printer. So as long as you keep your artwork files at or above 300 d.p.i. for print you should be fine.

Good luck with your work!
Hi Joe!

I don't know if you remember me but I wrote you back in 2004 about how to get into doing sketch cards for companies. You were very nice to me back then. I just wanted to show you some more of my work now. I've been practing for the past few years.


Currently I am working with Corgi creating Marvel licensed statues based on my designs and artwork, my first statues come out in May.

I am getting some samples up and was about to shop some of my work around. I was wanting to see if you could give me some advice on getting Star Wars licensing work. I am a big Star Wars fan and always wanted to do some type of licensing work. I'm not really sure who to send samples to. In comics it is usually the editors that hand out work. I know you are very busy working and I understand completely if I don't hear back from you.

Thanks for your time and encourgement,
Mark Spears
Hi Mark,

Congrats on the licensed statue gig, that has to be especially cool! My best advice with getting official Star Wars work is get your portfolio approved by a publisher who has the license, someone who is producing Star Wars material for Lucasfilm. It's just like sending a portfolio to any editor at a comic book company - send your best stuff to them in the mail either on disc (have your files formatted for both PC and Mac machines just in case) or as high quality print outs. Perhaps email them small jepgs directly or, even better, links to your best pieces online. It wouldn't hurt to have a few of your art pieces related to their property to show them how you can handle their characters and are familiar with the content they are producing. Just don't let it all be Star Wars art. Showing them a variety of styles and compostions will present to them how flexible and versatile you can be and will hopefully entice them to call on you to adapt your unique vision to their projects. Sometimes at WonderCon and Comic-Con in San Diego Lucasfilm staff or their licensees will review portfolios personally and those are good opportunities to get your work seen by the company themselves. Otherwise, try sending out your samples to Topps, Dark Horse, Wizards of the Coast, Hasbro, etc.
Your work is looking great, keep it up!

I hope you found this week's Comics 101 insightful and I'll see you here next week for another feature!
<< 02/09/2006 | 03/09/2006 | 03/16/2006 >>

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