Now that you’ve made the big decisions about shape, size, and content, it’s time to think about presentation. It goes without saying (but it’s not a bad idea to say it anyway) that the cover is the part of your book people will see first. If your cover does not attract their attention, your art on the inside will not have a chance to do so…your potential reader will be long gone.
There are an incredible number of options available to you to make your mini stand out from the crowd. They are limited only by your imagination, budget, and the time available. But these are not idle concerns. If you design a cover that takes you 20 minutes to prepare, you are going to get very tired of putting your books together, very fast. As a result, you may end up making only a few copies of your mini, when you might have intended to make a huge pile. Similarly, if you design a cover that involves expensive materials, you may not be able to afford to make many of them, or you may need to charge so much money for them that they’re hard to sell, or you may find it difficult to make yourself give them away. You have to strike a balance between these factors.
Above are some examples of creative mincomics design.
In his 24-hour comic, “Puppy”, Jensen used two simple ways to decorate the cover for Puppy. First, he photocopied a drawing of a puppy onto a different paper stock, and glued it on his cover, then he used a kind of Asian semi-transparent rice paper as an over-cover. Bishakh Som also used an overlay to jazz up his cover for his mini comic “Angel”. He photocopied the swooping angel in the image onto colored vellum (tracing paper), and the rest of the image onto plain white paper. When you lift the outer, orange cover, the angel diappears, implying that it exists in another level of reality.
In “Dumb Cluck” by John Kerschbaum, the cover is very simple. It’s blank except for a round hole punched out so that the little illustration underneath can peek out. The back cover was given the same treatment for balance. Hole punchers like the one Kerschbaum used come in different sizes and shapes and can be found in craft stores.
The Tompkinses created their cover for “And I Saw Edgar Allen Poe” by airbrushing or spraypainting a stencil of a raven over the cover, which is a sheet of opaque fancy paper.
In “The Origami Pet” by Dan Moynihan The words of the title were first hand drawn and colored. Later Moynihan scanned that art and inkjet-printed it on colored cardstock. After binding the minicomic together, to add onto the origami theme, a strip of Japanese origami paper was glued onto the book’s spine which also conceals the staples, giving the book a more professional look.