As a modern comic self-publisher, you will need working knowledge of a
computer and a few key computer programs. If you use a Mac or a PC,
this will be no different. At bare minimum, you will need a functioning
computer with the following program types:
1) word processor - for writing and editing scripts.
2) image editor - for creating and editing art, and lettering
3) desktop publishing - for putting it all together and getting it to the printer
may suggest that you run out and get the best machine, fully loaded
with the latest versions of the most popular industry tools. Some may,
but I'm not. I'm here to tell you what I use and what works for me.
start with my computer. I'm a PC guy. I'm a PC guy because I like being
able to take apart and put together my computer. That's just me, you
may be different, but I'm telling you my way and I'm cheap. My computer
in a 450 Mhz Pentium II machine with 768MB of RAM. It cost me $100
(including shipping on eBay about 2-3 years ago) plus another $100 to
max out the RAM (1GB). My current monitor is a 17" CRT it cost me less than
$100 (including shipping on eBay). I also have an HP Deskjet D1420
printer, an HP 3400C scanner and a Wacom Bamboo tablet. Those were
about $250 combined and while nice, they are not really necessary, so I
mention them only in passing.
UPDATE: November 16, 2009 I still have the same computer and most of the equipment is the same, but I'm now using a Brother HL-2140 black and white printer. I got it for $65.00 at Office Max. I prefer printers that use toner over those that use ink cartridges.
My operating system is Windows
2000 Advanced Server. I'm a web developer by trade so it's nice to have
a local web server for web site development. The side effect is that I
learned that the Windows 2000 server operating system requires less RAM and it less
processor intensive than Windows XP. This leaves more RAM and processor
power for my other programs and means that I can invest the money saved
My word processor is Word 2000
because it does it's job. Nothing more and nothing less. As a word
processor Wordpad works just as well and ships (for free) with the
Windows OS. Having Word in most cases, will allow you to easily open
and create a wide ranges of document types. This becomes very handy
when you are working with lots of different creators. Google also
offers a free word processor at Google Docs.
UPDATE: November 16, 2009 I replaced Word 2000 with OpenOffice. OpenOffice does everything that Word does and it's free. I aslo use Google docs a lot.
document type of choice for writing and editing is RTF (Rich Text
Format). This format maintains all the formatting that you really need
(bold, italics, tabs, etc) without all the unnecessary junk AND it's
readable by most other word processors. This makes it extremely easy to
pass documents back and forth. Google Docs also takes care of file compatibility and file sharing.
My image editors of choice are Photoshop and Illustrator
both made by Adobe. I use Photoshop 7 and Illustrator 9. They both work
well for me. I use Illustrator mainly for lettering and I use Photoshop
for almost everything else. I recently discovered that Photoshop 7 does
not always work with Windows Vista, so if you're using Vista, I suggest
you check invest in Photoshop CS3.
UPDATE: November 16, 2009 I still use PS7 and AI9, but I will be upgrading to CS4 once, I get a new PC and upgrade to Windows 7.
I don't really have a program
that's designed exclusively for desktop publishing. All the printers
that I use accept TIFF and/or PDF files. For those that accept TIFF
files, I use Photoshop to export files as TIFFs and I'm done. For those
the require PDF files, I use Photoshop to create single page PDF files
of each one of my pages and then I use PDF Split-Merge to merge the pages all together into a single file that gets sent off to the printer.
And that's it. Those are all the programs that I use on a regular basis to produce comics.