Hi Bruce,


Since I regularly do the layout of the page that contains my artwork in
magazines, I am used to using bleed. 5% is really, really very much, or you
are making a really small book. Normal is a bleed in mm. 5 mm is used, but 3
mm is more common. I am not sure how much that is in inches, though. So that
is really different from what you are used to. The 5 mm doesn't have to
contain real artwork, but the suggestion of it. As with a canvas, the sides
aren't shown. If you are making illustrations that only cover half a spread,
than you have to take in account that the bleed is normally only on 3 sides,
so not the gutter edge. But that depends on how the book is made. The setter
can adjust the edges of your artwork within InDesign, so be aware of that. 




Mieke Roth

Scientific and technical visualizations

Mieke Roth, Msc.

Breehorn 46

8223 CN Lelystad

The Netherlands

+31 (0)320-412117


From: SciArt-L Discussion List-for Natural Science Illustration-
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Bruce Bartrug
Sent: zondag 23 mei 2010 15:45
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [SCIART] To bleed, or not to bleed.....


......that is the question (posed herein, with a corollary question as to
how to this all affects illustration composition.)

I'm working on illustrations for a most interesting book project, which has
been off again/on again for couple years.  At last (!), it seems poised to
be printed later this year or early next.  The format is 6 x 9 inches, and
more than a few illustrations will be plates opposite a page of poetry.  I
know.  It's a tall, narrow format that can present a challenge when
composing an image.  I've used it before, however, and I'm certain many of
you have as well.

Now comes the part about bleed.  It has been indicated that the printing
will incorporate "full bleed" for the illustrations.  I'm not quite certain
what that term means, and depending on your response I may need it
clarified.  In the past I've composed illustrations for 5% bleed in which
the page is printed 5% larger than needed and then trimmed to the page size
for the book. And also the other way, leaving a tiny white margin around the
outside of the page.  

In the latter situation, the typesetter was quite expert and knew exactly
how to handle this situation.  The setter for the current project will not
be so expert and will be using "Photoshop CS4" to set the book for print.
I'm assuming he or she means InDesign, toggling to and from Pshop to collect

My problem is deciding how to compose the respective images if, indeed,
these will be printed, say, 5% larger than needed for the page size, then
cut to size before the book pages are bound.  (Or cut to size after the book
is bound;  I'm not certain of the process here.)  Specifically, if only the
three outer edges of the illustration are trimmed, is the remaining 5%
overprint on the gutter side relegated to the gutter?  Or should the
typesetter trim 5% off the gutter edge?  Let me give you an illustration.
Pun intended :).

Here's a link to an incomplete piece for this book, a houseleek, for a poem
of the same title.  (A bit contrasty on the scan, Bruce.) 

You'll note I've generated two sets of vertical crop marks.  This image will
be on the left page, introducing the poetry piece which starts on the right
page.  My thought is that if the image is printed larger and the right side
buried in the gutter it will change the composition enough that I want to
move the plant (the houseleek) a bit to the left.  Hence the right hand set
of vertical crop marks.  Am I correct here?  And how do I indicate to the
typesetter precisely what I want?

A corollary is that some illustrations will span two pages, through the
gutter.  Is there anything I need to do to allow for the gutter other than
indicating where that should be to the typesetter?  (Also, of course,
arranging the composition to keep important information OUT of the gutter.)

I truthfully prefer a margin around the illustrations, even a narrow one,
and even in so narrow a format.  A narrow black border, too, which dresses
up the artwork in my humble.  This might not be possible due to printing
costs, etc., but it's also easier to plan the artwork if it's printed this

Any help or suggestions welcome, and thank you in advance.

If you can navigate back into the Zenfolio site, check a recent addition you
might enjoy, "Three Thai Artists."   If not, here's a link:


Bruce Bartrug
Nobleboro, Maine, USA
[log in to unmask]

The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but
because of those who look on and do nothing.  - Albert Einstein


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