Monday, June 08, 2009

Comic Lettering: How To and How Not To!

Comic book lettering is the art of putting those neat little words that you read into the neat little balloons so that you can read them. It's mostly design and like all design sometimes it's done well and A LOT of the the time it's done poorly. Good lettering should be seen, but not noticed. If something about the lettering or balloons is pulling you away from the story, then the letterer has failed to do his job correctly.

Almost all lettering done today in comics is done digitally using computer fonts. There are 2 major places dedicated to producing high quality comic book related fonts. These 2 places are Comicraft founded by Richard Starkings and Blambot founded by Nate Piekos. Both places provide high quality fonts as well as articles about lettering. Those articles can be augmented by the lettering videos available at If you still find yourself with questions, then head over to the lettering forum at Digital Webbing. Some of the top letterers working in the current industry can be found at Digital Webbing including (but not limited to) Nate Piekos, Clem Robins, Tom Orzechowski.

Now while we can not all be professional letterers, we can all be better than sub standard letterers. Those you SHOULD NOT listen to are those that offer tutorials for lettering using anything other the Illustrator. While you can use other tools, they are undersuited for the job at hand. If you MUST use those tools, then you should do so mimicking the Illustrator method as much as possible.

If you don't think lettering is that important, then contact me and I'll get my youngest to letter for you. Otherwise, learn to letter well (I did) or hire a letterer (I'm generally available).

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