5 Tips to improve your comic book lettering.

03/13/2019

 

 

Breaking down comic book lettering...

 

Lettering your own comics by hand can streamline and lower the cost of production as well as offer another layer of creative control. Listed here are five fast tips to help you simplify the process. Lettering is its own discipline, so you won't get it down in a day but by breaking the letters down to their individual strokes, you will gather some valuable fundamentals.

 

Summary:

  • Supplies

  • Practice Fundamentals

  • Negative spaces

  • A different way to think about lettering

LETTERING SUPPLIES

  • Ames Lettering Guide (set to 3.5)

  • Straight Edge

  • Red Pencil

  • Graphite Pencil

  • Eraser

Click here for detailed list of

Analog Comic Book Supplies.

 

 

1. Focus on One Stroke
Most comic letters start with a vertical stroke on the left side. If you only utilize one of these tips, let this be the one. After filling a few pages with these short strokes you will quickly see much more consistency in your lettering.
          Newbie Tip: Warm up and cool down with this exercise.

2. Don’t write letters, draw them
Make the mental shift that you are not writing, you are drawing. Remove the language and sound elements from the individual letters and see them as objective shapes and strokes.
          Newbie Tip: Focus on the shapes and negative spaces that are created by each letter.

3. Allow ample negative space where applicable.
Letters such as A,B,D,O,P,Q,R have closed off negative spaces which can look cramped if it's made too small. If the space looks small in pencil, it will no doubt get smaller when you ink it.
          Newbie Tip: Use larger negative spaces and reduce them incrementally until you find a good balance.

4. Focus on a few more strokes.

Most letters can be formed with three more strokes. _ , / & \. Curved letters are an exception and have their own strokes such as B & R. Letters like J,S,Y,X,Z may require you to modify or learn a new stroke.

          Newbie Tip: Seek out similarities in letter structures, and memorize exceptions such as S.

 

5. Underscore between words
The space between letters is as important as the letters themselves. To keep it consistent, count the space between letters as a letter when arranging a composition with many words.

          Newbie Tip: Use the Same stroke you would cross E,F, H,L & T.

 

Bonus. Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.

Take your time, clear your mind, work steady and be in the moment. Break down the process to strokes, and commit to each stroke with confidence. When in doubt, slow down or stop and take a breather.

   Newbie Tip: Only letter when you have ample time to dedicate to it. Never practice in a rushed manner.