Digital Lettering vs. Traditional
Hey folks. I am collaborating on a book with a friend and thus far we have all the main parts of the process covered. I write, he draws/inks/colors. The one wall we have hit is lettering.
Neither one of us has good handwriting skills (Which is kind of funny seeing how we are both artists), so I was thinking of turning to digital lettering. I'd assume this would be done in Illustrator or Quark after the colors are done, but I'm curious if anyone here has chosen to do digital lettering any your experiences with it. And any resources for letting too.
I have a link to Balloon tales and to the ComicCraft Fonts Web site, which I think are good starts. Just curious if anyone has experience and can share with someone who needs to start getting up to speed on it. Would anyone recommend practicing with scripts/finished art?
Wow, great link. Thanks Methane!
I have to say I never knew the tidings of a great letterer until I read From Hell *shudder*
Much respect to all letterers.
Lettering, whether by hand or digital is an art form in and of itself. A good letterer an make or break a comic book. Things like balloon placement, word stacking, and chosing the right font or sound effects are very important. A really good book that goes into hand lettering is Alan McKenzie's HOW TO DRAW AND SELL COMIC STRIPS. One of the best hand lettered comics is XENOZOIC TALES (aka CADILLACS & DINOSAURS). Recently, Dark Horse has released two trade paperback editions of X T, so check for them at your local comic shop. Even if you're going to digitally letter, you can learn a lot about balloon placement, word stacking, and incorporating sound effects just by leafing through these two volumes (particularly volume 2). If your comic shop has a good sellection of Indy back issues, check out Howard Chaykin's AMERICAN FLAGG. That comic series really did some amazing things with the sound effects worth checking out.
Last edited by Bruce Lee; 04-26-2004 at 05:35 AM.
Thanks Loston. I'll give those two a peruse. I think what I may do to get some practice is mock up the letters for the script I'm wiriting to your batman sequentials in the write off in the Writers desk thread.
I went to a web site once (forget which link because it sucked) and they had a lot of useful information and tutorials for computer lettering. Then they had a 'click here' for hand lettering.
In the hand lettering section they made you read a full two pages of ****in' BS on choosing a pencil and ruler, and then just to make a practical joke out of it in the end with "so go get to work, practice makes perfect, your doing it the old fashion way". And that was their supposed "Hand Lettering Tutorial"
In other words, in case I'm not making my point clear....they spit in the face of hand-lettering because computers have so long taken over this art form...and apparently people who use their hands to letter are primitive apes.
I wanted to rip the head off of the guy who wrote that!!!!!!!!!!!!
If you can't appreciate the greatness of hand lettering than your an idiot. And to act as though computer lettering is "so obviously" superior is stupid. Computers haven't actually been in everyones household for thaaaaaaatt long. Hand lettering is an art that's gone on for hundreds of years, and there was a day before printing when people mastered the beautiful art of "hand-writing", ...yes that's right! people once used their hands to make beautiful writing!!!!!!!
kind of like REAL artists!!!!!!!!!!!
I hear you Brendon,
Whoever owns that page is a freak. Thats the same mentality that says inkers just trace over pencils. Obviously whoever wrote all that cynical trash hasnt actually BLED their heart and soul onto the story they're working on.
Thank GOD for computers, i say! But i also remember that we are standing on the shoulders of great artists who HAD TO do things the hard way. That takes tremendous dedication, control and talent that many of us dont possess, but make up for with superior tools.
Having said all that, i mostly use computer generated fonts (then again, its for a webcomic yet to be released), but i still do occasionally break out the pencils, microns and associated measuring instruments for the more expressive hand-drawn fonts (pretty rare, though).
I agree with you guys. That guy should be seriously flamed and his site spammed to oblivion. I think traditional hand lettering will always surpass digital lettering, period. Flame on, lamer!
I, unfortunately, have some of the most atrocious handwriting I've ever seen and since I'm doing the writing duties for the book, I don't have the time to dedicate to working on hand lettering. I can't afford to pay a letterer (traditional or digital), so digital lettering is my saving grace. More because it's more economical and efficient.
I studied graphic design for a couple years in school and still design today for the Web, so I feel confident with a little practice I can do a good job in lettering. I think that's an important aspect for a digital letterer to have under their belt is design experience in some regard. You get a feel for laying out words and adding typographic highlights which I think is a big plus.