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The General Purpose Lettering Thread

edited February 2016 in The Toolbox
… that my workload has subsided to the point where I can maintain something resembling a respectable blogging schedule?*

Ironically, today's post has very little to do with lettering, but is possibly of interest … a process post on 'restoring' the classic 1970s British strip, Hook Jaw!


Cheers!

Jim






*4100 pages lettered in 2011, folks. That's a standard-length US book every two days for the whole year!
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Comments

  • Yep. I'm knackered. :-)
  • That Hook Jaw restoration is awesome. I would love to work on something like that. Nice work! (Also goes to show how much being a production expert goes beyond just "lettering.")
  • @pjperez: Any day that's a "Hook Jaw" day is a nice reminder of why I gave up my day job!

    This week, I'm afraid I wander still further off-topic. I very rarely do opinion pieces on my blog, but here's one on the Before Watchmen furore: http://j.mp/yoDYOE

    Next time, something to do with lettering, I promise!

    Cheers

    Jim
  • @jimcampbell I read your Before Watchmen piece earlier. Great points. People get way too caught up in things that don't have any impact on their lives.
  • @jimcampbell I just read about this being in the pages of STRIP magazine. I had no idea the original material was that far gone. 

    Also, 4100 pages? 

    "He's more machine now than man..."
  • New blog post! As promised, this one actually has something to do with lettering, specifically, how to squeeze lettering into tight spaces by interleaving balloons: link!

    Cheers!

    Jim
  • We have a new blog post today: much-loved British anthology 2000AD's birthday and what 35 years of lettering has meant to me! http://j.mp/yWGUcy

    Cheers

    Jim
  • Hey, @JimCampbell, I discovered that I have one of your business cards sitting on my coffee table but I have no idea where I could have met you! It's driving me a bit nuts.

    Were you at San Diego two years ago? 
  • Hi, Jason! I've yet to make it to a US Con -- so, unless you've been to the UK in the last couple of years, I think you might have met the other Jim Campbell ( http://angryjim.com/ ) who's probably better known for coloring, but does lettering as well. 

    (It is confusing there being two of us, but my first pro credit pre-dates his by at least two years, so I don't see why I should be the one to use a different name professionally!)

    Cheers

    Jim
  • Ah, you must be right. 

    I figure it must have been San Diego 2 years ago; it's the only US con I've been to since 2006.

    I admit, it's a bit of a drunken haze by now...
  • At least there are just two of you, @JimCampbell.  At one point there were THREE Ron Turners in comics (the founder of Last Gasp, the late British artist, and the Canadian artist I've worked with over the years).
  • There are actually two Justin Jordans in comics, The other is an artist. I feel I should work with him at some point, for the lulz.
  • THERE IS ONLY ONE PJ PEREZ

    Hey, @JimCampbell, question for you: What are your thoughts on font size in comics? As a guy with not-great vision, I'm increasingly frustrated by the dwindling size of mainstream comics lettering (let's not even get started on other periodicals), so when I letter my comics, I try to accommodate for people like me, and tend to go a bit larger (9 to 10 point). I guess you'll say it comes down to what works for the project/personal preference, but I'm curious if you had any input...

  • edited February 2012
    @pjperezthat's the question of the day.
    I swear, I've been picking up comics lately where the font is SO small I thought I needed a magnifying glass.  However, after a page or two the small font starts to read just fine.  I can see why some people resort to it.  But on the flip side... when a font is too big then I can never get used to it.

    So yeah... what is the best size?  And keep in mind I'm only thinking computer fonts -- because lettering by hand is completely different since it gets reduced with the page (unless a person is working 1:1 scale).
  • Oh, man. Lots of comics with tiny fonts lately. Not all of them are wordy enough for it be a practical consideration either. 

    Can there be a one-size-fits-all number? I use anywhere from 5pt to 7pt depending on the font and page size. and 7pt seems huge. But PJ mentioned using 9-10pt... 
    When I try a new font I print the pages at actual size to see what works. 
    Even then I size the font just a little larger than I would if it was only for print, so it's easier to read on the web on whatever device. I can even read whole pages on my iPhone when zoomed all the way out. I've never had anyone complain the the text in the print versions are too large.

    But I also keep dialog to an absolute minimum, therefore I can choose font size purely on readability. I don't have to worry about shrinking-to-fit. ;)
  • Great question, PJ.

    I lettered The Sixsmiths pretty big, because although Iw as formatting the pages for standard comic size, I knew that the book would be reduced to something closer to digest size (although I didn't know exactly what size that would be). I think those were lettered at 9 points I think.

    I do McBlack at 6 or 7 point, but it depends on the font. 

    I'm Bucket of Glass pretty big, too--I think 9 pt--but I think mixed case fonts require it.




  • I do Bomb Queen at 6.5 pt. (on computer)  It's kinda small.  I'm using the font DIGITAL STRIP for lettering. Purchased from Blambot.
  • I use WildWords and Monologous for McBlack. One of them--I think the former--seems to be a half point bigger. 

    I just try to judge it against the artwork. 
  • Definitely no hard and fast rules on this one, as far as I'm concerned. Complicated still further by the .OTF format, which seems to vary the height of characters proportional to their width, so whereas in the old Postscript days 6pt was 6pt was 6pt, now…

    image
    So the only option, really, is to eyeball it. The US first book I ever did for print was done in CCHushHush at 6pt and looked OK, so I keep a sample of that on the side of every artboard and when I pick a font style for a book, I compare it to that!

    (And, yes, sentence case usually requires larger point sizes, and higher leading to stop the ascenders and descenders getting tangled up between lines.)
  • Thanks for the input, all. I didn't expect (nor should there be!) a "hard and fast rule," as I mentioned, but, you know, one man's "eyeball" is another's fun-house mirror. ;)

    Great discussion! I'm using a font that's tall and slender for this current project, and because of that, there's already a tendency (as demonstrated in @JimCampbell's great visual example) for the characters to look "larger" than other typefaces at the same pica, even though they're not. But I fiddled with the size and leading last night, and think I found a good comfort zone between "small enough to be unobtrusive" and "large enough for old man Peej to read." :)
  • @Jimmie_Robinson yeah I use somewhere around 6.5 or 7 for Digital Strip. I use BlamBots ComicGeek for most of my work these days (all of the stuff I've lettered for PJ or Russ for example). I generally keep it around 8 or 9 I think. Depends on the art.

    The biggest issue for me is if I'm doing something that is meant to be consumed both digitally and physically. There aren't a lot of fonts that look OK at the same size in both. Digital usually needs a higher pt to be easily readable and that really gets tough when it's the dialog is really extensive or the art is really dense.
  • @SteveWallace Yeah -- as there's been a noticeable increase in the amount of iPad/digital content work, I've become more conscious of the differing requirements. I'm liking CCAdamKubert, which is significantly bolder in its standard weight than most fonts. Used it recently on a digital-only project to very enthusiastic feedback.
  • Question for the massmind:

    The high res Tiffs I'm getting sent for a project are full-artboard - (11x17 or whatever) -size. Should I letter on the full-sized art, then flatten and shrink 'em down to print size in Photoshop, or shrink 'em first and letter on the for-print sized art? 

    Thanks!
  • I always letter printed size. I have an Illustrator document set up to the full printed page size (including bleed) and I just fit the art file to that, lock the artwork layer, and letter over the top.
  • I'll second that. Letter at print size.
  • Interesting. I've always lettered over the full-size TIFF before, because the publisher wants those, not shrunk to print files.
  • I've used Anime Ace 2.0 on Blambot for all my Dark Horse work. Have yet to find a font I like better.
  • That is a nice font. 
  • edited September 2012
    Interesting. I've always lettered over the full-size TIFF before, because the publisher wants those, not shrunk to print files.
    Curious… I've never come across a publisher who does want oversize files!
    I've used Anime Ace 2.0 on Blambot for all my Dark Horse work. Have yet to find a font I like better.
    I collect dialogue fonts like other people collect… err… comics. I like to have options based on the tone of the book and the style of the art. PiekosProfessionalBB, for example, has a slightly spiky feel to it and I tend to use it with artists who have a scratchy ink style and on horror-type books. CCDaveGibbons is reassuringly traditional and massively readable and I use it on juvenile titles. SilverAge BB reminds me strongly of Tom Orz's clear, careful penmanship so I used it on the educational titles I did for Discovery…
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