Presentation is Important
Every now and then I’ll critique lettering or presentation in an amateur comic. Common problems are terrible font choices or word bubbles that are obviously an afterthought. Usually when I bring it to the person’s attention I get the reply of “it’s just a font” or “comic sans has the word comic in it, X-Men uses it” (no it doesn’t)
I want to remind anyone that has ever wanted to do comics professionally that presentation matters. Lettering matters. Coloring matters. Penciling matters. Inking matters. Editing matters. Story matters. I understand that we all want to be rock star pencillers or writers and lettering is just for peasants, but if you want to be a professional, you need to at least act like you care about what you’re doing.
Nothing says “I don’t give a shit about what my work looks like” than Comic Sans or Times New Roman in a poorly constructed word bubble. It’s all too often that people will tell me they do all their lettering at the last minute and it really shows. Don’t do that.
Here are some handy dandy tips on not only lettering, but overall presentation. (note, I am not a professional letterer so I am not an expert on the subject. But bare minimum I know how to not make it hideous)
- If the font can be used in a term paper, it does not belong in a comic.
- If the word “comic” is in the font title, that does not mean it’s a good font for comics. If you see the font being used by soccer moms in PTA letters or being used on shady business establishment signs, you probably don’t want to use it.
- Some of the best comic lettering fonts on the planet can be found at http://www.comicbookfonts.com/ they are pricey, but can be found for sale all the time. People that don’t want to spend money on fonts can find perfectly acceptable fonts at http://www.blambot.com/
- Colored fonts and word bubbles are rarely appropriate. Really the only times I can think of is for a really evil character. In 90% of cases, you should be smart enough to lay out word bubbles in a way that does not make it confusing for the reader. You should not need to color code dialogue like a crappy anime fansub from 2005.
- If you can’t digitally color, don’t do it in something you’re getting paid to do. No seriously. It’s too often I see someone color a comic page they intend to show prospective employers and are like “lol I’m just starting to learn to color”. No. Don’t do that. If you’re just doing it for fun as practice, that’s totally fine as obviously you have to start somewhere. But it’s not okay if you want to get HIRED for something.
- Hideous shape brushes and default Photoshop textures are terrible. Texture is awesome, but not when it’s a piece of crap brick or rock texture getting shat out of a Photoshop filter.
- Work at no smaller than 300 DPI if you’re working digitally.
- Scanning is not hard. Stop acting like it is. Know how to properly can your lineart, because nothing says “I don’t want to be hired” like poorly scanned lineart. (also your colorist will stab you)
- If you’re not drawing digitally, paper choice matters. Lined paper is not okay. You don’t have to necessarily draw on fancy expensive Blue Line Pro paper, but if you have any interest in selling originals ever, don’t use shit paper.
- Buying a tablet or a Cintiq when you’re not very good at drawing will not automatically make you a better artist. I work on comics digitally for a living and I don’t even own a Cintiq because I don’t think I need it. If you want to start learning how to draw digitally, be reasonable and buy a Wacom Bamboo/Intuos. (Bamboo is dead now. The new line is Intuos and Intuos Pro, beginners want Intuos) But don’t go into it thinking it will make you a better artist. A tablet is a tool like anything else and it will not polish a turd. It’s all too often I see people starting out dumping $1000+ on a Cintiq because they think it will make them better artists. You don’t buy a fucking $2000+ guitar when you can’t even play a song.
- You don’t have to color digitally, but be aware it’s not viable for monthly comics in most cases. You can only pull it off if you are a speed demon. I only know of 1-2 artists that is able to do it on a monthly series.
Hope this is helpful!
People have written a lot of touchy-feely pieces on this subject but I thought I’d get right to the heart of the matter
Colorful Speedwagon is life.
Dearly departed Jonathan Joestar’s head smiles serenely back at you on this beautiful patch!
Machine embroidered on 100% cotton twill, this patch is a must for any fan of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure.
Patch measures 2.5” wide by 4.25” tall – the perfect size for denim vests, jackets, backpacks, and more!
Now you can have what Dio left behind. Even Speedwagon wants one!
Get it now in my online store!
I am working on an incredible ‘ms paint’ version of the Berserk 1997 anime opening.
I’m really using my skills to the best of my ability here.
Hey folks! I want to invite you to check out a new Berserk podcast centering around female fans and their experiences. I got to sit down with long-time Berserk fans Lithrael and Gummyskull (aka honeyrey on Tumblr) to share our points of view. I think it’s a podcast that many Berserk fans here will get a kick out of.
Click the banner image to take you to the Skullknight.net thread, or listen to the podcast here. Hope you enjoy!
As Grail said, If you’re a Berserk fan then I’d give us a listen!
Visera Fiction I, II, III, 2014
Pen on Pergamenta paper
Made with no visual reference material, these pieces take reference from the memory and experience of drawing from real cadavers and specimens at the Gordon Museum of Pathology and dissection lab at Kings College, London- but are entirely imagined. They explore how a specific knowledge base informs making, and how these experiences create a unique aesthetic understanding.
19 wasn’t an option so I went with 18.
Throw Back Thursday! These are from the very first Aki-con back in 2008. I loved to cosplay One Piece several yeas ago and both Nami and Tashigi were favorite characters of mine.
I have to do a bit of scouring to make these throwback posts. My back up hard drive failed last year, so I lost most of my photographs taken from around 2008-2013 and all of the raw data. The lesson is : always have backups of your backups!