View Full Version : How are my letters? (or how BAD are my letters!)

01-23-2013, 11:51 PM
Hi all, I'm a writer and I'm doing my own letters for my comic Sevara. Please give me your honest opinion of my work as a letterer.

I am not a letterer, I'm a writer and photographer. This is my first time ever lettering a page. Done in Illustrator CS6. Lines by Andre Siregar and colors by Danang. Thanks!

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Evan Henry
01-24-2013, 01:22 AM
Pretty good! I don't care much for the font, but that's not a capital crime. Personally, I would put all the captions in boxes and take the font size down a few pt, but that's a stylistic choice as well. There are a few places where the lettering elements could be placed better relative to the art (giant guy on page one, for example, could easily have his balloon placed above and to the right of his head).

There's a tangent on panel two of page one with the top of the guy's head. This could be fixed by just shunting the "live" part of the balloon further to the right and slightly upward. On panel three, Hooded Guy's dialogue should definitely be to the right of his head, and the problem with the unboxed captions is more evident there, where there is an unpleasant clash between the yellow font and the blue screen.

There are similar problems on the next few pages, but they're all relatively minor. The lettering has a manga style to it that gels pretty well with the art. Looks like a cool book! When it goes to press, feel free to drop me a line (mailto:evanh2008@yahoo.com) and I'd be glad to review it.

01-24-2013, 09:06 AM
I think the pointers I'd give that aren't covered above are to watch your tails. You've got several tails particularly at the start that aren't merged with the balloon. If you're lettering in illustrator this is super easy to do with the merge paths function.

Similarly your tail widths and shapes aren't very consistent - check out comicrafts balloontails website for some solid advice and if you want to go further maybe pick up their book as well - http://www.balloontales.com/

It's worth reiterating what's been said above about the captions - it's extremely hard to read most of your yellow caption text here - I'd box it up and bring the font size down. Similarly I'd use a different font for the balloon text itself as well - check out Blambot for some good free options to practice with.

Hope that helps :)

01-31-2013, 05:30 PM
Thank you everyone for your comments. For a new letterer, this was very helpful. I gave page 1 another try.

Please let me know what you think.


I'm not understanding Illustrator's behavior, I was wondering is someone could help me out. This pitch has a ton of radio bubbles, so if anyone can answer this it will be a life saver. I make the radio bubbles by making a round path, adding extra anchor points, and then using the effect pucker and bloat. I then make the tail separately with the pen tool. When I merge the two paths using pathfinder, the radio bubble melts! Can anyone explain this? How can I "freeze" the pucker and bloat effect so that it doesn't go away when I merge a tail with the radio bubble path? Thanks in advance.

01-31-2013, 07:28 PM
I don't think there is always a need to have a tail on radio balloons as long as you establish which characters are talking. For example the latest issue of Aquaman has a lot of talk underwater where Batman is using a communicator to talk to Aquaman, these balloons have no tail.
Your other option is to not use the spiked word balloon at all. You could use either of these two.
http://img339.imageshack.us/img339/830/radioballoons.png (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/339/radioballoons.png/)

But if you do want to continue using a spiked balloon like that, I have no idea how to connect them easily, I always just zoom in and paint carefully over the ends of my tail.


02-01-2013, 07:29 AM
When I merge the two paths using pathfinder, the radio bubble melts! Can anyone explain this? How can I "freeze" the pucker and bloat effect so that it doesn't go away when I merge a tail with the radio bubble path? Thanks in advance.

Hold down ALT when you click on 'Unite' and you'll get an editable group instead of one combined shape, and your effect will be preserved.

(You can record ALT-clicking Unite as an action and assign it to an F-Key to make life a bit easier.)



Comics Commando
02-02-2013, 01:45 AM
Lettering: use a different font and clean up the punctuation. Yer missing some serious periods and commas. On that second pass on page one--open up the caption borders---waaa-aay too close to the letters. It's claustrophobic.

Mostly, though, I'm concerned about the storytelling. As a "reader" I'm not sure who's speaking in those off-panel balloons. It's a good idea to establish those characters visually before asking the reader to know who's talking remotely or off panel. It's hard to follow right off the bat.

Kurt Hathaway

02-07-2013, 05:50 PM
A sincere thank you to everyone who checked out my letters, and many thanks to those who left comments. Alt-click is brilliant for the Pathfinder window! That's a lifesaver.

Here's my 3rd pass on the letters, with all of my pages for my pitch except page 6 (so the story will not make sense if you are reading for content and not just for layout).

I'm working out how to make Mitan's voice coming through the speakers different. Please let me know what you think, or if there is a better way.

Please leave your comments, I appreciate it. I am experimenting with the SFX, some I like, some I don't. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

I'm also feeling a lot of negativity towards my font. I tried traditional comic fonts and they didn't fit the tone of the book. Check out all the pages and let me know - should I trash the font or stick with it. Your vote counts!

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02-08-2013, 05:37 AM
You've got waaay to many fonts on each page and waaay too many balloon styles. Pick a dialogue font and use it for everything -- speech balloons and captions unless there's a compelling reason to give a character a custom font or balloon style.

Also, I'm not sure why you're using 'standard' fonts rather than lettering ones -- Lithos Black looks odd in speech balloons, and I'm not fond of the one you're using for dialogue either. Head over to Blambot (http://www.blambot.com/fonts.shtml) for a generous selection of free dialogue and FX fonts.

I'm afraid the images are too small for me to be able to read the actual text clearly, so it's difficult to offer more specific critique. Sorry!



02-10-2013, 04:15 AM
-- I'm changing the fonts now due to an overwhelming response to people who don't like it. I'll post higher rez images soon when finished.

Any thoughts on the robot bubbles? I need to make it clear when Mitan's voice is coming through the speaker. Comics Commando was having a problem following who was speaking on page 2 and after. I tried to clarify with a special type of balloon. I was even going to give the speaker a robotic font to make it more clear. Thoughts?

Thanks for the feedback.

02-13-2013, 06:07 PM
I took everyone's advice and changed the fonts. Let me know what you think!

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