View Full Version : Hand-Lettering Critique

03-16-2014, 06:51 AM
I've been practicing hand-lettering for the last couple of months, whenever I get some time. I got a new scanner/printer yesterday, so I thought I'd letter an old story using a digital version of the lightbox technique. Here it is. I haven't entirely figured out how to scan stuff properly, so the letters are a bit fatter than the ones I drew.

I know I've got a long way to go to getting good at this, so I'd like critiques, and any exercises I could do to improve on my hand-lettering.

[Note: I haven't used a ruler or French curves to draw the balloons/caption boxes on purpose. I think the forte of hand-lettering at this point is that it can look hand-done, rather than an erratic version of digital lettering. Hence.]





03-16-2014, 08:01 AM
Looks pretty good actually. The only thing I noticed is it looks like you got a lot of bleed from your pen, especially on the first page. Not sure what you're using to letter with or what paper, but might want to change that. It wasn't as obvious in the other pages so maybe you did.

03-16-2014, 10:19 AM
Thank you! The bleeding is a scanning error. The scans were quite dirty, so I had to bump up the levels to isolate the lettering, and it turned the black thicker. I'm trying to figure out a way to get it down consistently.

03-16-2014, 10:48 AM
I like it.
This lettering style goes very well with the artwork style.
Maybe you should try something more formal with formal artwork.
Practice makes the deal.

03-16-2014, 03:56 PM
Zooming out to roughly comic size, I feel like some of these letters are closing up a little. Maybe a slightly thinner line for the text? Or a slightly larger text size.

Other than that it works great, it definitely feels in sync with the art.

03-17-2014, 01:26 PM
@Scribbly: Thank you! I don't think I'm good enough yet to try mainstream-style hand-lettering. Hopefully someday.

@egypturnash: Thanks! I'll keep that in mind for my next try. I think I could print the artwork a bit smaller when I'm lettering. I'll give it a go.

Thomas Mauer
03-19-2014, 06:59 AM
Really digging what you're doing here, Adityab!

Since I'm always interested in hearing what tools people use, care to share what pen and paper type you're working with?

Cleaning up page 1, if you use Levels try working with the middle slider. It can help tremendously to bump mid tone grays in either direction.

03-21-2014, 03:19 AM
Thanks, Thomas! I'm definitely gonna try the trick with the middle slider. Never thought of that. I'll report how it goes! :)

Tools: I'm lettering on 100gsm bond paper, using a .2 Staedtler fineliner for the regular lettering, and a .6 for the bolds. Rapidographs are supposed to give better results, but I don't find them very comfortable to work with.

I'm going to work up to the crowquills Nate recommended in his handlettering guide, but I'm still figuring out how to file them down properly - right now they're maddeningly inconsistent.

Thomas Mauer
03-21-2014, 07:22 AM
Try a really fine grind stone. Something you'd use to sharpen knives Even the finest sandpaper was too coarse for my liking.

I can also recommend the Pentel Tradio Pulaman TR-J50 3I and the Pentel Tradio Stylo TR-50 3B as well. The latter is cut to give you a varying line weight, the former has a constant line weight. What's cool is that you can buy ink cartridge replacements for them. They're called MLJ20-A.