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Old 01-20-2013, 08:25 AM   #1
NicShaw
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Could I get a quick lettering/logo Critique?

Hey y'all!
I've just started lettering and using Adobe Illustrator and I would like to get a few pointers! So for a little background. I started my own book this year I got to lettering it and found I really enjoyed it!
I'd really like to get into lettering professionally and start taking work from all of you pro's on here!

I don't have any history with Illustrator, I own 'Comic Book Lettering the Comic Craft Way'. I'll also be doing an Illustrator course later this year.

If you could take a look at my work and let me know what I need to work on, what's good, etc.

One is a logo for 'Extreme X-Men' the other is a lettered script which was actually quite hard, as there was a lot of speech needed in such a small amount of dead space. I pulled both of these from a closed forum for lettering activities on here, here is the link:

http://www.digitalwebbing.com/forums...d.php?t=129182

Thanks in advance!

-Nic Shaw

Logo:




Page:

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Old 01-20-2013, 09:29 AM   #2
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The logo isn't bad, but it's a bit plain. Bordering on "Just a font" as opposed to a logo. The negative space in the center of the E gives the impression that the kerning between the E and N is too wide. Also, the angles of the letters aren't consistent. The top left arm of the X is rounded slightly whereas every other point is...pointed.

As far as the lettering of the page, there's a lot of work that needs to be done there.

1) There are no crossbar I's in the middle of words. They're for the personal pronoun "I" only, (with occasional exception for acronyms.) One such personal pronoun "I" appears in panel 3's dialogue, but you used the straight line I for it.

2) There's no rhyme or reason to your balloon layout. The eye is going up, down and all around all the panels, instead of following a smooth pattern; left to right, top to bottom. I have no idea who is speaking first, second, third, etc.

3) The amount of negative space in your balloons isn't consistent.

4) You're overlapping panel borders with balloons everywhere when you could butt them against the panel borders.

5) The shape of your dialogue isn't stacked in comfortable diamond/oval shapes, and the line spacing is a bit wide.

6) Some of your balloon tails are flat instead of pointed, and the distance between the balloon and speaker is inconsistent. Also, the tails should point to a speaker's mouth. And the widths of your tails are inconsistent; some very wide, others very narrow.

7) Your SFX in the bottom left panel seems to indicate fire, but I'm not sure that's what's happening there.

On the plus side, the punctuation is there and mostly correct. Although you have a space before a double dash in one instance and no space in another. In comics, double dashes and ellipses have no space before or after.

Here's my article on comic grammar, which may be of some help:
http://www.blambot.com/grammar.shtml

Other folks here may provide more points, but it's a start.

~N
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Old 01-20-2013, 04:05 PM   #3
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On the logo, my favorite bit of logo advice to give is to approach logos like any other comic art. Do the "pencils" first... the black and white arrangement... and make THAT look interesting and unique. Only after your "pencils" are done should you then approach colors.
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Old 01-20-2013, 06:19 PM   #4
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I'm not a letterer, but as a reader I would find these pages offensive just due to the fact that your word balloons cover up most of the artwork. I don't buy a book for the letters...
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Old 01-21-2013, 12:25 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piekos View Post
The logo isn't bad, but it's a bit plain. Bordering on "Just a font" as opposed to a logo. The negative space in the center of the E gives the impression that the kerning between the E and N is too wide. Also, the angles of the letters aren't consistent. The top left arm of the X is rounded slightly whereas every other point is...pointed.

As far as the lettering of the page, there's a lot of work that needs to be done there.

1) There are no crossbar I's in the middle of words. They're for the personal pronoun "I" only, (with occasional exception for acronyms.) One such personal pronoun "I" appears in panel 3's dialogue, but you used the straight line I for it.

2) There's no rhyme or reason to your balloon layout. The eye is going up, down and all around all the panels, instead of following a smooth pattern; left to right, top to bottom. I have no idea who is speaking first, second, third, etc.

3) The amount of negative space in your balloons isn't consistent.

4) You're overlapping panel borders with balloons everywhere when you could butt them against the panel borders.

5) The shape of your dialogue isn't stacked in comfortable diamond/oval shapes, and the line spacing is a bit wide.

6) Some of your balloon tails are flat instead of pointed, and the distance between the balloon and speaker is inconsistent. Also, the tails should point to a speaker's mouth. And the widths of your tails are inconsistent; some very wide, others very narrow.

7) Your SFX in the bottom left panel seems to indicate fire, but I'm not sure that's what's happening there.

On the plus side, the punctuation is there and mostly correct. Although you have a space before a double dash in one instance and no space in another. In comics, double dashes and ellipses have no space before or after.

Here's my article on comic grammar, which may be of some help:
http://www.blambot.com/grammar.shtml

Other folks here may provide more points, but it's a start.

~N
Thank's so much for the reply!

I copied and pasted from the script without checking the "I's". The font I used does have both, I'll make sure to type, or at least check a script before I put it to Illustrator.

I felt the script was poorly written when combined with the art. There is a lot of speech with in those first two panels that I just couldn't get it to fit. Without covering up to much art.

Is there a way to make sure my balloons are evenly spaced?

For the tails, would it be better to work from just one set of tails? Or is there a good way to make sure everything is sharp and consistent?

The script called for a flaming sound effect even though there was no fire in the art.

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply! I'll definitely take all your constructive criticism on board, and I'll be sure to check out your article!
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Old 01-21-2013, 12:27 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CHWolf View Post
On the logo, my favorite bit of logo advice to give is to approach logos like any other comic art. Do the "pencils" first... the black and white arrangement... and make THAT look interesting and unique. Only after your "pencils" are done should you then approach colors.
After looking at a few other X-Men logos I noticed that the most used ones are quite simple, which is what I was trying to go for. It was also my first time at using the 'mask' tool in illustrator.
Next time I think I'll start even slower and really get down the shapes and layout before I start messing with other aspects like colour, etc.
Thanks so much for your advice!
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Old 01-21-2013, 12:29 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bishop View Post
I'm not a letterer, but as a reader I would find these pages offensive just due to the fact that your word balloons cover up most of the artwork. I don't buy a book for the letters...
Unfortunately I'd put that down to me being quite amateurish, and the script being quite heavy on speech, when the art could have done most of the talking. Thanks for the reply, and the criticism, I'll be sure to take it on board.
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Old 01-21-2013, 01:48 AM   #8
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The FWOOSH that's called for in the script is for the dude who's flaming on in the background. The prominence you've given it makes it look like it's something to do with lifting the car.

I'm no fan of the script, but part of the challenge for these exercises is to make it work as written. This page is especially challenging on a number of fronts, but it *is* doable.

Check the size of your text and the line spacing. Try printing your page out at actual comic book size and compare it to an actual comic. You'll see what I mean.

Ditto on everything Nate said, especially about layout. Make the reading order crystal clear. Check out this page from Todd Klein for some solid tips:

http://kleinletters.com/BalloonPlacement.html

Keeping on trying, though. I'd suggest trying some straightforward pages without any showoff-y effects, multiple styles of speech bubbles, ransom note changes in font from one character to the next. Those are really hard to unify if you haven't got the basics under your belt yet. The basics are complex enough to start with. Take some simple dialogue scenes and work on:

(a) layout, placement, flow, and line of action <== Most important for clear storytelling!
(b) text stacking within the balloon
(c) consistent and pleasing balloon and tail shapes
(d) font size, line spacing, and the breathing space between the text block and the balloon edge

(Also, this may be just me, but I'm not a big fan of that "text busting out of the balloon" trick from the Comicraft guide.)
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Old 01-21-2013, 02:14 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff LeBlanc View Post
The FWOOSH that's called for in the script is for the dude who's flaming on in the background. The prominence you've given it makes it look like it's something to do with lifting the car.

I'm no fan of the script, but part of the challenge for these exercises is to make it work as written. This page is especially challenging on a number of fronts, but it *is* doable.

Check the size of your text and the line spacing. Try printing your page out at actual comic book size and compare it to an actual comic. You'll see what I mean.

Ditto on everything Nate said, especially about layout. Make the reading order crystal clear. Check out this page from Todd Klein for some solid tips:

http://kleinletters.com/BalloonPlacement.html

Keeping on trying, though. I'd suggest trying some straightforward pages without any showoff-y effects, multiple styles of speech bubbles, ransom note changes in font from one character to the next. Those are really hard to unify if you haven't got the basics under your belt yet. The basics are complex enough to start with. Take some simple dialogue scenes and work on:

(a) layout, placement, flow, and line of action <== Most important for clear storytelling!
(b) text stacking within the balloon
(c) consistent and pleasing balloon and tail shapes
(d) font size, line spacing, and the breathing space between the text block and the balloon edge

(Also, this may be just me, but I'm not a big fan of that "text busting out of the balloon" trick from the Comicraft guide.)
Thanks Jeff!
I'm trying to find a few more activities like this around the net. Do you know of any? Because these have been pretty great so far!

I'm going over this page again right now, I'm butting, and trying to make things flow a little more smoothly.

I'll make sure to check out that link as well!

Thanks again!
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Old 01-21-2013, 07:57 AM   #10
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Here is a second attempt at the same page.



Uploaded with ImageShack.us

I've taken some advice, and put it into practice here. Like butting, sharper tails, letter stacking, I fixed the "I's", and I had a go at fixing the onomatopoeia in the bottom left corner. I still haven't gotten the balloon placement correct. It still feels very scattered, and it doesn't flow like it should (Thanks again for that link Jeff!)
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Old 01-21-2013, 01:21 PM   #11
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Much, much better. You still need to work a bit on your balloon shapes, as these look a bit clipart-ey, but this is a very big improvement over your first attempt.
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Old 01-21-2013, 03:31 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordmagnusen View Post
Much, much better. You still need to work a bit on your balloon shapes, as these look a bit clipart-ey, but this is a very big improvement over your first attempt.
Thanks very much! I think I'm going to move on from this activity and start with something a little more basic. Get some fundamentals (like balloon shapes) and then go from there!
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Old 01-21-2013, 06:23 PM   #13
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Definitely an improvement! There is still too much negative space in some of your balloons. Also, I'm not sure about the coloring in some of the balloons. My eye is immediately drawn to that instead of flowing through the rest of the page, but that could be due to the artwork not being colored yet.

The bubble with "Eat Aerostar..." seems like it should come out as forceful, but the skinniness of the letter combined with the negative space of the bubble minimizes its impact. You may want to re-think how you've done that one.
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Old 01-22-2013, 05:35 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bishop View Post
Definitely an improvement! There is still too much negative space in some of your balloons. Also, I'm not sure about the coloring in some of the balloons. My eye is immediately drawn to that instead of flowing through the rest of the page, but that could be due to the artwork not being colored yet.

The bubble with "Eat Aerostar..." seems like it should come out as forceful, but the skinniness of the letter combined with the negative space of the bubble minimizes its impact. You may want to re-think how you've done that one.
Thank's Bishop!
I'll be sure to watch out for to much "air" in my balloons on the next page I try!
Thank you all for your helpful advice!

-Nic
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:16 AM   #15
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Here is another activity that I just completed; It's just the basics, with not too much going on. I think I handled it okay.

I've made sure to take on board the advice given to me (like having to much "air" in my balloons).
I've also created different balloons to what I was using before.
I used the technique I got from Ninja Lettering's Youtube page to add a little bit of a "professional shape" to the balloon. I really do think it looks a lot nicer than what I was previously doing.
Like LordMagnusen said they looked a bit "clip-arty"

I also think that I've created a nice flow that draws the eye around the art, rather than jumping all over the place and taking you out of the scene.

Thanks for all the help guys, it's really, really appreciated!

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