Friday, January 30, 2009


According to the submission guidelines put out by King Features Syndicate, "Very few aspiring cartoonists pay enough attention to their lettering. The words need to be lettered neatly, and large enough that readers can read them without difficulty". The standard variety falls somewhere between very clear handwriting and a draftman's lettering. Checkout you local newspaper's comic page. There you will find a volumnous textbook of lettering. You will notice varied styles. yet each style fits the particular strip inwhich it appears.

Size of lettering is rarely done smaller than 1/8" or larger than 1/4". My standard size for lettering is 3/16" with a line space of 1/16"

Rather than try and measure with a ruler and/or straight edge, I use an 'Ames Lettering Guide'. This tool is used for ruling parallel, horizontal guidelines in pencil by means of regularly spaced holes for your pencil. They are fairly inexpensive, come with instructions and are simple to use.

One important rule to remember; all letters are usually "CAPS" and are sans-sarif (without sarifs- the little crossbars on the I and J). Note that the sample above has a sarif on the "J". Keeping or leaving it is a matter of preference. I prefer not to use it but thought I would include it to show the difference.

There is a wide variety of items used for lettering, from brushes and felt markers to an actual tool known as a "Leroy Lettering Set". My favorite is a Micron 08 felt marker, manufactured by Pigma. There is a large selection of books about lettering at your friendly neighborhood art store. I recommend checking them out. Also, checkout your local library. Its amazing what you can find! Another great source for searching for samples of lettering is right at your finger tips. Your computor!
Above is a sample of the most used style.
One thing to always remember..practice!!!! Everyday and every chance you get. it isn't like riding a bike, trust me.
Next; Laying out and inking your cartoon

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