Lettering for Entertainment Weekly 2016

EWComicConCoverOut now on newsstands and digitally is the ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY Comic-Con Preview 2016 issue with my lettering on the cover (Dark Tower) and inside. Here’s more about it.CC_COVER.FINALCOVERBlogOn June 22nd I received an email from Jennie Chang, a staff designer at EW asking if I’d have time to do some work for her again. I’d lettered a title for their 2015 Comic-Con Preview, above, and wrote about it HERE. I enjoyed working with Jennie and her boss Creative Director Tim Leong last year, and was happy to agree. This time they wanted more from me, three section titles: Movies, TV and Comics, each to be done in the style of a well-known comics logo. Jennie was sure they wanted Movies in the style of the Superman logo, and we worked out the other two in back and forth emails: TV would mimic X-Men, and Comics would copy The Hulk. I got to work doing sketches.

SupermanGlaserImage © DC Comics.

Movies would imitate the 1983 Milton Glaser revamp of the Superman logo, above, which I am very familiar with. I’ve created lots of logos based on it.

MoviesEWSketchI worked out the details in pencil on my drawing board, and then made this marker sketch, which was quickly approved.

SpaceOdyssey2AI brought the scan above into Adobe Illustrator and traced the shapes with the pen tool to create this very precise vector version, then added color and sent it in. EW was delighted.

EW_Movies004Here’s how it looks in print with color changes.

X-men-logoFor TV we’d settled on the X-Men logo designed by Jim Steranko, and I found this version online to imitate. This was a more difficult task because TV is so much shorter than X-MEN, and I don’t know if many people will see the resemblance, but I did my best. I asked if I could add a hyphen between T and V to make the resemblance better, but that was nixed.

TV_EWSketchHere’s my marker sketch, which was approved.

SpaceOdyssey2AAnd my vector version created in Adobe Illustrator. Since there are no curves, this one went much more quickly!

EW_TV006Here it is in the magazine.

HulkCoverLogoFor Comics, we decided on the Incredible Hulk logo designed by Herb Trimpe, above. I think it’s the most distinctive version, and EW wanted three-dimensional titles.

Comics_EWPencilsBlogI sketched this one in pencil for approval, which was given…

Comics_EWInksBlog…then inked it on paper. I felt that would be quicker and more effective than tracing it in Illustrator.

Comics_EWInksDetailA closer look at the details.

SpaceOdyssey2AI auto-traced the inked version in Illustrator, did a fair amount of tweaking and cleanup, and added color. EW was happy with all of these.

EW_Comics009Here it is in print. Not sure I like the color choices, but it pops nicely. A day or two later, Jennie contacted me again and asked if I’d have time for two more, a movie and a TV show title. I agreed.

IronManOriginalThe movie was Blade Runner, and they wanted it in the style of this Iron Man logo.

EW_BladeRunnerSketchBlogI did this pencil sketch, which was approved… SpaceOdyssey2A…and I worked it up with the pen tool in Illustrator, then added color.

EW_BladeRunner005Here it is in the magazine, with color changes. I’m not sure how appropriate it is for the film, but it adds energy to the magazine layout.

MightyThorJayThe TV show was American Gods, and Jennie had some ideas, but I didn’t think any of them sounded appropriate, and I suggested using Alex Jay’s Thor logo as the inspiration. They agreed. This one, being all curves, much longer than the original, and sharing only two letters was the most difficult of the lot, but a fun challenge.

EW_AmericanGodsSketchBlogMy pencil sketch, done on one line, but shown here on two to make it larger. It was approved.

SpaceOdyssey2AHere’s my vector version done in Illustrator…

EW_AmGodsA007 …and here it is in print. I think it’s my favorite, and both Alex Jay and Neil Gaiman seemed to like it when I shared it with them, which made me happy.

EW_AmGodsAA detail from the printed version.

So, I thought I was done and send in my invoice, but the NEXT day I got another call: could I design three more titles for Stephen King’s Dark Tower, an upcoming TV series? Now the deadline was tight, I would have to turn them around quickly. Jennie suggested I do them all using rough, scary letters inspired by the original Swamp Thing logo. I agreed, though what I did isn’t really very close to the inspiration.

EW_KingDetail011EW supplied the layouts exactly as they wanted them, and working over those on my light box, I sketched out some scary letters in pencil, then went right to ink with a brush, the quickest method to get there. The trick was to get the points sharp enough, and it took time, but was still quicker than inking with pens. Some pencil can be seen on the edges here, which was erased before scanning.

EW_SixGunsRosesBlackFor the main spread in the magazine, this was the layout they gave me, with ornaments drawn roughly by me from details on the guns of the main character. I auto-traced my inked work in Illustrator and they loved it.

EW_SixGuns001Here’s how it looks in the magazine, with three-dimensional telescoping added by them in Photoshop.

EW_StephenKingThe other two titles were “Stephen King’s Dark Universe” and “The Dark Tower.” I did Dark Universe, then added the only two missing letters for the other title, W and O. The rest I would comp together in Illustrator.

EW_DarkUniverseHere’s Dark Universe in print with Photoshop effects. Looks fine to me.

SpaceOdyssey2AAnd this is what I turned in for The Dark Tower, which they used on the cover, dropping THE in favor of a small type version to make the titles larger. I approve!

These last titles were rushed, and I would have tweaked them in Illustrator if I had time, but maybe it’s just as well I didn’t, they look fine to me in print. It was fun working for ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, perhaps they’ll ask me again next year.


3 thoughts on “Lettering for Entertainment Weekly 2016

  1. Dan Guy

    I love them, especially the COMICS and AMERICAN GODS, and I’m pleased as punch that EW has such good taste.

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