Lettering Wisdom

One of the sites I visit daily is the LETTERING SHOWCASE message board on the Digital Webbing site. There you’ll find messages and comments from seasoned lettering professionals (and friends of mine, I believe) like Tom Orzechowski, Clem Robins and Kurt Hathaway as well as Blambot font creator and chief Nate Piekos. There are also quite a few younger letterers or would-be letterers that have interesting things to say or questions to ask. I was struck recently by how much good advice about lettering, and comics in general I’ve been seeing there lately. For instance, one poster, in a thread titled “I never realized” was complaining about having to deal with a writer’s ego. Tom O replied:

“Writers are insecure, and we’re putting clothes on their babies. The wrong clothes. Too big, wrong color, wrong style. And, we want to be paid for getting it wrong over and over again. Yeah, that’s the job. Sometimes.

“Some writers are so grateful it’s almost embarrassing. To see their scripts on the artwork, in balloons with pointers, and with sfx in good fonts, makes them feel so very fulfilled that you’ll be a hero for making them look good.

“Most writers never say a word, one way or the other. They’ll assume that you’re a professional in ability as well as in attitude, and they don’t feel the need to comment on the work. Drives me crazy. (So, am I about to be fired, or what?!) I just assume that no comment is good comment. I’ve outlasted a lot of writers, and I hope you will, too. Trust your instincts, keep your eyes open, and don’t take anything personally. It’s off sale in 30 days.”

That’s wisdom.

Oh, it’s not all sweetness and light on the board by any means, and even in that thread there are some testy replies, but I find comments like Tom’s above well worth looking for.

3 thoughts on “Lettering Wisdom

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  2. Peter Urkowitz

    Tom O. has started lettering Savage Dragon recently, and a few issues back he did something that I don’t think I had ever seen done before. There was a word that was way too long for the balloon it had to go in, so Tom made the last few letters much smaller than the rest of the word. Surprisingly, it looked great! It could have looked like a mistake, but his gorgeous penmanship saved the day. It was like watching a relief pitcher pull out a save at the last minute. What an incredible pro!

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