I once handed a comic book by a student to a professional cartoonist. He opened it and then closed it instantly saying, “It’s computer lettered. I only read hand-lettered comics. Lettering is big part of the art of comics.” He has a point. On the other hand, he is not very prolific and computer lettering can help us get work done.
Personally, I don’t like my own Sharpie lettering above. I don’t like to hear my own voice much either, so my wife does our answering machine. It may seem like a cheat, but I use the computer to print text in Comic Sans. Then I loosely trace that type at a light table. Sometimes I do a tracing of a tracing to get a bit more of my individual style. The balloon below was made by tracing Comic Sans.
We should all do what we can to practice our lettering. And if we cannot master it, there are affordable options like Blambot.
Blambot is a great resource for a beginning cartoonist. Master letterer Nate Piekos offers free typefaces like Badaboom (above), and reasonably- priced fonts in the $20-$30 range for independent creators. From the website: “If you are an independent/small press comic creator, you may use Blambot indie fonts, free of charge … even if you are making money with your project …This is Blambot’s way of supporting the independent comic community.” The entire agreement can be read here.
Ivan Brunetti has great advice on title lettering and sound effects lettering in his book, Comics Easy as ABC, TOON Books, 2019.
Frank Cammuso is a professional cartoonist and a prof at Syracuse University. He told me one of his publishers arranged to have a font made from his hand lettering. The digital font is so much more efficient than white-out when the editors want to change text.
If you do want to make a font from your handwriting there are a number of sites that can do just that. One that looks good is CALLIGRAPHR.COM. Fonts made at this site ask you to write the alphabet several times. They use character randomization, so every ‘T’, for example, doesn’t look the same. Digitizing your hand lettering is something to consider if you, unlike me, love your lettering.
Below is my new HeyMcCloskey.com personal web page with info on my books and school visits. Say Hey!