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Comic Book Lettering: The Comicraft Way Paperback – June 1, 2003

24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


I was amazed at the level of scientific thought that goes into directing your eyes and reader voice through letters on the page. I cannot say enough good about this work... if you are going into the industry or hope to, buy this book. (4/4) --Alexander Ness,

Want to know more about comics? It's a must-buy. Want to make your own comics? It's a must-buy. Don't miss it. --Maggie Thompson, Comics Buyers Guide

An essential resource on the craft of comic-book lettering. --Communication Arts Magazine

About the Author

RICHARD STARKINGS learned the ropes of comic book production at Marvel UK in London. Moving to California in 1989 he founded the Comicraft studio with John ‘JG’ Roshell and together they revolutionized the art of comic book lettering & design -- introducing US publishers to the practice of digital lettering (covered in detail in their book COMIC BOOK LETTERING THE COMICRAFT WAY) which is now the industry standard. Starkings created the HIP FLASK character as a mascot for Comicraft's line of comic book fonts before developing the critically acclaimed UNNATURAL SELECTION storyline which details the origin of HIP FLASK and THE ELEPHANTMEN.

JOHN ROSHELL a.k.a. Gaushell, JG, Mr. Fontastic and Comicrafts Secret Weapon, graduated from UCLA with a Design degree in 1992, and has since achieved his life-long goal of revolutionizing the comic book lettering industry, one letter at a time.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Active Images (June 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0974056731
  • ISBN-13: 978-0974056739
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 6.7 x 0.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #284,298 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Tex on April 5, 2004
Format: Paperback
If like me you're putting together your own small-press comic book from start to finish, or perhaps you want to work as a professional comic book letterer, this is a book you NEED.
All you need is a copy of Adobe Illustrator and this book and you'll never be stuck again on a lettering problem. And even if you were, Starkings and Roshell will help you personally through their website's 'ASK Mr. FONTASTIC' service.
Comic Book Lettering: The Comicraft Way covers literally everything, including creating different types of balloons, balloon placement, lettering style, choosing fonts, creating sound effects, signage and how to place it in perspective, and how to create your own fonts, to name but a few.
It's put together in an incredibly well-designed comic-book style format, and the amazing design skills of the Comicraft guys means they've been able to pack an unbelievable amount of tips, tricks, techniques, and examples into what you would expect to have been a much larger book to accomodate the quantity and quality of advice contained in this treasure trove.
Richard Starkings and John Roshell are more than ably assisted by such comic book luminaries as Jeph Loeb, Kurt Busiek, Brian Bolland, Ian Churchill, Tim Sale, Ladronn, and Mike Wieringo, and at under ten dollars this is the how-to bargain of the millenium.
I can't recommend it highly enough. Buy it!
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By John Hughes on August 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
Don't get me wrong by the rating - this is a good book. A point that the author's make pretty well is that if you are interested in lettering comics professionally, you'll need to manage the tight deadlines common to the industry. You'll have a very hard time meeting deadlines lettering by hand, and so the subject of the book turns to migrating over to an electronic lettering strategy.

A caution for readers: To follow the methods outlined in the book, you should expect to shell out a fair amount of additional cash. Of course you'll need a computer, but you'll also need a vector graphics program like Illustrator, a scanner, and a font-making program like fontographer or fontlab. (Alternatively, you can visit the author's web site and download their fonts for about $50 a pop.) All told, you can easily spend a small fortune before you can even decide if this interests you. If you want to learn more about the craft of *hand-lettering* comics, this book won't help you that much. If you're looking up this book, though, chances are you have most of the software and hardware described above.

Cautions out of the way, I used the strategies described in this book to effectively produce my very first handwriting-based font in one weekend, and I'm very pleased with the results. Once you have the fonts you want, the book serves to inspire with a good deal of really great font samples, and demonstrations on how to use them to good effect in your typical power-fantasy genre comic book.

If you're interested in other genres (like serious graphic novels such as "Ghost World"), the basic info will still be helpful, though some of the examples may not interest you. (You may not find much use for creating an interesting layout of the word "FTOOOM," for example...)
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Ray Cornwall on November 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
Comicraft, the producers of this book, handle a great deal of lettering jobs for Marvel, DC, and other publishers. This book is a great introduction to the methods necessary to creating good digital lettering for comics.

Before Comicraft, most lettering was done by hand, which isn't as cost-effective for major publishers. Sadly, most publishers are now looking for digital lettering as opposed to manual lettering. However, this doesn't mean that lettering has to look bad; on the contrary, Comicraft has shown through projects like Astro City and Batman: Hush that digital techniques open up a wide array of new possibilities.

This book is a necessity to anyone serious about using digital lettering in their comics. And it's dirt cheap!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Brian D. Rogers on May 26, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ive had this book less than a week, and it's teachings have impacted my art process already. The impact is felt in so many different ways. In my first week, this is what this book has done for me:

1. I am inspired again for the use of Illustrator to complement my work in Photoshop. Including designing word balloons, titles, special affects and ANYTHING to do with text.

2. The tips and tricks on how to work with certain features in Illustrator will allow you to do ANYTHING you can think of to accent your pages with razor sharp computer designs.

3. The step by step instructions allow you to make word balloons, change text, flip colors and line weights...what can you think of? The instructions on how to do it are likely in this book.

This book will inspire and instruct and give you enough to set you on the way to do your own lettering to make your comic pages look professional and have the impact they deserve. Highly recommended book. I would only say that the buyer will need Photoshop, and Illustrator to execute the processes taught in this book.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Kerwin Rabbitroo on January 9, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a clear, concise and fun guide to digital lettering. It covers the basics including style and technique for delivering a lettered comic on the computer. Besides the basics of lettering, this book provides lots of illustrations of lettering usage, and diversions into lettering "zen" or the philosphy of lettering. Definitely a book to keep close at hand for the begining letterer.
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