1. Word Balloons Are Always Round
For awhile I’d make the balloons weird shapes to fit the words in just right, but I don’t think it looks as good as just keeping them nice and round and balloon-shaped.
2. Word Balloon Tail Origins
Balloon tails emanate from the center of the balloon in most cases. They look weird otherwise.
3. Word Balloons Do Not Exist In Our Dimension
Word balloons exist somewhere behind the character speaking them but in front of the background or other characters. But I really try to make sure there’s enough room allowed that a balloon doesn’t get stuck behind or in front of anything.
4. Words Need Never Be Broken With A Dash
I’ve done it before but I don’t like the way it looks. It might take a little time to work it out but I can almost always make the space work so that I don’t have to wrap longer words to the next line with a dash
5. I Really Shouldn’t Put More Than Three Or Four Lines Of Text In A Panel
Life’s just too short!
6. If A Word Balloon Is Only One Word Wide
Don’t stick it to the panel border. It looks bad.
7. Hand Lettering Looks Best
If you’re drawing your comics with the computer, by all means use the same tools to letter them. But If you draw the comic by hand it looks bad if the panel borders, word balloons and letters are all slick and vector-ey. If a person can draw then he can also letter, it just might take a little practice. And it’s easier than typing everything and screwing around with Illustrator anchor handles, for sure.
8. I Need To Learn How To Do Italics
Italics will be my next big thing. I need to look through some books to get an idea how to do it right. So far I am not ready (scared) to take a shot at it, but I know I can do it.
9. Dropping Punctuation Can Be Great
Sometimes I’ll put a period at the end of a sentence, sometimes I won’t. Usually I puposefully decide whether to punctuate or not, but sometimes I just forget to do it. I also like semi-colons, but more and more I think there’s no place for them in word balloons; the long dash works better. These may be writing concerns more than lettering concerns, who knows.
10. Studying Is Good For Me
I really like to look through lettering and typeface books. If I see one in a used book store I will buy it if it’s economical. They’re a wealth of information that tend to end up in library discard piles because nobody needs to know that stuff since there’s Illustrator and MS Word. Don’t you believe it! Reading just one page of the Speedball book was like taking a college course in hand lettering. I still have a long way to go, but looking at my older pages I feel like I’ve gone from being a kid making a birdhouse out of popsicle sticks to a master carpenter building a submarine.
Check out this beautiful stuff: