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Student guide chapter 7: Lettering

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Chapter 7 shows you how to letter your comics and argues for the importance of hand-lettering in comics.

In this section you’ll find student examples of the activities and the homework.

Prep guide

Questions to ask yourself

  1. What's the difference between hand lettering and computer lettering?
  2. Why might an artist choose to hand letter?
  3. Whose lettering do you especially like, and why?

Supplies you will need

  • Ames Lettering Guide
  • mechanical pencil
  • T-square
  • bristol board
  • pens (technical pens, nib pens (if you know how to use them), or pigment markers)
  • beveled ruler
  • sheet of bristol board (at least 14" x 17" in size)
  • triangle
  • waterproof india ink
  • graphic white or white acrylic or gouache for corrections
  • brushes for applying blacks and graphic white
Note: as of this chapter, you really need to carry all of your supplies with you every week. We will continue to list them, but you should get yourself a good supplies box and a portfolio (you can go with the heavy duty briefcase-style ones, or get something as light and cheap as a large buff envelope with handles. Don't get one that's too huge to carry. You probably don't need one larger than 18 x 24. As long as it fits your 14 x 17 bristol, you're good.). You should put all your work into the portfolio, along with your T-square and large tools, and carry that and the supplies box whenever you meet your group. Even if you're working at home, alone, you might still want these containers as a way of organizing your DWWP materials.

Optional but recommended

Nothing extra this time


A comic with no pictures

The best of these comics don’t even raise the question: why aren’t there any pictures? Click on the links below to see examples of the activity by students with some comments from Matt and Jessica.

"A month of Sundays" penciling and lettering

Finally, a fully-penciled comics page. Click on the links below to see examples of the homework by students with some comments from Matt and Jessica.

Lettering that speaks for itself

Mark Chiarello and Todd Klein, The DC Comics Guide to Coloring and Lettering Comics J.C. Fink, Maura Cooper, Janet Hoffberg, and Judy Kastin, Speedball Textbook for Pen and Brush Lettering Ross F. George, Elementary Alphabets Bill Gray and Paul Shaw, Lettering Tips: For Artists, Graphic Designers, and Calligraphers Martha Sutherland, Lettering for Architects and Designers

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