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Business of Cartooning Joe Kubert Ramblings & Reviews

Lettering – Part of the Layout

I’ve seen the top version posted here and there on social media (don’t know the artist).

The bottom version is my variation using my experience working on syndicated comic strips (Flash Gordon/Sally Forth). For Sally Forth I’m the penciller, letterer, inker, and colorist for the Sunday page (the dailies are colored in-house at King).

My variation puts the letterer before the inker in the assembly line of making comics. Putting lettering last can make for some badly placed type (in my humble opinion).

Here’s Joe Kubert talking about how he lays out his lettering as part of the inital layout – and how he thought laying it in as an overlay as the last step was “a little nutty.”

For the full clip go to https://vimeo.com/15127995

It’s a sentiment I agree with 100%. It just makes for a better marriage of words and pictures.

A quick side note: Lettering is the “invisible art” of a comic page when done well. If done horribly it stands apart from the page like a sore thumb.

Check out the Todd Klein Facebook page for examples of lettering done right.

And last but not least, a top notch production staff is ESSENTIAL and are the unsung heroes of this business. Any kink in the chain, and no matter how outstanding particular individuals are, you’ll end up with a crappy product.

And that’s all for today – class dismissed…

-Jim Keefe

By Jim Keefe

Jim Keefe is the current artist of the Sally Forth comic strip. From 1996-2003 he was the writer and artist of the Flash Gordon comic strip. A graduate of the Joe Kubert School, Keefe likewise teaches Comic Art. Teaching and speaking engagements include SVA in Manhattan, Hofstra’s UCCE Youth Programs, and most recently the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

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