Join John Roshell for an in-depth discussion in this video Arranging a line of dialogue, part of Lettering Comic Books with Illustrator.
- At last, time to put pen tool to artboard. In this section, we'll start by copying and pasting or typing a line of dialogue from the script, then we'll arrange it into a circular balloon shape. We're just about ready to get started lettering but first thing we want to do is install the comic book font that's provided in the exercise files. If you have access to the exercise files, you'll see here a folder called CCWildAndCrazy. And it has a version of one of our fonts, Limited, which means it just has the A through Z. And the punctuation that you'll need to complete the exercise files.
So, you're going to install that into open up another Finder window, hold down Option and Go. Brings up your Library folder and the Fonts folder. And drag that font CCWildAndCrazy folder over. You'll see all the three fonts are in there. If you're interested in purchasing the full version of the font, or we have dozens of other fonts available at our website, comicbookfonts.com. If you're an Adobe CC subscriber, then you can open up the typekit, and there's lots of font options in there as well. So, let's go back into Illustrator. And here, back in Illustrator, we'll create a new layer called Lettering.
We look at the script we can see that the writer has broken down the dialogue into lines for each character with captions. And then each of these groups of dialogue is broken into panels. We see the two, three, four, five indicating which panel each of those lines of dialogue is supposed to go into. Then we can also look at the placement file that the writer has provided. And we can see here on the placements we zoom into the first panel, we can see one, two, three, four, five. Each of these boxes corresponds to where the balloons are supposed to go on the artwork.
So, let's go back to the script. And we'll go to the first line of the script. Highlight, copy, go back to Illustrator. We've got our Lettering layer selected. We'll choose the type tool, click anywhere and paste. Now, if we zoom in, we can see that this is in a default font, which isn't very comic book looking at all. So, let's go to the Character palette, type in CCWildAndCrazyLimited. Regular weight since it's speech. And if you're a comic book reader, you might recognize that this font looks a little bit big on the page.
So, all the comic craft fonts are helpfully sized so that if you set the point size to the width of the page, six point six, it's the perfect size for lettering your comic. Then I also want to center the text since it's going to be going into a word balloon. It's going to be centered inside an oval shape. So, we can look at an oval. This is roughly the shape we want to arrange the words into. So, using the text tool, I'm just going to type returns after about a word or two. Set a return, and then I'm going to leave a word or two at the end for top and bottom.
And then I'm going to just split it right in the middle. And then we can see we're left with the words arranged in roughly a balloon shape. The other method of doing this, which I like to use, I get the text tool, click and drag. Creates a text box. Then if I paste into it and grab it with the arrow tool, I can just resize that text box. And it kind of gives me a head start into arranging the words. Now, the last thing we want to set in our type, is the bold words which the writer indicated. Return to the script.
And we can see that the writer has underlined two words. Now, what does he mean by that? Now, if we look at the first page of the script, we can see he's provided a lettering key. Underlined equals bold lettering. And a bunch of other keys here that we'll be seeing later on. Burst balloons, whisper balloons, oversized, undersized. We'll refer to as we go through the script. So, back to Illustrator. We want to bold the word "are" that were underlined. Set the weight to bold.
Bold italics since this is a comic book. We remember in the history section, bold italic instead of bold was more readable back when comic books were printed on absorbent newsprint. So, there we go. We've got the words arranged. We've got the words bolded. And they are roughly our balloon's shape. And I'm just going to go ahead and clean up the page. Delete that circle. And delete the other text box. And we've got our first block of text ready to go.
This course deconstructs the lettering process for comics, in terms of how to think about lettering and how to execute your vision in Adobe Illustrator. Professional artist John Roshell begins with a brief history of comics and then jumps into the design of word balloons, type treatment, captions, and sound effects. At the end of the course, John goes overs some basic business know-how, so members understand how to successfully collaborate with other artists and publishers.
- Understanding the main goal: storytelling
- Arranging the lines of dialogue
- Drawing word balloons and tails
- Emphasizing words with typography and sound effect stylings
- Adding captions and special types of balloons (thought balloons, whisper balloons, etc.)
- Creating sound effects
- Creating PDF proofs
- Charging for your work