Comic book lettering used to be done in pencil and ink, right on top of the artist’s original drawings.
Of course, fanboys aren’t ready to see Wolverine’s cantankerous quips set in Futura, so a cottage industry of comic book type design has developed.
Also very useful is their .eps file of speech bubbles which, if nothing else, can make for some entertaining photo captions for all those Easter pictures. Thanks to the approximately one million people who have emailed me about Blambot since Fontleech’s very first day on the web.
Lettering is more than placing word bubbles on a page and attempting to avoid characters heads or important focal points in the artwork. The example on the left is fine – the exclamation is there, and the tone appears serious. Did you notice how the speech bubbles and thoughts propelled you in the right direction, in conjunction with the rendered artwork? If you run a search online for comic book lettering and fonts, there is a wide array of free examples to download and use as you learn how to draw comics.  One of the best resources for comic book lettering comes from BlamBot. In addition to fonts, BlamBot also features an array of speech bubble styles and sound-effects in a vector format for scalability. This entry was posted in Tutorials and tagged comics, how-to, Lettering, technique, tutorial by idrawdigital.
This collection containing script fonts that look like the type used in speech bubbles and lettering in comic books can be be used in whimsical and fun design and artwork. Some really good fonts, but don’t get the licensing part of it, is there a copy right thing going on? A number of them are Blambots fonts, which allow free use for personal or a very limited range of commercial uses and require you to buy a license for most commercial use.

Often seen as an afterthought by many rookie artists, the lettering component of comics can be the deal breaker that makes your comic look professional and well crafted, or poorly planned. If you were to use the example on the right, it has tremendous impact – it is perceived to be a loud yell, a bold statement, an exclamation and an order coming from someone who is clearly showing force and authority. Since speech and narrative balloons take up space on your panels, they should also lead your reader through your panels alongside the direction of your artwork. Back in the day, lettering was all done by hand, so the majority of the rendered words in comics were unique from issue to issue. By giving them life and dynamic action, you can heighten the intensity of the mood of your comic page.
For now, these basic tips should push you forward in your quest to learn how to draw comics effectively.
If you are just learning how to draw comics, the very first step you should take is to carefully plan out where your dialogue and sound effects will be placed on the panel in relation to your artwork.
As you draw comics, there may be a message you are trying to convey within a panel – the formatting of the lettering can play an important part in expression.
Now, if THAT is the message you’re trying to get across, the example on the right is how you should render your lettering.
Visually leading a reader through the panels is vital in maintaining a comfortable storytelling pace. In this example, the story is advanced through the actual dialogue and through the placement of the lettering.
A person used to letter a comic title was often used for an extended run, in order to keep the look consistent. Remember, the lettering is also part of your artwork – so make sure it interacts well with the drawn images on your page!

Essentially, the speech bubbles and sound effects are artwork in their own right and should work alongside the figures and backgrounds to create a complete composition. If the statement is subdued and serious in tone, the rendering on the left can be used to express a different type of emotion in speech. If the flow is broken up and the reader has to figure out which panel they should go to next, you have disrupted their concentration and pulled them away from the experience.
With the advent of computers and technology, hand rendered lettering is slowly becoming obsolete. Determine where you’ll need emphasis in your lettering, and decide what style of font will express the emotion effectively.
Here’s a brief tutorial on proper lettering techniques, and how to use them to your advantage. Custom lettering is still widely used, but the hand drawn letters are now scanned and converted into fonts that can be used over and over again.
The composition, the pencils, inks and colors can only do so much in leading the eye – if the viewer has to read dialogue, it MUST be placed in a logical area to limit confusion and distraction.
By applying the right font style, weight and color, you can add more impact and meaning to the spoken dialogue, thought or narrative.

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