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Lettering | Jim Shooter Storytelling Lecture
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Lettering and Balloon Placement Memo

I come from the Stan Lee school of thought regarding lettering and balloon placement. Here are the lettering notes I frequently include in my scripts:

– Lettering should be clear and legible

– Lettering and balloons should be as unobtrusive as possible

– There should never be any question about which balloon comes next

– As much as possible, balloons should stay out of the way of the art:

– Anchor balloons to the panel borders when possible, unless that puts the balloon too far from the speaker or otherwise causes problems

– Try not to cover anything important or interesting—especially light sources, signs, figures, critical details and especially heads

– Characters shouldn’t be wearing balloons like hats or balancing them like trained seals—avoid “resting” the balloons on heads

– If a balloon MUST cover part of a head, try to keep the coverage small.  If it’s going to cover a head down to the eyebrows, it’s time to adjust the art

– If you can overlap a head a smidge into the balloon to avoid covering the head or trained seal syndrome, please do

– Try to have short, straight pointers aimed at the speaker’s mouth

– Pointers should come from around the middle of the balloon.  Avoid those cat’s claw pointers at the ends of balloons, especially long, narrow ones

– Avoid “snakey” pointers

– Consecutive balloons from the same speaker should abut, if possible, with a bridge connector between them

– If a longer bridge connector is required, make it as straight and direct as possible