The Art of Lettering



What do a bass player, audio engineer, and comic book letterer have in common? 

If you answered that they are all crucial members in the production of great art who sometimes go unnoticed, then you guessed right.  

The prancing singer, blazing guitarist and frenzied drummer, might draw the lion's share of attention, but those showoffs are all grandstanding on the bass player's shoulders.  

People laud the director, the actor, the production designer, the writer, etc. etc. but NO one watches a movie for long if the sound is no good. 

And when the lettering in a comic book is a little bit off, pop goes the fictional dream. The reader falls back into the real world, all the mighty exploits of their favorite character forgotten owing to that wonky font. 


Thank You Lucas Gattoni, Literal Wordsmith


I became aware of Lucas through a community of DIY comic book creators I've been trucking with the last six months. 

Lucas came highly recommended, so I was happy to approach him about giving Baby Barbarian the letter treatment.

I thought I would let you in on our conversation so you can see for yourself all the care and consideration a good letterer puts into their craft. 


From the Journals of L. Gattoni


My main inspiration here is classic Asterix books, which have very expressive type and balloon design. I'm taking a couple of elements from those books and combining them with the particular aesthetics of Igor's artwork and your story. Hopefully it feels like a fresh version!

I've picked a font that carries the spirit of the story and pairs well with the art, just a bit cartoony. 

But I'll be pairing it with a stronger one, for very bold emphasis and some screams. That way we can have different levels, using the original font bold for subtle emphasis and the other for bolder bigger more expressive moments. 

I think Igor's art would really benefit from using balloons 

that look almost handmade, both in the shape and in the pen used to draw them, which I custom made to match his linework.

For sound effects, I would stay within two or three different fonts and try to go always for black letters with a colored shadow, to achieve a unique look. I think Azhar's color scheme is quite constrained on purpose so I would always draw from them. I tried more complex SFXs with outlines and gradients but they don't compliment the artwork well.

For the location and narration captions I tried something a bit different, using a subtle gradient and overprints to get just a tiny bit of old book look into them. For the narrative captions I will use hand drawn parchments, and for the others a medieval looking floating text. 

That way, the reader instantly knows if a piece of info is some narration or helping them place the action. 

For both items I'm using a stronger yellow than Igor's on purpose, so these bits of text are easily recognisable in the page.


A big thanks Lucas Gattoni for doing such a great job on Baby Barbarian!