Un-Meek Lettering

By | Tuesday, October 18, 2011 1 comment
One of the webcomics I've been reading is Der-shing Helmer's The Meek, which is a cool story and well-drawn and all, but I really love that lettering. Check out one of these recent panels...
See how the word balloons not only overlap, but the balloons cover up parts of the actual dialogue. It's a nifty visual way to show interrupted speech. This case is pretty elegantly handled, too, since you have no trouble reading through that whole first balloon, despite some of the words in the middle getting cut off. But, wait, it's gets better! Another panel from the same page...
This time, it's a sound effect that's cutting off the dialogue. The same basic principle, but look closely at what Helmer's done. The balloon is actually getting cropped by the panel border itself. It pushes the dialogue into a deeper plane of the panel by not having it sit on top of the artwork. The balloon is given depth just by its placement on the page, of low enough importance visually that it's almost irrelevant what the text actually says there. Furthermore, the sound effects overlap multiple dialogue balloons and change in size as the reader follows it out the door, as if the sound effects were actually in perspective.

When digital lettering first started showing up a little over a decade ago, I saw some folks play a bit with different fonts for different characters. But I think Helmer's done more playing with the possibilities of digital lettering than just about anyone I've seen since then.
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Matt K said...

This is pretty nice, yeah. Good call-out, sir.