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Lettering Comic Books with Illustrator

via LinkedIn Learning


Learn the art of comic book lettering—designing word balloons, dialogue, sound effects, and more—with Adobe Illustrator.

Creating the lettering for comic books is not just about capturing the tone in which the words are said (from the loudest scream to the softest whisper) or the sound of noises being made (like BANG or POW). It's also about understanding the structure of comics: a unique storytelling format that leads readers from panel to panel around each page and through the story.

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.


  • Welcome
  • What you should know before watching this course
  • Using the exercise files
1. Overview
  • The main goal: Storytelling
  • A brief history of lettering in comic books
  • Tools and prerequisites
  • Getting ready to letter
2. Word Balloons
  • Arranging a line of dialogue
  • Typographic traditions
  • Drawing a basic balloon
  • Drawing a tail
  • Joining tails and balloons with the Pathfinder panel
  • Joining tails and balloons with the layer method
  • Butting and masking balloons
  • Working in lowercase
3. Type Treatment
  • Emphasizing words with typography tools
  • Emphasizing words in a sound effect style
  • Creating a jagged burst balloon
  • Creating a double-outline burst balloon
  • Fitting into tight spots
4. Captions and Other Balloon Styles
  • Thought balloons
  • Whisper balloons
  • Weak or "deflated" balloons
  • Electric and radio balloons
  • Special voices
  • Voiceover captions
  • Narrative captions
5. Comic Book Sound Effects
  • Creating a basic sound effect
  • Enhancing sounds with the Free Distort effect
  • Adding outline stroke effects
  • Creating a large, hollow sound effect
  • Creating a sound effect palette
6. Finishing Touches
  • Designing a title, credits, and a tagline
  • Creating signage
  • Adding color
  • Looking back over the page
  • Rhythm and consistency
7. Final Output
  • Creating PDF proofs
  • Overprinting and using rich blacks
  • Generating output files
  • Basic compositing in InDesign
  • Charging for your services
  • Being professional
  • Conclusion

Taught by

John Roshell

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