Renaissance woman Alex De Campi is not only a writer and director…she also letters her own comics and now she’s shown you how you can too!
I am one of those rare writers who letter their own comic books. It started off, as so many things do, because we couldn’t afford a decent letterer. Then I kept doing it because it kept me honest, and because I felt it made a better comic. I never liked the harshness of the balloons used in most comics – the generic 1pt round line with no variation; the sterile shape – it all squatted on the art like an unwelcome and noisy guest. So I began freehanding balloons in Illustrator (on books like NO MERCY andGRINDHOUSE). Then, mostly thanks to trying to emulate @carlaspeedmcneil‘s hand-lettered pencils on NO MERCY, I started abusing fonts for fun and profit. I spent so long defacing otherwise lovely Comicraft fonts that I just thought, why the hell don’t I hand-letter? It would be as fast, right?
So I did.
It’s SO MUCH FUN. It’s also beautiful.
The link is a detailed step by step guide (although I haven’t tried it so I don’t know if it has some tech flaws. Any letterers out there want to comment?)
If you’d like to see her lettering in action, she recently shared to cover to Mayday #1, a new title coming from Image with art by Tony Parker and color by Blond which she describes as
This is a thing that is happening soon. If I had to sum up Mayday, I’d say it’s Ken Russell directing a Bond film in California. So I hope you like sex, drugs, violence, and two Soviet operatives on the run in the early 1970s. With Tony Parker and Blond on art, and edited by Brendan H. Wright and Bekah Caden. (Ken Russell *did* direct a spy film: the third Harry Palmer instalment, Billion Dollar Brain. You should see it immediately.)
This is one of my three confirmed (and already written) minis for 2016. Everything’s had unexpected delays so the announcements have just… not been ready yet. We don’t announce formally until we have a couple issues in the bag. There are also two other projects awaiting contract, and about three other things that I know will land, I’m just not sure where yet. (I mean, as if my mini with Saladin Ahmed isn’t going to get picked up. As fucking if. We’re us, and we are killing it.)
One of Image’s big changes in 2015 was making creators have three issues all finished before a title is announced; it may leave some chafing at the delay, but in the long run it’s better to have books come out in a timely fashion.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.