ANATOMY OF A PAGE: LETTERING – SHAPE

Seems not too long ago we were talking to you about speech balloons. Let’s pick up where we left off.


We all know the importance of placement but we also gotta give a little thought to type. Balloons can add nuance and style but in the end should be as straight forward as possible. The reader should be able to get it just by glancing at it. There are situational balloons that only apply to certain ways of speaking. For example…

And then you have situational filters also such as…

Low tech digital speak
upgraded

And then the special

Shadow Speak

The telepathy was an interesting one to figure out. We went with an inverted scheme to show that the voice is coming from an external source but you hear it within. The situation helped too, there’s no other way he could have made the broadcast, and the color scheme fits with shadow mode too.

Usually each bubble contains one sentence or one idea, but if a person has a lot to say there’s another bridge we have to cross.

Sometimes this goes back to layout, the space in the panel may demand one type over the other. Otherwise it can also communicate cadence. The length of the connector can show the length of the pause. Similarly the more the conjoined ones overlap the more the sentences run together. Again its whatever’s natural and least confusing.

Final bit, were starting to think about the nuance of shape as well.

Notice how most people have free-handed ovular balloons, while the Lancers leaders use rounded rectangles.

Even something as subtle as this changes the atmosphere of the scene. The Lancers exude a certain stiffness or detachment, similar to the digital/radio balloons. Or perhaps it shows the formality of the setting. This is a very simple way of playing with shape, as Project 0 favors a simple style.

Whenever you read a comic sometimes take note of the shapes and sizes words come in. As we’ve outlined above, the authors sometimes lead you in a certain direction, but in the end its art. Draw your own conclusions.

Just though we’d draw your attention to some of the nuance of the balloon. In short even without voices, the medium can still find ways around conveying character, cadence and tone.

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