Font madness! Plus: a project update!

First, a project update. I’m almost done adding all the dialogue to the whole book. All the dialogue is written, and I have just a couple pages left where I need to add the word balloons.

One thing that delayed this stage of the process as long as it did was simply not knowing what font I wanted to use. That will be the focus of this week’s blog post. Before I get to that, though, I also took a small detour from dialoguing the book to finish the art on the splash page. I’m sure I’ll be tweaking the art right up until print time to make sure it’s as good as it can be, but here’s a taste of what the book will look like when it’s all done:

Now, about those fonts. Eagle eyed readers will notice that the font I’m using for Chuck and Stu’d dialogue has changed since I first posted the rough draft version of this page last year.

At the time, I had the idea that I wanted a font with lowercase letters, as I thought it would allow me to fit more dialogue. And since there’s a lot of dialogue in this issue, space is at a premium.

However, it just didn’t look right, so I set about trying to find a better option. And the problem wasn’t finding a better option, it was choosing from among what seemed like an endless array of options.

There are actually several websites online that have tons of free comic book fonts, plus a couple that specialize in comic book fonts, both free and paid premium. Blambot is probably my favorite of these sites. They have a very cool feature where some of their fonts are free if you are going to make comic books with them, and are only paid if you want to use the for some other purpose. I love that they are supporting independent comic book self-publishing in this manner.

Another great source for comic book fonts is Richard Starkings’ Comicraft. Most of their fonts are paid only, as they have been one of the top resources for the big publishers since the 90’s. They have some great looking fonts, though, so depending on your project, they may be a good option.

For me, though, I didn’t want to spend money mainly because I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted from a font. So I ended up running a font test. i downloaded a dozen of the most promising fonts, and then lettered the same panel over and over using each font, so I could compare directly like vs. like.

In the end, I went with a Blambot font called Letteromatic. It felt the most like a comic book to me, while still presenting a high degree of readability. The only thing I don’t love about it is how the letter Z looks, but it doesn’t come up enough to really matter.

Even then, I still had work to do. Though Letteromatic was mostly great, it was actually a little too wide for my needs. Luckily, in Clip Studio Art, the program I use, you can adjust all the details of the fonts. I first changed the kerning, which is the space between letters, and then adjusted the horizontal ratio, which squeezed things in horizontally without changing the vertical size and shape.

The end result is what you see in this sample – other than the italic font I used for the opening scroll speech. That is done in Komika. I tried to keep things consistent throughout the book by using Letteromatic across the board, but in a couple of places I went with special fonts to highlight certain things. This includes the use of a couple weird fonts that essentially act as a cipher code.

Don’t worry, though. If you want to break the code I will be offering an official Crimebusters Fan Club membership kit that includes a Junior Crimebuster Decoder book to allow you to read along at home.

But I’ll talk about that more some other time. Next week I hope to post another project update with a look at some more art in process. Thanks for reading!