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General Chat => Creative Common => : geronimo 11 December, 2018, 11:34:49 AM

: What Are The The Prices For Lettering?
: geronimo 11 December, 2018, 11:34:49 AM
Hi all Squaxx,

    I am just wondering about the prices to expect to pay if I asked a pro to letter up some pages I draw, and also could it be done easily through the computer if we are at a distance from each other? I'm sure it can but is there any special software needed?

Thanks,

G.
: Re: What Are The The Prices For Lettering?
: Jim_Campbell 11 December, 2018, 11:56:58 AM
The overwhelming majority of pro letterers are working in Adobe Illustrator, although there's a much smaller number working in InDesign.

Absolute rock solid minimum for an actual pro letterer is £10/$15 per page. You can find people who'll work for less, but you very much get what you pay for.

There are several options for moving files between artist and letterer, but Dropbox and WeTransfer are the most common.

If you've got any other questions, please feel free to ask!
: Re: What Are The The Prices For Lettering?
: geronimo 11 December, 2018, 12:57:09 PM
Many thanks, Jim,

But I assume prices go up for pages that require a lot of lettering, what is the maximum?
But what you have told me so far it is affordably priced,  cos lettering takes so long and when it looks amateurish it pulls the quality down.
: Re: What Are The The Prices For Lettering?
: Jim_Campbell 11 December, 2018, 01:05:36 PM
But I assume prices go up for pages that require a lot of lettering, what is the maximum?

I can't speak for every letterer, but all the ones I've spoken to about it have the same policy as I do: it's a flat rate — we don't charge extra for difficult pages, but by the same token we don't offer a discount for easy ones. I invoice for 'silent' pages at the same rate as a page with twenty panels and three balloons per panel. In the long run, it more or less balances out…!
: Re: What Are The The Prices For Lettering?
: geronimo 11 December, 2018, 04:51:45 PM
Thanks Jim,

So all that is needed for me now is to knock out some pages over Christmas! :P
Where can I reach you to do business with when the time comes?
: Re: What Are The The Prices For Lettering?
: Trout 12 December, 2018, 12:52:08 AM
Wait - is it balloon or bubble? I've forgotten.
: Re: What Are The The Prices For Lettering?
: sheridan 12 December, 2018, 12:53:42 PM
Wait - is it balloon or bubble? I've forgotten.

Wikipedia says balloon (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speech_balloon), though that doesn't actually mean anything as the article has to have a name, and the very first sentence says "Speech balloons (also speech bubbles, dialogue balloons or word balloons) are a graphic convention used most commonly in comic books, comics and cartoons".
: Re: What Are The The Prices For Lettering?
: sheridan 12 December, 2018, 12:55:47 PM
Wait - is it balloon or bubble? I've forgotten.

Wikipedia says balloon (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speech_balloon), though that doesn't actually mean anything as the article has to have a name, and the very first sentence says "Speech balloons (also speech bubbles, dialogue balloons or word balloons) are a graphic convention used most commonly in comic books, comics and cartoons".

Though probably influenced by the name of the Thought Bubble convention I tend to say bubble over balloon, or scroll if I'm going old-school.

(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f3/Strigel_1506-detail.jpg)
: Re: What Are The The Prices For Lettering?
: Adrian Bamforth 12 December, 2018, 01:33:03 PM
I use Manga Studio (AKA Clip Studio Paint) for both art and lettering, which is a lot cheaper than Illustrator (£38.94 when I bought it). Bubbles seem slightly more elliptical than I see in 2000ad but I'm sure you can probably import your own. Free font is Back Issues. Would be happy to letter for someone else.

(http://adrianbamforth.co.uk/onewebmedia/Comics%20ATVT%20Panel%203.JPG) 
www.adrianbamforth.co.uk (http://www.adrianbamforth.co.uk)
: Re: What Are The The Prices For Lettering?
: Jim_Campbell 12 December, 2018, 02:55:53 PM
you very much get what you pay for.

Point neatly illustrated.

Sorry, Ade — there's a reason there are zero professional letterers using Clip Studio for lettering. It doesn't offer anything like the fine-grained type controls needed for this sort of work, it doesn't support OpenType features like autoligatures (where typing, say, 'EE' swaps the letters out for two non-identical 'E's), it applies faux italics to text even when you have an italic version of the font installed.

In short, it's shoddy and it gives shoddy results.

Also: if you're looking at your lettering and telling yourself that it's of professional standard, you need to go back and have another look.

Why are there no crossbar 'I's on the pronoun 'I's in this sample? Why didn't you turn 'mind' on 'made up your mind' onto a new line to make a nicer shaped text block and fill the balloon space? Why isn't that balloon cropped to the top panel border?

I don't have time for a detailed critique this afternoon, and I appreciate you weren't asking for one, but if you're going to come onto a thread where someone is offering to pay a professional letterer and offer instead to do it for free, but to a much lower standard, you're going to have to anticipate a bit of pushback.
: Re: What Are The The Prices For Lettering?
: TordelBack 12 December, 2018, 05:58:14 PM
Anyone want some popcorn when I'm going to the lobby?  This is getting good!
: Re: What Are The The Prices For Lettering?
: Funt Solo 12 December, 2018, 07:21:25 PM
autoligatures (where typing, say, 'EE' swaps the letters out for two non-identical 'E's)

That's fascinating: is that so it looks more naturalistic, and less mechanical?
: Re: What Are The The Prices For Lettering?
: Jim_Campbell 12 December, 2018, 07:53:17 PM
That's fascinating: is that so it looks more naturalistic, and less mechanical?

That's the the idea. Blambot's Collect 'Em All has six variants of each letter that swap out not only when they're adjacent, but when they're just near to each other.

(https://i.imgur.com/6GiJwWq.jpg)
: Re: What Are The The Prices For Lettering?
: IndigoPrime 12 December, 2018, 08:54:25 PM
Huh – I had no idea about that. I've in the past done a very tiny amount of lettering for my own amusement, but manually adjusted nearby letters through using variants in upper/lower case. The automated stuff and wide variety in modern fonts is really interesting.
: Re: What Are The The Prices For Lettering?
: Jim_Campbell 13 December, 2018, 08:22:23 AM
Huh – I had no idea about that. I've in the past done a very tiny amount of lettering for my own amusement, but manually adjusted nearby letters through using variants in upper/lower case. The automated stuff and wide variety in modern fonts is really interesting.

That's what I've had to do with both Grass Kings and Black Badge for BOOM. The font I've used for both (Hundred Watt from Blambot) has a lot of character, but part of the problem with that is the the identical-ness of specific letters stands out like a sore thumb because each version of each letter is quite distinctive.

Once I've got the text shaped into a block that looks attractive and fits the space available, I have to go through each line and try to make sure that repeated letters alternate between upper and lower, also paying attention to whether they are also repeated on the lines immediately above or below…

(https://i.imgur.com/gNTPG9x.jpg)

(https://i.imgur.com/mSnIAuq.jpg)

It adds a surprising amount of time to the process, but is worth the extra work, IMO.
: Re: What Are The The Prices For Lettering?
: Jim_Campbell 13 December, 2018, 08:25:32 AM
Where can I reach you to do business with when the time comes?

To belatedly answer this question…!

You can message me through this site. I should mention that I'm one of the busiest letterers (possibly the busiest letterer) working in English-language comics. If we're talking about a handful of pages, there's a decent chance I can squeeze 'em in but, if not, I can certainly put you in touch with another letterer who'll be able to tackle your pages to a high standard.
: Re: What Are The The Prices For Lettering?
: Bolt-01 13 December, 2018, 09:23:02 AM
Jim is also possibly the 'best' letterer out there not working for TMO on a regular basis in the prog.
: Re: What Are The The Prices For Lettering?
: Jim_Campbell 13 December, 2018, 09:41:47 AM
Jim is also possibly the 'best' letterer out there not working for TMO on a regular basis in the prog.

You're far too kind, as always, Bolt! :-)

TBH, I get the 2000AD thing — I've referred to the prog in the past as a machine, and it is — it's a machine that consumes vast amounts of content at a ferocious pace. If all the parts are working reliably, in this case if TMO has a stable stable of letterers, it'd be crazy to mess with it for no reason.

(And, y'know, I do all right out of Rebellion — Sniper Elite, the Scream specials, Charley's War, and I'm hard at work on Vol2 of Roy of the Rovers right now…)
: Re: What Are The The Prices For Lettering?
: sheridan 13 December, 2018, 09:50:08 AM
Jim is also possibly the 'best' letterer out there not working for TMO on a regular basis in the prog.

You're far too kind, as always, Bolt! :-)

TBH, I get the 2000AD thing — I've referred to the prog in the past as a machine, and it is — it's a machine that consumes vast amounts of content at a ferocious pace. If all the parts are working reliably, in this case if TMO has a stable stable of letterers, it'd be crazy to mess with it for no reason.

(And, y'know, I do all right out of Rebellion — Sniper Elite, the Scream specials, Charley's War, and I'm hard at work on Vol2 of Roy of the Rovers right now…)


Jim's name certainly comes up a lot - before I moved house I was in a local library-run comic group where I'd pick up graphic novels I wouldn't normally read, and Mr Campbell did seem to contribute to a good proportion of them!
: Re: What Are The The Prices For Lettering?
: Bolt-01 13 December, 2018, 10:29:04 AM
Ah, but the success comes at a price- how many times have you missed a good convention in the last few years due to last minute corrections Jim?
: Re: What Are The The Prices For Lettering?
: Jim_Campbell 13 December, 2018, 10:36:16 AM
Ah, but the success comes at a price- how many times have you missed a good convention in the last few years due to last minute corrections Jim?

Hrrgh. I've missed almost all of them, dating back to the final Hi-Ex.
: Re: What Are The The Prices For Lettering?
: Adrian Bamforth 13 December, 2018, 03:38:25 PM
Jim, my apologies about my earlier post, I didn't take the time to appreciate that proper letterers are available to take on this task or the subtleties involved as was answering as if it were just a tip for small press types. Egg all over my face.
: Re: What Are The The Prices For Lettering?
: TordelBack 13 December, 2018, 04:58:20 PM
Feck's sake, this place is just no good - I was looking forward to a Christmas donnybrook!  Courteous bloody pro's ruining everyone's fun... 
: Re: What Are The The Prices For Lettering?
: Jim_Campbell 13 December, 2018, 05:39:58 PM
Jim, my apologies about my earlier post, I didn't take the time to appreciate that proper letterers are available to take on this task or the subtleties involved as was answering as if it were just a tip for small press types. Egg all over my face.

Fuck you, Bamforth!

(Naah. It's fine. Apology much appreciated. Think no more of it…)
: Re: What Are The The Prices For Lettering?
: TordelBack 13 December, 2018, 06:15:47 PM
And that's that. May as well head over to the JBF...
: Re: What Are The The Prices For Lettering?
: geronimo 13 December, 2018, 11:48:29 PM
Thanks guys. :D
: Re: What Are The The Prices For Lettering?
: Trout 15 December, 2018, 01:21:02 AM
A single word on the final line of a block of text would get you carpeted in a newsroom, Jim. Just saying.  ;)