Stupid Internet Comic Stuff That Pisses Me Off

Dear people who make internet comics:

When lettering your comics, please pay attention to the following helpful tips:

Have your balloon’s tail point at the source of your sound. If someone is talking out of their butt, sure, point the tail there – but otherwise if their mouth is doing the flapping, aim the tail there. If you’re sloppy about doing this, you will lose the creative possibilities of tails pointing elsewhere because your visual logic will not be consistent. You’ll also look like you’re lazy.

Don’t let balloons cross panels unless you have good reason to. If all of your balloons cross panels, your lettering will look less integrated into the artwork and more slapped on, which visually distorts your strip. You also, once again, lose the creative tool of having balloons or sound effects cross panels for emphasis.

You’re an artist — and lettering should be part of your art. Don’t crowd the page with walls-o-text and make sure you leave a proper amount of space when thumbnailing your strips to include the lettering in your design.

English reads from left to right, and keep this in mind when designing your panels and lettering so that you do not end up painted in corners when it comes to laying out your lines and balloons. Your strips already go visually top-left to bottom-right, so keep this in mind when drawing your scenes.

Peace and love, me.


Filed under Internet Comics

2 responses to “Stupid Internet Comic Stuff That Pisses Me Off

  1. Terri Delgado

    I agree, I really do…


    For the sake of art and dynamic imagery, sometimes it is NECESSARY to have tails not point to the source of the dialogue. Sometimes it has to just point in a general direction…

    For example (one I really love) Off scene dialogue. The tail cannot possibly point to the source, and simply disappears off panel. You aren’t sure where in context to an off shot that the characters are.

    Sometimes the artist focuses on certain… assets… for comedic purposes. Now, you could have the tail go off panel, but for flow (following of the balloons through the pages) it can sometimes throw off the reader and balloons can be overlooked, OR there ends up being an incredibly long tail for no reason.

    It is really hard for me to explain it without drawing it out to really show you what I mean, but I know from experience that sometimes the talking ass is the better artistic choice then the 7 inch long tail pointing towards the source and overlapping art and whatnot.

    But you are absolutely right about one thing, if the artist IS the letterer as well, they should compensate for things like that. When I lay out my pages, knowing full well I do the editing and lettering, I always allow for word balloons.

    Personally, when it comes to wall text, if it is DONE RIGHT it can be really nice. Terry Moore sometimes used that in his Strangers in Paradise– mostly to being people up to speed about a specific event.

    And overlapping panel lines, that is a big no-no in professional lettering unless it is ABSOLUTELY necessary for room reasons, or if what a character is saying is characterized by reactions in sequential panels following.

    • Hey Terri,

      Note that we don’t really disagree. I said you can make someone’s ass talk if they really are talking out of their ass. Tails off the panel for offscreen isn’t a problem. My point is that one shouldn’t do it ALL THE TIME because you then lose the emphasis tool. Like writing in italics all the time.

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