Considering these pages, I’m going to take advantage of this opportunity to talk about two basic essentials to lettering: Placement and pacing. And how this shows how skilled chira and muun are as storytellers.
Placement can be a lot trickier than it seems. It is not just a matter of breaking the text up into pieces and putting them on the page one after another. It’s vital to think about natural eye movement.
If you work on a comic and you’ve finished lettering a page, take a step back (or zoom out - whichever easier) and study the page: how cluttered does it look from a distance? Is the text unbalanced in a way you find uneasy? Every page is different just as every comic is different, but it is usually possible to give each page a sense a balance. I know this sounds cocky, but I think page 7 has a great sense of balance despite having plenty of text. This is thanks to chira and her advice, but I will get to that part in a moment.
Another thing you can do to judge good placement is to read the lettered page as if it were your very first time seeing it. Don’t over-think it: Just let your eyes move over the text naturally. If the reading cannot go from A to B to C without needing to think about it or correcting yourself, then you may have a problem with placement.
In most Western literature, we read from left to right then move our eyes down to the left again - our eyes zig-zag downward. It doesn’t mean that the text placement always has to go in a zig-zag (page layouts can vary in all sorts of ways) but it is a general idea that is good to consider. If you are ever in doubt, ask a friend to glance over the page and then ask how they were able to read the text. If they read something out of order, consider how to change that to prevent confusion.
Another facet of good placement is how it covers the artwork. I have a bad habit of wanting to show off as much of Chira’s art as possible. In my very first lettering mock-up for page 7, Chira advised that I change panel one - I had placed the caption boxes in the empty spaces close to Liam because I didn’t want to cover up the pretty party-goers in the foreground.
But Chira pointed out that those characters weren’t important to the narrative and when I changed the position of the captions, I could see what she meant: by covering up the people in the foreground, there was greater space around Liam and, as readers, we could feel the space surrounding him and how that makes him feel. It’s a sense of loneliness - that feeling we get when we’re all alone if a huge (achingly romantic) crowd.
If I had crowded that space around him with the caption boxes instead of moving them out to either side, that sense of loneliness would’ve fallen flat and that would not have done muun’s writing justice. Slowly but surely, I’m learning how to cover up artwork (such as the tops of Liam and Tibsy’s heads in panel two) in favor of good storytelling.
Another essential element in lettering is pacing. Pacing is set by how the writer wants the story to go and how the artist wants to present those narrative beats. Figuring out how those words flow across each sequence of art is pretty valuable, especially when you wish to convey something extra through merit of the medium.
Not too long ago, Chira asked if I could re-do the pacing for pages 7 and 8. The text was originally supposed to be only on page 7, you see. Page 8 was going to be completely ‘silent’ as Liam meets the gaze of a beautiful gentlemen. This was changed and the pace was set out more slowly so that the final sentence (“I didn’t think of it more deeply than that.”) would not appear on page 7, but on page 8. As that sentence on page 8 slowly drifts off, you can actually sense the moment where poor Liam’s thoughts get completely derailed. I love that.
By the way, has anyone notice the curious li’l guy in the corner of page 7, panel 3? I love that panel like crazy. XD
Reblogging for cool notes on lettering ;_;!!!
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