jump 3

Can I just say that this is the page I had in mind when I started putting this whole “jump” scene together.

20130212-OnTheVerge-TheJumper-39

So far I’ve talked about the overall philosophy of my approach with this set of pages and page layout – both of which are in full effect with this page and is probably one of the reasons why it’s one of my favourites. Today I want to cover something I really don’t talk too much about (ever, really) and that’s lettering.

One of the things that I think is really interesting about comics is that it utilizes both images and words – just like graphic design does. Now for the most part, people really don’t take advantage of this and we see the typical lettering that you would think of in a “comic”: captions, speech balloons, thought balloons, sound effects, etc. But if you look at the world of graphic design, lettering not only is it’s own artform, but is used on virtually every piece in so many different ways to convey all sorts of ideas and emotions that’s kind of mind boggling. As a graphic designer I love typography and I’ve always wondered if you could apply the same type approach to a comic and have it make sense. So this section of the story really provided me with an opportunity to try this out.

To me, the lettering in this section serves three main purposes:

1. Its primary function like all typography is to convey information and since I actually needed you (the reader) to read the story, it needed to be legible.

2. It acts as a design element meaning that the type interacts with the imagery and I actually designed the type and images together. I knew before I even started drawing pages where type was going to go and how that was going to affect the overall look of the pages.

3. I wanted the type to start to help with the storytelling and this spread is a good example of that. Through the mixture of typefaces, how they interact with the imagery, their placement and pacing, the type ends up controlling how you read. I also tried out some things like Michael’s speech bubble (on the right side of the spread) interacting with Lucas’ thoughts and not an image of him. It would have been easy enough to draw another picture of Lucas, but the approach here reads differently and that’s the point.

Now when I design things I typically try to keep myself to two typefaces maximum. That’s a rule that one of my first design teachers taught me and it’s always served me well. So with this section I decided to break that rule (of course) and add in an extra typeface. My thinking here was that the normal typeface that I use for all the lettering (in all the On the Verge comics I’ve done so far) kind of doesn’t count because it’s the “normal” typeface and I’m only using two other typefaces. So I kind of didn’t break the rule (or at least I like to think so).

Overall, the typography for this section breaks down as:

– the normal sans serif for Lucas’ captions
– a brush script for Lucas’ captions
– the normal sans serif for Lucas’ speech bubbles
– a hand drawn typeface for Michael’s speech bubbles

It’s the interaction of all of these things that I’m really happy with. I had a definite idea for how I wanted these pages to look and read. I think it’s a fairly different approach from “normal comics” – not that there’s anything wrong with normal comics – but it’s fun to try different things out and see what happens.

*****

Update
Has anyone been following along on Twitter for the past week or so? I have been really burning the ink and getting a lot of pages finished off thanks to my wife being away on a girls week and not really having too much else to do since there’s been some pretty crappy weather here in Southern Ontario (is it summer yet? I’m kind of sick of the snow!). Anyway, I’m done the next block of On the Verge pages for the main story which is awesome and almost done another section as well with only a few more pages to go. It’s been a ton of work but it’s going to be great to get back to posting the main story in a little bit. And with that, I need to get back at it! See ya next week.

About jason

Illustrator and graphic designer. When not working full time as a Senior Graphic Designer, I am usually working on the graphic novel On the Verge: the Arrow of Time. Artist on Andrew Jackson in Space and The Sisters.

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