Monday, April 16, 2007

The Hayfamzone Font

I am a fan of comic book lettering. You know that already! I've written on multiple occasions about how Ben Oda is my favorite letterer of all time (AND that you can download for free the Odaballoon word processing font that is based mostly on his work. You haven't retrieved it yet? Just click here).

I like to learn more about things I'm a fan of, and for a loooong time I've wanted to get and read the book Comic Book Lettering The Comicraft Way by Richard Starkings and John Roshell. For one or two years I waited for a copy of the book to show up on ebay but it never did, so I broke down last month and bought it on Click here if you'd like to investigate a copy yourself. But wait! Let me tell you more about it.

Probably almost all letterers working professionally these days do their lettering on a computer rather than with an Ames lettering device; this book explains step by step how computer lettering is done. At $9.95 for 64 pages, the book has a Brian Bolland cover and original stories by Jeph Loeb & Ian Churchill and Kurt Busiek & Stuart Immonen, as well as articles by Dave Gibbons and Tim Sale.

Especially interesting to me were the Top Ten Pen Lettering Artists as chosen by co-author and letterer Richard Starkings. The list intrigues me because my list of favorite hand-letterers is so very different from his. Okay, you twisted my arm. Here is my list of favorite letterers, in pyramidal form. At the peak of the pyramid, Ben Oda reigns alone. Midway down the pyramid are the follwing quite-fine runners-up: John Costanza, Gaspar Saladino, Ira Schnapp, Mike Royer, and the still-hand-lettering-today-and-just-as-great-as-ever John Workman. At the base of my pyramid there are very-excellent honorable mentions for Todd Klein, Art Simek, Sam Rosen, Joe Rosen, and Tom Orzechowski.

Of course I'm always looking for new ways to extend the hayfamzone brand, and this book gave me a brainstorm. It goes into a bit of detail about how to create a lettering font based upon one's own lettering. Back in the day, my hand lettering was (blushing) sharp and clear and brimming with character. Look here and here and here for a couple of samples. So why not design a hayfamzone font in my (gulp) spare time and base it on my very own lettering? Why not, indeed! Now please, don't anybody hold your breath waiting for the hayfamzone font to appear because who knows how long it will take me to get around to it, but today is the day that I officially add that project to one of my lists.


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