The story of my lettering work is similar to that of my colouring…
Can’t remember the date when I started lettering comics, just the work. Ty had met with Steve Ballantyne of Metallic Rose Comics, who was local (in Oakville…we’re in Mississauga, right next door) and they had agreed to get a license for a known product and do a mini series and see how it went. Steve got the license for Planet of the Apes. Being local, being small and indy, being canadian, the payrate was never going to be huge–but Ty wanted to try and make it as good as possible for everyone, so they could do quality work and still make a living. This meant that there was next to no budget left for a letterer. Ty was already editing and acting as production manager, which was taking up more of his time than he had imagined it would. But, he didn’t think he could find himself a letterer for ten bucks a page (little did he know that that would be pretty high for an indy project!). And I was starting to make wife-of-freelancer noises about him doing actual paying work (that’s the entire job description when one is the wife of a freelancer). So, Ty had a brilliant thought–if I did the lettering, it would end up as what he wanted, and the money, however much or however little, would remain in the house. And I would learn a marketable skill.
Ty discovered quickly that teaching me to do something didn’t mean that I wouldn’t go off, learn more on my own, and that the student would start questioning the master (yeah, yeah, yeah, Ty’s lettered comics for thirty yers–big whoop!).
When I was learning how to colour, in order to do the Ed the Sock six-pager, I had got the DC book on colouring (okay, it’s American–“coloring”) written by Mark Chiarello. Therein, at the back, was Todd Klein’s contribution–how to letter, by hand and with Illustrator. I got myself a copy of Illustrator, added Richard Starking’s Comicraft Guide to Lettering to my bookshelf, and off I went. Ty doesn’t know Illustrator at all, so all digital output is my domain.
Ty and I have a deal–if I work with him on a project, he has to tell me at the beginning whether I’m the typist (ie, I’m doing everything exactly the way he wants even if I vigorously disagree) or I’m actually the letterer. And if I’m the typist, he’ll be the one with the credit.
I’ve lettered more pages than I’ve coloured, although I prefer colouring…so far, I’ve done five of the six issues for Planet of the Apes, Big Max and Hoverboy for Mr. Comics. And I’ve lettered some of Ty’s DC work for him.
Here’s a couple of pages from Big Max, written by Dan Slott and drawn by James Fry.