Creating Comics: Lettering Comics Before the Digital Age with David Lloyd

Comic creator and publisher of Aces Weekly, David Lloyd

Comic creator and publisher of Aces Weekly, David Lloyd

Back in the days before computers (and Richard Starkings), comics were hand lettered – and it was something of an arcane art that only a trusted few were employed to do at Marvel UK, where I worked in the 1990s.

It was also a demanding task: lettering either directly onto artwork, or patch paper, it required dedication and, often, long hours for little recognition. Annie Parkouse, Helen Stone, Kid Robson, IPC’s Tom Frame (best known for his work on 2000AD), Tom Orzechowski, Peri Godbold… almost all of these names probably mean little to most comic fans and, sadly, I doubt great modern letterers like Jim Campbell and John Roshell will mean much to many readers, either. Which is a shame, because good lettering can make a good book great and a bad book look good – and bad lettering, vice versa. It’s a largely invisible and vastly under appreciated art.

Back in the 1990s, comic creator David Lloyd created this guide to lettering comics with not a Mac or copy of Photoshop in sight, and it was circulated to Marvel UK editors to hopefully make them appreciate just what went into lettering a comic. Although it may seem dated, David created a useful guide to lettering for newcomers, and I hope it’s of interest.


David Lloyd's Lettering Guide Page 1 David Lloyd's Lettering Guide Page 2 David Lloyd's Lettering Guide Page 3

David Lloyd's Lettering Guide Page 4


• David Lloyd may be well known as the co-creator of  V for Vendetta, but these days he’s earning acclaim for his digital anthology, Aces Weekly. Check it out at and check out David’s latest work on his official site

Web Links

Todd Klein: Comic Book Lettering – How It All Began

Wikipedia: The Letterer

Top Ten Comic Letterers? A Fan’s Choice (and they’re not all Amercan)

Moebius on the ‘Monstrous Role’ of Comic Letterers

ComicCraft Lettering Tips and Tricks

Comic Book Fonts Sources



Categories: British Comics, Creating Comics, Features

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2 replies

  1. Strangely enough, that guide may be one of the things I’ll be adding to our Aces Weekly Extras section soon along with other instructional material for those with the desire to create comics as well as read them. Nice to see it pop up here : )

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