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Kep! 06-01-2005 07:31 PM

REFERENCE: Lettering Oddities found in Scripts
Ok folks, this list is NOT inclusive, but I want to post it reference sake. PLEASE add to it as you see fit and I will make a master comilation at sometime in the future (if I have the gumption).


Assume bolds are bolds.

Italics are italics.

Underlines are bolds (this is old school, still used by many)

Brackets [ and ] are bold (adopted by many letterers since computer lettering)

Asterisks * are italics (adopted by many letterers since computer lettering)

{ and } are fireflies (used in aspirations like “yawn” and “gasp”

ALL CAPS can mean several things depending on the writer, the letterer, the publishing house, etc. For example, many now use them to designate bold. However, if lettering in sentence case (like Marvel’s Ultimate line) it means letter in CAPS. I tend to use it to say “Make this word extra special”… either large or done as an SFX within the balloon. In all cases it is meant to get the attention of the letterer to do something special (whatever that may be) as most letterers (myself included) do not read while lettering (slows us down by a factor of 5). When in doubt, ask the writer.

( and ) are used as is. Several writers have been using them to denote “speaking to myself”. This is a fad that probably won’t last, but there it is.

Mixed cases such as “LoOk, therE goeS suSan and her RotTie.” are rarely seen outside of a lettering script (also rarely seen), but in case you do see one (or are lettering, editing, proofing for a writer who letters) it’s to help with the cut-n-paste. Most professional comic book fonts have alternate versions of the letters on the UPPER CASE and lower case keys in order to help produce a more organic feel to the lettering. If you see this, let it be, your letterer will thank you and the end product will look much better for it. Few writers write this way, but a couple do, so watch for them, they’re funny.

The letter “I” has three forms… the lowercase (i), the uppercase (“I” - that looks like a lowercase “L”) and the uppercase with crossbars ( “I” those are the lines across the top and bottom of the letter). In comic lettering each of these has a specific purpose. Typically, the Crossbar-I is reserved for pronouns and names only (I, I’m, Isabella), occasionally a letterer prefers to use them for the beginning of sentences when needed, and NEVER in the middle for a word. The uppercase without the crossbars is used in all other situations. The lowercase “i” is only used when lettering in sentence case. WEIRD HOLD OVER FROM EARLY COMPUTER LETTERING: sometimes you will see the pipe (|) used instead of the crossbarred “I” in a script “|’m pleased to meet you”. This is because there are several computer fonts still in popular use that put the crossbar I on the pipe in order to have two variations of the non-crossbarr I. It’s odd, but it’s out there.

Double-spacing does not exist in computer lettering and most letterers will take them out before lettering. If you love your letterer, don’t use them.
I believe that’s the biggies… though I have no doubt missed several and will amend this list as needed. Please don’t hesitate to ask.

raya 06-01-2005 08:11 PM

:cool: This is a great reference, thanks Kep!

Ray Dillon 06-14-2005 01:17 PM

Yeah, as Kep! knows (cuz i keep buggin' him aboot it on "Genie" through FC9 -- plug, plug, plug!), I ask for bolds in [brackets] and italics in =equal signs=.

This is because when I convert the script to the font I'll be lettering with, some of the time there won't be asterisks * indluded in the font, so I get a box in place of that. And since most comics lettering is done in all caps, having bolded words in all caps doesn't really help. Underlining also doesn't show up.

But [brackets] and the =equal sign= area pretty much always there no matter what font you're using.

Another pain in the but is that Word automaticallly converts ... (three periods) into an elipse (looks like three periods, but is actually a seperate character). Most lettering fonts don't recognize elispses, even if they have them included in the font. So, I get a box and have to go through and fix them all. And sometimes quotations have the same problem, so occasionally, I'll accidentally replace a box that was supposed to be an elipse with a quotation mark and get a very confused client. ;)

And everything Kep! said applies.

Good idea, man.

cyxodus 06-23-2005 11:56 PM

I agee with this and will pass it on to a few writers I know.

JEFFE 06-24-2005 10:01 PM

Great stuff that would have helped me greatly with some writers in the past. Bold and Italics are the bad ones. I keep having to print the scripts out and physically go in and adjust.

Thanks folks. ;)


JasonM 06-26-2005 01:57 PM

Ok, stupid question time, if a writer types <hic> for a drunk, do you keep the < > or is something else supposed to go there?

Kep! 06-26-2005 02:46 PM

I'd probably get creative and move the letters on and off the baseline a lot... perhaps even changing their size.

JasonM 06-26-2005 03:00 PM

Thanks man!

rcosgrove 08-15-2005 10:14 AM


Originally Posted by Ray Dillon
Another pain in the but is that Word automaticallly converts ... (three periods) into an elipse (looks like three periods, but is actually a seperate character).

Yeah, I find this to be one of Word's hundreds of major irritations.

If you Undo (Ctrl-U, or Apple-U on Macs) after typing "..." Word converts the ellipses back into three periods.

Also, you could do a Find & Replace to get rid of ellipses - select an ellipsis, copy it, and paste it into the Find field of the Find & Replace box, and enter three periods into the Replace field.

But check your Autocorrect options. It may be set to turn a triple period into an ellipse. Just find the option (it may be listed in the Autocorrect tab's list) and delete it.

- Richard

Kep! 08-15-2005 11:49 AM

Persoanally, I like the seperate charqacter as long as the font I'm using supports it. It gives a nice feel. But I agree that on some of my weirder fonts (or less complete) it's a HUGE pain in the ass.

My personal bitch is the specal "-" that Word sticks in as a replacement for "--". NONE of my fonts support it and all of my writers use it. BAH!

rcosgrove 08-16-2005 06:39 AM

And that's another reason why I hate Word.

Tell your writers (at least those who are likely to do as they're told) to go into the Autocorrect dialogue box (probably in the Tools menu), click on the Autoformat As You Type tab, and uncheck the Symbol characters (--) with (-) and Replace *bold* and _italics_ with real formatting check boxes.

That should solve that problem at the writer's end. If they hestitate, tell them they can turn off Word's automatic list and automatic bullets feature in there as well (now those ARE irritating).

If you have Word yourself, you can do a find-and-replace to get rid of the en dashes - in the Find dialogue box press alt-hyphen (alt and –) and -- into the Replace box. Any en dash will be converted into a double-dash.

- Richard

Kep! 08-16-2005 10:19 AM


Originally Posted by rcosgrove
[/i] and Replace *bold* and _italics_ with real formatting check boxes.

You're not going to believe this, but I just found a way to move formatted text from word. No kidding. I'll be writing a tutorial shortly... just need to get a final kink out.

steveo 12-01-2005 04:11 PM


Originally Posted by Kep!
You're not going to believe this, but I just found a way to move formatted text from word. No kidding. I'll be writing a tutorial shortly... just need to get a final kink out.

Ever get that final kink out?

Just curious upon reading this thread.



Kep! 12-02-2005 12:49 AM

Yeah, but it's not terribly faster. I'll try and write it up this weekend though.

Amadarwin 01-09-2006 11:01 PM

quick question...

When you BOLD or you include the punctuation in it?

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