Most cartoon characters "speak" using printed words that are often (but not always) surrounded by a frame. You can draw the best cartoons in the world, but they can fall flat when combined with lettering that's substandard, illegible, or sloppy. Lettering is crucial to the art as a whole in several ways:
✓ It affects the cartoon's visual appearance.
✓ It allows your characters to communicate.
✓ It contributes to the story or gag line by making it comprehensible; obviously, if people can't read your writing, you have a big problem on your hands!
In addition to serving a communication function, great lettering should also complement the art and be part of a larger creative narrative. In other words, great lettering should be art, too. To make your lettering help your cartoons stand out, check out the following sections for some basic ideas to help you get started.
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