Drawing Words & Writing Pictures. This next section within the course will cover penciling and lettering. 
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Topic: Penciling & Lettering

Email 5 (of 8)

Drawing Words & Writing Pictures.

This next section within the course will cover penciling and lettering. Penciling and lettering has always been really difficult because you tend to draw too darkly on the final pages of artwork, which makes the inks really not able to absorb into the paper when we get into the inking section.

To help us understand how to think about pencilling and lettering we are visited by master comic artist Eric Shanower (best known for Age of Bronze & Marvel’s Oz Series).

Penciling & Lettering Interview with Eric Shanower

Click this link to go directly to a transcription for this video

Featured Materials

Below is a preview of some of the additional readings, videos, comics, and other resources to enhance your learning regarding this email’s topic. You can review these materials in full by going to the course landing page.


The Flow of a Page
A two part piece by Max Miller Dowdle that originally was posted on, it describes how to properly create and manage flow in a comic book.


Hand Lettering Walkthrough
An article that provides an easy guide for how to properly letter comics by hand.


Grammar in Comics
The guide describes and explains several standards for grammar in modern comic books.


Comic Lettering Layout
This article by comic creator Lora Innes outlines the importance of lettering as well as some important do's and don'ts.


A Guide to Hand Lettering Your Scripts
A guide that teaches readers the different tools and steps needed to perform hand lettering in comics.


Penciling by Kazu Kibuishi
A short tutorial article written by Kazu Kibuishi. In it, they go over how to properly pencil and create art for comics.

Eric Shanower Interview on Gutter Talk Podcast
A podcast interview with comic writer Eric Shanower on the Gutter Talk Podcast. In it he talks about comics, as well as his personal history.

Featured Activity

Activity: Penciling & Lettering Your Art



You are going to create pencils & letters for your comic. A couple important notes on the comic page worksheet: 
  1. As indicated in the thumbnail assignment, the comic page worksheet is scaled to be bigger than 5.5 inches x 8.5 inches (standard American copy paper/Letter format). 
  2. It is very important that you do your final art on the worksheet provided by the course worksheet in order for it to come together as a final comic story with the materials provided. Because the final page of art will be smaller than the worksheet you are working on, be sure to draw bigger than you think you need to—for art and lettering.


Follow these directions:

  1. Read this email’s tutorials
  2. Print out 4 copies of this email’s worksheet
  3. Fill it out according to the directions in this email’s tutorial
  4. Scan the worksheets and make them into a .pdf
  5. Combine the finished pages, into one .pdf (merge them)
  6. Turn them over for peer review to a friend, or assess them yourself

Feedback (Optional)

Concentrate feedback on what you or your peer like about the image you drew. Notice the lines, the shapes, the ideas. Try and use the following sentence for feedback: "What I like about this piece of artwork is [insert what you like]"

Activity Models

Student Activity Models
If you need inspiration look at the student models provided within the document above to see how others completed this assignment.

Activity Materials

Penciling Tutorial

This tutorial will walk you through the process of creating the pencils for your comic.

Lettering Tutorial

This tutorial gives instruction on how to perform the letters for your comic.

Pencils, Letters, and Inks Worksheet

A blank worksheet that serves as a template for you to use to create the illustrations, letters, and inks for your final comic.

Penciling & Lettering Rubric

Use the above rubric to have a peer assess your work, or assess it yourself. Make sure that you reference it as you’re creating the pencils and letters of your comic. 

When completed, tally up the amount of “Yes” answers (questions provided within the rubric) to see whether or not your work has room for improvement. Then, refine as needed.

0-1 = Poor
2-3 = Satisfactory
4-5 = Good
6 = Excellent

Next Steps

You’re at the end of this section of the course! Check your inbox for the next email.



Pencils NOT Down!

As students ramp up production of their comics and produce what many might see as “the point” of the project, there are still issues that they can run into. Focusing too hard on art can lead to improper technique, and some parts that seem easy, like lettering, actually pose unique challenges. 

Tips & tricks for troubleshooting common student issues during this section of the project are covered on email 5 section of the “How To Make A Comic Book” Teacher’s Guide:
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