Jul 2, 2016

Kurt Hathaway: lettering Providence

Lettering by Kurt Hathaway from Providence N. 3.
Excerpt from an interview with Providence's letterer Kurt Hathaway.

"Providence utilizes multiple fonts for various different characters from Salem’s fish-men hybrids, to Willard Wheatley, to the ghoul King George. Even Neonomicon‘s Deep One has his own font. How did you come up with the lettering style for each of these?
Kurt Hathaway: These are outlined by Alan in some way - no specific font, per se, but an idea of what he’d like to see graphically. A short description of the font style - and balloon style - maybe a color note - I then put together something I think may fit the bill.

This is something I do on a fairly regular basis on other series and graphic novels anyway, so I’m always prepared to put together something.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time designing all kinds of caption and balloon styles, so I have a gallery of styles to choose from when the request comes in. I have ghost balloons, and zombie balloons and all kindsa crazy styles already prepped in advance. I can usually grab one of those, and make a tweak or two to make it suit the book’s needs.

In Providence #3, there is a tiny unreadable font coming from some of the Terrible Old Man’s bottles. One of our readers actually took photos of it through a microscope device. A somewhat similar font appears in Providence #7 as Pitman and King George walk away. Are these just stand-ins for indistinct speech, or is there more to it that you would explain?
Kurt Hathaway: I’d forgotten about the bottles until I looked at my page file a few days ago - I was trying to locate one of the balloon styles to match it again. Not that one - another one, but it crossed my radar all the same. The bottles contain tiny people if I’m not mistaken, so that balloon indicates to the reader two things - there’s a tiny person in the bottle - and they’re voice is so low in volume, that its content is indistinguishable. But the balloon draws the eye to the bottle. It’s a clever storytelling device."

[The complete interview is available here]

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