Welcome to another edition of Fill in the Blank. Here, creators enlighten us with their thoughts on the comics industry through the medium of informal questionnaire. It’s a neat opportunity for our favorite artists and writers to share some very specific insights, news, and commentary about the wonderful (and sometimes weird) medium we all adore so dearly.
This time around, letter Taylor Esposito shares his thoughts on the power of creative mentors, the best rules for lettering, building a lasting career, and his thoughts on following through. Espositio’s work has appeared in a number of titles, including Green Hornet for Dynamite, DC’s Action Comics, Punisher and Deadpool from Marvel, and much, much more.
Lettering is the one thing all new creators should remain aware of. Many of the newbies (and some more experienced folks) never think about where lettering is going to fall, or who is speaking first, leading to letterers having to do some fancy work to make it make sense. It’s part of the job, but it would help in the interest of clarity to the reader if we were all thinking of it from the layouts.
I would not be here if it weren’t for the help, encouragement, and mentoring by people like Sal Cipriano (my boss at DC), Nate Piekos for being a friend and treating me like a colleague when I was sure I was up to snuff yet, and Joe Caramanga, who was one of my first big brothers in lettering.
When I was lettering pretty much everything ever, I had to force myself to stay on task just to finish. The true key to making it as a freelancer is making sure you can sit and work. The distractions of home make it easy to fall hopefully behind. Make it a game. Try to beat you times in getting work done.
The one rule for lettering I stand by is make it as clear and simple for the reader. All the fancy tricks in the world mean nothing its confusing the reader. Too many folks try to be fancy before they were ready and skilled enough to get there.
When I teach or talk about lettering, I always try to give the advice I’ve been given by the guys who taught me. All these folks can’t be wrong, and I try to pass that on to whoever wants to know.
I’m convinced that editors who hire me are the best thing to happen to comics in a long time. I mean, they keep me working ::wink::
The worst advice I ever received was, “Get into comics, it’ll be fun.” Haha. I really haven’t received bad advice. I just know who I should listen to.
The thing I never seem to remember in creating anything is I am talented enough to do it, so not to be so hard on myself.
The way you get a meaningful career is by making sure you are someone people want to work with. Be on time, do good work, be someone people want to be around and don’t treat people like they are only important to you when need something. People will realize it’s what you are doing.
The worst thing that could happen to art is for it to stop. Art, stories, creation is what keeps us moving.
If I were in charge of all comics, I’d get everyone on a schedule that didn’t kill the colorists and letterers. I’d also give myself all my bucket list books.
If you read only one comic book in your life, let it be anything I’ve worked on. Seriously though, anything by Mazzucchelli or the Simonsons.