Thursday, 9 December 2010

Thursday Surgery: Unlettered Pages! With Scripts!

With apologies, once more, for the delay, I'm happy to bring you the delayed Wednesday surgery post.

One area where prospective letterers seem to be at a disadvantage is finding sample pages to letter, either for practice or for portfolio purposes. There are lots of scripts on the web that pencillers can have a crack at, pencils for inkers, inks for colourists, but letterers…? Not so much.

Now, it is true that there are plenty of web-comics and small press titles out there with utterly horrible lettering, so you could just pitch up to them and offer to do their lettering, but that's not much help if you're just looking to get some practise in (and some people can get a bit defensive when you point out that their web-comic looks like absolute pants because they lettered it in ComicSans).

There are some sample pages on the 'Activities' thread on the Digital Webbing forum (which are well worth a go -- I've tried several of them myself, and some of them are hard!) but beyond that a quick Google turns up precious little.

Consequently, I'm happy to bring you some unlettered sample pages, with scripts.

The links below are direct downloads of ZIP files, which should uncompress with any suitable utility to give you the artwork files, and the scripts in Microsoft Word format.

Please note that these pages are supplied for lettering practise only and may not be used for any other purpose. If anyone breaches the copyrights then I will have to remove the files.

First up -- Judge Dredd: It Came From Bea Arthur Block (Part 1) provided by kind permission of editor Matt Smith at 2000AD/Rebellion. There are six B&W pages, and the ZIP file weighs in at roughly 4Mb.

Download Judge Dredd pages.

(NB: I didn't letter the published version of this strip. That was done by the supremely talented Annie Parkhouse. Extra thanks to PJ Holden for letting me have the pages and the script when I was doing some try-out pages for 2000AD earlier in the year.)

Next -- Fractal Friction Pgs 1-10 provided by kind permission of the named creators on each page. There are ten colour pages and individual scripts for each, so the ZIP file is a bit larger, weighing in at 11Mb.

Download Fractal Friction pages.

Please feel free to post the results on appropriate forums, such as the Digital Webbing Lettering Forum if you want some feedback. 

You can also post links to your lettered versions of these pages in the Comments section of this post if you'd like me to provide a crit of them in a future Surgery session.

I have feelers out to other collaborators and publishers, and I hope to be able to supply some more pages next week. 

If you know of any other resources where unlettered pages and the corresponding scripts can be found online, please use the comments section below to share the links, and I'll collect them together in future post.


  1. Holy Cow! This is exactly the kind of thing I was trying to find. I was even going to ask you, but felt a bit embarrassed to ask in the comment section. My Noob-itise is still a sore point. I very much appreciate it.
    In the intro to the article you mentioned needing portfolio pages, but then when you put that bold disclaimer in, you only mentioned “for practice”. So… Can we use it for both? Or just practice?

  2. You'll be fine using these as sample pages for a portfolio, as long as the creator credits and/or copyright messages are left in place. The disclaimer *is* a bit strong, but there's always some muppet who'll try it on!

  3. "but there's always some muppet who'll try it on!"

    Wow, that is such an awesome quote, I have no idea what you're saying, but I'm so going to say that to someone someday, just for kicks.

    Also, very excited to try these out when I'm home from work. I've actually resorted to typing out the script from comics I own were I was able to find unlettered art on the internet. Now that's obviously just for practice, but boy is it ever tedious

  4. "I have no idea what you're saying"

    Translation: There's always some idiot who'll push their luck.

    (Be thankful I deleted the original version of that sentence, which read "…there's always some numpty who'll take the piss.")

    "I've actually resorted to typing out the script from comics I own were I was able to find unlettered art on the internet."

    Been there -- done that! You're absolutely right, it's no kind of fun at all.

  5. Thanks Jim! As well as to all who were generous enough to let us practice our skills on these amazing pages!

  6. I have two OGN's I wrote/lettered coming out in Jan. Once both are released I will happily release the scripts and a few pages from each for people to letter.

    Jim, when the time comes I'll contact you so you can bring it to the attention of your readers.

  7. Good to see these are already coming in handy.

    Worth noting Cthulouis has left a note on the 2000AD message board that he'd be up for letting people letter his 2000ad sample artwork, as it is good for aspiring artists as they get to see if they've left enough room. You can probably sweep up more example artwork (which have scripts already available online) that way. I can always pass on a request.

    "(NB: I didn't letter the published version of this strip. That was done by the supremely talented Annie Parkhouse. Extra thanks to PJ Holden for letting me have the pages and the script when I was doing some try-out pages for 2000AD earlier in the year.)"

    Any chance we can see these?

  8. Shawn: that's very generous of you! Keep me posted on that one and I'll flag it up when the pages are available. Congrats on getting the GNs out there, too. :-)

  9. phew, that was TOUGH!

    Don't know how well are 2000AD letterers paid but nevertheless, in this case - it should be at least double the usual rate:))

  10. I have a little question about your lettering process :

    I tried to letter the pages of Fractal Friction before comparing them to the originals. I hope to show you the result very soon but I was wondering if text bolding was from your own initiative in this case, or the writer gave you some indications that weren't originally in the script, after your first attempts.

    In all case thank you for sharing all those tips and ressources, and sorry for my english, it' not my native language. ;)

  11. BlekenDekara: Thanks for the link -- I'll take a look over the next couple of days.

    YdAo: Some writers include emphasis in their scripts, and some don't. If there are emphasized words in the script, then I assume it's the writer's preference and respect their choices. If there are no emphasized words in the script, then I will generally chec with the editor whether I'm expected to add emphasis. Usually, the answer is yes.

    I can only recall one occasion where someone has taken issue with my choice of bold words and asked me to amend a job.



  12. no rush, take your time, Jim...I assume you are swamped with your regular work and updating this blog so whenever you find time to check those files and post a critique or two(or ten:)is fine by me.
    this blog really helped me to improve my lettering skills further so thanks for doing it.

    here's my take on FF:

    I guess there are couple of commas, periods and such missing but I didn't want to change anything from the scripts.

    also, I second Emperor`s request - can we see your lettering take on those Dredd pages?
    I'm sure I(and other fine followers of this blog) could learn a lot by comparing them to mine...

    Thanks in advance!

  13. Thanks for those precisions. I imagine that's the same for some SFX that are not in the script but are added later. I'll work on Judge Dredd pages too, but for the time being you can see my version for Fractal Friction, here's a link to a PDF :
    As I had some hesitations for missing punctuation in the script, I decided to follow what I've seen on original pages, but for SFX there are no changes.

    There is a zip file too, if need be :

  14. thanks for posting these! as a writer who letters his own stuff, i need all the practice i can get!

  15. Where can I view everyone's take on lettering these pages so that I can compare how each person approaches doing lettering and sound fx?

    Anyone have a direct link to the forum page or site that is hosting all the uploaded pages for viewing?

    Thanks in advance.

  16. Hi, "Anonymous"!

    Everyone who's had a go at the samples has posted links to their version of the pages -- I'm pulling together comments for the samples people have done, but there's no one place to see them all right now, I'm afraid.



  17. Hey Jim, thank you very much for these, since I'm starting out as a letterer, they'll be very useful to me!

  18. Hello, Jim.
    I´m a spanish letterer but in Spain almost all the production are translations, I letter some of the 2000ad comics in Spanish, or are selflettered by the drawer. I want to made a portfolio for show to the american editors in the next Barcelona's ComicCons

    I was been surfing the web to found some unlettering samples with the scripts to practice and I only find your page, besides the ones in comiccraft, but the links are broken. Could you repair the links?

    Thanks a lot.

  19. Hi, Fernando! Sorry about that -- I thought I HAD fixed the links, but clearly not! Many apologies… they should work now.

  20. I've also now fixed the links for the other post with 'Practise Packs' to download. You'll find it here: