Pat Brosseau is an American letterer with over thirty years of experience in the comics field as well as a blossoming T-shirt business (https://soundfxstudio.com/)! Comic Watch’s own John Jack was lucky enough to sit down with one of comics’ unsung heroes for an all-encompassing interview.
Comic Watch: Tell me about yourself.
Pat Brosseau: Well, I’m a comic book letterer who has been working in the biz now for over thirty years (whew!). I’ve probably lettered close to 45,000 story pages (whew again!). I’m originally from Vermont and I’m now living in Southern California with my wife and five year-old daughter.
CW: What all are you working on right now?
PB: Right now I have a few books going on. Wonder Woman, Birthright, Manifest Destiny, Dead Body Road, and a couple of secret projects I can’t really talk about in fear of getting killed. 😉
CW: What are some past projects you’re fond of?
PB: I loved working on Marvel books like Wolverine, Dr. Strange and Wonder Man. I enjoyed working on Hellboy. More current books that I really liked are Outer Darkness, American Carnage and Slots.
CW: What are some things a writer can do to make your life easy?
PB: Never, ever, type a script in CAPITAL LETTERS! Never do hard returns when typing the script. When indicating a bold word in the script stick to one format like underlined or bold and I feel, but some may feel differently, that a page should never have over twenty balloons per page on it.
CW: Same question, but with regards to artists.
PB: If a panel has three characters speaking in it, the first speaker should be on the left of the panel, second in the middle and third on the right. Please leave room for lettering on the pages! Also, if a panel has ten balloons in it, please don’t draw a panel the size of a postage stamp. It’s a lot of work stuffing all those balloons in a small panel!
CW: Without naming names, what are some lettering faux pas that bug you?
PB: Really small word balloon tails, bad tangents, hard to read lettering, mixed case lettering that is too small and when people call word balloons “word bubbles!”
CW: Conversely, what is your favorite aspect of lettering?
PB: I love lettering sound effects! I actually wish I could work on a comic that’s all sound effects! I loved to do cover copy when I was on staff at DC Comics in their lettering department. I love doing alien, scary or just plain weird word balloons when characters like that show up in a comic.
CW: You have a seemingly thriving T-shirt business (I own several), what inspired you to venture into that field?
PB: Originally I was just going to do hand done sound effects printed on canvas and sell those as little pieces of art but the more of them I did I found that it was a bit of a pain printing them out and stapling the canvas to a frame so I thought I’d try something different. I had posted a few of the SFX designs online and a few people thought they would look great as T-shirts so I went that route instead and have been having fun doing them since! (Buy Pat’s shirts at https://soundfxstudio.com/ you’ll be glad you did they’re NICE!)
CW: What are some letterers that inspired you to go into the business?
PB: When I started it was all hand-lettering and the ones who really inspired me were Jim Novak, Todd Klein, Tom Orzechowski, Gaspar Saladino, Ken Bruzenak, Bill Oakley, John Costanza and Sam Rosen.
CW: What’s your favorite font?
PB: Hmmm, I really don’t know if I have a favorite font. I definitely know I don’t like Comics Sans but the hatred for that is pretty universal. I do like my own font, Guttersnipe, which is based on my own hand lettering.
CW: What are some good resources for someone wanting to learn to letter comics?
PB: Todd Klein’s blog is good, Nate Pieko’s Blambot site, Comicraft’s Comic Lettering book is good and my own comic book lettering tips site on Tumblr works too!
CW: As a comic creator I’ve definitely asked myself before, what is a fair price to offer a letterer for an indie comic?
PB: Hmmm, I feel that can be a touchy situation at times. I’ve heard of some letterers being offered as low as $5 a page to letter something which is obviously way too low and I’d never touch that. If it’s an indie comic and the letterer is just starting out maybe $10-$15 a page but even then that’s pretty low. I wish all letterers could get paid $50 a page!
"Don't Call 'em Bubbles:" An Interview with Letterer Pat Brosseau
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