Archive for January, 2012

Eyeshield 21

Eyeshield 21 Manga

And with volume 37, one of my favorite manga series of all time, Eyeshield 21, comes to an end.


One of the first projects we are doing in my typography class is a type specimen poster based on an assigned typeface. We had to research the history of the typeface and designer and incorporate that information in the upcoming poster. Part of the assignment involves posting our finding to our blogs for critique.Very educational researching this and I honestly wish I had the time (or more assignments like it) to research all the “classic” typefaces. Here’s the copy for my poster and a sample of the typeface for reference:

Franklin Gothic is an extra bold sans serif typeface that is built upon traditional roman letter features. Classified as a “Grotesque” (or “Grotesk”) typeface, a category of early sans serif designs that originated in the nineteenth century. At one point, “Gothic” was defined as “non classical”–meaning not greek or roman. Early American type designers adapted this term to refer to sans serif (non classical) typefaces as “Gothic”. Nowadays, gothic, grotesque and sans serif are frequently used synonymously.

One of the distinguishing characteristics of Franklin Gothic is the thinning of the stroke where the bold stems join the rounds (see the shoulder stroke of the “n”). Like most grotesque typefaces, it features a slight degree of contrast between thick and thin strokes in the letterforms, and the lowercase utilizes the double-story roman “g” and “a”.

Franklin Gothic was designed by American typeface designer, Morris Fuller Benton in 1902. During Benton’s thirty plus years as head of the design department for American Type Founders (ATF), he designed in excess of 200 typefaces, including Broadway, Bank Gothic and ATF Bodoni (the first American revival of the typeface in 1909).

The typeface was named in honor of Benjamin Franklin, who was a typesetter and printer by trade before he became a noted author, scientist, inventor and statesman. Though named in his honor, the Franklin Gothic has no relationship to his handwriting or any typefaces he may have used during his thirty year printing career.

Originally cut in a single-weight, extra bold, International Typeface Corporation (ITC) currently offers 20 different typestyles of Franklin Gothic.


More layout work for The Happy Samurais. Needed to rework a couple scenes to make sure they had the emotional resonance needed for that part of the story. Basically had to re-beat the scene–beats are the moments we choose to show in the panels: actions, reactions, dialogue, exposition, gag etc. There are a million things you COULD show in this scene but what are the KEY elements/moments?

I was having a hard time re-beating this in script form, so I drew out each possible beat in photoshop. Didn’t worry about picking the best angle or anything at this point. Just drew a simple sketch that got across idea of beat, printed them out and cut them up. Now I could rearrange each beat, add or delete new ones etc. Really felt like a film editor picking the different shots and making a sequence out of them. Won’t need to use this technique too often as I usually have the beats nailed down when I start the layouts, but will definitely employ it again if I’m having trouble working something out.

Comic Layout Process

One of my former Kubert School students, Angie Fernot, asked a question in the comments of a previous post and I thought others might be interested in the answer.

Angie asked, “Are all those sketches on your drawing table different possible layouts for panels?”

Yep. That’s exactly what they are. Usually my process for laying out a page goes something like:

– what moment that panel in the story functions as (action/reaction/dialogue/exposition etc.)
– when I’m writing, really I’m primarily nailing down what beats the story needs, so this is figured out in the script.

– how the characters will act out the scene
– what their body language and expression is
– what the staging is (where characters are in relation to each other — are they facing each other, standing shoulder to shoulder etc.)

– once I know the beat, and acting, I’ll start moving the camera around to see what shot shows that beat as A) clearly as possible and B) as dramatically as possible.

– this is just fine tuning the shot. Making things bigger/smaller, scooting over etc. Half of this is done in the layout stage, the other in Photoshop during the penciling stage when I adjust the size/position/scale again.
– also leaving enough room for word balloons and sound effects in composition stage.


The image in this post shows me trying to work out the acting/staging of the characters as they celebrate good news. The list of numbers in the top right is the six panels on the page and what the beats for each panel are.


The chaos that is my drawing table when I lay out a scene.

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