'70s - actually onto the pencilled page before inking - British comics had
a different system, the lettering being done on what was known as 'patch
paper' and then stuck down onto the finished art. In the case of colour
artwork, the lettering was applied to sheets of acetate film and processed
separately, so that if the artwork was printed out of sync (giving a blurred,
double-vision effect) the lettering wouldn't be similarly afflicted.
a time letterers had to mark their guidelines on a sheet of patch paper and
letter by hand within the lines. Some letterers, like BILL NUTTALL for
example, used a lightbox, with the guidelines already marked out on that.
He simply placed the patch paper over the box and lettered straight onto it,
thereby cutting out having to line each individual piece or sheet of patch.
Sometimes JOHNNY ALDRICH didn't use guidelines at all, but lettered
straight onto the patch paper.
Incidentally, patch paper was a generic term for adhesive paper which
came in different finishes - matt or gloss - and even in various degrees
of finishes. Too glossy and the ink line got thicker as work progressed
(due to the ink spreading out on the surface of the sheet); too 'matty' and
the line was too thin, with the penpoint catching on the surface as if it were
blotting paper. One had to have just the right degree of gloss to be able to
letter smoothly and quickly without any hiccups. TAC-TIC was the brand
name of one paper, and FASSON CRACK-BACK another.
in mind of the ol' bumblebee
paradox that bees shouldn't
be able to fly because, aero-
dynamically, they're not best
designed for flight. Tom's
lettering was a bit like that.
Actual size, it was too high,
too narrow, and a little bit
scratchy-looking due to his
failing eyesight. It shouldn't
have worked - but, in print,
it did, and Tom's lettering
is considered by many fans
as integral to the 'look' of
Dredd's strip as anything
else which contributed to it.
Tom's best work 'though, in my humble estimation, was the
innumerable page of lettering he did for various IPC/FLEETWAY
publications back in the '60s, before his sight started to deteriorate.