THE LETTERER OF THE DAY IS…TAYLOR ESPOSITO
COMIC BOOK YETI: Taylor, thank you so much for joining me here in the Yeti Cave. If you have any other jobs other than lettering, what is it you do?
TAYLOR ESPOSITO: I letter full time, but I do also teach lettering at the Kubert School a couple times a week.
CBY: What are the comics that influenced you and made you want to work in comics?
TE: It’s hard to say, I didn’t even know I wanted to work in comics until I was already in. That said, I was a fan ever since I could remember. My earliest memories are Super Powers figures and Batman ‘66, plus older uncles and cousins who’d tell me about the books before I could read.
CBY: What do you enjoy most about lettering?
TE: It’s like putting a jigsaw puzzle together for me (a hobby I enjoy) so it just makes sense to me. Add in my love of typography, and it was a perfect fit.
CBY: What is something you wish the average comics reader (however you want to define that) understood about the art of lettering?
TE: It’s not as easy as it seems (time and skill make it look easier). It’s not an easy way to break into comics, and most letterers aren’t doing it to “level up” to writing/drawing/etc. We do it because we love it and are good at it. I really hate when people dismiss it as a stepping stone. Also, lettering is informing the storytelling more than you realize.
CBY: What do you think is the biggest misconception about what you do as a letterer?
TE: That I copy and paste. I mean, I do, it’s literally part of the job, but I am also figuring out placements, trying to make the writer and artist’s visions work, fixing their mistakes (we are human, we all make them). Making the mess of a script and art make sense is a much tougher job than most will ever realize. Also, no “quick favors” are ever quick, but that goes for life, too.
CBY: That’s very true. Hand-lettering or digital, what tools do you use to letter comics?
TE: Digital. Unfortunately, budgets and schedules make it impossible to hand-letter anymore, as well as blown deadlines. I came in in the digital age, so I actually don’t have hand-lettering skills (yet). If and when I ever have free time, I will definitely go back and learn it, it’s still a valuable skill to have, and I want to know I can do it if I wanted to.
CBY: Can you take me through the process of how you go about choosing a font/lettering style once you become involved in a project?
TE: Basically, once I get a new project, I review the art and script, and ask the editor questions about the project, long term. Once I know what I’m dealing with and where we are going, I put together a style guide that matches the art and makes sense to the kind of story being told. I could have a book with the exact same team, but if it is more comedic or more horror, the lettering will be different to reflect those things.
CBY: From a letterer’s perspective, which qualities do you most want to see in your collaborators to lead to a successful collaboration?
TE: Being on time and following specs correctly. And with artists, also layout pages with lettering in mind, so there is space. I could also do with writing Marvel-style disappearing forever. If you do that for me, I’m a happy camper.
CBY: Are there any typical hand/wrist injuries letterers are prone to and do you have methods to combat injuries due to repetitive tasks/overuse?
TE: I’ve been lucky so far, I only had a shoulder injury from overuse when there were a few deadlines that fell on top of each other. But it does happen. I need to be better about working out more often (often those times I’m at the mercy of those late books and free time for proper health can suffer).
CBY: Is there a letterer, no longer working today, that you think never got the credit/recognition they deserved and which of their comics should CBY readers check out?
TE: All of them. Outside of we letterers and lettering nerds/fans, most people don’t know who is who. I’ll say, start with Gaspar [Saladino].
CBY: Is there a letterer that is still lettering today that you think doesn’t get enough credit/recognition and which of their comics should CBY readers check out?
TE: See above. All my mentors and colleagues who got me here today, directly or indirectly, hardly get the recognition they deserve. As most things, life is a popularity contest, and people only know what gets the most attention, not what is best. But if you see who I cite as an influence or whose work I enjoy, you’ll see very quickly the names.
CBY: Which of the comics that you lettered are you most proud of or means the most to you and why?
TE: We’ll be here all day. Honestly, I can’t decide. With very few exceptions, I’m proud of everything I’ve done.
CBY: From when you first started lettering comics to today, how would you describe your growth as an artist and, in that time, has the comic industry’s perception of lettering changed?
TE: It’s definitely gotten more attention since I’ve started 10? 11? years ago. Unfortunately, I think it’s also made it seem like it’s easy as I mentioned before, so it’s getting harder for the average reader to tell the difference between good and bad lettering because they see it all the time now.
CBY: If you were the curator for a comics museum, which 3 books do you want to make absolutely sure are included?
TE: Sandman for Todd Klein’s work, Simonson’s Thor for John Workman’s work, and Swamp Thing when Gaspar was involved.
CBY: What current projects are you working on that CBY readers should pick up?
TE: Elvira Meets Vincent Price, Maniac of New York, Vampiverse, Bunny Mask, My Date with Monsters, Cross to Bear, Harley Quinn: TAS: The Eat. Bang! Kill. Tour, (I could go on and on).
CBY: What’s your favorite comfort food?
TE: I’m not sure. I’ll cop out and say mom’s home cooking.
CBY: Thank you very much!
You can find Taylor on Twitter at @TaylorEspo and his website HERE.