Cartoonists make a lot of unnecessary mistakes when they try to show a character using a quiet voice. They’ll use grey letters — or worse, they’ll shrink the lettering. These aren’t great choices because they decrease the legibility of the lettering — and that’s one of the very few cardinals sins in comics.
Remember Guigar’s Law of Lettering: Nobody’s gonna read your comic if they can’t read your comic.
Here’s a simple way to denote a quiet voice or a whispering character without sacrificing readability.
Lettering a whisper
To show whispering in a word balloon, don’t shrink the words.
Instead, enlarge the balloon!
The extra white space around the lettering will make the words seem smaller — even though they’re they same size as the rest of the lettering on the page! It’s a simple, elegant solution that doesn’t damage legibility (like greyed-out lettering light).
From a recent livestreamed drawing session, here’s a closer look at what I’m talking about…