Lettering's something of a ninja craft. It's taken for granted not because it's inessential, but because -- like makeup -- it's often supposed to go unnoticed as a visual element. If executed improperly, however, lettering can draw undue attention to itself and distract where it should simply enhance. That said, novice comic creators could do a whole lot worse than taking 20 minutes to watch sequential art maestro Scott McCloud impart his digital lettering wisdom (using Adobe Illustrator) on YouTube. Hit the jump to learn a thing or two or three or four.Split between two roughly 10 minute videos, McCloud breaks down some lettering basics of using a fairly standard piece of professional application to accomplish polished-looking word balloons. Though it's somewhat software-specific, some basic fundamentals of lettering shine through that should help anyone looking to pump up their comics.

The best part? The lesson pays off big time by helping creators establish a pretty robust template of balloons that they can use over and over again. Even if you're just an obnoxious blogger adding gags to shoddy Photoshops, it's an investment in your future!

Check out part one and two of McCloud's lettering tutorial below:

[Via Robot6]