The Wingsart Studio Newsletter

I don’t know about you, but the start to my 2024 has been pretty slow. Through a combination of burnout, creative block and the grey midwinter, the new year hasn’t brought with it the renewed energy it usually promises. Besides a few spurts of concentration, i’m finding it difficult to get back to my usual pace of work, resulting in the dreaded procrastination-fest of well intentioned listing making and “thinking time”.

I won’t be too hard on myself though. 2023 was a one of the busiest years I’ve ever experienced, with a pace maintained by strong coffee and pure force of will. I’m most certainly due a trip somewhere sunny to let my brain recuperate.

Christopher King Graphic Designer and Illustrator

It was the year of the “BIG” client, for I spent much of it working as a freelance cog in the machines of Apple, Disney, Netflix and Amazon. Projects I remain hopeful will see the light of day, yet subject to a touch of “who knows?”. It was also a year dominated by font development, which required that put aside my other love of illustration. Something I hope to rebalance in 2024, because practice is super important and I’m feeling a “us it or lose it” aspect to those skills. I think maybe some life drawing classes and poster projects are in order. Oh, I did I mention that I also want to write a book (or series of books), venture into filmmaking, and of course design more fonts? Maybe I’m trying to do too much?

It’s been a while since my last newsletter, so this issue includes a whole bunch of new stuff, including four comic fonts, a bargain horror bundle, a YouTube series, something from the sketchbook and my usual film and book related ramblings. And at the very bottom you’ll find a new coupon code too, that gives you 15% off everything. Welcome back and enjoy!

The VHS Horror Font Collection by Wingsart Studio | Christopher King
80s VHS Horror Fonts for Retro Movie Titles

A killer collection of hand-drawn fonts inspired by the VHS cover art of the 1980s!

Dust off your old VCR a join us on a trip back to the video stores of the 1980s. Where it’s Friday night and you’re browsing the shelves for this weekend’s movie rentals. Tonight you’re in the mood for something scary!

Featuring six complete fonts in one money-saving bundle, this unique collection of brush, script and all-caps fonts offer designers the perfect compliment to any project that requires a more analogue approach. Great for title treatments on illustrated posters, retro inspired movie titles, video games or Halloween product marketing. This is a carefully curated collection that offers you a versatile set of tools and countless creative options. Each font includes a complete set of uppercase and lowercase characters, along with numerals, punctuation, symbols and language support. You’ll also find an additional set of alternative characters, plus underlines, paint marks, drips, splashes and custom ligatures. Formats include OTF, TTF and WOFF options.

Available for the first time in one bundle, this pack saves you an amazing 50% off the individual purchase price, and offers an instant set of tools for creating eye-popping headers and title designs. The discount even applies to all personal and commercial licenses too!

Comic Book Fonts
Violencia - An Illustrated Wild West Font
Hatchet Job - A Halloween Brush Font by Wingsart Studio
Splatterpunks - A Halloween Brush Font by Wingsart Studio
End Crawl - A Halloween Brush Font by Wingsart Studio

I often find that when you use clean, digital fonts in illustrative projects it can create an awkward disconnect between the art and the type, resulting in a title design that looks like a hastily applied afterthought.

To combat this i’ve developed four brand-new fonts that I drew solely in black ink and brush to perfectly match a comic book style. Naturally, they have a horror slant and were inspired by vintage comics such and Creepy, Eerie and Tales from the Crypt. Click on each thumbnail to view the full product visuals.

Video Time Trip - YouTube Videos
Video Time Trip - Ghostbusters

Besides Robocop, the most rewatched video of my childhood was Ghostbusters. Specifically a VHS copy of dubious origin* that was played on a loop, becoming a formative influence on my young mind.

Because Columbia Pictures was then owned by the Coca-Cola Corporation, this particular release was plastered with Coke ads that were forever imprinted on my memory as the definitive opening to the film. Fast Forward to a quiet day during the covid lockdowns, and I’m pressing play on the clunky original VHS that I managed to find on eBay. And there it is! The bright, breezy and super cool advert that Ghostbusters has been missing all these years! In fact, it’s a great example of the 80s aesthetic in advertising, and just the sort of reference material that I look for when working on retro projects.

This gave me the idea to put out a YouTube video that might offer some value to other designers too, showing the entire opening 10 minutes of the tape along with it’s broad collection of movie trailers (themselves iconic of the 80s), plus phone-in competitions and my own factoids for good measure. If the guardians of copyright infringement don’t object, I’ll upload more interesting finds from my VHS collection soon.

*Dads of the 80s who were lucky enough to own two VHS recorders simply couldn’t resist the chance to dupe VHS rental tapes. A highly suspect practice that offered us impressionable kids an ever-growing library of films.

Comic Book Movies
Bill and Ted Comic

When a good reason to do a little sketching doesn’t present itself, I create my own. And this time it’s to resurrect an old and valuable habit.

Acting as both an excuse to watch my favourite films and excellent drawing practice, these quick sketches of movie scenes was a technique I used to warm up the drawing muscles before starting a bigger project. A reason to draw just for fun, with zero pressure to create anything good, useful or to a brief. Returning for this newsletter, I present you with a moment from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, along with two oldies from the sketchbook archives, The Lost Boys and Die Hard.

Creative block is a bitch, and whenever I find myself stuck in a rut, i’ll usually fall back on two things that provide a metaphorical kick up the bum. 01: Look at all the art books I can get my hands on. 02: Watch documentaries about the artists I admire. Here’s my watchlist for the second part of this process.

I was surprised to find that I’d missed this documentary covering one of my favourite comics artists Dave Stevens, released via a Kickstarter project last year and now freely available to watch on YouTube. Known for his work on The Rocketeer and a series of Betty Page inspired pin-ups, few other artists give me the “I wish I could ink like that” vibes. Dave Stevens: Drawn To Perfection is the perfect tribute to one of comics’ all-time greats. – The artist behind Conan The Barbarian, Frank Frazetta left behind a huge body of work that led the way for science fiction and fantasy artists, and Painting with Fire is the definitive look at his life and work. – Robert Williams is an artist famous for his surrealist work on album covers (including that Guns and Roses cover banned in the UK) and founding the magazine Juxtapoz. Mr. Bitchin’ chronicles his involvement in the counterculture art movement along with artists such as Robert Crumb and Ed “Big Daddy” Roth.

Drew Struzan: The Man Behind the Posters covers an artist rightly considered as the king of movie poster art, responsible for the original theatrical artwork for Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Back to the Future. If you can find it, also check out his instructional DVD, Conceiving and Creating the Hellboy Movie Poster for a rare look at his practical process. – Stripped collects interviews with comic book artists grappling with the transition from a print based business to the then emerging digital economy; and In Making It, poster and comic book artists talk candidly about their work ethic and experiences making a living within the creative industry.

American Artifact: The Rise of American Rock Poster Art charts the history of the uniquely American gig poster from the 1960s to its modern day equivalent, through interviews with artists including COOP, Frank Kozik, Stanley Mouse and many more. And it’s available to watch on Youtube now! 24×36: A Movie About Posters, is a documentary that explores the history, decline and resurgence of the illustrated movie poster, leading to a community of fans designing and illustrating their own original and sought after artwork, sold through companies such as Mondo and 1984 Productions.

Reading List

I’m always fascinated by the stories behind the films that I love, and these recent books all share similar tales of troubled productions, with directors barely holding it together in pursuit of a vision.

A Masterpiece In Disarray

The making of David Lynch’s Dune as told through a series of interviews with cast and crew, with a short note from Lynch himself who had previously refused to talk about the film. While considered a disaster at the time of release, I still think the film has a hugely ambitious, if bonkers charm that’s worthy of its modern day reappraisal.

Michael Cimino

This Biography of Michael Cimino, the famously recluse director behind The Deer Hunter and Heaven’s Gate, describes a mysterious, unpredictable character lost in a story of his own manufacture, reaching the peak of Oscar success, before a dramatic fall that marked the end of Hollywood’s auteur era.

The Path to Paradise: A Francis Ford Coppola Story

If you needed further proof that making movies is hard, look no further that the Francis Ford Coppola story, in which this most accomplished of directors fought their way through success and failure in pursuit of boundary pushing films such as Apocalypse Now, The Godfather Trilogy and the upcoming Megalopolis.

Fonts in Use
Rough Justice 1984

“Do what it takes to make your fledgling security agency thrive in this 80s noir crime bustin’, dirty crossing, vengeance-seeking board game inspired strategy game with dice and cards.”

Browsing the Xbox store the other day I spotted Rough Justice ’84 sporting the Last Dance font used extensively throughout the game. It’s a natural fit for something steeped in 80s style that also needs a harder edge. Now, I know I’m a font geek,  but this is one of those occasions where I immediately see the lack of any kerning applied or use of the alternative characters, which is essential for a script font like this. In their defence, Last Dance was my first attempt at a script, and the early version was a little unwieldy, requiring a more a hands-on approach to get the best out of it. The free update that followed is much more user friendly with a more fluid, systematic style, and would be been the better choice for text that needs to be generated on the fly. That said it’s been highly praised for its visuals, so what do I know!

Rough Justice 1984 Fonts
Hidden Gems

While the lengthy documentary on this DVD is itself worth a watch, the reel gem is found in the extra features where you can watch leading artists draw their best known characters in real-time. They include John Romita, Joe Hubert, John Buscema and Dave Gibbons, all themselves heroes of the comics world, so to be able to watch them at work is worth the few pounds you can usually find this for on eBay or Amazon.

Wingsart Coupon Code


This coupon code will expire with the next newsletter, upon which a new code will be released. Simply apply the code at checkout for 15% off any graphics or font product. Includes all licenses and can be stacked with other offers. Subscribe to be notified of the next issue.

See you next time

Thanks for reading and feel free to add your comment below.
© 2024 Designed and Written by Christopher King / Wingsart Studio

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