Screenshot below comes from the wordle.py example. No clever tricks here, just brute force.
Screenshots below comes from the glyph-vector.py and glyph-vectopr-2.py examples showing how to access a glyph outline information and use it to draw the glyph. Rendering (with Bézier curves) is done using matplotlib.
Screenshot below comes from the glyph-color.py showing how to draw and combine a glyph outline with the regular glyph.
The screenshot below comes from the hello-world.py example showing how to draw text in a bitmap (that has been zoomed in to show antialiasing).
The screenshot below comes from the agg-trick.py example showing an implementation of ideas from the Texts Rasterization Exposures by Maxim Shemarev.