Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

Portraying voices in someone's head?
kyupol at 6:52PM, May 6, 2010
posts: 3,719
joined: 1-12-2006
What is the best way to portray that effect in comic form?

1) Fuzzy speech bubbles with dialog in quotation marks right next to the character in question.
If there is dialog going on between the character and the source of the voices in the head, the speech bubbles and/or fonts would just use different styles and colors.

2) Character in question has a “thought” bubble. Then inside the thought bubble is a portrait shot of the entity and/or secondary personality responsible for the voices in the head. Then there's another speech baloon coming from the entity.

3) Everything is gonna be just like a normal comic but the entity that gives off the voices is in transparent form. I'm not sure though if this works in the case of a demonic possession.

4) Thought bubble contains the dialog… but its got an ARROW pointed at the head of the character hearing the voices. I'm not too sure on this. It may look ok in a comedy situation but in a serious comic, does this look out of place?

Or… do all of them work but its all dependent on the situation.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:27PM
BffSatan at 5:36AM, May 7, 2010
posts: 1,478
joined: 3-2-2008
If the voice is evil I'd do it like I did it here.
Messed up text on a black background looks good.
If the voice is good then you might have to try something else.
Maybe text just floating around the head. Although that will look odd if the listener isn't clearly reacting to having a voice in their head.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:21AM
Raccoo at 8:48PM, May 9, 2010
posts: 108
joined: 7-11-2006
Depending on how mental the character is, you could actually show the character conversing inside their own mind. Drawing out characters to show who's speaking with them.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:58PM
patrickdevine at 9:32PM, May 9, 2010
posts: 759
joined: 4-26-2007
I would say definitely don't do the “thought balloon” idea, that sort of implies that the character is either thinking the thoughts of the voice that they're hearing or thinking about someone telling them something which I'm pretty sure isn't what you're going for.
I'd use text boxes and have the character reacting to them and try to imply that other characters around aren't aware of them. It might also help if the text boxes are of a different color and/or use a different font.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:41PM
JLG at 2:18PM, May 22, 2010
posts: 125
joined: 1-11-2009
What I would definitely not do is have any “tail” on the balloons containing the voices. Whenever I see this effect, the balloons are free-floating, but because of the staging it's still clear where they're coming from without them pointing to the character. This distinguishes them right away.

I've seen the effect created through several means—usually involving the balloons being squiggly, or perhaps jagged. Or perhaps colored differently from the normal ones. (If the comic's in black and white, the “voice” balloons could be grayed-in where regular speech is white)
If I were doing it, I would make “voice balloons” have an outline created through just running the pen in a oval shape several times, going round and round until a sort of jagged outline is in place. I've seen that effect done, but I can't remember where. Maybe it was Mohiro Kitoh's manga. Then I'd gray them in.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:09PM

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