Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

Text and Speech bubbles
harkovast at 7:06AM, Dec. 5, 2008
(online)
posts: 5,197
joined: 10-12-2008
The tactic I use is to put in the text, with a line going to the character who is speaking.
Then I lighten behind it a bit, so that it is not totally white, but so it stands out.
This way I don't cover up a lot of the back ground art (which makes my wife happy because that is her favourite bit), but the text is still clear to read.
Here is a good example.
http://comics.drunkduck.com/Harkovast/pages/baad8ad4cc677dfd49c62fe3cf4082d7.jpg
I also use the “painting the forth wall” technique of making different cultures speak in different fonts (also illustrating what accent characters have).
My wife found regular speech bubbles too intrusive with the pencil style of the colours so this is what we came up with instead.
As for thinking bubbles, I represent those as narration generally, rather then giving them their own particular “bubble”.

For more Harkovast related goings on, go to the Harkovast Forum
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:42PM
ttyler at 7:46PM, Dec. 25, 2008
(online)
posts: 441
joined: 3-20-2008
I do all my lettering and ballons the old fashioned way, by hand, cut and paste unto the original art. The originals sell better with the lettering on them, so thats a good way to make secondary cash.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:34PM
Senshuu at 10:22PM, Dec. 27, 2008
(offline)
posts: 391
joined: 5-23-2006
I was planning on using this tutorial to influence the way I do word bubbles in both my comics, once some dialogue is introduced, lol. Mostly drawing the bubbles naturally, having them take on different shapes and forms according to context (which is oddly something I never did before, despite liking that aspect of certain comics), using colors in my color comic.

I'd really rather letter in Illustrator, but I've only got it on my mac, and I don't use my mac for comics. D:

Not enough webcomics seem to pay really good attention to typesetting and word bubbles, and it makes me sad. I might stop reading a comic because its bubbles are awful, no joke. (If I can still read the text I might bear with it.)
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:27PM
CharleyHorse at 9:03AM, Jan. 3, 2009
(offline)
posts: 627
joined: 12-7-2006
I hear you Senshuu. Word ballooning is one of my faults. Last year I had learned to use the bezel curves feature for GIMP and had begun getting good at all sorts of balloon work.

But good balloon creation has definitely been on the back burner of my ‘things to relearn’ list since my return. I just haven't had the heart to wrestle with relearning to use those darn bezel curves techniques. Bleah!
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
reflectedartist at 1:12PM, Jan. 12, 2009
(online)
posts: 3
joined: 10-15-2008
i sort of note that everything is for pc, do you have anything for macs? the only thing i have is preview and i'm not sure how to do that. is there a free program for macs that let's me input text? i don't mind making the speech bubbles, but my writing -.-'
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:03PM
CharleyHorse at 3:48PM, Jan. 12, 2009
(offline)
posts: 627
joined: 12-7-2006
reflectedartist, since MAC was first considered an arits's computer there probably are plenty of free graphics programs out there for your MAC.

Here is how you get the GIMP program for your MAC http://www.gimp.org/macintosh/, but be aware that the GIMP is considered to have a steep learning curve and so – although I use it – I am not recommending it as a first choice. If you do decide to try the GIMP for your MAC, then DO first read and then follow the requirements section on that page.

Here's what you can try, place the following, without the brackets, in the search engine of your choice and then standby for a goodly number of hits. I put it into Google and got very good results.

last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
reflectedartist at 6:37PM, Jan. 13, 2009
(online)
posts: 3
joined: 10-15-2008
Thank you VERY much CharleyHorse. I will definitely try that out! If there are free art programs, they all tend to be towards composing music and making movies (both of which i find too annoying to do -.-'), or i haven't yet discovered it yet. (Probably the latter one…)
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:03PM
AWCramer at 2:40AM, Jan. 30, 2009
(online)
posts: 65
joined: 11-27-2008
Here's one I did whilst at my old studio…
http://beatcomicstudio.blogspot.com/2007/08/some-lettering-tips.html
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:13AM
DrLuck at 11:13AM, Jan. 30, 2009
(online)
posts: 134
joined: 1-4-2009
Senshuu
I was planning on using this tutorial to influence the way I do word bubbles in both my comics, once some dialogue is introduced, lol. Mostly drawing the bubbles naturally, having them take on different shapes and forms according to context (which is oddly something I never did before, despite liking that aspect of certain comics), using colors in my color comic.

I'd really rather letter in Illustrator, but I've only got it on my mac, and I don't use my mac for comics. D:

Not enough webcomics seem to pay really good attention to typesetting and word bubbles, and it makes me sad. I might stop reading a comic because its bubbles are awful, no joke. (If I can still read the text I might bear with it.)

Illustrator all the way, man. Love that program for lettering.

I personally just draw in my bubbles, mostly because I need to figure out where to add them before I start drawing much and on top of that, it feels natural for the comic (with the bold lines and all). Anything that was computer generated would make it feel tact on, I think. Also, the font I use is actually a font of my own handwriting. That way I can edit it and it still looks traditional too. I used Fontifier. It costs about $10, but I thought it was worth it.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:17PM
Air Raid Robertson at 8:40PM, May 7, 2009
(online)
posts: 292
joined: 5-7-2009
I use Paint to create my word balloons. I fill in the lettering with Adobe Illustrator. I usually use Arial for the dialogue since it's clear and easy to read. On the other hand, I do feel more free to play around when it comes to title captions and such

Paint is definitely a crude method for doing balloons though. I really should get around to downloading a good program for word balloons.

Still, it does the job.

Lately, however, I've been trying to get back into hand lettering. I'm an atrocious freehand comic book letterer though, so it'll be a long time before I can cast off the crutch of digital fonts.

Still, it's something that I want to do. I love how guys like Will Eisner make the lettering part of the artwork. It projects emotions and personality to the scene just as much as the characters themselves.
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:48AM
CharleyHorse at 7:22AM, May 12, 2009
(offline)
posts: 627
joined: 12-7-2006
Air Raid Robertson, yeah, hand lettering your work can be a rush. I don't do it anymore but I started off that way during the late 1970s. If it's of any use to you, here's how I learned.

First, you DO have to use faintly penciled in, ruled lines for your guide. Then you just produce the alphabet in the writing style you want to use. THEN you use that as a model sheet for future use. In other words, if you are going to write "GET BACK JACK!" then you look at your model sheet and re-examine how you formed those particular letters BEFORE you try penciling them in on your art work.

Obviously it won't be all that long before you no longer need to refer to your model sheet in order to letter in your chosen style.

Oh, yes, I nearly forgot. It's also important to form each letter in precisely the same stroke order and direction each and every time.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
Aurora Borealis at 7:29PM, May 12, 2009
(online)
posts: 1,289
joined: 3-2-2008
CharleyHorse
Oh, yes, I nearly forgot. It's also important to form each letter in precisely the same stroke order and direction each and every time.
Hah, I change the direction and stroke order depending on what was the previous letter I drew (I just jump to the nearest point where I can start drawing a line from). Which is why I use a digital font instead :D
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:08AM
CharleyHorse at 8:03PM, May 12, 2009
(offline)
posts: 627
joined: 12-7-2006
Yes, me too. Frankly I am glad that I no longer HAVE to letter by hand.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
Denethor at 4:41PM, June 11, 2009
(online)
posts: 30
joined: 3-4-2009
I've seen this done before, but does anyone know how to draw the bubble in using a tablet, only the brush comes with it's own border?

VGCats did a live streaming comic drawing, and he whipped up several bubbles and text boxes with some quick brushwork, no special doodads, selections, or illustrator tools involved. If someone could tell me how to do that in GIMP I would give all 5's to their comic, because it seems like the best way to go for me.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:10PM
Hyena H_ll at 10:33AM, Aug. 18, 2009
(online)
posts: 1,568
joined: 11-13-2008
Found this great speech bubble tutorial on the ever helpful Comic Tools. :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:52PM
benjin at 1:59PM, Sept. 12, 2009
(online)
posts: 41
joined: 9-1-2009
I use CorelDraw X4 for the final layout.
When starting drawing a webcomic, I tried out Manga Studio Debut 4.0 but the results are crap. No antialiasing for text, bubbles, image frames… Maybe the professional version is better, but the debut version scared me off.
Now I write my own speech bubble tool for corel using visual basic for applications. It's allmost done. If I get some feedback from other corel users I'll publish the tool here in the forum.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:20AM
spacehamster at 4:45AM, Sept. 14, 2009
(online)
posts: 504
joined: 8-3-2007
Jabali
spacehamster
Feel free to launch a barrage of resounding “DUH”s at me, but if you have access to Adobe Illustrator (and a lot of people who have Photoshop have Illustrator as well), good heavens for the sake of all that is inky and comes in panels, use it.

LOL! I have to agree with this statement. Either illustrator or Freehand are great vector programs that are very helpful to do speech balloons and lettering, specially when you don't have a tablet and it's a lot easier to manipulate Vector Nodes with a mouse.(in case you don't own a tablet)

Oh yeah, you can do it perfectly well without a mouse. I really don't know how to do much of anything with Illustrator except how to draw word balloons and the occasional fancy sound effect, and I figured it that out in a day or two. If anyone's interested and hasn't seen this yet, Comicraft has all kinds of really easy to understand tutorials for lettering in Illustrator. Very strongly recommended.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:50PM
Ryuthehedgewolf at 2:59PM, Sept. 15, 2009
(online)
posts: 1,340
joined: 9-2-2007
CharleyHorse
Air Raid Robertson, yeah, hand lettering your work can be a rush. I don't do it anymore but I started off that way during the late 1970s. If it's of any use to you, here's how I learned.

First, you DO have to use faintly penciled in, ruled lines for your guide. Then you just produce the alphabet in the writing style you want to use. THEN you use that as a model sheet for future use. In other words, if you are going to write "GET BACK JACK!" then you look at your model sheet and re-examine how you formed those particular letters BEFORE you try penciling them in on your art work.

Obviously it won't be all that long before you no longer need to refer to your model sheet in order to letter in your chosen style.

Oh, yes, I nearly forgot. It's also important to form each letter in precisely the same stroke order and direction each and every time.

To be honest, it doesn't necessarily matter to make EVERY letter exactly the same. Unless you're going for some sort of super neat style. I think when I get a tablet, I'm going to hand-write all the words in EVERY page, instead of using a pen (because I don't like microns, and don't have the money for tech pens).
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:16PM
Anubis at 11:27PM, Jan. 21, 2010
(online)
posts: 100
joined: 12-29-2006
I used to use a speechbubble template file for photoshop, but now that I have gone over to Mangastudio, it uses its own vector based speechbubbles, so that you can adjust them as you see fit without that horrible pixel effect.
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:54AM
spkdpnch at 8:09AM, Feb. 4, 2010
(online)
posts: 43
joined: 10-22-2007
I'm not sure if this will help anyone, or maybe people know it already, but it goes with text things.

I had a big problem of having my text in photoshop, making a 300 - 600 res pic for myself but then when I lowered the res, the words got very fuzzy.

I had found out that the resolution should not effect the look but mine kept getting fuzzy. That was annoying.

So, then I finally realized, while resizing res once again to lower, 100 for upload, that photoshop was not only change my res, but the actual page size. Thus, the page went from 600x900 to 200 x 500. The page was smaller and the text was smaller and of course, when I magnified to read, it was all fuzzy. Grr.

So, I changed the res and then changed the page size back to what it was supposed to be, before completing the change *pushing ok* and when i did that, the text stayed nice and sharp. Yay..

and again, I hope this will fit with the topic even though it is about the text and not the balloons part.
www.castleart.org *if I ever get it up to date, I'll be suprised*
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:54PM
Plague Doctor at 7:24AM, July 5, 2010
(offline)
posts: 186
joined: 6-29-2010
I have a problem guys…
I´m using GIMP.I finally figured out how to make speech bubbles but I cant find the correct text font.I must be blind >.< You know,the generic comic text font( for instance Garfield uses that font).Does it have a specific name?
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:46PM
Mondenkind at 12:54AM, Aug. 5, 2010
(offline)
posts: 91
joined: 7-14-2010
Plague Doctor
I have a problem guys…
I´m using GIMP.I finally figured out how to make speech bubbles but I cant find the correct text font.I must be blind >.< You know,the generic comic text font( for instance Garfield uses that font).Does it have a specific name?


Most if not all programs don't come with the generic comic font. To find the font I needed, I went to http://www.blambot.com/ where you can get a lot of awesome comic fonts for free. Sure hope someone answered you before I did…because it's been a month since you posted that.

As for me, I do all of my dialogue (including sound effects, speech and backstory) on Manga Studio with fonts downloaded and credited from Blambot. There are a lot of speech bubble types to choose from and you can change the tail in many ways. Also, the text automatically adjusts to the size of the bubble. The only problem I've had with it is figuring out how to make bubbles semi-transparent…but even that I managed after experimenting for a bit. In my opinion it really is a miracle program, though not for everyone's tastes.

Run along with Captian Jack!
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:07PM
Beelzy at 2:59AM, Dec. 21, 2010
(offline)
posts: 28
joined: 12-21-2010
I make text bubbles in Photoshop using the ellipse tool and the polygon tool (Choose the triangle). The triangle is actually just a template for the bubble tail; you can tweak it and make it look more like a tail by using the pen tools; just make sure you create the triangle with the vector option turned on.

To actually create a border, use the Stroke option under layer effects.
Pauca sed matura.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:16AM
Tim Wellman at 6:29PM, March 22, 2011
(online)
posts: 164
joined: 1-14-2007
If anyone is interested, here's a page full of balloons and tails and stuff from my old comic template. It's a 300dpi psd file, so download it and open it in photoshop. The balloons are on their own layer, so just use the lasso tool to select what you want to use, then either copy and paste, or drag the balloon over to your artwork.

Sorry for the crap server, but free image servers don't allow psd files
http://www.megaupload.com/?d=224NYQDJ

It looks like this, only a lot bigger
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:30PM
Genejoke at 11:45PM, March 22, 2011
(online)
posts: 3,033
joined: 4-9-2010
Looks like it could be useful.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:34PM
skoolmunkee at 1:33AM, March 23, 2011
(online)
posts: 7,058
joined: 1-2-2006
Since I ink my pages digitally now, I decided that I can just ink my balloons too. So when I'm putting together the final pencil version I'll ink, I use photoshop to make the balloons I want. Then I actually redraw those when I'm inking, just using the photoshop balloon as a size/shape guide. That way I can give them line weight, make them wobbly for effect, or whatever… which I think makes them look a little more like they ‘fit’ on the page. I've found that when I'm looking at some comics (my own included), too-perfect speech balloons stand out. No one has commented about them so far, so I guess I'm doing a passable job of making them look natural/like they fit.

It also solves the issue I had sometimes with the balloon shape made by the eilliptical marquee tool, which was that the shape you always get is the same, and if I want a more squarish balloon I can just revise that oblong shape while I'm redrawing it.
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:44PM
ledpusha at 5:50AM, May 24, 2011
(offline)
posts: 78
joined: 7-10-2006
What I do in photoshop is use the Eclipse tool for the bubble and the lasso tool to make the tail. Font size is around 5-9pt font. Or you can use programs like Comic/manga Studio which has a word balloon maker built in the program……. Both ways end up looking the same. On my webcomic bounty and pain I am using 6pt font now.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:30PM

Forgot Password
©2011 WOWIO, Inc. All Rights Reserved