Making word balloons is part and parcel of being a cartoonist. Just like digital coloring, there are many techniques out there for making word balloons. Here’s how I make mine, using Adobe Photoshop.
1. Start off with some text. Organize your text into the shape of an oval. Keep in mind the line-spacing (leading). For a typical word balloon in my comic strips, my text is sized to 7px and the leading is one pixel less (6px).
2. Next, use the Ellipse tool. The Ellipse tool is a much better choice than the Elliptical Marquee tool because you can modify the shape and size of the ellipse very easily, without having to worry about pixellation.
2. Create an ellipse. Move the ellipse layer underneath the text. Adjust the scale and size as needed to fit the text.
3. Use the Direct Selection Tool to adjust the roundness of the ellipse.
When you click on the ellipse you’ve created using the Direct Selection Tool, you’ll see anchor points, which you can click to pull and adjust the shape of the balloon, like so:
Or you could keep the ellipse as is, depending upon your preference.
4. On a layer underneath the ellipse layer, draw the outline of the tail using the Lasso tool as shown below. The tail should always point to the character’s mouth.
5. Flood white into the tail (Option-Delete). Flatten the tail layer with the ellipse layer using Command-E.
6. Apply a layer stroke on the word balloon layer. Adjust the thickness of the stroke to suit to taste. Set the “Position” of the stroke to inside to retain the sharpness of the word balloon’s tail.
7. Behold! The final result!
As I said, there are many different ways to approach word balloons. The steps I’ve outlined above comprise the methodology I use. Share your thoughts and techniques in the comments below.
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