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Old 05-15-2010, 06:32 AM   #1
Gav Heryng
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Lettering Balloons...

Hello! I was wondering if anybody had any tips for making speech balloons, or a good source of downloadable ones. I can use Photoshop or illustrator.

Cheers

Gav
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Old 05-15-2010, 07:38 AM   #2
JimCampbell
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gav Heryng
Hello! I was wondering if anybody had any tips for making speech balloons, or a good source of downloadable ones. I can use Photoshop or illustrator.
With a certain amount of inevitability, I post the following links, directing you to:

1) Nate Piekos' excellent article on the conventions of comic book lettering

2) My own step-by-step PDF guide to using Illustrator to do pretty much all the stuff in Mr Piekos' article

You will also find a lot of helpful stuff in Comicraft's Tips Section.

Cheers!

Jim
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Old 05-17-2010, 10:06 AM   #3
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some dingbats have balloons at http://www.dafont.com -- decent for use in Illustrator. Not sure what it's under.... "shapes" I think. That said, it's better to make your own.
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Old 05-17-2010, 10:41 AM   #4
arseneau77
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I found Jim's PDF guide invaluable as a 'primer' when attempting to learn, and now I find I refer to Comicraft's 'BalloonTales' a lot for specific inquiries like making text appear behind the artwork or special things that don't appear in the basic guides.
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Old 05-18-2010, 05:37 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by arseneau77
I found Jim's PDF guide invaluable as a 'primer' when attempting to learn, and now I find I refer to Comicraft's 'BalloonTales' a lot for specific inquiries like making text appear behind the artwork or special things that don't appear in the basic guides.
Thanks for the kind words. I keep meaning to go back and expand the guide to include more complex techniques like compound path masking, but I initially held off because there was some interest in publishing an expanded version of the guide. That's doesn't look likely now, so I'll try and find the time to revisit the free version!

Cheers

Jim
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Old 05-18-2010, 01:20 PM   #6
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Thank you for putting the guide out there in the first place. I have that sucker right on my desktop and it's pretty much always open when I'm lettering my pages
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Old 05-18-2010, 10:55 PM   #7
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i have a series of balloons on my template, of varying flatness or roundness. i almost always have to manipulate them, sometimes with the shear tool, sometimes with the direct selection tool.

you can use the calligraphic brush in illustrator to introduce a little uncertainty to the outline. play with it. unfortunately, this use of a brush makes it very difficult ti manipulate your balloons if copy is changed later on.

a sense of suppleness and playfulness and briskness is what you want in a balloon, and in a pointer as well. it's hard to describe, but easy to see, look at anything Gaspar Saladno ever lettered and you'll see it. hard to replicate on a computer, but not impossible.

does anybody know how Joe Kubert got those wobbly oblong balloons in his Wednesday Comics Sgt. Rock story? i wonder if he hand drew them, and dropped the lettering inside them? that guy is just beyond fabulous. one of the few regrets of my life is that i never got to letter on his work. when comics are long gone, they will still be talking about Joe Kubert.
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Old 05-19-2010, 03:18 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clem Robins
does anybody know how Joe Kubert got those wobbly oblong balloons in his Wednesday Comics Sgt. Rock story? i wonder if he hand drew them, and dropped the lettering inside them? that guy is just beyond fabulous. one of the few regrets of my life is that i never got to letter on his work. when comics are long gone, they will still be talking about Joe Kubert.
I have no inside info but, having tried to do something similar in Illustrator, I concur with the suspicion that they were hand-drawn as part of the artwork and lettered over the top.

And, yeah, they looked great, as did the whole strip. Fantastic stuff.

Cheers!

Jim
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Old 05-19-2010, 03:18 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clem Robins
i have a series of balloons on my template, of varying flatness or roundness.

does anybody know how Joe Kubert got those wobbly oblong balloons in his Wednesday Comics Sgt. Rock story? i wonder if he hand drew them, and dropped the lettering inside them? that guy is just beyond fabulous. one of the few regrets of my life is that i never got to letter on his work. when comics are long gone, they will still be talking about Joe Kubert.
Ditto.^^
As far I know, Kubert as many old school comics artist,
he rather draw his own balloons and text captions as a very important
and main elements for the composition of the panel.
Actually, they indicate where figures and objects might be placed.

The balloons and text captions are done, before start drawing
figures and backgrounds inside the panels.
Alex Toth, Sean Phillips and so many comics artists
used to do it.

First, you need calculate the space that will be occupied
for the lettering. (a simple equation.)


The balloons and text captions placement should have the same importance
inside the panel than figures or backgrounds.


Last edited by Scribbly; 05-20-2010 at 09:36 AM.
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Old 05-19-2010, 07:48 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scribbly
Those are some gorgeous balloons. They can be done digitally with a graphics tablet, but these look hand drawn indeed.
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Old 05-19-2010, 08:09 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas Mauer
They can be done digitally with a graphics tablet
I know I tried it! The problem was that the job didn't pay enough to hand draw every frickin' balloon, so I filed it away for a job that paid better.

Still waiting!

(One thing that made hand drawing the balloons more of a pain than I'd anticipated ... did I imagine it, or did the Pencil tool used to have an option to close the path when finished? It doesn't seem to in CS3, which meant hand-selecting the start and end points and using the Join function.)

Cheers!

Jim
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Old 05-19-2010, 08:54 AM   #12
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I "hand" draw balloons with the pencil tool all the time. (Wednesday Comics, Creepy, etc.)

The trick to joining the path, is to begin and end the balloon path in the spot you're going to unite the tail! Then it doesn't matter if the ends are a little crooked and offset. Problem solved!

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Old 05-19-2010, 09:00 AM   #13
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Yeah, I'm doing that with some manga style balloons right this moment, though with the brush tool. Though I hate that the Bezier handles can go all over the place so straight lines have to be adjusted manually. This can also make SFX quite wobbly if not adjusted.

Do you have any pointers how to deal with this, Nate?
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Old 05-19-2010, 11:22 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas Mauer
Those are some gorgeous balloons. They can be done digitally with a graphics tablet, but these look hand drawn indeed.
Yeah, but the meaning of doing the balloons BEFORE doing the artwork
Is totally different than doing the balloons and captions AFTER the artwork is done.

The idea is, that text and balloons should be integrated up front
with the composition of the panel, because this will determine
the figures and objects placement, not otherwise.

If the artwork is already made, digital might be the best option right now.
Nowadays with the digital help, measuring text is more
easy and precise than doing it manually.


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Old 05-19-2010, 11:37 AM   #15
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Quote:
Do you have any pointers how to deal with this, Nate?
Huh. I've never had a problem with it. Maybe something to do with my Cintiq? Or a setting adjustment?

~N
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