A Method of Creating Cartoon Word Balloons

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BobSongs
Posts: 323
Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2007 2:18 pm
Location: Montreal, Canada

A Method of Creating Cartoon Word Balloons

Postby BobSongs » Sun Jul 02, 2017 7:35 am

1. Create Layers (Ctrl+Shift+L) in your Inkscape document for
  • Text
  • Top Balloon
  • Tail
  • Bottom Balloon
If you’re working over a scan of placed artwork, create a Layer for that as well.

Image

2. Click on the “Bottom Balloon” layer and create a balloon around the text using the :tool_ellipse: (E) ellipse tool.
Set the stroke in Fill and Stroke (Ctrl+Shift+F) to twice what you want the eventual thickness to be.

Image


3. Copy the balloon (Ctrl+C). Click the Top Balloon layer in the Layers dialogue and Paste in place using Ctrl+Alt+V to create a duplicate in the same location, two layers above the original. Set the stroke on this balloon to “none” or zero (0).
Image


4. Click on the “Tail” layer and draw a tail with using :tool_pencil: (P) or :tool_pen: (B) with your regular stroke thickness.
Since the Tail layer is between the two balloon layers, it appears joined to the balloons, yet the objects remain separate, making changes and edits insanely fast and easy!
NOTE: The Tail will need a "fill" of the same colour as inside the balloon.

Image


5. To create an overlapping balloon, simply Select the text and both balloons with the Selector tool :tool_selector:(S), use Ctrl-D to duplicate the selection, and Drag to place the items. Adjust the text, then resize both balloons simultaneously and place so that balloons overlap. They will appear joined while remaining separate objects.
Image


Credits and Acknowledgements
Original tutorial was modified from The Layer Method by John Roshell based on the method developed by letterer Albert Duchesne (1962-2017) of ComiCraft for Adobe Illustrator.

Changes were made to the method to match Inkscape conventions along with Inkscape illustrations provided.

I find ComiCraft's resources very useful.
Last edited by BobSongs on Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:44 am, edited 6 times in total.

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brynn
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Re: A Method of Creating Cartoon Word Balloons

Postby brynn » Sun Jul 02, 2017 9:21 am

Hey stranger! Good to see you :D

Yes, I can see where this technique allows for both multiple use in the same document, as well as flexibility. You could even make a document template with these word balloons built in.

Moini
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Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2015 10:44 am

Re: A Method of Creating Cartoon Word Balloons

Postby Moini » Sun Jul 02, 2017 9:21 am

Instead of changing the stroke thickness, since Inkscape 0.92, one can also change the drawing order of stroke and fill.
Something doesn't work? - Keeping an eye on the status bar can save you a lot of time!

Inkscape FAQ - Learning Resources - Website with tutorials (German and English)

tylerdurden
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Joined: Sun Apr 14, 2013 12:04 pm
Location: Michigan, USA

Re: A Method of Creating Cartoon Word Balloons

Postby tylerdurden » Sun Jul 02, 2017 10:59 am

Here's a mostly visual version, using Duplicate Selected rather than "option-drag" (which doesn't exactly exist in Win)*.

Image

*While dragging selected objects, tapping the spacebar will drop copies onto the canvas, so holding down the left mouse on selected objects before dragging and tapping the spacebar will leave a copy in the original postion, much like an option-drag".
Have a nice day.

I'm using Inkscape 0.92.2 (5c3e80d, 2017-08-06), 64 bit win8.1

The Inkscape manual has lots of helpful info! http://tavmjong.free.fr/INKSCAPE/MANUAL/html/

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BobSongs
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Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2007 2:18 pm
Location: Montreal, Canada

Re: A Method of Creating Cartoon Word Balloons

Postby BobSongs » Tue Jul 04, 2017 12:21 am

Heya Brynn! Glad to see you're still posting away!

I downloaded the new Inkscape 0.92.1 and noticed six new icons under the Stroke style tab (fill and stroke). One of these nifty new little buttons thinned the outer stroke. At first glance it reminded me of this technique of creating a word balloon. Wondering how many folks who use Inkscape as their graphics tool, I decided to post this here, hoping it will help.

Thanks to you too, Tyler, for the graphical representation! May I ask what software you use to get it from a screen capture to GIF file?

tylerdurden
Posts: 1817
Joined: Sun Apr 14, 2013 12:04 pm
Location: Michigan, USA

Re: A Method of Creating Cartoon Word Balloons

Postby tylerdurden » Tue Jul 04, 2017 1:05 am

Hi Bob, I use Sharex.
Have a nice day.

I'm using Inkscape 0.92.2 (5c3e80d, 2017-08-06), 64 bit win8.1

The Inkscape manual has lots of helpful info! http://tavmjong.free.fr/INKSCAPE/MANUAL/html/

Moini
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Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2015 10:44 am

Re: A Method of Creating Cartoon Word Balloons

Postby Moini » Tue Jul 04, 2017 2:07 am

BobSongs, that's exactly what I suggested ;-) Those buttons are for determining the order in which stroke, fill and markers will be drawn.
Something doesn't work? - Keeping an eye on the status bar can save you a lot of time!

Inkscape FAQ - Learning Resources - Website with tutorials (German and English)

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BobSongs
Posts: 323
Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2007 2:18 pm
Location: Montreal, Canada

Re: A Method of Creating Cartoon Word Balloons

Postby BobSongs » Tue Jul 04, 2017 3:14 am

Moini wrote:BobSongs, that's exactly what I suggested ;-) Those buttons are for determining the order in which stroke, fill and markers will be drawn.


Nice suggestion! And they couldn't have been added too soon. The ability to order the components within an object is a welcome change.

Edit: However, the idea behind the tutorial is to create a dual circle/shape system that leaves a layer between both objects. This middle layer contains the word balloon "tail". The top circle/shape has no border allowing the "tail" to move anywhere within the group of objects, within reason, and appear to be "joined" to the main balloon.

To produce this almost magical effect requires that the top circle/shape/object have no border while the duplicate 2 layers beneath has a double-sized border. Combined, this duo reduces the border to the correct/desired thickness while allowing the "tail" mobility between the circles/shapes/objects.

Previous to my learning this method, I would simply
1. create a balloon around the designated text.
2. create the tail.
3. select both objects and do Ctrl + +.

The obvious weakness to this workflow: any change in text requires a complete reworking of the balloon.

The ComiCraft method allows the artist to lock down the text/tail layers, select both balloons (heavily bordered and non-bordered), resize the balloons simultaneously (with the border/stroke Affect options switched off, of course), then resize the tail and shift its position. Done.

It's all about workflow. :)


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