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A Method of Creating Cartoon Word Balloons

Posted: Sun Jul 02, 2017 7:35 am
by BobSongs
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.

Re: A Method of Creating Cartoon Word Balloons

Posted: Sun Jul 02, 2017 9:21 am
by brynn
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.

Re: A Method of Creating Cartoon Word Balloons

Posted: Sun Jul 02, 2017 9:21 am
by Moini
Instead of changing the stroke thickness, since Inkscape 0.92, one can also change the drawing order of stroke and fill.

Re: A Method of Creating Cartoon Word Balloons

Posted: Sun Jul 02, 2017 10:59 am
by tylerdurden
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".

Re: A Method of Creating Cartoon Word Balloons

Posted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 12:21 am
by BobSongs
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?

Re: A Method of Creating Cartoon Word Balloons

Posted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 1:05 am
by tylerdurden
Hi Bob, I use Sharex.

Re: A Method of Creating Cartoon Word Balloons

Posted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 2:07 am
by Moini
BobSongs, that's exactly what I suggested ;-) Those buttons are for determining the order in which stroke, fill and markers will be drawn.

Re: A Method of Creating Cartoon Word Balloons

Posted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 3:14 am
by BobSongs
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. :)