Digital Lettering and Comic Speech Bubbles

Step 1: Make sure that you have the top layer selected. Click and drag with the Text Tool (T). This will create a box that you can resize and format and save you a lot of aggravation if you need to edit your text or format it later.

Step 2: Immediately start typing your text into the box. Sometimes I type it into Word so I can spell check it and just paste it into Photoshop. If you haven’t already selected the correct font within Photoshop, don’t worry. You can always highlight your text after you’ve typed it and select the correct font. We have to format the text anyhow. See how small that font is? That won’t work.

Step 3: Highlight the entered text. Hit Ctrl+H (Cmd+H on the Mac) to hide the annoying highlight effect so that you can see what you are doing. Go up to the drop down text menu’s at the top and select your font* and font size. Because you can work digitally at any size, it’s hard for me to tell you what size you should make your letters. I’d say start at 12 point and adjust it accordingly. If you’d like, go to Window > Character to call up the Character Palette where you can perform advanced adjustments.

UPDATE: I realized that I should mention that it is best to center your text. While your text is highlighted, press this button:

Step 4: Now that you have a text layer, click on the layer below the text layer. Then create a new layer from there by hitting Ctrl + shift + N (Cmd + Shift + N on the Mac). This new layer should be underneath your text layer.

Step 5: Select the Ellipse Tool (U). Click directly in the center of your text while holding down Alt. Now drag and you should create an oval path that will fit around your text.

tep 6: Make sure that white is selected as your foreground color. Hit (P) to select the Pen Tool. Right-click on the canvas and select fill path. Hit OK. Now right-click on the canvas and select delete path. Bam! You have a perfect white oval. Now it’s time to create the spike.

Step 7: Click inside the bubble with the Pen Tool (P). Click toward the person’s mouth. Click back inside the bubble. Then click on the same spot of your first click to close the triangle.

Step 8: Right-click on the canvas and select fill path. Hit OK. Now right-click on the canvas and select delete path.

Skip past the next section to the Finishing Stroke, if you like this first style of spike.


Curved Spike Variant: If you would like your voice spike to be curved, click once inside the bubble. Click toward the person’s mouth and drag. Then hold Alt (Option on the Mac), click on the second click point and drag a bit toward the place where you are going to click for the third time. (This creates a point.) Then click and drag back inside the bubble, and back on the first clickpoint to close the curved triangle. Right-click on the canvas and select fill path. Hit OK. Now right-click on the canvas and select delete path.


Finishing Stroke: Make sure all the parts of your bubble are on one layer. If not merge them together by highlighting the top layer and hitting Ctrl+E (Cmd+E on the Mac). Double-click to the right of the layer name so that the Layer Style palette will pop up. Click Stroke. In the menu on the right select how thick you want it to be, and select black as your color.

*Note about Fonts: If you want to be taken seriously in any professional capacity, don’t use Comic Sans MS as your font. It might look good to you, but it doesn’t look good to anyone who has been working in the industry professionally because it has been overused. If you’d like to download some fonts for your comic, I recommend Blambot.

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