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Creating Comic Book Text Bubbles

Author: rortiz

Tools Needed

  • Photoshop CS
  • Similiar Application

Support Files


Creating your own comic book adventure can be a great deal of fun using Poser or DAZ Studio. This tutorial teaches you how to use Photoshop CS's built in “Talk Bubbles”, as a way to create your own talk bubbles as seen in comic books.

Along the way you will also learn some useful keyboard shortcuts to help you move about Photoshop a bit more quickly and efficiently.


Step 1 - Getting started (shortcut learned: Cntrl-O)


Launch Photoshop.

Press “Cntrl-O” to launch the “Open menu” and search for the image file we will be using on your Harddrive. Once located open the sample image provided for this tutorial (SewerJPG).

Note: This image will have been provided as a link, or it may be necessary to simply right click and save it to your desktop. Also watch for any notes as they may help you to trouble shoot any problems along the way.

Step 2 - The Custom Shape Tool (shortcut learned: U)


With the image (SewerJPG) now open, press the “U” key. You'll notice that the “Line Tool” icon is now highlighted on your tool bar. Click/hold on the small triangle in the lower right corner of this icon and a menu will open up with more options. In the new menu select the “Custom Shape Tool”. (See Fig. A)

Your regular “arrow” pointer should now be replaced with a “+” or crosshair cursor. Place your new cursor over the image and right click to open up a new menu. In the menu that opens up, click on the circular triangle button in the upper right corner. In the drop down menu that appears, highlight and select “TalkBubbles”. (See Fig. B)


A menu will appear asking if you would like to replace your current shapes with the new shapes, click “OK”.

You will notice various “TalkBubble” shape icons. Double click on the one that is most useful to you and your scene. The menu will disappear and you will be left with your cursor again.

Step 3 - Creating your "TalkBubble"


With your cursor now over the image, find a starting point then click, and drag to create your new TalkBubble. You will begin to see it take shape as an outline, when you are satisfied with the size and shape, release the mouse button and your new TalkBubble will be created. (See Fig. C)

You will also notice in your “Layers” menu a new layer has been created over your default layer named “Shape 1”. It should be highlighted.

Notice, however, that we have a problem! While the bubble has been created, the tale that indicates where the speech is coming from, points away from the character in the scene! (See FIG. C) Let's correct that in the next step!

Note: The color of your TextBubble depends on which color you have selected in your tool bar's “Foreground” color swatch. It may also depend on the color of a previous TalkBubble depending on if you have that particular layer selected or not.

Step 4 - Fixing the "TalkBubble"


Go to the Edit menu, Transform Path, Flip Horizontal. (See Fig. D) Your bubble should now be facing the right way. (note: depending on the bubble you selected in Step 2., you may or may not have to do this step as it may already be facing the correct way)

Step 5 - Adding Text to your "TalkBubble" (Shortcut learned: T and V)


We're almost there! Now, press the “T” key. You will notice the “Text Tool” is now highlighted on your tool bar.

Move your cursor over the TalkBubble and it will change shape slightly from a boxy shape to a more spherical shape. Click with your cursor within the bubble, and a marquee will surround the bubble. Now you can begin to type in your comic's dialogue and it will auto wrap to fit within the bubble on it's own layer.

If you wish to adjust the placement of the text you can simply select the text layer, and press the “V” key. This will highlight the “Move Tool” icon in the Tool bar. You can then click on the text within the bubble and drag to position it to your liking.

Note: If you do not see any text, chances are your font coloring is set to white, change the color to a darker color that can be seen against the white bubble to correct this.

Congratulations! You've created a TalkBubble!! (see Fig. E)

Try playing around with the TalkBubbles, shapes, and text placement to see what other unique and interesting ways you can come up with to deliver your comic's dialogue!



  • In the layer's menu, try layer style/stroke to open up a new menu that will allow you to add a stroke around your TextBubble. This is useful if you want to add an edge to it.
  • In the layer's menu, try layer style/drop shadow to open up a new menu that will allow you to add a drop shadow to your TextBubble. This is useful if you want to add some depth or have it stand out more against the image.
  • Try stacking TalkBubbles in various ways to create new bubbles or staggered speech across comic book panels.
  • Play with text coloring or sizing such as bold and italic to convey important dialogue.