Creating a comic style speech bubble/balloon in GIMP
Posted on January 6, 2010
In this tutorial I’m going to show you the easiest way to create a speech balloon, sometimes called a speech bubble, in GIMP.
Left is the panel I’m going to put a bubble/balloon in. In case you’re wondering, the white area is going to be covered by my balloon.
First, we add the text, so click the TEXT button:
Here I am writing my text:
Voila! And while you’re there, notice below that Aa font button that it says ‘Size:’? Ramp that up a bit to give us a larger font, oh, and you might want to center your text (in it’s box, which is resizeable with the corner boxes) by clicking the Center button:
If you think the spacing between your sentences is too much then you can take the middle number (of the three at the bottom of the screen above) and take it in to minus numbers. The last number, if taken to minus numbers, will bring your letters closer together.
So, here’s what I’ve got so far:
If you want to move your text about, click the MOVE button: and click and drag on your text. If you need to edit the text, click the TEXT button again then click on the text and you’ll get the pop-up with your existing text in it. Simply edit it and click OK.
So, we’ve got the text, now we need the balloon. But first, look at the right side of the screen at your LAYERS, you’ll probably have something like:
The box with the T means it’s a text layer and that it is above the ‘Background’ layer, which is our panel. What you need to do now is to click, to select, the panel (aka: Background, in this case) layer then click the CREATE A NEW LAYER button:
You can name your new layer anything you like, but I’ll call it ‘bubble’ to keep it descriptive. That new layer should appear between the text layer, and the panel layer. This means anything you put on this ‘bubble’ layer will be on TOP of your image, but UNDER your text. Just where we want a speech bubble.
Click the FOREGROUND colour box (the black box in the shot below):
Now click inside the ellipse we drew out a couple of steps ago:
We’re going to make the pointer from the bubble to the speaker, so click once inside the ellipse, click once near the speaker, click once more in the ellipse then press ENTER on your keyboard. You should end up with a selection like this:
Now, in the menu, click SELECT > NONE:
OK, so we’ve got our bubble. We can either duplicate the bubble layer and use that as a basis for a drop-shadow effect, but I prefer the good ol’ classic black outline on the bubble. Here’s the easiest way to do it.
Now, in the menu, click SELECT > BORDER and enter a value of 2 pixels. If it doesn’t look right (too thin, or too thick) click EDIT > UNDO in the menu and try again with maybe 3 or 4 pixels. But you’ll have a border selected around your bubble.
Click the FOREGROUND colour box again, but this time chose black for your colour, click OK, and click the FILL button again. Now click within the border and it’ll give you a black border to your bubble!
OK, so my bubble didn’t cover up all my sins, but I can easily patch that up on the Background layer without disrupting my speech bubble. If you want you can click the MOVE button and click and drag on the bubble to move it.
Repeat all the steps above for each speech bubble you need. Obviously experiment with this and have, for example, giant text (maybe outlined?) and escaping from the bubble for extra impact.