Step Ten: Lettering (cont.)
Something I see in a lot of comics that bothers me is the use of straight ellipses (unmodiï¬ed shapes drawn with the Circle/Ellipse tool). Personally, I think these look a bit awkward and inorganic for spoken words. So what I have done is create âsquashedâ ellipses that have a more round, organic feel to them.
These are easy to create:
- Create an ellipse.
- Using the Point Selection tool (the hollow arrow tool in Illustrator), select the top and bottom points of the ellipse.
- Using the Free Transform tool (E), push and pull the ellipse so it becomes more rounded at the small ends.
As shown on the previous page, I have a library of balloon shapes on the left. I also draw custom balloons using my tablet.
Once the balloons are placed and resized to ï¬t the type, I go back and trim any balloons butting up to the panel edges by drawing a square around the balloon, aligned with the edges of the panel. Selecting the balloon and square, I do do an Intersection using the Pathï¬nder tools, and the balloon edges spilling off the edge of the panel are deleted.
Now, I draw in the balloon tails, keeping eye ï¬ow in mind. I usually draw these in with my tablet, though I do have a few pre-made tails along the top of the document. Next, I go back to the Pathï¬nder tools and unite the tails to the balloons using Union. As a ï¬nal step, I apply a Calligraphic Brush to the black outline (Illustrator 8 and higher), giving the balloon a slightly varied line shape that to me is more pleasing than a straight outline.
Before clean up with Pathï¬nder.
After clean up with Pathï¬nder.
Finally, I select all the type, the balloons, and the page outline from the artwork layer and Copy and Paste the whole mess into Photoshop, making sure to uncheck Anti-alias when Pasting. I then clean up any edge spillovers and get rid of the black page outline.