Hey Tweeps thanks for a great discussion tonight. For the past few weeks I’ve been working feverishly to finish my next Super Siblings comic book. One of the last steps in the process for me is lettering which I’m working on right now. Tonight I thought it would be fun to discuss different methods for drawing balloons. I prefer vector drawings because they are much easier to edit and can be completely resized. In that regard my layout is either done in Illustrator or InDesign. Over time I’ve collected the balloons and FX I’ve drawn and I now have a little library file that I copy and paste from making my lettering process more efficient. When I draw my vector balloons I usually stroke the inside of the line and set the “miter limit” really high to keep the balloon tails pointy. (It used to annoy me that my strokes would get flat ends on them until I figured out the “miter limit” thingy. So maybe that suggestion will help someone else too.)
Other webcomickers draw their balloons in Photoshop using different sized and overlapped ellipses and then filling in the gap. @callouscomics provided this method for Photoshop Balloons. My thanks to the Heidi MacDonald for pointing out on Comics Beat the worst example of lettering and balloon styling I’ve seen a very long time in the new Twilight Graphic Novel.
Hand lettering is a talent, and unfortunately it is becoming a lost art form. I have a great respect for folks that can do it even though I won’t attempt it myself. Personally I prefer digital lettering because of the way I write, I need to have the ability to edit up until the end. I think it’s a good idea to use hand lettering as a guide so try your best to use it to inspire your digital designs. Some of my favorite letterers in comics are Chris Eliopoulos, Jeff Smith and Dave Kellett. Blambot.com and Comiccraft.com are also great resources for digital lettering.