Today, we're going to dive deep into the archive to February 16, 2010, when I took a little time to discussWord Balloon Aesthetic.
Word balloons are so common -- so freely accepted as a part of a cartoonist's visual syntax -- that many of us haven't given the subject a whole lot of thought. Looking back at my own work, I know I didn't for the first several years. Choosing last Friday's Archive Dive made me remember a post I've been wanting to do for a long time: Word Ballon Aesthetic. If you haven't read the Archive Dive, take a second and look it over. It provides some good structure for today's discussion.
And, as is the case with any discussion of aesthetics, these are not meant to be taken as written-in-stone dictates. But the philosophy behind the aesthetics should help inform your own process in developing your own personal style.
It's time to look at word balloons again for the first time.
There are several ways to make word balloons. Put the tern into a search using the button at the top of this page and you'll find several.
But, for my taste, all good word balloons share some traits:
- The body of the balloon is circular -- not rectangular
- The tail should has slight curve to it and points to the speaker's mouth
- Tails never cross
- Text is centered -- vertically and horizontally in the body of the balloon.
- The style of the balloon matches or compliments the style of the illustration (which is where a comic likeDiesel Sweeties can break several of the above rules without suffering.)
Wanna see it done wrong? Look at syndicated strip Mark Trail on almost any given day. In the first panel of the example below, you can spot both crossed tails and tails that fail to point out the speaker.
Although, I'll admit, the most entertaining part of the strip is imagining a jumbo jet intoning: "Who is paying you to release those birds?"