Lettering 1 – Text, Captions and Basic Speech Baloons Outlines


As mentioned in the eariler posts, Inkscape is a free Vector graphic drawing program, and is excellent for lettering. I import the TIFF file into this file. This TIFF file has only the graphic part, and no text. I resize the TIFF file within my page, such that the width of TIFF is exactly 8 inches. This is how the page will look now.

inkscape opening screen

This makes sure it has enough margin for printing. The actual graphic size is less than the TIFF file, since it’s enclosed in panels. This adds a bit to the margins. (A4 paper width is 8.3 inches, while US letter paper width is 8 inches.). So regardless of paper, the image width is always 8 inches. Now click menu items File->Document Properties. The following dialogue will come up

fit page to selection

Click ‘Fit Page to Selection’, and now the graphic size is exactly 8 inches (width) X 10.667 (height). This graphic, once completed, can easily fit in A4 size or US letter size paper.

Now it’s time to start lettering.

Step 1 – Typing out the text.

I first type out the entire text over the imported graphic at predefined places. The JPG files saved eariler with the original text act as a reference here.

For typing, I use Comic Sans MS font at size 11. If I need to emphasize something in the text, I use Comic Sans MS in bold type at size 13. There are a lot of people on the web advocating not to use Comic Sans MS, as it’s a bit overused, and there are a lot of alternatives available on web, free or charged. However, I decided to stick with Comic Sans MS for now.

After the whole text is typed, the page looks like this.


Step 2 – Covering the text boxes with caption boxes and word baloon eclipses.

Select the rectangle tool (for text boxes) or eclipse tool (for word baloons). Draw the rectangle / eclipse around the text. No need to be too accurate at this stage. Cover the whole text with the shape.

Double click on the lower left side of screen (circled in red below) to get Fill and Stroke dialogue up.


Keep the Fill and Stroke settings as shown below.




Press the Page Down button on your keyboard while this shape is selected. This will send the shape behind the text. Now we have a text box / baloon surrounding the text, as shown below.


Select the reactancle/eclipse, and adjust it so that is looks good. Make sure you give some “breathing space” to the text.

For caption boxes, do the following and you are done.

Select the rectangle and the text within it simultaneously. You can do this by selecting the rectangle, pressing the ‘Ctrl’ key on keyboard, and then selecting the text.

Keep both selected, and click on the menu item Object -> Group, or simply press the ‘Ctrl-G’ keyboard combination. This groups these two objects, making it very convinient to move them around together without disturbing their relative alignment.

For speech baloons, there’s some more

Coming up – Lettering 2 – Speech Baloons and Monkey Tails.

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