Speech balloon

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This article is a work in progress, feel free to add any pointers that you may have

A Speech Ballon are a graphic representation of a conversation used in comic books, strips, cartoons, and manga to allow spoken words. The purpouse of this article is to help new DYOSers (and older DYOSers to refresh) sharpen there skills. Some authors would create a "bubbleless" balloon which consist of a line of text with a line pointed to the speaker.

Three of the most common speech ballons (top to bottom: Speech, Thought, Scream)

Graphic symbols in speech bubbles

Punctuation marks

Foreign languages

Common ways to potray a foreign language in comics (left to right: Language unintelligible, actual use of foreign language w/ translation foot note, angle bracket translation

In comic books, words that would be foreign to the narration however are displayed in translation for the reader are surrounded by angle brackets ( <like this> ).

Some comics will have the actual foreign language in a speech balloon along with a translation in a footnote. CivGeneral in his comics commonly uses this whenever his characters speak Japanese to one another.

Sometimes the author chooses to keep the wording untranslated (as in the case with Mephiles in DYOS) to represent an unknown language. Often authors turn to other writing systems that does not use the Latin alphabet, such as the Greek alphabet, Cyrillic alphabet, or come up with a artificial writing system (Aurebesh in Star Wars & Hylian in the Zelda series)

Making Speech Ballons

Microsoft Paint

Microsoft Paint is one of the most common mediums that many DYOSers, who are on a Windows based OS, have when making comics. This section covers the basics of how to make a speech balloon.



Paint Shop Pro

Adobe Photoshop


One writes the speech near the character. Then they draw a circle around them, connecting it to the vicinity of the characters head.

Tools you need

Need only one of the following
  • Microsoft Paint
  • GIMP
  • Paint Shop Pro
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Pencil and paper