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And the world rejoiced!!!! [Nov. 22nd, 2005|02:50 pm]
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I just figured out how to make delicate-looking word balloons in Illustrator that have actual line weight but without filling in the close gaps with black or looking overdone--Illustrator's a pain in the ass when it comes to controlling line weight. THE WORLD SHALL REJOICE! XD XD XD XD ALL DANCE HAPPILY IN CIRCLES! XD XD XD XD

edit:-------
It's simple, really. But you need a tablet to do it:


1) First, open your document in Illustrator. In this case, I opened a new document at approximately 5x7--rough size of a TP graphic novel. Now, create a new caligraphic brush, diameter set at 1 pt, click the pull-down menu beside it and change to "pressure", and change the line variation to 1 pt.




2) Double-click the paintbrush tool, and change the settings to smoothness: 0%, fidelity: 2 pixels. I tried messing around by choosing "keep selected" and "select within 3 pixels" but Illustrator is wonky and kept erasing my lines or changing the shape of the balloons. So keep those unselected. I'll show you how to connect the balloon and fill in a bit.




3) Now, you want to draw the initial balloon outline. For this page, I also created a grey background so you can see that my initial balloons have a black outline but no fill.




4) Next, draw the tail, then zoom in and connect all the points of the balloon and tail (or anywhere you've left gaps, picked up the pen to continue a line, etc) with the vector tool. Select your balloon and change the fill to white. (I'll also adjust the balloon shape and smoothness at this point if needed)




5) Since the balloon is rather thick, I changed the line weight to .5 points. You'll have to play around and see what fits your art best, but I prefer having my balloons just slightly thinner than my lineart so they pop out a bit and don't blend in with the art too much.




Finis) Et voici! All done! :)




Misc tips and tricks:

-Try and keep a steady hand when drawing the balloon.
-DON'T vary pressure too much or it'll come out looking overdone.
-DON'T rest your hand on the tablet. Keep your wrist up and draw using a whole arm motion rather than your fingers.
-Keep points thin and dips thick. It just looks prettier.
-The two points where the tail and the balloon meet often look nicer if they thicken a bit where meeting. This also makes it easier to connect the lines in illustrator without mishap.
-A little increase in pressure when drawing the bottom of the balloon will help add weight and make it feel more natural.


Hope that helps a few people. I absolutely HATE the way my book was lettered by Tokyopop, so hopefully this'll help spread the awareness and STOP THE BAD BALLOONING. XD


------edit: edit:
And okay. I'll turn comments on so people can share their own thoughts, tips, and tricks on the matter of ballooning. :) FREE THE BALLOONS! XD
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: wyldkyss
2005-11-22 02:49 pm (UTC)

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I have no tips to add, but I WILL stick this post in my memories. I'm getting a new tablet soon. :)
[User Picture]From: svetlania
2005-11-22 05:28 pm (UTC)

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I got as far as making the balloons in AI once... But then I couldn't export anything out of there as a tiff or even a jpeg :D;;; Do you know how to do that?
[User Picture]From: lilrivkah
2005-11-22 06:50 pm (UTC)

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Depends . . . do you want the layer still editable?
[User Picture]From: mistressnashya
2005-11-22 06:32 pm (UTC)

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OMG that's awesome!!! XD I'd been working the hard way making bubbles by drawing them free hand but they never looked very good. Too thick or just too computer generated looking. I'd fiddled with brush settings a bit and never got these results. Very cool. Thanks Rivkah~
[User Picture]From: lilrivkah
2005-11-23 02:19 am (UTC)

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No problem! I think word balloons are one of the most difficult things to get a hang of, and having the correct tools to make them the way you want deffinitely takes some experimenting and practice. I still had to tweak my balloons a bit after drawing them, but it's way better than anything I could freehand and certainly lightyears better than a simple computer-drawn circle. O_o
[User Picture]From: decibel45
2005-11-22 09:54 pm (UTC)

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I see Illustrator is vector-based like Corel... the only reason I could turn out anything close to 'art' in Corel is because I could start with some ugly crap and then edit nodes to clean it up. For some reason I thought it was 'pixel-based'...

BTW, I like the study you did a day or two ago with the guy and the girl. Reminded me of my GF (who I won't get to see again for at least 2 weeks :( ).
[User Picture]From: lilrivkah
2005-11-23 02:15 am (UTC)

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Thanks! XD I'm rather fond of that picture, myself. Close-ups are something I don't draw very much anymore because it's not something I feel needs as much practice as say ... my anatomy. But this one just felt good to draw. :) Tender, romantic moments are always a little difficult to catch with pen and pencil. :)
[User Picture]From: decibel45
2005-11-23 08:04 am (UTC)

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What makes it more difficult than capturing other emotions?
[User Picture]From: lilrivkah
2005-11-23 08:42 am (UTC)

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I think any sort of couple interaction tends to be a little more difficult, as I tend to think of the couple as an extension of each other rather than separate. And that little expression of two people looking deep into each other's eyes . . . or if they're about to kiss, the slight tilt one way than the other of the head, the slight parting of the lips. Is it a bold gaze? Or a shy gaze? Passionate? Or hesitant? There are so many subtle plays of emotion when it comes to anything involving love.
[User Picture]From: decibel45
2005-12-08 07:39 am (UTC)

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Female perspective:
There are so many subtle plays of emotion when it comes to anything involving love.

Male perspective:
Oh boy, we're gonna kiss! I hope after this we 'do it'!

:P
From: (Anonymous)
2005-11-22 11:28 pm (UTC)

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You're doing your own lettering in the next volume? That must make your deadline pretty tight!
[User Picture]From: lilrivkah
2005-11-23 02:09 am (UTC)

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I haven't decided yet. I actually have somebody in mind for the lettering, but I'm trying to figure out how I want it to look first, and how I want it done. O_o I REALLY REALLY hate the TP in-house lettering.

However, Jeremy just let me know they want to put this up on Takuhai, so maybe somebody will actually use my tips. XD
[User Picture]From: lilrivkah
2005-11-23 02:13 am (UTC)

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You know I can see your latitude and longitude, right? ;P
[User Picture]From: decibel45
2005-11-23 08:03 am (UTC)

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Heh, that almost sounds dirty...

"Psst! Your longitude's showing!"
[User Picture]From: lilrivkah
2005-11-23 08:45 am (UTC)

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*lol* It's somebody from TP. They really shouldn't be so shy! ^_~
[User Picture]From: decibel45
2005-11-23 08:47 am (UTC)

This just gets better and better...

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"Not only is your longitude showing, but there's some TP stuck to it!"
[User Picture]From: lilrivkah
2005-11-23 04:55 pm (UTC)

Re: This just gets better and better...

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*ROFL!* That's awesome. XD
[User Picture]From: decibel45
2005-11-23 08:26 pm (UTC)

Re: This just gets better and better...

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What, you think it's funny when someone's longitude has TP attached to it? That shit's embarassing!
[User Picture]From: mopedronin
2005-11-23 05:54 am (UTC)

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VEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERY informative. THANKS!
[User Picture]From: lilrivkah
2005-11-23 08:43 am (UTC)

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No problem! XD
From: (Anonymous)
2005-11-24 05:20 pm (UTC)

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I love your artwork, it's very cute, and I hope your book sells more copies than Little Women.
Jayson
[User Picture]From: lilrivkah
2005-11-24 11:04 pm (UTC)

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Hey! *^-^* Thanks! Have you ever read Little Women?
From: crispypoohs
2005-11-28 10:33 am (UTC)

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hehe, Illustrator hates me in the face. I can't use that damn pen tool to save my life. So, I've been drawing bubbles in ComicWorks instead. Generally, they're just ovals, and I hand-draw the tails, but on occasion, I'll use the bludgeoned bubble look, when I think it's appropriate.

Spikey bubbles are probably the hardest things ever, though.

ARGH. I wish I could show exactly what I'm doing! *kick*

I can at least show you the bubbles, though, I guess.


[User Picture]From: whune
2006-05-12 10:26 pm (UTC)

A few [creative process] questions...

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Hey, I've a few questions for you, now I realize that you, being a pro and all, might get a lot of this, so if that's a problem then feel free to just ignore this on principle.

K, that said:

I've noticed over your various posts that you use Adobe illustrator and Photoshop, as well as Deleter comic works
Do you use any other software?
and
What do you use each for, I mean in regard to your creative process.
Ever used Freehand MX? How does that compare to Illustrator?

Which is your foundational one,
as far is your process is concerned why do you have BOTH Photoshop and illustrator, how big is the overlap in features?

Yes, I've got downloaded versions of all of the above, but I'm a novice with all of them, and won't be surprised if I still am by the time the trial period is over, so you know: ignorance can cloud judgment, I would just like your hands on opinion, seeing as you use all of those dif programs

Thanks for you time,
Robert.
[User Picture]From: lilrivkah
2006-05-12 10:39 pm (UTC)

Re: A few [creative process] questions...

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It depends what you're using it for. As far as all three go, I think Illustrator is the one I use least since it's all vector-based and useless for anything comic-wise except creating word balloons and sound FX. Even then, Photoshop can do either, just not as well.

Comicworks is my primary tool of all three. It's what I use for practically the entire comic creation. I use it for inking and toning, while Photoshop I use for scanning and prepping pencils for Comicworks.

You really kinda have to use them all for a bit to see what's right for you, but of the three, I think Illustrator is probably the one you could do without. For me, personally, Photoshop is still infinitely useful in other areas of graphic design and art and photography, but not quite so useful in making comics since b/w art is done at a very high resolution, and PS doesn't do well at 1200+ dpi while Comicworks does. :P

If you want something more in depth: there's a whole long discussion and argument about it here: http://messageboard.tokyopop.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1080

And for the record, Rikki doesn't know what he's talking about. ;P
[User Picture]From: whune
2006-05-12 11:45 pm (UTC)

Re: A few [creative process] questions...

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*nod*

okie; thanks for the link, and the thoughts on the matter,
oh: and the speed of response

*grins*