Let’s create speech balloons! - How to use the balloon tool -



Here we will explain how to create “Speech balloons” - a unique form of expression in comics - and well will introduce the balloon tools along with some other useful tips.

[1] Speech balloons in CLIP STUDIO PAINT

Speech balloon consists of a vector outline and an inner fill part (painted white in the figure below). The color and the opacity of the inner fill can be adjusted freely, and you can also hide or tone it. Furthermore, there are other ways to create balloons by freely drawing curves and going about it free hand all-together. In the example shown below, the outline is selected with the [Object] tool.

There are roughly 3 different ways to create speech balloon in CLIP STUDIO PAINT: [■1. Balloon (Creating with a tool)], [■2. Balloon (Material)], and [■3. Flash].

■1. How to make a speech balloon using the balloon tools.

The following will explain how to make a speech balloon using the [Ellipse balloon] sub tool.

① Entering characters (texts)

Enter text using the [Text] tool.

② Creating a balloon

Create the balloon’s body using the [Ellipse balloon] tool. The created balloon will be drawn on a [Balloon] layer.

* The [Ellipse balloon] sub tool is stored under [Balloon] in the [Balloon] tool palette in the initial settings.

③ Creating a balloon tail

Create the “tail” part sticking out of the balloon with the [Balloon tail] tool.

* The [Balloon tail] sub tool is stored under [Balloon] in the [Balloon] tool palette in the initial settings.


The order of creating balloons or text does not matter.

It does not matter, which is created first. A layer for the balloon or the text will be created regardless. By adding text or a balloon on the same layer, both can be managed collectively on the same layer.

④ Adjusting the balloon

After creating the balloon, clicking on it with the [Object] tool will display the handles. You can change the size and aspect ratio by adjusting the individual handles.

The settings can be adjusted in the [Tool Property] and [Sub Tool Detail] palettes before using the [Balloon] tool, or when selecting a balloon with the [Object] tool.

For details on the settings of the balloon tools, please refer to [2] “How to use balloon tools.”

■2. Speech balloons from balloon materials

Apart from using tools, speech balloons can also be created with default balloon materials, which can be selected from the [Material] palette under [Manga material] → [Balloon], and pasted onto the canvas.

The operations after pasting the balloons onto the canvas are the same as for the balloons created with the balloon tool.

■3. Balloon flash

Flash speech balloons consist of vector effect lines and an inner fill (painted white in the figure below). Like balloons, the color and opacity of the inner fill can be set freely, and be hidden or toned.

Flashes are stored under [Balloon] in the [Tool] palette, but they are also very similar to the [Saturated line] tool functionally.

* The [Flash] sub tool is contained in the [Flash] group under the [Balloon] tool in the initial settings.

The first two procedures when creating flashes are identical to normal speech balloons. However, as newly created flashes are drawn on a “saturated line” layer, operations differ from speech balloons created with balloon tools.

① Creating a flash

Use [Flash] from the [Sub Tool] palette to create a flash.

② Entering text

Enter text (characters) using the [Text] tool. Unlike the [Balloon] tool, the [Flash] tool does not combine as a text layer, but is operated separately.

③ Adjusting the flash

After creating the flash, click and select it with the [Object] tool to display the control handles. Change the size or aspect ratio by adjusting the individual handles.

Settings, such as the length of effect lines or the density of lines can be adjusted in the [Tool Property] and [Sub Tool Detail] palettes when using the [Flash] tool before creating the flash, or selecting the created flash with the [Object] tool. These can be used in the same way as the [Saturated line] tool.

[2] How to use balloon tools

The following will introduce how to create speech balloons using the [Balloon] sub tools.

■1. Ellipse balloon

Drag to select the start and end point of the ellipse, and determine the aspect ratio and size of it. Pressing the [Shift] key while dragging the balloon will draw a perfect circle.

This is the [Tool Property] of the [Ellipse balloon] sub tool.

① [Line color] and [Fill color]

Change the color of the line art and the balloon fill. Be aware that when making a new balloon, the colors may be limited to gray or monochrome depending on the canvas settings. Confirm or change this using the [Edit] menu → [Canvas properties] or [Page Management] → [Change basic page settings].

② [How to add]

If a text layer is already selected, selecting [Add to selected layer] will add a balloon to the same layer.

③ [Toning]

Turn [Layer effect] → [Toning] ON when applying a tone based on the color set by [① Fill color] to the created balloon. Set ⑥ Anti-aliasing to [None] when toning.

④ [Figure]

Select a balloon shape. Even if the figure changes, it can be created with the same steps.

⑤ [Brush Size]

Adjust the line width with this.

⑥ [Anti-aliasing]

Set whether or not to add anti-aliasing.

⑦ Brush shape

Select the shape of the brush tip.

The following are examples of [Pen], [Dotted line] and [Waved line] brush shapes.

■2. Curve balloon

Create a free shaped balloon by making curves. The method to create it changes with the selected ① [Curve].

① [Curve]

Select a method to create a line.

・[Straight line]

Each time a point is clicked, a straight line between points will be drawn. Double click the final point to confirm.


A curve is drawn by clicking different points. Double click the final point (or press the Enter key) to confirm.

・[Quadratic Bezier] and [Cubic Bezier]

Create a balloon using a quadratic bezier or a cubic bezier.

Making ② pointed

If there are any corners on the line, they may become round when scaling up, due to the shape of the brush being used. Choose whether to sharpen these lines at the corners or not.

Items other than ① and ② in the [Tool Property] are the same as those in the [Ellipse balloon] tool.

■3. Balloon Pen

Create a balloon as if you are drawing with the [Pen] tool. This also supports pen pressure, therefore, speech bubbles with uneven strokes can be created.

In the settings, the thickness of the line can be adjusted so that the pen pressure works just like the [Pen] tool.

① Brush size

In the same way as the [Pen] tool, the line width can be changed by adjusting the brush size.

② Control brush size

Click on the icon to adjust the elements that affect the brush size. To apply pen pressure similarly to the [Pen] tool, check the [Pen pressure] and set it to ON. To prevent the pen pressure from being applied, turn all check marks OFF.

③ Post correction

This feature corrects lines to make them smoother.

■4. Settings when creating balloons: Other

In the [Sub Tool Detail] palette of the [Balloon] tool, there are items that are not displayed in the [Tool Property] palette. These special settings are as follows.

① [Line/Fill]

Select whether to display the balloon’s lines and fills. Increasing the transparency of the inside of the balloon, and adding edges when characters and images are superimposed will make it easier to read.

② [How to add]

・ Create new layer

・ Add to selected layer

When creating a balloon near an existing balloon or text, select whether to create the balloon on a new layer or on the same one.

③ Combine with the text in the drawing area

Creating a balloon above inputted text will group the elements on the same text layer. Multiple text/balloon layers can also be combined into one layer afterwards.

[3] How to create balloon tails

Here we will show how to create a tail for a speech balloon. From [How to bend], choose a drawing type out of [Straight line], [Polyline] or [Spline].

[How to bend]

Choose between [Straight line], [Polyline] or [Spline].

A [Straight line] Creates a straight tail. Dragging between the start point 1 and the end point 2 creates a straight tail.

B [Polyline] Creates a tail with corners. Click to create corner parts starting from point 1, and keep clicking further to create more points. Confirm by double clicking at the last point.

C [Spline] Creates a curved tail. Start clicking the point 1to start, click in further to add more points, and confirm by double clicking at the last point.

[4] How to use the flash tool

Depending on the registered sub tool settings, the drawn content will change drastically.

To create a flash, set the size by dragging from the start point to the end point in the same way as the [Ellipse balloon].

■1. Creating a flash

Use the sub tool [Sea urchin flash] to create a flash.

■2. Adjusting the flash

We will adjust the created flash. In this example, the situation is that the lines are “too long”, “too thick” and “not blank inside” as compared to what is intended.

Selecting the [Object] tool will display the path of the flash sheech balloon.

■3. Adjusting the line width and density

Adjust the flash with the [Tool Property] palette.

・Make the lines thinner by adjusting the [Brush Size].

・Adjust the line density using [Gap of line (distance)].

This process is executed as thinner lines create wider gaps between lines.

■4. Adjusting the line length

・Shorten the [Length].

■Adjusting the “Rough edges”

Click the [+] mark on the left side of [Make the reference position jags] to access further settings. Lowering the value of [Height] and shortening the rough edges makes it more like a sea urchin flash.

■6. Adjusting the flash size

Using the handle displayed on the path of the flash, adjust the size of the flash so that it matches the text.

[5] Advanced use of Balloon/Flash

■1. Combining multiple balloons (* only speech balloons)

The overlapping parts will combine when multiple balloons are gathered on one layer. Keep the balloons on separate layers to display them separately, and create them on one layer to combine them.

To gather multiple existing balloon layers, select the layers to gather and use [Layer] menu → [Merge with layer below] or [Combine selected layer].

■2. Fitting a balloon in a frame border - advanced use of layer masks

Each balloon and flash created will be managed on its own layer. Drawing tools such as [Pen] and [Eraser] are unavailable on these layers. When erasing a section, use a mask. Furthermore, by rasterizing the layer with the [Layer] menu → [Rasterize], you can directly draw and erase the balloon. However, you will not be able to make any further edits to the contents.

When using balloons and flash tools, it may overlap with frame borders. A [Mask] can be useful in that case.

* For more functional details on layer masks, please refer to “How to master the layer mask 1”.


① Specify the display area

Mask so that the speech bubble does not overlap with the frame border or the characters. Select the area using tools such as the [Auto select] tool.

Using the [Selection Area] menu → [Quick Mask] is beneficial as the area can be selected using the [Fill] tools or other drawing tools, etc.

② Creating a layer mask

After creating the selection area, select [Layer] menu → [Layer Mask] → [Mask Outside Selection] to create a layer mask. To hide the selected area, choose [Mask Selection]. The created mask can be checked via the thumbnail displayed in the [Layer] palette.


Display the mask from the [Layer] menu → [Layer Mask] → [Show Mask Area].

The mask can be toggled ON/OFF with the following operations.

・Color of the masked sections: [Alt] + thumbnail mask click

・Toggling ON/OFF of the mask itself: Click [Shift] + thumbnail mask

③ The completed masked flash

The flash is completed if the created flash is partially masked and hidden. Further adjustments are possible as long as the layer of the flash is not rasterized (by combining images etc.).

・Masking multiple flashes

For balloons created with the [Balloon] tool, multiple balloons can be registered on a single special layer, but for flashes created using the [Flash] tool, one flash occupies one layer.

To use the same mask on multiple flashes, make a folder containing multiple flash layers and apply a mask to the folder.

It is useful to use [Divide frame folder] when creating frame borders, as a mask is created on each frame. By creating a balloon or flash inside the frame border folder, the mask will hide the part sticking out of the frame border.

* In the initial settings, the [Divide frame folder] sub tool is stored under [Cut frame border] of the [Frame border] tool.

This concludes the lesson on how to use the balloon tool. When creating a balloons, please also have a look as “How to use text tools”.




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