Wednesday, September 30, 2015

RED ONE Book 2 Word Balloons!


Here's a look at how I make the WORD BALLOONS for the RED ONE Book 2 pages. I actually place the balloons on the the original art. I leave the lettering (apart from Sound FX) to the professional - Clayton Cowles!

So here's my roughed in page of RED ONE and sitting on top of it is my Balloon Template I use to determine the proper balloon size. 

Drawing RED ONE Book 1 I really had to guess at the proper balloon size, but for Book 2 I was able to see what worked and what didn't in Book 1 and I made a Template  
using standard Ellipse Templates. I count the number of words in each line of dialogue and match that up to the proper size Balloon. 

I use Ellipse Templates to draw the balloons and then either ink those shapes with the template or Freehand depending on the type of balloon. There are wide variety of balloon types I use (Normal, YELL, Phone, TV, Off Panel, etc) but this gives me the ballpark size to make each balloon. 

I try to error on the small side as I can easily increase the balloon in Photoshop - going the other way means drawing more - not good!

So, this is what the balloons look like before I ink them. I usually ink them after I pencil in the page JUST in case I decide to make a change.

I love drawing the balloons myself as they feel like they are such a huge part of the storytelling and design.


12" x 17" Strathmore 500 Series 2 Ply Bristol Board Vellum
Col Erase Light Blue Pencil
08 Micron Pigma Black Pen
30 35 40 45 60 Pickett Ellipse Inking Templates

Learn more about RED ONE at


Find your local comic retailer 

You can have your local retailer order you a copy through DIAMOND also 

Plus through major online retailers like Amazon and Barnes and Noble



  1. I am not by any stretch an artist. That said coming from a fans point of view seeing and reading your process has opened my eyes to the layers of complexity involved in making your art. I am just as much a fan of your skill and process as I am of your product now. Thank you.