Drawing Onomatopoeia in Photoshop
In this cartoon tutorial I will show you how to draw onomatopoeia (written sound effects) in your cartoons. These sound effects, such as "BOOM," CRACK," "BOING" (and so on…) add a lot of action to cartoons and comics. You've probably seen them if you have looked at even one comic book, but now it's time for you to learn how to make them for your own comics!
For this tutorial, I'll make a "KABLAMO!" sound effect, and show you how I do it, step by step. I'm using Adobe Photoshop and a free sound effect font named "Badaboom," available for free from Blambot.
- Open your cartoon file and make a new layer for the sound effect.
- From the tool window, choose the "Horizontal Type Mask Tool." It's in the same group as the "Horizontal Type Tool."
- Click anywhere on your image where you want the sound effect to be placed and type in your desired sound effect (in this case "KABLAMO!").
- In the Options window, click on the "Create warped text" button. Choose the "Bulge" style, or any other style you wish. I used the settings pictured below:
- Once you're happy with the shape of your text, click on the foreground color square in the Tools window and choose an orange color. At this point you should have a selection outline of the text. Choose yellow for the background color.
- Pick the Gradient Tool from the Tools window and set it to go from orange to yellow (your foreground and background colors) in the Options window.
- Click on the bottom of the text and drag to the top, then release. Press Ctrl+D to deselect the text, and you should have something like this:
- Right click on your layer and click on "Blending Options…" On the list of Blending Options, click on "Stroke" at the very bottom.
- Choose a size that's not too thick. For stroke location, choose "Inside" in order to preserve the sharp corners of the font. For stroke color, choose the darker of the colors in your gradient (in this case it's orange). You should have something like this:
- Make a new layer and place it underneath the text layer you were just working with.
- Hold Ctrl and click on the text layer (this will make an outline selection of the layer).
- Go to Select > Modify > Expand. Enter the same number of pixels as you used for the stroke in step 9.
- Press D to revert to a black foreground color, and press Alt+Del to fill in the selection. You should now have a black outline around your text, like this:
Now it's time to make some outlines...
We're not done yet. Now we're going to make a solid black outline...
You can pick the Move tool (V) and hit the down arrow on your keyboard a few times to nudge the black outline down a bit. This gives the sound effect text a bit of a 3D look.
And there it is... A fancy sound effect for your cartoons! Try it out with different onomatopoeias as well as different colors.