Cartoon/Comic-Style Text Effect

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Well, well, well. In this Photoshop tutorial I’m going to attempt to make some half-decent cartoon/comic-style text. You know, like the stuff on the front of comic books.

Simple Comic Text Effect Tutorial

1. Canvas / Background

Start by making a new document in Photoshop. You might want to work at a large size/resolution, so you can resize it to whatever you want later on. It’s easiest that way as well.

So, create a document sized around 1650 x 1020 pixels in size, something random really. After creating your document, fill the background with a random gradient, something that looks good.

Colorful Gradient Background

Nice gradient? Maybe not. Anyway, the colors used in the above gradient are:

  1. #97461a
  2. #db0a1e
  3. #e89606
  4. #fbd8c5
  5. #e64949
  6. #f3ee9d
  7. #e55a35
  8. #6c2e16
  9. #e84709
  10. #97461a
  11. … *cough*

Holy crap that was a lot of colors… just a random gradient, got it?

After you’ve got the gradient in your background, duplicate the Background layer then go to Filter > Pixelate > Color Halftone, use similar to the following settings:

Color Halftone Filter Settings

Well, now you’ve got a sort of … color halftone-y effect on the background :)

Change the layer mode of your Background duplicate layer to either Darken or Multiply, and lower the opacity to around 30-50% if you think it’s necessary. Depends on your tastes.

Color Halftone Filter Applied to Background

Alright, now we have a half-decent, cartoon-themed background :)

2. Type / Font Selection

Alright, time to select some type. Head over to DaFont, UrbanFonts, or Google and find a nice, cartoon-style font. I’ve outlined a few nice selections below.

44 Font – UrbanFonts

44 Font Free Download

Cookies Font – DaFont

Cookies Font Free Download DaFont

Bubblegum Font – DaFont

Bubblegum Font Download

Arnold Font – UrbanFonts

Hey Arnold - Free Font Download

Cartoonist Kookie – DaFont

Cartoonish Kookie Free Font Download

Well that’s enough fonts from me… chosen one yet? Well then (assuming you’ve found one), write out some text onto your canvas!

Cartoonist Kookie Font Used on Background

3. Warp / Distort Text

We now have the joy of distorting our text :) Start by selecting your text that you just wrote out, using the type tool. Near the top of Photoshop you’ll see an icon with a curve-like path and a T above it.

Warp Text Icon

Click this icon (Warp Text) and mess around with the different settings/options until you get a nice effect.

Warp Text Settings

Alright, got some nice distorted text? Well then, make sure your text is white, and your background is still intact, then let’s move on.

4. Add Text Effects

Let’s start with the solid drop shadow on the text. First, zoom in to 100% on your document. Now, get the Move Tool out and select your text layer.

Holding the ALT key down on your keyboard, press the right arrow key, then the bottom arrow key, this duplicates and moves your text layer, thus making a solid drop shadow once you duplicate it enough times. I’m hoping you understand this :)

Duplicated Text Layers

See the layer’s palette? Your layer’s palette should look something like that by now. 20 duplicates is a good amount I found.

Merge all of your duplicate layers together (don’t merge the main text layer!) and fill it with black.

Solid Black Drop Shadow

Please note I also moved the shadow layer underneath the main text layer, so white is on top, black is on bottom.

Ok, how’s yours going? Well, we’re done for the drop shadow. What else do we need? How about some layer styles.

For the black text layer:

  1. Inner shadow
  2. Outer Glow
  3. Gradient Overlay
  4. Stroke

For the white text layer:

  1. Inner Shadow
  2. Gradient Overlay

Please feel free to experiment with other layer styles and settings, but I’m finished with these. After applying those layer styles, your text should now look like this:

Layer Styles Applied to Text Layers

That actually looks pretty slick! In my opinion, anyway…

At this point, I think we’re pretty much done, but let’s continue onto the next step anyway, even though I’m not really going to do anything else :P

5. Finito

Simple Comic Text Effect Tutorial

Well, everyone, looks like we’re finished. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! Was the outcome alright? Got any suggestions? Drop a line below using the comment form.

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16 Responses

  1. empty says:

    nice tutorial, but how do you made this ‘retro lines’ ? they are looking cool

  2. Eli says:

    1.
    Create a new layer
    2.
    Make some evenly spaced lines (Make a selections then fill)
    3.
    Apply Filter > Distory > Polar Coordinates
    Use the option “Rectangular to Polar”

    That’s about it

  3. umabdullah says:

    Salam, thanks dear for your lovely and easy to understand tut.

  4. ed1nn.exe says:

    hey thnx a lot but which font is used there ??

  5. Heidzir says:

    Hi,

    how to make “made some of those ‘retro lines’” in the first step?
    thanks for every tutorial u provide here.

  6. Pepe-kun says:

    Muy bueno el tutorial, gracias.

  7. Gurri says:

    nice tutorial but u know u spelled it wrong? :)

    u forgot the other “P” in Photoshop so it’s Photosho

  8. Eli says:

    Gurri: Yeah I noticed :(

  9. araz says:

    thank you thank you

  10. Albert says:

    Hi eli! :)

    How do you make that last thing you added on setp 5 (FINITO)? Those tiny circle thingies in between the text and the retro background?

  11. Eli says:

    Albert: You can make them yourself or you can download them as free brushes, find some at Brusheezy.com!

  12. chris says:

    how do you go from step 4 to step 5

  13. Eli says:

    Chris, read step 4, then consider yourself ‘finito’ :)

    Maybe..

  14. Illustric says:

    Um…Am I the only one who notices this? He missed the last “P” in the Photoshop part. Is it apart of the design? Oh and by the way I don’t really like it because it looks kind of newbieish. But I see alot of others do so I guess keep up the good work? See ya!

  15. dAi says:

    I’m stuck in step 5 “finito”. Can you please explain to me how did you manage to get it like that? I am aware that is just brushes that you got off brusheezy’s site but apparently it looks hard to me, pls show me how

  16. Am says:

    IN STEP 5 USEE HALFTONE BRUSHES