That Blue Square Thing

Comic Styles in Photoshop

You can create a comic book style image using Photoshop.

This focuses on the style for a single image rather than producing an entire comic book, and it you were going to do that I'd suggest editing each image by itself anyway.

Editing the image

Batman comic imageThis involves some clever use of layers and filters. It's a little tricky, but doable and can be useful for all sorts of things. The key is add enough dark lines and to merge the colours using an Oil Paint filter.

You could use any image for this, but it probably works best with images that include people. That way you can add speech bubbles (call outs) and other lettering.

I've provided you with three of my images below. These ones work, so maybe start with those and then use your own image afterwards.

PDF iconCreating a comic style image

Note that the Oil Paint filter will only work if you have a powerful enough computer. If you don't an error message will pop up. As an alternative, try the Dry Brush filter - see point 10 on the guide.

You can use any of these images for this skill:

Image iconBatman image - right click and save the image

Image iconStudents on steps image - right click and save the image

Image iconWalkers image - right click and save the image

If you use your own image, make sure it's big enough to do justice to the technique.

Adding lettering

Once you have the style, you can add call outs to the image.

PDF iconAdding speech bubbles

Comic book lettering needs a certain type of hand-drawn font. This is the perfect time to bring out COMIC SANS! I mean, it's in the name isn't it?

Retro comic book style

Shouting man comic imageThis is an alternative style of comic book image that's a little simpler to work with.

PDF iconRetro comic book style

The base image you use for this will make the difference to how much contrast and brightness you need to add.

Here are some images you could try this on:

Image iconShouting man image - right click and save the image

Image iconFire drill image - right click and save the image

Image iconLego Men in Black image - right click and save the image

Or you could search for an image on one of the copyright free image sites I have listed.

Comic Book Layouts

Once you have images, you can make a comic book page.

HINT: you'd be best off creating each of the individual images you want to use first and saving them. Then you bring them together in the final comic page.

There are a variety of different layouts. These are PNG images with transparant sections. Use them in Photoshop to add to the top of the layer stack - so they sit on top of your comic book images.

Click to enlarge the image and then right click to download the PNG version. Don't download the thumbnail - that really won't work...

five frame comic book layout thumbnail six frame comic book layout thumbnail six frame comic book layout thumbnail six frame comic book layout thumbnail

five frame comic book layout thumbnail six frame comic book layout thumbnail six frame comic book layout thumbnail six frame comic book layout thumbnail

These templates are all 170mm wide and 260mm high. This seems to be the standard sort of size for a comic book page. They are also all 300 pixels per inch. This means that you will need to use large, high quality images to fill them. Small ones simply won't do.

If you want to make more than one page it's best to make them as totally separate Photoshop documents.

Create your own comic book layouts

If you want to create your own layout, you can do so using the Photoshop file below. I've even done instructions for you - because I'm nice.

Photoshop iconComic frames file - you'll need to save this file

PDF iconHow to add frames

The Comic Frames file is 170mm wide and 260mm high. This seems to be the standard sort of size for a comic book page. It is a 300 pixels per inch file. This means that you will need to use large, high quality images. Small ones simply won't do.