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.

You can use any of these images for this skill:

Image iconStudents on steps image – this is the best image to use

Image iconBatman image

Image iconWalkers 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?

Combining images and adding comic styles

This brings together some real skills.

Fire drill comic imageI'm looking for a grimey, desaturated background image with a brighter image on top that's then got a layer style added to it.

The instructions are a little complex and rely on you already having done the first exercise.

PDF iconCombining two images in a comic style

The two images to use are:

Image iconFire drill image

Image iconPiano image

Creating task

badger comic imageThis would preferably be more than one lesson.

PDF iconTask

PDF iconWorkflow

PNG image icon4 frame template

PNG image iconDuck image (you can change colours by using a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer)

PDF iconRemoving backgrounds

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 (needs updating to Photoshop CC)

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.

Slides from class

Theory about comic book styles.

PDF iconSlides 1 – art styles

PDF iconSlides 2 – call outs

PDF iconSlides 3 – genres

There are more resources, including a range of templates to use for frames, on the Archived Comic Book Styles page. Some of that might get pulled over here eventually, depending on exactly what I decide to do with this unit.