Creating speech bubbles in Photoshop

Here is a library of speech bubbles and tails for use with the custom shapes tool in Photoshop. I find it easier to work with when the bubbles and tails are separate, then they can be positioned and sized separately. You can download the Custom Shape library here. Once you’ve donwloaded it, copy it into the ‘Adobe Photoshop > Presets > Custom Brushes’ folder. When you open Photoshop and switch to the Custom shape tool. The Speech Bubbles library should appear in the list, like so:

I have all these set up as a custom shapes library in Photoshop. Here’s a step by step on how you can create and add more to the library.

– Create a new image, select the pen tool and create the shape you want.
– Next go to Edit > Define Custom shape. A dialogue box will come up with a preview of your shape, name it and hit ok.
– Create all your other custom shapes and build up your library.
– Don’t forget to save the amended library with your new shape in it.

This next step will help later:

– Now go to Layer > Layer Style > Stroke.. and change the size to 6 (you’ll need to play around with this number depending on the resolution of your image), Position: Center, and Color: Black. Click the New Style button and name it ‘Bubble style’.

Now open the image which you want to apply the lettering.

– Hit ‘u’ or select the custom shape tool
1. Make sure your ‘shape layer’ option is on.
2. Pick the custom shape you want to use in the shape menu
3. Select the Bubble style that you created in the last stage, from the style menu
4. Pick white in the colour menu.

Picture 9

Drag your cursor, and you’ll have a bubble.

Now for the tail.
1. Change the option for the pen tool to ‘Paths’
2. Select your tail from the Shape menu.

Picture 10

3. Select the Layers Vector Mask in either the layer window or path window.

Picture 11

Drag your tail on, and a separate shape will be drawn onto the Shape Layers Vector Mask.

These two shapes can be edited and moved around with either the Direct Selection Tool (the white arrow tool for points) or the Path Selection Tool (the black arrow tool for full shapes) Shortcut is ‘a’. Because the two shapes are part of the same layers vector mask, they will also both take on the Layer Style with the black line.

Hope that all made sense. If you find this tutorial useful, leave a little comment and let me know.

2 thoughts on “Creating speech bubbles in Photoshop

  1. Simon Miles

    Great tutorial Allan 😀 I found this very useful, not just for speech bubbles though, ive never really used the custom shapes or the styles before and i can see how these may be useful in the future 😀

  2. ashleycalderandthethingsthatshine

    Thank you very much for sharing this! I used your shapes and just learned that custom shapes even exists… and made some party invitations! 🙂


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.