Talking About Speech Balloons: Placement & Location

Part 7 of 7

In this seventh and final part of the speech balloons series, speech bubble placement will be discussed.

Tail Placement

Speech balloons should have their tails pointed in the direction of the character delivering the message. The speaker’s mouth should be open, unless they are showing off ventriloquism skills.

An example of incorrect tail placement.
An example of incorrect tail placement.

Speech tails should not cross over one another. A good tip to avoid this from occurring is to place the character speaking first in a position which the reader will see first. Also. it should be clear to a reader the order of the speech balloons. For Western/English speech balloons should be organized left to left. For Eastern readers, like manga dialogue, should be placed right to left. Speech bubbles placed higher on a page, occurs earlier than the conversation placed below it. Speech happening at the same time can be placed at the same height.

An example of crossing tails.
An example of crossing tails.
An example of uncrossed tails.
An example of uncrossed tails.

Avoid having speech tails cross over another character or an important part of an image within a panel.

An example of a tail covering a person.
An example of a tail covering a person.

If multiple characters are saying the same thing at the same time, use one balloon and multiple tails, one for each character. This practice also saves space.

An example of group speech.
An example of group speech.

Balloon Placement

Speech balloons should not cover an important item on a panel, like another speaking character.

An example of speech balloon covering another character. Rude.
An example of speech balloon covering another character. Rude.

This concludes the Speech Balloons series. I hope you learned a few tips and found it entertaining during the process.

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