This mini tutorial gives instructions on how to make multi-part dialogue balloons for cartooning. You may like to download a copy of my angled brushes before using this technique. The brushes are free to use. Please to not redistribute or sell them. If you need an older version, just let me know.

Download the Illustrator CS3 brushes (contained in a zip archive)

  1. Create ellipses and centre them behind each section of text. Draw the tail, allowing the open end to slightly overlap the last balloon in the series.
  2. Draw a path to use as a connecting point between the balloons that don’t touch with the 135˚ angled brush with a stroke of 0.25 pt.
  3. With the path selected, choose “expand appearance” from the “object” menu. Delete the central path by selecting it in the layers palette and pressing delete. Select the remaining path and apply the 135˚ brush. Making sure the path is still selected, click with the eyedropper in one of the balloons to select the same fill and stroke settings. Now the path matches the balloons.
  4. Select the balloons and the connector path. Make sure that the text and tail are not selected. Click on “add to shape area” in the pathfinder palette.
  5. Don’t click on “expand” in the pathfinder palette. This allows you to adjust the shapes after connecting, if necessary. Only expand when you’re sure you don’t want to edit the shape further.

Hope you enjoyed this tip! I’m going to be posting more like this in the future.