On the topic of digital lettering, one thing I’ve really wanted to talk about is balloon stacking.
I don’t know if this is the official term for it, but - for me - balloon stacking is that effect of overlapping one balloon over another balloon in a conversation. The tricky part is whenever two balloons have connecting lines, since those connectors would make them a flat object (i.e. unable to interact like in the above image).
Yes, one can avoid stacking by leaving ample space between dialogue balloons, but if you have limited space inside a panel or if you want to emulate a brisk, snappy exchange between characters, then this method could be a big help.
Nearly a year ago, I dug through Balloon Tales backlogs for several hours until I found something that vaguely resembles this trick and then worked out the rest through trial and error. If anyone knows any alternative methods, I’d love to find out about them!
Here is one step by step method for stacking balloons together. I’ve recieved permission from Chirart to use a panel from the end of her and Muun’s lovely short story, That Which Wills (18+). If you haven’t checked the story out yet, please do so first! I highly recommend it!
If you’ve already read it or if you are under 18 (and thus should not read it yet), then check out the Read More cut below to go straight to the lettering tutorial instead. Not to worry: the worst it contains is shirtless-ness, a certain spoiler, wordiness and blatant Adobe Illustrator abuse.