How to create a comic book text effect

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This article is part of the HOWTOs series.
Installation Usage PDF issues Imposition Other
This article uses these graphical conventions
Tutorial template icon window.pngWindow 〉〉 Tab/Panel in Window


This quick tutorial shows how you can create a simple but effective comic book text effect using only the tools in Scribus.

Specific techniques used in this tutorial

  • Creating a text frame
  • Converting text to polygons
  • Duplicating objects
  • Aligning objects
  • Creating a gradient fill

The Text

For the purposes of this tutorial I've used the "SF Comic Script Bold" font that is available here. (It's free for personal use but check the licensing for your own purposes.)

  • Draw a large coloured - blue looks nice - rectangle across the page. (This is only so you can see the effect, you can delete it later if you want.)
  • Create a text frame inside the rectangle and enter your text. (A short word looks best.)
  • Make the text large. (I've used 80pt.)
  • Choose menu ItemConvert toOutlines
  • Re-select the text, right-click and choose Ungroup from the menu.
  • Choose menu ItemCombine Polygons
  • Re-select the text and choose ItemDuplicate from the menu, then ItemDuplicate again so you've got three copies of the text.

The Outline

  • With the last copy selected go to Tutorial template icon window.pngProperties 〉〉 Colours and change both the Outline and Fill colours to White.
  • Go to Tutorial template icon window.pngProperties 〉〉 Line and change the line width to 3pt.
  • Choose menu ItemDuplicate
  • With this new duplicate selected Shift-select the other white text and choose menu WindowsAlign and Distribute
  • Press the "Center on vertical axis" button, then the "Center on horizontal axis" button.
  • De-select all, then re-select the top white text.
  • Using the cursor keys nudge the text three times to the right and down, i.e. press right-arrow three times then down arrow three times.

The Shadow

  • Select the upper black text, right-click, and choose LevelRaise to Top from the menu.
  • Drag the black text over the white text until it's just above and to the left of the lower-right-hand white text.

The Foreground

  • Select the lower black text, right-click, and choose LevelRaise to Top from the menu.
  • In Tutorial template icon window.pngProperties 〉〉 Colours set the Line colour to be black.
  • Still in Colours set the Fill to be a Vertical Gradient.
  • Set the left-hand gradient tab to a Red colour.
  • Set the right-hand gradient tab to a yellow colour.
  • Drag the gradient-filled text over the white text until it's just above and to the left of the black text.


And you're done.

You can try playing around with different line widths, offsets and gradient colours to get slightly different effects.