Laughing Lion Design - Jennifer Farley Illustration & Design

Speech bubbles are used a LOT around the web in logo designs and as icons. Photoshop comes with a set of speech bubble shapes just waiting to be used, but they are hidden away a little bit. Here’s how to create your own speech bubble graphics.

*Note: This tutorial has been recently updated (August 2011) and uses screen grabs from Photoshop CS5. However the method is the same for older versions of Photoshop

1. Select the Custom Shape Tool on the toolbar.

Speech Bubbles1

2. On the Options bar at the top of the screen, choose the paths option.

Speech Bubbles2

3. Again on the Options bar, click on the drop down box called Shape. This opens a set of default shapes that can use for drawing vectors. Click on the triangle on the top right corner – this opens a drop down menu – and from there choose Talk Bubbles.

Speech Bubbles3

4. A dialog box will open asking if you want to Replace or Append the current set of Shapes. I usually choose Append, and this adds the new set of shapes to the end of the currently visible shapes.

5. Now scroll down through the shapes and you’ll see a lovely set of speech bubbles.

Speech Bubbles4

6. Click on the bubble you want to draw and the click and drag out the shape on the image window. Hold down Shift to constrain the proportions on the bubble.
Speech Bubbles5

At this stage you’ve drawn out a vector path but there are no pixels at this stage. We can stroke or fill (or both) the shape at this point  but first it’s important to set up the colours and brush that we’ll use.

8. On the colour picker on the toolbar, choose your foreground. I picked dark red #990000.

Click on the brush tool and in the options bar choose a size, hardness and shape of the brush that you want to use. The size of the brush dictates the width of the stroke you will apply to the path you’ve just drawn.

Speech Bubbles6

I chose a hard, round 15 pixel brush. This will vary for you depending on the size of the path you draw and how thick you want the stroke to be.

9. Open the paths panel. At the bottom of the panel click on the Stroke Path button.

Speech Bubbles7
This adds a 15 pixel stroke to the path.

The path will still be visible, so to turn it off click anywhere on the grey area under the path name (it will say Work Path unless you changed the name) on the Paths panel.

Speech Bubbles8

10. If you wanted to fill the bubble with colour you would do the same steps as above but click on the Fill button on the bottom of the palette.

Speech Bubbles9

11. (Optional) You can of course add all kinds of styles from the layers panel or choose Windows > Styles to add extra oomph to your bubbles. Here’s a few examples;

Speech Bubbles10

Comments (74)


wow great
thank you so much

3 years ago

Just found your post about speech bubbles on Photoshop and this is great. One question…can you flip the bubbles so the tail is pointing the other way? The tails on my bubbles all point to the left. How can they be flipped to point to the right? Thanks!

3 years ago

Hi Gary
It’s easy to flip the bubbles. Select the Bubble layer in the layers panel, then choose Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal. That should do it.

3 years ago

Thanks so much for the reply on flipping the speech bubbles Jennifer!

3 years ago

Hi Jen,

Thanks for the tutorial! You`re right.. the speech bubble shape tool would have been a little hard to locate.

How`s the weather in Ireland? Was over for a short visit last summer. Can`t wait to visit again!


3 years ago
Melissa Haseman

Great tutorial! But it won’t let me select the stroke path button? What am I doing wrong?

3 years ago

Thanks a bunch! So simple, it’s exactly what I needed. :)

2 years ago

Dear Sir:

How do you add the Speech Bubble to Styles?

2 years ago

Hey Jennifer, I am going to make a logo out of speech bubbles. Being new to Photoshop I knew there had to be an option for creating speech bubbles but was not able to find it. Your article helped. :)

Thank you

2 years ago

i was looking at you tube they all were very complicated, , i did not that i have bubbles already in my cs5.
thank you so much looking forward to learn more.

2 years ago

Brilliant -just what I need, thank you! Such a clumsy novice in Photoshop

2 years ago

Hello – probably a dumb question but how do you switch the little point at the bottom so it points from the other side?

2 years ago

I’m ‘STILL’ looking for the ‘right’ ”BUBBLES” !!!—

2 years ago

Where does one look to open the paths panel? It is driving me crazy…


2 years ago

Thanks! That was very helpful!

1 year ago

Thank you very much for this i have given it a trial and it works wonders. xxx

1 year ago

Thank you from zero to get it. I love it Dari nol sampai bisa, Aku suka sekali

1 year ago

Thank you! This helped me a lot.

1 year ago
Shirley Hoo

Hello, the dialog should type in photoshop itself or in Illustrator?

11 months ago

Hi Shirley
All of this takes place in Photoshop.

11 months ago

You’re most welcome.

11 months ago

Yes… its me again!

That was a great tutorial, and it really is a great way to punch up photos.

Its especially helpful having almost a two in one tool, to not only up the colours but also add some impact with tasteful contrast.

Keep the tutorials coming! I continue to use previous tutorial techniques in my processing all the time!


4 weeks ago

Perfect – thanks

3 weeks ago

Am using Photoshop Elements 5,6,7,9,14 and am trying to use speech/talk bubbles in some of my images. Am having one hell of a time getting them to work. Specifically getting the text inside the talk bubble. Is there any information or help you could supply? Thank you

7 days ago

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Pin It on Pinterest

Share This