How to Make Comics in GIMP

Written by darrin koltow
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How to Make Comics in GIMP
Gimp's font options let you apply typefaces appropriate to your comic's characters. (Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images)

Before you waste money for software to create comics, have a look at the open source imaging program Gimp. The program's tools for bringing your comic to life include the "Paintbrush" command. You can create speech balloons and captions for the comic's panels with Gimp's "Text" tool. And the "Rectangle" tool outlines the panels in your comic. You don't have to master Gimp to make compelling comics. You only need the desire to transfer the images of your mind's eye onto your monitor.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging


  1. 1

    Write out the story of your comic on paper, being as detailed you can to make illustrating the story easier.

  2. 2

    Click the tool box command whose icon looks like a dashed rectangle, then drag on the canvas to create a rectangle for each panel in your comic.

  3. 3

    Click the toolbox button with the "A" for an icon to run the "Text" tool.

  4. 4

    Drag below the first panel to create a text box. Gimp will display a dialogue box in which you can enter text.

  5. 5

    Type in the dialogue box a description of what you want to illustrate in the panel above the text box. For example, you may write, "Under a full moon, a hooded figure creeps toward a mansion."

  6. 6

    Repeat Step 4 and Step 5 to create descriptive labels for the remaining panels in your comic.

  7. 7

    Click the button in the tool box that looks like a pencil, then drag in the first panel's rectangle to create a line drawing that visually illustrates the description you wrote below the panel. For the "hooded figure" example, you might draw a hunched figure with a hood heading toward a large house.

  8. 8

    Repeat the previous step to illustrate the remaining panels in your comic.

  9. 9

    Use the instructions in Step 3 and Step 4 to create and add text to text boxes near the mouths of characters who are speaking.

  10. 10

    Click the colour swatch at the bottom of the toolbox to display a colour palette. Click a colour you want to use for a particular shape in your comic.

  11. 11

    Click the tool box button that looks like a tilting paint bucket, then click the shape for the one you chose a colour in Step 10.

  12. 12

    Repeat Step 10 and Step 11 to colour the remaining shapes in your comic.

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