Synopsis of Lizzie Ridouts’ “The Art of the Speech Balloon” article featured in Varoom!


Throughout time the speech balloon has been implemented by many as a device to transport words from our reality onto a two-dimensional platform in a transcending fashion to inform and entertain. The speech balloon has been used in such a way that it can now demonstrate the effect of an individuals words in a physical manner as seen in the political cartoon found on the first page of the article ‘The Art of the Speech Balloon” written by Lizzie Ridout for Varoom. This demonstrates that the words within the speech balloon are reinforced by the choice of typography and composition, which in turn emphasizes the context and delivers the message in a stark fashion. Over numerous centuries the speech balloon has experienced many permutations as a result of development over time. The earliest speech balloons can be seen in renaissance art as “scrolls” that “billow” across the paintings themselves; some of which are seen to “literally snake out of the individuals mouth.”. This clearly illuminates the importance of the speech balloon and the impact it has in the process of informing one. An example of early uses of various techniques can be seen within Thomas Rowlandson’s “The loves of the fox and the badger, – or the coalition wedding” where scrolls are seen to be containing text. Alongside this, other balloons have been implemented to depict a dream state by which a drawing of an object has been suspended within a circle shape, with radiating lines to emphasize the lucidity of the thoughts. Just one example of how speech balloons can put forward abstract feelings and thoughts to the consumer.