Created By: Korodzik on January 7, 2013

Pictorial Speech Bubble

A speech bubble with a picture in it instead of words.

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A picture is worth a thousand words, and some Speech Bubbles do, in fact, contain just this: a picture.

Pictorial Speech Bubbles are generally used in two ways. First, to show the general gist of what the character is saying, without the need to focus on what their exact words are. Second, to represent the character's general mood, attitude or thoughts, even when they aren't specifically saying anything. It's not always easy to tell the two variations apart.

Rebus Bubble is a subtrope. Compare also Speaking in Panels.


Video Games
  • In Theme Park, kids have this kind of bubbles hovering over their heads to show how they feel about your park or what is bothering them.
  • The Sims talk in these.


Web Original
Community Feedback Replies: 5
  • January 12, 2013
  • January 12, 2013
    If "thought bubbles" also count, then there's this:

    In an episode of Family Guy, when Lois revealed that her wealthy father offered them a million dollars after she and Peter were newly married, but she turned it down because "they could make their own way", Peter has a thought bubble containing an animation that showed him killing Lois rather violently.
  • January 12, 2013
    Video Games
    • Web Game But That Was Yesterday. All of the characters who communicate in the game use this technique. For example, when someone wants to tell another character to "get up" or "jump", their speech bubble holds an up arrow.
  • January 12, 2013
    Italian gag comics (Clever & Smart etc.) commonly had pictures in speech bubbles whenever a character was supposed to curse; for example, in the speech bubble there would be a pig with the face of another person if the character was angry and shouting at him, or just the picture of a turd when someone was supposed to say "shit!".

    Kinda hard to explain, but I hope you get the idea.
  • January 12, 2013
    The Asterix comic books use speechbubbles with different typefaces to represent characters speaking in various languages. Egyptians speak in hieroglyphics. Once, when Obelix attempts to speak the Egyptians' language, his speechbubble is filled with badly drawn animals and stick-figures.