Two tips: Callouts, and image sizes (dpi)

In making my current batch of illustrations, I thought it might be useful to use callouts. You know what they are. They are those little bubble images that show you what a cartoon figure is saying. Acorn doesn’t appear to have callouts, but an easy workaround is to go to a program that has them. This would be something like MS Word or Open Office Text. Both have nice looking callouts which are vector images which can be modified in shape by moving the handles on the image, (providing you manipulate it while still in that program. How do we get these into Acorn so we can use them in an image? Easy. Make the callout as large as you can in the Word or OO Text edit window. Once you retrieve the screenshot, you can open it in Acorn where you can further manipulate the heck out of it. Make sure the screenshot is the same dpi, (change image size in Acorn), as any Acorn image you want want to make it part of.

Something else that might be useful for those who make illustrations for books, especially, is to save your images in as high a quality as you can without making the images overly large. This keeps the file size of the book down. We tend to think that TIFF files, being of extremely high quality, would be a significantly larger image, (file size, not physical dimensions), than jpegs. But they aren’t when you’re working with illustrations that have little to no shading. TIFF files, at least in the kinds of images I routinely produce, are slightly smaller than jpegs. TIFFs also don’t blow up in size like jpegs often do in Word. Not to worry, though. Word and Open Office Text automatically reduce the dpi of whatever size you insert. Who knew?! :alien:


A simpler way would be to use They have free callouts of various shapes and sizes, a nice selection of images, and an easy-to-use interface. You can download them as PNGs or JPGs, possibly PDFs.

Maybe it’s just me, but doing graphics in Word makes my head hurt.

Thanks for this great tip, Jan. I agree with you that working with images in Word can be pretty frustrating. And of course it can’t even begin to do what Acorn can do. Acorn is a starship while Word for editing images is a two dollar paint set from the five and dime. I went to and I’m not sure if it’s a free site or pay site. The reason I ask is that the callouts in Word and OpenOffice are vector images with handles to greatly change the shapes of the callouts. However, great as this is, in the end you have to take screenshots to turn them into images we can save and then open in a paint program, like Acorn. At we can download images at their highest resolutions. So thanks! :alien:

Canva is largely free. Fonts, most if not all graphics (including the callouts), basic layouts, are free. Other items, mostly photos, cost $1 each. So it’s not prohibitive even if it’s not free.

I agree that Acorn is great (formerly used Gimp, and was grateful for the open source, but it frequently gave me headaches). But I also appreciate having a variety of tools that make different tasks easier.