How To: Create Hand-Drawn Stickers
Just stick to these steps and you will have a custom sticker in no time!

Design Master

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Hand-drawn illustrations are great images to use for making personalized stickers!

If you’re looking to turn your doodles into unique stickers, this tutorial will take you from the sketching to the print prep and will show you the complete workflow for creating your very own sticker illustration.

Start by getting out your sketchbook. Armed with paper and pencil, draw freely, adjusting the drawing as you work on it.

TIP: Use markers or pens if you prefer. Don’t worry too much about precision, clean trait and so on. You will be able to adjust all of these things later.

When you are finished, scan the artwork – minimum recommended resolution is 300 DPI. If you don’t have a scanner, you can use your camera, preferably mounted on a tripod to avoid camera shake. Import the file as you do with all of your regular photos.

Step 1 - Drawing

Since it’s important for you to be able to clearly see the outlines of your artwork, you may have to apply some correction to the image file.

The image is perhaps too dark or murky, but you can fix brightness and contrast so the white areas are really white and the dark pencil stands out more.

TIP: If there is too much blank space in your document, you also can crop the image. You can easily do this in any image editing program, such as Photoshop, GIMP or the software that came with your camera.

Step 2 - Sketch Corrections

Once the image looks clear enough, open the file in Illustrator (or your preferred vector image editor). With the pen tool, start tracing over your original sketch.

Complete a rough version at first, and then with direct selection and anchor point tools, fine-tune the outline of your artwork.

TIP: Turn off fill or lower fill opacity to see better as you trace. Take your time and don’t worry if you make mistakes.

Step 3 - Tracing the Drawing

When you’re happy with your basic outline, you can start applying stroke effects and color.

TIP: Make the stroke thicker to give the artwork more contrast. If you want to vary width and style of the stroke to imitate various inking effects, you can do so with the width tool and different brushes.

After that, you can apply fills to color the artwork. Choosing the perfect color for your illustration will bring it to life, and it also will be fun!

You can rely on Illustrator’s color swatch library or make your own color swatches from scratch. You don’t have to limit yourself to flat fills, however. You can apply gradients, textures and effects to give the sticker more depth.

Step 4 - Color and Stroke

Create a new document in Illustrator sized 8.5 inches by 11 inches. Select your sticker and then copy and paste it into the new document.

Resize it and make several copies from it. Arrange the copies neatly in the document to fill it with several stickers.

TIP: If you want, you can make different stickers and bring them all into the same document to print super-cool personalized sticker sets!

Step 5 - Before Printing

You can easily print your stickers at home using sticker paper and your inkjet printer, or you can have an online printer do it for you for better quality and lower cost.

Creating your very own hand-drawn stickers can be a ton of fun and allow you to tap into your creative abilities in a unique way. Now get to drawing, scanning and sticking!

Edited in Illustrator CC & Photoshop CC. Fox sticker courtesy of

About the Author
Kristi Maddox is a master of graphic design, on-site design and ordering, and is the go-to for template and design tool usage.
Kristi and the team order print jobs from every major printer to test quality, value, customer service, and more. See their reviews here:


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