How to Guide: Making a Pencil Sketch into a Sticker (for cheap)

How to Guide: Making a Pencil Sketch into a Sticker (for cheap)

I recently acquired a toy vending machine that I plan to clean up and bring to craft markets and I had the idea to fill some of the prize balls with some small, exclusive stickers. My first market is in a matter of weeks so I really needed to get some stickers ordered up quickly so it became the perfect situation to make some (near) fully digital stickers! I say near because I still like sketching in pencil first to get an idea of the scale and size of the final product...

This year I've been challenging myself to work more digitally. So far ALL of my monthly coloring pages that I send to newsletter subscribers have been drawn on either my laptop or on my Lenovo tablet with a stylus! And I'm pretty damn proud of that! I shared a post some years ago about how I usually make my stickers from watercolors but for the sake of keeping this a faster project, a pencil sketch turned digital was going to be my way to go. 

First, I started sketching on some gridded paper (my favorite Paper + Craft Pantry x Archer & Olive collab) so I could keep track of the sizes without getting too carried away. My vending machine container size is 2" so they need to stay smaller than that. 

I then snapped a photo on my tablet and imported it into Sketchbook. I bought this Lenovo tablet going into this summer of Wanderful Retreats and travel because I didn't want to have to haul my laptop around for so long (plus it came with a cover, detachable keyboard AND the stylus). It's also significantly cheaper than any iPad (win) and my little Android loving heart loved the easy learning curve. 

Sketchbook is a nice simple drawing program (that some devices come with for FREE!)  If you don't have it pre-loaded, it's still a lot cheaper than some Adobe programs if you just want to play around with fewer bells and whistles.

Once I have the sketch loaded, I make transparent layer on top of the sketch. Then I start drawing with the stylus! It still takes me some time to get it all drawn in a way that I like it but it's significantly faster than erasing over and over on paper.

There's some nice shortcut options within Sketchbook that let you get more smooth lines... 

...and make some evenly spaced petals for flowers! I know I'm super late to the digital drawing party but learning how to use all these silly little shortcuts makes me super excited. 

Once I have everything drawn up, I save the drawing as a PNG file and send it to my computer. I have a Lenovo Yoga with a stylus so I can edit/draw right on my screen.  I still haven't learned how to add color on the Sketchbook app easily, whereas I know I can get things colored up faster on my computer with Gimp. I learned how to use Gimp years ago because it's free and functions like Photoshop and I'm still totally happy using it. 

I'll be sending these off to print with Sticker Mule because their custom stickers always look fabulous and the turn around time is hard to beat. I can usually get my orders in about 10 days. If you haven't tried them yet, this link gets you a $10 credit (which is even more fun since you can get 10 custom samples for $9!). The sample option is pretty wonderful if you just want to test out making stickers or just make a quick fun gift for someone! 

I got all the flowers and retro star stamps colored up on my computer in a fun retro color scheme and I'm SO excited to send them off to print! 

Stay tuned for a full post on the renovation of my vending machine and a look at the final products once I get these guys back from Sticker Mule

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