Making stickers is seriously THE BEST. A few weeks ago I posted on How to Make Stickers on the Cricut. It was all about how I print and then cut my stickers. It got a great response, but I started to get questions on how I draw my stickers. So I made this step-by-step post, as well as a YouTube video. In them, I’ll show you how to draw the stickers, add the white border around the stickers, and save them as a download that you can upload into Cricut Design Space (or a Silhouette Cameo) to cut. I also give you a free copy of the file I make in the video so that you can download it and see what the stickers look like as a file. As an extra freebie, I have the Procreate brush I made for creating the white borders around my images, so make sure you grab that!
I waited a long time for a user experience that would work for the way I like to sketch and I’m kind of crazy about everything Procreate can do. It’s not the same as drawing in life, but it’s similar enough that it feels natural. The Apple pencil is weighted like a pencil and I use a screen protector with a paper-like surface ( I link to that in the Materials list below). In the video below you’ll see all the additional features that make drawing on the iPad well worth exploring. Plus, did I mention it was fun?
How to Draw Stickers on Procreate to Cut with Your Cutting Machine
What You’ll Need
- Procreate App (available from the Apple App Store for iPad)
- iPad– I use the 12.9 iPad Pro but Procreate works with other models of iPads as well.
- Stylus like the Apple Pencil (optional- you can just use your finger or you can use a third-party stylus as well.)
- Paperlike Screen Protector for your iPad (optional- but I really like mine. This is less of a screen protector and more like a textured sticker for the screen of your iPad that has a slight tooth. This adds a little friction so that your pencil doesn’t fly across the screen. This also makes it feel more like using a real pencil. As a bonus, I feel like it lets me hold my pencil more loosely and because of this my hand fatigues less, AND my strokes are looser and more natural. )
- MY Custom Sticker Border Procreate Brush- totally optional but it’s the one I created for my own sticker making.
- FREE PROCREATE STAMP SET– To help you get started making stickers, I created a free stamp set with a seamless brush as a free download for email subscribers. Subscribing is free and you get the password to my Resource Library where all my freebies are!
Note: People ask me what sticker papers I recommend all the time. So I created a post with ALL my Sticker Paper recommendations, How to Choose the Sticker Paper that’s Right for Your Project.
Step One: Create a Canvas
Open the Procreate app in your iPad and tap on the plus sign in the upper right corner of the gallery page. This drops down a menu that has the canvas sizes. Create a custom canvas size at the bottom of the menu. Mine is sized at 1571 pixels by 2367 pixels at 300 dpi. You can do 6.75″ x 9.25″ if you know that you’ll be cutting your stickers with a Cricut (this is the max size for Cricut’s Print then Cut feature. Rename it Stickers and touch done. This will immediately open up a new canvas on your screen.
Step Two: Sketch your Sticker
The first step is drawing your stickers. To select a brush tap on the brush symbol near the center of the screen. Personally, I like using a 6B pencil to start the sketch. However, you can choose any pencil or pen that you would like to use. To adjust the size of your marks you can play around with the sliding size adjustment on the left-hand side of the screen. I sketch pretty large then size it down after it’s complete. In the video, I give more info on the sketching process, including how to select and move parts of your sketch. I also have each individual sticker sketch on its own layer.
Note: I have the slider interface on the left because I like it there, BUT you can totally customize that. There are a ton of modifications you can make to optimize your Procreate experience!
Step Three: Add Color
Open up a new layer by touching the layers icon and then the plus sign in the corner. This will create “Layer 2.” You can rename your layers something like “sketch” and “color” or leave them as is. For each sticker design I usually work with multiple layers, and then merge them when I have the result I want. Touch and drag “Layer 2,” so that it is under “Layer 1.”
Under brushes, select a painterly style brush. Usually, I will do a soft wash of color (using the watercolor or gouache brush) behind my sketch and then build up other layers with the colored pencil or crayon brushes.
To choose a color, tap the round circle in the corner of your screen. This will allow you to play with palettes and to choose the colors you’d like for your sticker sheets. I get more in-depth about the color palettes in the video as well! Continue to add layers as you add different media to your sketch. And play with their position in your panel. I tend to keep the pencil sketch on top but then stack everything else on top of the first wash of color.
Pro- Tip: You can get highlights and lowlights for each of your main color choices by moving the center dot around in the center of the circle palette. Save those shades in the color palette you create for these stickers.
Step Four: Combine the Layers
When you feel like you’re satisfied with the colored layers of the sketch, you may choose to merge down the layers by tapping on the top layer and selecting “merge down.” Repeat this until you have a single layer for your sticker design. Rename the layer to clue you in what is on that layer later. You do not have to do this step until you’re done, but you can do it now. I find it helps me to keep track of everything and not get overwhelmed by as many layers. Plus, depending on the amount of memory on your iPad, you may find yourself limited by the number of layers you can have.
Step Five: Select the Sticker and Move It
Next, use the “select” icon at the top of your screen. It looks like a ribbon to me. Select Freehand in the selection panel that pops up. This lets you draw around your drawing with a dotted line, select it, and move it around on the screen. It is only moving within this layer. The other layers are not affected. Usually, I will just move it down to one of the corners so that I have space in the center of the screen to draw my next design.
Step Six: Create Your Next Sticker!
Repeat with other designs until you have the sheet filled. Make lots and lots of stickers. And have fun with it!
Step Seven: Arrange the Sticke Sheet
The placement of your images on the sheet is a little like a puzzle. Doing this will also help you see if you have empty spots to fill. How you compose your stickers on the sheet is part of the visual appeal of the final product, so give it some thought as well.
Step Eight: Add the White Sticker Borders
EDITED TO ADD- In the video and tutorial below I show you how to trace a photo to draw the stickers. But the second part of the video is showing you how to add the white border around the stickers. BUT I have a new post on how to add the borders- How to Make Borders for Stickers Super Fast on Procreate 5x. This updates the process and makes it a lot quicker to add the borders to your stickers. So make sure you check it out!
Open up a new final layer and move it beneath all the other layers. In the layers panel, uncheck the box labeled background.
By doing this you’ll have a transparent background, and you’ll really be able to see where your edges are on the images. Select white from your color palette. Use the Sticker Border Brush (a freebie in my Creative Resource Library) or a hard airbrush, lay a nice smooth line around the sketched images.
Because this is the bottom layer, it will show up as if it’s underneath your sketched and colored images. Fill the white shapes you just drew (the area behind the drawings) in completely. I usually color drop white into my outline.
BUT, if you see any kind of a line still, this may mean that your color threshold isn’t high enough. To adjust this drop the white into the shape and keep your pencil tip on the screen, and then slide it to the left or right to adjust the threshold.
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Step Nine: Clean Up Your File
Now you want to take the time to clean up the sheet. Look for marks that don’t have the white background behind it, and do some erasing, or enlarge your white background in that area. Look for areas and edges that aren’t clean or crisp. Use the eraser tool (set to the same sticker border brush or an airbrush) to smooth or erase as needed. I have a couple of tricks for doing this part of the process in the video!
Step Ten: Export Your File
With the background still unchecked in the Layers panel (so it’s transparent), go to the “wrench” symbol at the top left of the page. Select the “share” button and choose “.png” from the drop-down menu. Choose the “save image” or “save to files.” “Save image” will send it to your photo gallery. You could also choose to airdrop it to your desktop and save it to your hard drive there. And DONE! Whoo-hoo!!! We drew STICKERS!!!
Step Eleven: See My Post on How to Open Your File in Cricut Design Space!
This is the end of this tutorial, but I continue with how to make the stickers in my post, How to Print and Cut Stickers on the Cricut.
This post walks you through the next steps of uploading the image into Cricut’s Design Space, cleaning up the image background or smoothing the edges if you want to. It will also show you how to size it in your canvas on Design Space, and then printing and cutting your stickers.
I hope you really do give this a go. It’s just so awesome when you get to hold stickers you drew in your hands. I LOVE playing with mine in my planner or sketchbook. They’re pretty fun to gift too!
And DOWNLOAD MY FREE Sunflower Market STICKERS! Yup! The stickers I draw in this tutorial are a free download you can get from my Creative Resource Library. Feel free to grab them and you’ll see what the .png file looks like when it’s all done. You can also follow the instructions in my How to Print and Cut Stickers with a Cricut tutorial to cut these on a Cricut!
For more inspiration…
If you love the idea of drawing, but you’d like some direction, I recommend a couple of great beginner sketching books, in my post- How-to-Draw Books Adults Love. You really will love them. I showed one to my mom and she loved it so much I let her keep it. There are also some other really great tutorials about using Procreate on YouTube. I just watched this 18 Hacks for Procreate and loved it! AND I have another tutorial, How to Use Photos to Draw Stickers on Procreate. I’d love to have you check out that one as well!
Love This? Share it!
Thanks for reading this post, and if you have questions, be sure to leave a comment below or contact me. AND again, I would LOVE to know if you think you will draw some stickers and what kind you’d like to make. The sky really is the limit! And if you found this tutorial helpful I’d be grateful if you would share it either by posting it to social media or by pinning the image below! Have a great day,