Sticker Tutorial: How to Design and Prepare Custom Stickers By Zoltron Black Aug 27th Featured Comments

This project was created using a *gasp* Windows based computer machine (PUNK RAWK! …although I do have a mac – put the gun down…) with a Wacom Cintiq 24 HD. I use many types of software, and pick and choose based on the process, desired output, and arbitrary roll of a 20-sided die.

Prologue: Tools of the Trade: Chapter 1: Chicken Scratching Winning Ideas Chapter 2: Solidifying with Sketchbook, Bro Chapter 3: Inking with Manga Studio Chapter 4: Color with Photoshop Chapter 5: Prep That Sticker for Printing …And ‘Knowing’ is Half the Battle! So, you want a FREE E.

T. sticker? Prologue: Tools of the Trade:

PROtip: Originally E.T.’s space cock weiner was to be hanging out through the crate handle hole. True! Look closely at the rough sketch!

(I also deleted the original filled-shape layer, as I no longer needed it)

Once you’re sticker art is ready to roll, place your order (with, punky brewster!) and then set up camp by your mail box and wait for your stickers to arrive! Be sure to bring a bottle or can to save your bodily waste and a plenty of glue for sniffing!

PROtip: don’t use the eraser tool. Instead, you can select to use any pen or brush with a transparent ink that essentially erases just like the eraser but with your comfortable and familiar settings.

Re-enactment of Z’Yeti at work. Some desk-o-rations have been changed to protect their identities.

Head over to the PaleHorse Website and pick up a couple Laptop stickers! He’s got a sweet new “Jaguar” Design as well!

From the file menu, select ‘export’ and export your image in the format of your liking. I usually choose BMP – so suck on that TIFF, you cocky son of a bitch!

Form Your Rough ConceptTo get started, I looked through my sketchbook of super quick, (often really crappy) pencil sketches to see if there was anything useful to work with. Lately I’ve been doing a lot of fast sketches to capture new ideas, dreams or visions that pop into my head. In this stage, I’m not too concerned with making a technically good drawing. The goal is just getting the idea down on paper and out of my head to remind myself of it later.

Since my artwork has a lot of odd areas and nooks, I decided to smooth it out so that my shape was not too complex and had nice clean edges for my custom die-cut shape.

Once the rough drawing starts looking pretty good, I selected the left side, duplicated and flipped it to keep the design symmetrical.

For this project I rolled Autodesk Sketchbook pro, Manga Studio, and Adobe Photoshop. And you can too!*

If you are curious about how I set up my brushes, check out the screenshot below for the custom settings I use to get this look. Nothing too fancy here, but I’ve tried a lot of settings over the years and these are my favorites to get this natural, soft shaded look.

Refine That Crappy SketchNow it’s time to go digital. First, I imported and opened up a pencil sketch .jpg in Photoshop and added a light blue adjustment layer to make it easier to draw on top of. Next, I created a new layer and started refining the sketch with my Wacom Cintiq tablet. In this phase, the concept starts to evolve and develop, but it’s still just a rough drawing to be refined again.

Obtain your free Zombie Yeti E.T. Sticker in TWO easy steps!!!!

1. Leave a snarky comment, or the title of your E.T./Quantum Leap dream novella, below!

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Select your artwork, ignoring the background. From that selection, choose ‘select>expand’ and expand it by that magical number: 38px. This gives you a rough die cut outine that you can tweak in various ways to you liking. I tend to use this die cut selection to create a new layer & fill it a solid color. I can then add and subtract to it until it looks sexy.

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Once I had had the smoothed out shape, I made it a selection and created a new layer called “Die-Cut” and gave the selection a 2-pixel stroke to indicate the cut line.

That’s it! Now, just hit ‘Save’ and you are ready to order your stickers!

For sketching I use Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. I like it. It has low overhead, great responsiveness & a simple interface. It also doesn’t judge me.

Clear Sticker Printing Set-upSetting stickers up for clear vinyl is actually pretty easy. I just leave the area that I want clear as a transparency layer in the background, so that whatever is transparent in my file will not be printed. Sticker Robot will then, back all my artwork areas with a thick coat of white ink.

They call me Zombie Yeti. I like to draw. Sometimes I make Custom Stickers too.

Once the document is created, I open my exported ink work from Manga Studio (in photoshop, stupid!) and drop it in a layer of the new document. You can use your line work over a new color layer and select ‘multiply’ to see through to the color, or you can go to ‘select>color range‘ and cut out your lines (I prefer this as i like to play with my line colors).

Answer: Click on the horizontal symmetry tool and in this case, the straight line tool to speed things up. Then draw lines on one half of the page and watch them magically drawn on the other!!!! VOOOOOODOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

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Knowing this, I use the ‘marquee‘ tool to create a fixed size selection of 38 x 38 pixels. I use this as a measurement tool. I move it to the furthest bits of art on all sides & drag a ruler guide to give me an idea of my safe zone for the die cut. This isn’t necessary, but can be helpful when refining your shape in the next step.

This admittedly is only my 3rd digital painting, so do seek out experienced folks for a digital painting tutorial. That said, I primarily use a default round brush with various opacity and flow settings. One thing that is important if you want to keep your strokes smooth like a criminal is the spacing setting of your brush. This is cpu intensive so depending on your rig, you may have to settle a bit, but if possible – turn it down to 1%.

To get your work printed these days, you’ll need to get them into a ‘computer machine’… To that end, I work primarily digital from start to finish for maximum control and expediency.

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I went through and carefully outlined my sketch with all the solid black lines that it needed for the main shapes.

In early stages, I work using a handful of layers to experiment. I’ll work at low opacity until I’m more comfortable with the direction and then I merge the layers and begin to work more opaque.

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I drop in my chicken skratch to a layer just so i get the general proportions and flow if there is one (in this case, I’m not so sure there is anything redeeming, but I’m respectful of my marks and don’t want to hurt their feelings).

Using a wacom tablet or Cintiq, the toolset and pressure sensitivity can be adjusted to a near perfect digital facsimile of pen and ink. I also recommend a felt or flex nib to give you good drag like pencil on paper. (I like drag!)

a series of “how to make” custom silkscreen sticker tutorials from

Note: On a Mac, the Apple Logo can be extremely bright, and even with 2 barrier coats of white, the entire logo will shine through the transparent sticker material. Try reducing the monitor brightness to a low setting for optimum results.

To do this, I turned on the rulers to measure and pulled out some guides to see where my cut needed to be. I then went to the dropdown menu and choose ‘Select – Modify – Expand’ and set my selection to expand by 50 pixels, so that it was at least 1/8 in. away from my artwork. (Note: the amount of pixels you expand by will depend on your sticker size and file resolution, so just experiment with this until you find the magic number)

Let’s start with the background first. I created the pyramid shape in Adobe Illustrator, then copied & pasted it on top of my sketch on a new layer. Next, I added a ‘layer mask’ to hide the areas I was about to draw in. I also temporarily set the layer ‘blend mode’ to ‘multiply’ to make it easier to see the sketch.

The following is a very cool step by step Sticker Tutorial on how to create some custom Clear Vinyl Laptop Stickers, that will glow when placed on your laptop…

An example of the usefulness of sketchbook pro is with the milk crate in this piece. It is pretty much head on and makes for a great symmetrical element. As such, sketchbook pro has great symmetry tools and straight-line tools to help us expedite this more mechanical element.

On a new layer, I fill the selection with 100% magenta to get the basic custom shape.

So, you read the title and have obviously clicked to read my inner most thoughts on the Wacom (pronounced: “W”- “æ/ə/eɪ/o/” -“com”)* Cintiq Companion EitherSee more

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…If you like where this is going, you can read more about this in my upcoming “E.T./Quantum Leap“ fan-fiction cross-over novella: “I Want You to Kill Me, Ziggy”.

Hello sticker maniacs, this is Chris Parks, (AKA Pale Horse) from Tampa Bay, Florida. In this tutorial I wanted to share with you, the process I used to create my latest, clear vinyl sticker based custom laptop stickers. I’m also going to walk you through the file set-up steps to get your stickers printed and die-cut with the dudes at Sticker Robot!

Now that the document is ready for the color, I’ll usually drop in a midtone background for a base. Often just a warm or cool grey, but for this I created a warm brownish hue (reminds me of that salad). Why? ‘Cause I can! I’M IN CONTROL!!!!!

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I then make a new layer to work on. It’s here I’ll start to refine the drawing and drink liquor.

Sketching from an idea is great, but getting your idea from blindly sketching with no direction is often more rewarding!

Below is a shot of the final result. Warning: Don’t gaze too long if you want to stay in this dimension and finish the tutorial.

From here, I switched back to my soft brush settings (see previous brush settings) and started painting in the shading details, color and highlights. I do all of my black shading on one layer and add color and highlights afterwards, but you can work however you want. I also always keep everything on separate layers, so that I can easily adjust anything as I go along.

Render It UpAlright! Now it’s time to get serious and precisely render up the final artwork. First, make sure that your file is set to up as CMYK and that is at least 300 dpi at the final size. (I like to work in at least 600dpi or higher, so I can zoom in on the details without pixilation)

For this project, I turned on my ‘heartlight’. I reached deep into my psyche, and tried to picture an alternate take on E.T. for the 21st century…

Once I’m finished with my inky lines, I need to get the inks out of Manga Studio and into Photoshop. Why? Just to prove I’m in control.

I create a new document in Manga Studio and bring the sketch in (copy/paste works fine from sketchbook pro). I then resize to my liking and take the opacity of the sketch layer down to around 20% and then create a new layer to start inking on.

I then went to the menu dropdown and choose: ‘Image – Image Rotation – Flip Canvas Horizontal’. Next, I deleted the artwork and replaced it with one of my custom pattern files and added my social media info so people could connect with me online. (I think this is a great way to promote your urls and any other info with your sticker, without compromising the actual artwork on the front.)

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Now, obviously, you could draw half of it and copy/flip it in the end. Of course, drawing half and seeing it all in real time is better and more natural – it allows you to gauge the full composition while also cheating like a bastard!

Make It FitNow it’s time to position the rough drawing to make sure it will work well with the glowing laptop logo. I copied an Apple logo from a Google image search and pasted it on top of my design to make adjustments to best fit the size and shape. I also busted out my handy ‘machete ruler’ and measured the logo on my laptop to make sure everything would line up nicely. It’s also a good idea to print out your design and hold it over the Apple logo, just to make sure you’ve got it sized correctly and you like how the sticker will look in real life.

If you’d like to see more of my work, purchase, t-shirts, prints, stickers and more, check out You can also connect me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter & Tumblr for non-stop updates and progress shots of new artwork and other custom vinyl stickers.

“At that point you can choose to flatten color areas and continue to refine, or squash that bastard down to half size and have it refined for you” – Steven Spielberg

Well, hello! I didn’t see you over there… I’m afraid you caught me fresh from the shower. I’m so embarrassed, as all I have is this small hand towel for cover… I should probably get dressed, but I’m sure you’re in a hurry, so perhaps I’ll just begin…

1960’s Batman Action Figure says ‘I don’t think Stephen Spielberg said those things, old chum…’

Once the main lines for the crate are in place, I’ll turn off the straight line tool and symmetry tool (just click on them icons again) and then start refining the forms.

Now, I just save my finished, layered file as a .psd and I’m ready to create the artwork for the back of my laptop sticker.

Once the shaping is to your liking, use your selection and ‘edit>stroke‘ that bitch! (3px width stroke for the sake of readability at 300dpi, says me)

As I work to bring the form into focus, I often turn down the ink layer to get a gauge on the form. In this case, I have no reference to use so I’m more concerned with generalizing the light and faking some dimension than making a photographic representation of the alien mofo.

I found a couple old Cyclops-looking scribbles that I decided to run with for a big, glowing eye concept and I took some shoots of the sketches with my iPhone.

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After completing the artwork setup, I jumped on, went to the custom laptop stickers page and clicked ‘Order Stickers’ and went through the simple guided steps to place my order. Then, I uploaded my artwork files for print and counted the days ‘till these bad boys arrived!

Third: Solidify the shape and forms until you’re happy with the sketch. I will sometimes leave areas intentionally loose and decide on the refinement in the ink stage. This is a personal preference that really is a result of a personal distaste for following the rules. (PUNK RAWK!!!! And I just used the word ‘personal’ in a needlessly redundant manner in that statement! Yipeeeeeee!!!!)

Step By Step Guide on Creating Your Own Hand Drawn Stickers & Preparing Them For The Die Cut Sticker Printing Process.See more

And don’t forget to socially stalk me (Zombie Yeti) on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and Xbox Live & PSN as ‘YourMom’!

I’ll continue to push and pull areas of light and dark until I’m relatively happy with things.

This clear vinyl sticker is extra special because it is designed to fit perfectly over the glowing logo on your Apple laptop and has the power to transport onlookers into alternate dimensions of time and space. This is of course not limited to just Apple products, you can customize your own laptop, tablet or even phone using this technique.

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Listen kids, you know there are many tools and many ways to make pretty pictures. So, make the pretty pictures in any way you want. I won’t judge you!*

After my front artwork file is saved, I hit ‘Save as’ and save this second file as “PH_Sticker-Back.psd“

For my workflow, I select the pen tool (NOT THE BRUSH TOOL) and using the sub menu (DOUBLE CLICK THE DESIRED TOOL ICON), choose a pen of my liking. I like to use ‘brush’ for broad work and ‘g’ for fine detail work. Ultimately, it’s what you’re comfortable with. My brush pen settings are pictured below.

“E.T. The Endearing Tutorial” Or “Try Real Hard Not To Say ‘Cock’ in a Tutorial, Yeti!” directed by ZombieYeti

Get your Artwork on the Back TooI also always take advantage of Sticker Robot’s sticker back printing upgrade. This is an option where you can create black & white, or grayscale artwork to be printed on the actual paper backing that peels off your sticker.

Die-Cut Sticker Printing File Set-upNow that the artwork is ready to go, the next step is to create a die-cut line around my creation so that the sticker will get cut to the custom shape that I want. Using the ‘Magic Wand’, I select the transparent background area and inverse it to get a nice selection around my artwork. For custom die-cut shapes, Sticker Robot requires that your cut line is at least 1/8 in. away from your artwork.

For this task this, I grabbed my Wacom pen again with the hard brush settings and just fixed problem areas by drawing on top of them and smoothing things out.

For the solid, clean lines I set my brush to the settings below:

(In the photo below, you’ll see that I also temporarily set the ‘layer blend mode’ to ‘multiply’ so I could see my artwork behind the shape)

PROtip: at 300dpi : 38 pixels is the equivalent of 1/8 inch.

Since I decided to do a die-cut sticker I need to create the die line that will be used to cut the shape. It’s important to have this 1/8″ away from the artwork since it can move ever so slightly in the printing process and you don’t want to clip the artwork, now do you?

To accomplish this, I start by merging my artwork into one layer on top of a transparent background. (I also reduced my file size down to 400 dpi instead of 600+.) You’ll notice that I left the 2 eye areas transparent so that the Apple logo will glow through the design when it’s stick on.

I was picturing an aged and frail E.T. alone in an abandoned shed. Living there, tied to a milk crate removed from Elliot’s bike many years ago… Sheltered in darkness, with only a small hole in the roof for light, and a battered body of scars and bruises for companions… Living in constant fear of the inevitable returning visitor that takes shape in the form of a matured Elliot… (A superfluous side note: Elliot was in a car accident years prior that left him with a limp, a bit deranged, and super mega horny!)

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I create a new CMYK document with the proper sizing I want to use. I chose to work at twice the physical size of my sticker at 300dpi (300dpi is the minimum dpi you should work with for your sticker, for best results). So, for instance, if you’re sticker is to be a 2″ x 4″ in the end, I’ll work it at 4″ x 8″. After I’m finished with the color I will bring the file size down to match the output.

In this case, I select the background color to start, since it is really our base fleshtone. I’ll create a new layer and set it to multiply. I then lightly drop in shadow areas with my brush opacity at around 50% and try to – really quickly and roughly – bring out the form.

Question: So how you do it, Mr. Yeti? How!? TELL ME! I’m a cheater!!!!!!

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Sticker Tutorial: How to Make Custom Laptop Stickers By Zoltron Black Mar 09th Sticker Tutorials Comments

Recently Sticker Robot approached me and asked me to share my extensive, elaborate, and completely scientific process on making art for a sticker. I said I would not, but instead offered to give a generalized overview of my workflow. He thought about it, and then kicked me in the cock with one of his robot feet…

Thanks for following along and I hope you enjoyed seeing how I blasted out this laptop sticker! Hopefully it inspires you to create your own pile of new stickers soon!

Why use manga for inks? Manga Studio has the most natural feeling ink tools of any software I’ve used. The program is robust with low overhead, so it’s great for moderate rigs as well.

I always start from the middle tone and work darks first, then light, and lastly highlight. Why? No clue – personal preference? Brain wiring? Large genitalia? Probably a combination.

“Working larger and then reducing helps create and retain detail” – Steven Speilberg

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I decided to draw in another monster getting wild in the background, with one stoned eye and one wide open to make use of the glowing leaf area. At this point, I thought it also needed something else to complete the piece, so I also added a geometric, pyramid background to the design to complete the rough sketch. It’s now ready to be rendered up!

I’ll then rough out my palette, grab a few accent colors and play on the sides to get some sort of approach.

I like to work quick and loose when I have no preconceived idea. I’ll often lay down general shapes for compositional targets to give a framed target to the play-field.

So you’ve finished your art? Great work! I knew you could do it!*

After spending some time honing in on the details, the illustration finally matches the vision I had in my head. Now, it’s time to get the file set up for printing my clear, die-cut vinyl sticker.

Diy contact paper laptop skin decal cover this is such a great idea plus
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