How I made stickers for iOS, on iOS...
Using an iPad.

The sticker pack

In September 2017 I launched the second version of my Inky Sticker pack for iOS.

What made this set different to the previous? To start, the sticker pack more than doubled in size (over 50 stickers!), the quality improved tenfold, and they were now entirely digital. In fact, I designed and produced the sticker pack using an iPad Pro! Not a case of ‘I used it a bit for that sticker’ - instead, the iPad was the primary tool in the creative process.

Timelapse video captured from Procreate.
Many characters were modelled after emotions to make converstaions more expressive! (I love the 'Fury' character, he is SO angry!)
Colour experiments were fun with my 'Crayon' brush.

Recipe for a sticker pack:

Organising Layers in Affinity Photo for iPad
  1. Take a high resolution scan and remove the dust in Affinity Photo brought in by the poor quality scanner.
  2. Separate the spots from the paper using Affinity Photo for iPad. Learn how!
  3. Export to Procreate and use Jethro’s Studio pen to draw the characters.
  4. Keep adding characters over the course of a two day conference (I was listening to the talks! I love sketching while I listen though)
  5. Transfer back to Affinity and organise all the layers!
  6. Test out outline styles and fill in the gaps.
  7. Create a super fantastic action in Photoshop for batch creating the outlines and exporting all the characters.*
  8. Arrange the characters with Astropad & Photoshop to create a fantastically wide Instagram marketing image!
  9. Compile the stickers in Xcode
  10. Adjust as necessary.
  11. Recompile and test!
  12. Repeat 9-10 over a few days.
  13. Release on the App Store!
Testing Character outlines for the perfect 'sticker effect' made easy with Layer FX applied to whole groups.

Even the text for this article was written on my iPad, the photos edited on it too. Not to prove a point, but because it was the best way to accomplish the project before me.

Sure, my laptop was used in the process, and it will be a few years before I could even consider working without it (if ever), but for now the iPad has become a key part of the creative process. It’s the fun bit too.

*My custom Super-Fast-Outline-Crop-and-Export-action (it adds the outline, crops the sticker to size, and exports the sticker ready to be moved into Xcode) was created in photoshop to help speed the process along. As soon as custom actions (or 'Macros' as they are in Affinity) are available on the iPad, I'll be trying that out.

For those who want to know the exact tools I used. Here’s the complete list:

Of course there was always going to be a dinosaur...
Dinosaurs are essential. Always.
Animating character text was hand drawn in Procreate before being taken into Photoshop to create the 4-frame loops.
Personifying expressions and feelings turned 'hunger' into Dracula!
While many represent common emojis, there are some for adventure!