How to create fun notebook stickers in Adobe Illustrator

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September is here and that means – back to school! Maybe for some, this sounds sad but we can make it a bit less dramatic by creating some fun notebook stickers for you or for your family and friends. Let’s go!

1. Create a new document

Step 1

Create a new document. Set the width to 1000 pixels and the height to 600pixels. This will be our working area. You can later adjust the print size according to your needs.

2. Create a sketch

For this task, we'll need at least 3 sketches of cute and friendly school supplies. I decided to draw a magnifying glass, a pencil and a tube of paint. Use a lighter color to draw the sketch because it makes the tracing process easier.

3. Magnifying glass

Once we're done witch sketching, we can start tracing the drawings. We’ll be using the Pen Tool (P) to trace the sketches, point by point. It might be difficult to adjust to it at first, but once you get used to it, you can create amazing illustrations.

We'll trace object by object and I'll guide you through the process.

Step 1

We’ll start with the magnifying glass. Trace the bigger parts of the object first, like the big glass and the handle (2). Then move on to the smaller parts (3). Finish off by adding the face.

Step 2

Once you're done tracing, take a few minutes to define the colors on the magnifying glass. I used mostly orange (#f15a24 ) and blue (#8fd3f0). As they are complementary colors, they'll look good next to one another. I also used red (#c1272d), grey (#b3b3b3) and dark blue (#004f5e).

Step 3

The magnifying glass looks good but it lacks some details. We can add some reflection on the glass. First draw two long parallel rectangles in diagonal (1). Then combine them by creating a compound path (Control+8). Now, copy the glass and paste it in front (Control+F) of the rectangles. Select both the rectangles and the newly pasted glass and use the Intersect command from the Pathfinder panel (2). The result will be the rectangles inside the glass area. Color them in a slightly lighter shade of blue (3).

Step 4

We can add the finishing touches by adding small light reflections over the bigger parts. Draw 3 small shapes which will follow the lines of the magnifying glass. Color them in a lighter shade of their background color. Group (Control+G) the drawing in a single object. The magnifying glass is done. We’ll come back to it later in this tutorial.

4. Pencil

Step 1

Trace the larger parts of the pencil first, such as the body and the eraser (2). We'll need to draw the coated part of the pencil by tracing the wavy lines near the tip and close them in a rectangular shape. Copy and paste the body over the new shape and use the Intersect command in the Pathfinder panel (3). You'll get the coated part of the pencil perfectly aligned with the body (4). Also, don’t forget to trace the face elements (eyes and mouth).

Step 2

Now that we have the base of the pencil, we can add some details to it. We will need the eraser holder and the tip. Draw two new shapes over the top and the bottom of the body and combine them in a compound path (Control+8). Copy (Control+C) and paste the body over them (Control+F) and use the Intersect command from the Pathfinder’s panel (2). You shall get the holder and the tip.

Step 3

We can add the middle part by drawing a simple shape over the pencil's body. This will be a great detail later when we’ll add color to it.

Step 4

Pick some bright colors to add life and brightness to our pencil. I used pink (#ff888b), red (#ff1a2f), pale yellow (#f8c366), two shades of green (#39b54a, #009245), beige (#e0c9af) and a dark grey (#333333). Group (Control+G) the drawing in a single object.

Step 5

As a final touch, add some light reflection. Draw 2 simple shapes over the eraser and the body. Color them in white and drop the opacity to 50%. This will result in a rubber like glow which will look great on the pencil.

5. Color tube

Step 1

The color tube is our last object to trace and color. Start by tracing the bigger parts such as the body and the cap (2). Then move on to the smaller ones (3). Finish by tracing the smiley face over the tube and delete the sketch (4).

Step 2

Use mostly grey tones (#b3b3b3, #e6e6e6, #808080 )for the tube and some yellows (#f7931e, #fbb03b) for the cap and the smiley face. Color the eyes and mouth in dark grey (#333333). Group (Control+G) the drawing in a single object.

Step 3

We will need some more details, so we will make light reflections – just like we did at the pencil’s illustration. Using the Pen Tool (P) create few simple lines over the bigger parts of the tube and color them in white. Drop the opacity to 50%. You can also create shadows the same way, only color them black and drop the opacity to 30%.

Awesome! We created 3 cute and fun school supplies. Now, let’s create some stickers using them.

6. Creating a sticker

Step 1

Start with the magnifying glass. Start drawing a simple rounded rectangle shape at the right side of the object and continue to draw around it. Follow the outline of the magnifying glass until you close the rounded rectangle and totally surround the object. This will be the border which will help us to cut out the stickers from the paper sheet.

Step 2

Select the outline and fill it with white color. Select light grey color for the outline.

Open the Stroke Panel (Control+F10). Select the dashed line option. This way, the outline will become dashed, so when you print the sticker you can follow the dashed line to cut it out. Add 4 simple shapes or lines in the empty rectangle, as a place where you could write down your name and details.

Step 3

Use the same steps to create the pencil sticker. Draw an outline for it and color it light grey. Make the stroke dashed and add the 4 lines for personal details.

Step 4

Finish by drawing the outline for the third sticker. Repeat the same steps – color the outline in light grey, make the stroke dashed and add the personal info lines.


Congrats, you are done! We learned how to create super cool personalized stickers for the start of the new school year. If you are already done with studies, you can surprise your friends or family by creating a personalized sticker for their books. All you have to do is to print these designs on a printable sticker paper and share them.

Now you can show the world what you have learned.

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