Attack of the Chub

My latest design challenge was to create a set of stickers.

When my little brother was four, he would often draw pictures of our family where everyone was reduced to chubby circular blobs with stubby small arms and legs. Inspired by his four-year-old art style, I decided to make a set of adorably chubby animal stickers, with a set of rules to unify them.

Each sticker would have rounded end caps, consist of a disproportionate large circular stomach/body, have stubby little arms and legs, a minimal color pallet to keep t-shirts a possibility, and small dots for eyes.

With these constraints in mind, I began drawing some concepts, starting each doodle by drawing a balloon-like circle and trying to turn it into an animal. I ended up with hippos, cows, moose, a bald eagle, a penguin, a giraffe, and a bunny.

My three favorites ended up being the giraffe, owl, and cow, so I began the process of creating them within Adobe Illustrator. I imported my scanned drawings and attached them to a locked layer for reference. I then used the shape builder tool and pen tool to help creating the basic shapes of each animal:

More choices were made in the coloring/shading process to help make the stickers feel cohesive as a set. I decided to remove the eyelashes from the cow to keep the eyes simple, and removed the mouth from each character. Each character's main shadows would "wobble" and darken the main color using a black fill, 20% opacity, and "darken" blend mode. The highlights would brighten the main color with a white fill, 15% opacity, and "lighten" blend mode.

Peer Review

After working on a design for several hours, even the strangest designs can start to appear normal. Once you reach that point, it's always an excellent opportunity to have those with good taste to review your designs and provide feedback. It was this process of peer review that helped me better define the shadows of my characters and make sure the strokes around my characters were consistent.

Tools Used
Adobe Illustrator