Emoji, one of the computer languages, is created to send lots of information in such small data. It has its own character encoding standard. This word was born in Japan, which’s used to be pictograph or emoticons for use in electronic messages and webpages.
Nowadays, emoji is everywhere. Even input method tools are embedded in emoji. Since the change of the digital era, emoji cannot meet the needs of diverse communication. That’s when sticker comes in. We all know that WeChat Sticker enjoys great popularity in China. Various stickers can be installed from the WeChat app freely. Users can design and upload their own creations as well, including static images or dynamic emoticons.
Sticker is a killer for me that I normally afraid to design it. Because I draw digital arts for years, mainly creating realistic computer concept paintings. Cartoons and comics are really not my things. However, I decided to give it a shot when my beloved dog, A’ Wang, was passed away after he tried to save my father. The sticker of my dog’s emotions and expressions will be a memory for me, I think.
Having glanced over each photo of its one by one, I lost in memories of its companionship with me. Grabbed the pen, I stared at the paper for hours. But the paper was still in the blank. I got nothing for months in the end. The draft drawings were still too realistic. Finally, I got another idea by turning the photo into illustration first. Then, sorted out some most characteristics it had, I simplified what was complicated in its profile. Such as my dog had a “Chuan” Chinese character on its forehead and some white fur landed on its chest. Its body was in golden yellow as the sunshade soft light on it while its tail was up in the air and twisted twice, for example. That’s how I created my first sticker.
To make the character cuter and more fun to look at it, I created big eyes, short and slightly round body, and small hands and feet. I use a heart shape instead of the white fur during the design. After that, I got the sense and feeling of the character design. I put its expressions in daily life and what emojis that people usually love to use together, I created these 24 stickers eventually.
My artwork is designed via Adobe Illustrator (i.e. Ai). Creating a sticker is similar to the character design in the video game. It requires a vast knowledge of some essential principles including body proportion, perspective representation, the relationship between bones and muscles when there’s a moment. Then, add various elements for the character, such as a change in the facial features, or in the shape of the arms and feet. After that, having a three-dimensional space view in mind for the character, I selected the best profile for my character. Take the profile in ¾ side view, top view, front view, etc. Finally, I enlarged or shortened a certain feature of the character to an appropriate ratio with exaggeration skills from the cartoons and comics. That’s how the sticker of my character was born.
我的作品是用adobe illustrator (Ai)设计的，创作表情包主角就类似于游戏的人物角色设计，不仅得了解人物的比例关系、透视关系，也需要熟知动作与骨骼和肌肉所带来的裙带关系。然后，在一个角色的表情中，添加不同的元素，可以是五官的改变，亦或手臂和脚的形态变化。随后在此基础上，脑海中勾勒角色的三维立体图找到最能体现该角色的角度，可以是¾侧面、顶视图、正面视图等。最后，通过卡通和漫画类的夸张手法，将某一特征或形态放大或放小到合适比例，该角色的表情形象就孕育而出了。
WeChat has a set of detailed designing and uploading regulations. Artist has to design 16 or 24 stickers album, or a single sticker, or special effect emoticons via adobe illustrator, photoshop or other design software. Artist requires to prepare different sizes of image pixel materials, including stickers, sticker thumbnails, sticker icon for chat dashboard on the app, banner for sticker homepage, and sticker cover. Once the design is exported to GIF and PNG files and is uploaded to the platform, it has to be examined and verified within 10 working days. If it goes well, the artist’s stickers were to be displayed on Sticker Gallery in WeChat officially.
Let me share the meaning of all those image materials. Take stickers. It is the 16 or 24 static sticker images or dynamic expressions you’ve designed. Thumbnails are small images for the stickers, which enables users to view freely at the chatting and to browse the sticker homepage. As for the sticker icon, it will be shown on the chat dashboard when the stickers were downloaded to your WeChat app, which helps users select stickers as they were chatting with each other. For sticker banner, it is an illustration with character in it that be placed on top of the sticker homepage in the gallery. And sticker cover is a representative sticker that appears on the sticker gallery where users and stickers were first met.
Share your work with global users If you are interested in designing stickers as well. My stickers are called “The Daily Life of A’ Wang”, which have been displayed on WeChat Sticker Gallery now, hoping it will spice up your life with cuteness just like the way my dog was used to bring happy laughter and joy for my family. Somehow, I felt my beloved dog was still with me as I used these stickers. Perhaps, we found another way for the reunion, another way to memorize it. Feel free to download and use my stickers, and give me feedback. I will create episode two if inspiration finds me again. Hope you all love my stickers. I appreciate all your supports.