A Sticker Set About Emotions Found in Shoes
I wrote down several ideas and how they could be related to others. I was trying to find something that could be cartoonish but still hold some kind of meaning. I also really wanted to work with characters for practice. As I sat there brainstorming I glanced over and saw a strangers shoes. “I LOVE HER SHOES!” This isn’t the first time it has happened to me. She was wearing sleek, short boots that I wish I had. As I adored her footware I also tried to image myself in her shoes, what I would wear with them, where I would wear them, and how I would feel wearing them. As I did this, I realized that I really do have different emotions in different shoes — or at least I wear different shoes depending on my emotion of that day. Don’t we all? Isn’t the average person more likely to wear dressy shoes when they’re in a fancy mood, or comfy shoes when they’re in a tired one?
Going in, I knew I wanted to have shoes with the faces of the person wearing them. I wanted them to be cartoon feeling and feminine. My first sketches were terrible. I really don’t have a lot of experiences drawing characters, so that took a lot more work on paper than usual. I practiced with eyes and lips and other pieces before going back to shoes and working for positions again.
This worked well for me and I got some base sketches to reference on my digital drafts. I took pictures of them and pulled them into illustrator with about a thousand other references of different shoes and laces.
I spent a lot of time on my first draft and it turned out well. I worked with the shapes first, then started working on the outlines. The Nike shoe definitely took the longest because I had to figure out a way to place the face and the laces that made sense. I made a brush stroke for the laces that make up her hair. Working with the shape of each face I tried to make sure that they were different enough to show the emotions I wanted, but similar enough to look like a set. They all started okay but I knew I wanted to put more work into them. I needed the emotions to show even more.
After this point I continued to push the emotions in the faces and refine the shapes. I made the outlines on the edges thicker and defined the details a little more. I also added the arms at this point which also pushed emotion. After this, I started working with halftones and textures. I eventually got the idea to combine them so that the stickers didn’t get too busy. I wanted textures so that the shoes would have a more iconic feeling, and I wanted shadows to dive more depth. Combining these, I was able to do both without adding more colors. Colors turned out to be one of the trickier parts. I wanted them to be different so they had different emotional feelings, but I still wanted them to match. This was one of my trials.
In the end I made each sticker a different monochromatic color so that they still looked matchy. I also created a type sticker of the title, using the same brush stroke from earlier. I also got to learn how to set up a file and print stickers.
I really enjoyed the project. What girl doesn’t like shoes? But seriously, it was great to practice with characters and dig deeper into how they related to clothes and shoes.