Create Your Own GIFs From Scratch + Freebies!

software Apr 16, 2020

Hi! I’m so glad to be here for the first time on The Pigeon Letters Blog and I’m excited to share with you one of my favorite things to do - creating fun stickers! I’m Oris Eddu, an illustrator, and I will be putting you through a step-by-step on how I create GIFs in Illustrator and Photoshop that can be used on social media or even as sticker prints on notebooks and gadgets. Let’s dive in!


What I use:


Step 1: Decide on a Theme

I like to work with a theme when creating stickers. It makes planning faster and gives the result a more cohesive look and feel. Some themes to consider are fashion, travel, love, affirmations and so on. 

Step 2: Sketch/Doodle

Begin to sketch your ideas. I enjoy doodling on paper to draft my ideas. Some may not go in the final illustrations and that’s okay. Here are some sketched themes I recently worked on.



Step 3: Digitize artwork 

Now it’s time to digitize your doodles. I usually take pictures using my phone and trace in Illustrator. I also make use of the ‘Adobe Capture’ mobile app – it’s a really good app that scans hand lettering or simple sketches as shapes and converts them to vector.


Step 4: Decide on a color palette

Once you have traced or converted your sketches to vector, you need to decide on a color palette. GIFs are mostly done using color variations, so having a specific color palette for your animation is very important.


Step 5: Make your Variations

Next, create a new layer and a new artboard with a minimum of 1000x1000px. Resize to make sure your illustration sits in your new artboard. 

Now let’s call the first variation of your sketch ”Primary”

Color your ‘primary’ sketch and group them together. Next, create multiple copies of the ‘primary’ illustration (I usually do about 3-4 copies). Use the ‘Recolor tool’ in Adobe illustrator to create color variations of the copies. You can also adjust the position of your illustration by rotating your artwork slightly if you need to.



Step 6: Prepare your canvas 

Create a new document with at least 1000px x1000px and make sure your ‘Layers’ panel is open. (Go to Windows > Layers)


Step 7: Copy into Photoshop from Illustrator

Drag or copy each variation of your illustration into Photoshop. Make sure your artwork fully fits in the canvas. Each variation copy automatically creates a new layer in Photoshop. You can re-order your layers to give your desired result. 


Step 8: Prep your Animation 

Next, go to ‘Windows’ to display the ‘Timeline’ panel and click on ‘Create new frame animation’. A first animation frame is automatically created.


Now, set your delay time and frequency of your animation at the bottom left corner of the Timeline Panel. I mostly use a delay time of 0.2 or 0.5 and a frequency of ‘forever’.




Step 9: Create your Animation Frames

Now that you have your first frame, it’s time to create other frames. Simply drag the first frame to the ‘duplicate’ icon to make a copy and turn off the visibility of the first top layer. Next, drag the 2nd frame and turn off the 2nd top layer.  Do this consecutively until you have all your layers as frames. 

Test your animation by clicking the ‘play’ icon at the bottom of the Timeline Panel.

Step 10: Save and Test your GIF

Yippe! You just created your first GIF! Finally, you need to save it as a GIF file. Go to Save for Web > Select the highest GIF resolution. To test if your GIF displays correctly, just drag from your file into a browser.

And thats it!! You did it.


To display your stickers on Instagram stories, all you need to do is create a GIPHY account, upload your GIFs and apply to get verified. Viola! All your GIFs will become visible when users search on Instagram.

I also love to use my sticker on my devices, chargers, journals and notebooks, it’s a subtle reminder for me and helps me stay positive, happy and motivated.

It was so much fun making this tutorial and I do hope you enjoy making cool GIF stickers. I’d really love to see them when you do, so please tag me on Instagram @breatheliveexplore


And just for fun, download some of my stickers FREE here!



Oris Eddu is a self-taught illustrator and founder of Breathe Live Explore that focuses on creating unique bright and colorful illustrations for products people need everyday. Inspired by travel, nature and everyday lifestyle, her work gives people hope that they can always have a reason to Breathe, Live and Explore. She also loves to dance, watch movies and enjoys good food!