How To Create Instagram Templates

entrepreneurship Jun 26, 2020

Who doesn’t love Instagram? I mean seriously! Not only is it one of the most aesthetic-forward platforms but it’s also such a magical place to discover and connect with like-minded people. So today I have a fun AND useful tutorial on how to create your own, original Instagram template to share with your community!

This tutorial is going to elevate your Instagram game like never before. You have my word! With only a few materials and minimal steps, you'll be asking yourself why you haven't been doing this all along. Let's jump into it!




Step 1: Choose a Topic & Create an Idea Bank of Related Objects



This can include anything you want to share with your community on Instagram. My templates in the past have included small businesses, artists, Netflix shows, self-care, and more. For this tutorial, I have decided to create a template for sharing some of my favorite books out there right now. Once you have chosen your topic, brainstorm ideas that are related to it. When I think of books, I imagine a cozy setting with cushions, scented candles, a hot cup of tea, a reading lamp, etc. Start by writing ideas on a piece of paper and before you know it, you'll have an entire idea bank! 



Step 2: Turn Ideas Into Doodles



Begin taking items from the idea bank and doodle them in your sketchbook. If you don't have a drawing tablet, NO worries! You can also trace your doodles and work off of them directly in Adobe Illustrator. If that's your plan just make sure to: 

  • Draw on white paper with a black pen. Aim for clear lines!
  • Be sure that your shapes are completely closed. This will make it 100x easier when filling in colors.



Step 3: Get Doodles Ready For Illustrator & Take a Picture or Scan

If you are using a drawing tablet, just snap a picture of your doodles with your phone. If you're working on paper and pen, scan your doodles. We are going to trace them in Adobe Illustrator. I use the CamScanner application on my phone to scan paper items.  

Step 4: Draw or Trace Doodles in Illustrator

Using Adobe Illustrator, open a new file with the following settings: 
  • Size: 1080 x 1920 pixels (for Instagram story)

  • Color Mode: RGB

  • Raster Effects: Screen (72 PPI)

Now, if you're using a drawing tablet, once you upload your image to Adobe Illustrator, use it as a guide and start tracing. Personally, I like to add a little bit of texture to my outlines, I do this by using a charcoal pencil brush. Feel free to use any drawing tool that you're comfortable with!
If you don’t have a tablet, once you upload your scanned image to Adobe Illustrator, use the file as a guide and trace your doodles. Play with the settings until you're happy with how the outline looks. Quick note: from here on, tablet or paper/pen, the steps will be the same!

Step 5: Select Color Palette

Choose a color palette based on the mood or overall vibe that you're aiming for. I highly recommended exploring Pinterest for inspiration! You'll probably come back with more than enough options, so don't dive too deep! My palette is going for a warm and cozy feel.

Step 6: Color Doodles

Onto the fun part! Start coloring your doodles. You can use either the live paint bucket tool or the blob brush tool. I love it when my colors stretch beyond their outline because it gives the doodle a more relaxed and hand-drawn feel. You can accomplish that feel by using the blob brush tool, it really gives it an organic feel.
Most importantly, have fun! At this point, you'll get a feel of which doodles coincide together so you can select the final batch that will go in your template. Don’t forget to group the objects so you have the outline and colors together before we start moving them around!

Step 7: Arrange Doodles in Canvas

Using Canvas, add a rectangle shape in similar size of your art board and choose a background color that plays along to your theme. Because this is a recommendation list, we need to keep the center area open for text or tagging accounts on Instagram.
You have a few choices here... leave it empty, add a shape to block it off, or use one of your doodles to block it off. I'm using an open book doodle as the central item here (smart, right?!).
When you decide what you're doing with your center, start placing your colored doodles around it. I let some of my doodles go out of my art board so they look like they're on the edge, which makes it look more organic. Play around with it and see what you love!

Step 8: Add Finishing Touches & Export!

Now we're just adding the finishing touches! Woo! First things first, add your title. Keep it short and to the point. Fill any empty spaces with random marks, or doodles. My go-to space filler is always polka dots! 
Lastly, don’t forget to add your signature or Instagram handle. This way people know who created this original template! Just export your work and start sharing it immediately! I hope you found this tutorial useful, but most importantly, fun! I can’t wait to see what you all create, seriously, it's going to be awesome. Here’s to sharing and learning from each other!




Hi there! My name is Anuradha, I'm a surface pattern designer, illustrator, and tea lover from India. I love finding inspiration in everyday objects around me and turning them into cute works of art. I also like working with inspiring quotes. I always say that if I read something worth sharing, share it I will! 

Don’t forget to tag me @confessionsonmychalkboard if you try this tutorial out. 

I also have a skillshare class available to artists of all kinds! Whether you're a beginner or a pro, check it out!