February 8, 2016

How to Create Your Own Stationery on the iPad

by Valerie Seijas

Some things in life require that personal, hand-written touch. Everyday greetings, lunch notes, or love letters get that extra bit of substance when you break away from the keyboard. As a busy freelancer, I’m always looking to pack in creativity that’s simple, fun, and quick to complete. I like using my Bamboo Stylus fineline with the Bamboo Paper app for the iPad to create something more personal on the fly.

In this tutorial I’m going to walk you through a few simple steps to creating your very own stationery — for print, email, or somewhere in-between.

1. Visualize the Finished Product

Setting a goal can really help kickstart a project. What do you want your stationery to look like? Tall and skinny? Perfectly square? Maybe something simple and classic?

Sometimes I refer to standard stationery sizes for inspiration. Here are a few good starting points:

4 Bar — 4 7/8″ x 3 1/2″
aka: The Perfect Thank You Note
Also great for reminders and quick to-do lists.

Square — about 5.5” x 5.5”
Easy to mail, easy to Instagram.

A7 / Postcard — 5”x7”
Classic size for invitations, postcards, mailers, or holiday greetings.
Most any size work for my printer at home, so whipping up a quick note on some photo paper was never easier.
Remember, it’s just a starting point. Since my iPad is about the same size as a standard postcard, I’m going to start with a 5x7” card in mind.

2. Select a Style

A blank screen can be daunting! Sketching on themes or motifs can help you hone in on the perfect idea.


Themes are a great way to personalize stationery. Think of everyday objects or symbols and ideas that tell a story about you.

What represents you? Are you an avid skier or a secret bird watcher? Do you love Paris, books, or binge-watching Netflix?

Motifs & Patterns

Express your creativity using graphic elements. The arrangement of simple geometric shapes, lines, and colors can make a smart note pop.

What shapes or patterns surround you? Are you more paisley than polka dot? Chevron or stripe?

Initials & Monograms

Artfully include your initials or signature on your stationery to make it truly personal.

What represents you? A decorative single initial? A simple signature?

or this card, I think I’ll use some fresh flowers as inspiration.

3. Sketch Thumbnails of Your Layout

Here’s why you try out a few different layouts to get a sense of how much space you should fill using the Bamboo Stylus fineline (for tips on getting started with your fineline, click here). For these quick sketches I like to use the classic Pencil brush with a medium grey tone.

Sketch out some simple ideas to see what works (and what ultimately does not). Keep in mind the basic elements of good design and remember to leave enough room for notes, signatures, or stamps.

4. Select Your Favorite

After sketching a few ideas, take a look at your work.

What’s working for you? What isn’t working? Will you have enough room to write? Is the design simple enough to complete?

5. Create a Color Palette

Before we move onto the final design, pick out a few colors that work with your sketch. Bamboo Paper makes picking a palette easy and accessible.

First, I choose my flat colors. The Brush Pen is great for quickly laying down bright color and filling in shapes. Draw a few basic shapes so you can see how your colors coordinate. Erase and choose another color if your first shot doesn’t feel quite right.

Once I have my palette, I’ll use different brushes to play with layering and textures. Here I used the Felt Tip to see how the color blends when I overlap strokes.

Start simply. One or two colors can really make your design stand out. You can always add more as you go along if it feels incomplete.

6. Draft Your Final Design

Create a new page in your notebook. Using your favorite thumbnail as a guide, start drafting your final design.
I like to start with a line drawing, adding more color and fill after I get the main shapes in place.
Keep it loose and don’t be afraid to change things up as you go.

7. Round Out the Details

Now that I have a great line drawing, it’s time to play with color and add the final touches.

Choose a brush for the fills — the Felt Pen and Watercolor brush are great for layering. Here, I used the Felt pen to create a watercolor-like effect. For the bloom, I began in the center, working my way outwards in layers to capture the light that comes through the bloom of the flower.

Don’t worry about coloring precisely in the lines. Layered colors and depths can give your design an expressive quality.

When the design just about finished, I’ll make one final pass with the Eraser to clean up any unwanted marks I may have made in the creative process.

8. Save & Send!

Use the Share button to save or send your new notecard. I like to use the built in Wacom Dropzone feature. It keeps all my ideas in one place and makes it easy to send or print from my computer later on.

- Print It at Home
- Email It to a Friend
- Share it on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, or Tumblr
- Send it off to a professional printer like Shutterfly

Stationery is about accenting your words with personality. Keep things simple and let your design shine.

Keep creating on your iPad with the latest tutorials, tips and inspiration from Bamboo News by clicking here.

Valerie Seijas is a freelance Illustrator & Designer who works with Fortune 500 companies, startups, and non-profits to solve problems and create better digital experiences. She lives and works in New York City. To see more of her work, visitwww.valerieseijas.com.

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