Custom Vinylmation Tips, Tutorials and a Contest with @ArtistAaralyn : Design

Coloring book pages. Google Images. Disney movies. That strange dream you had last night in which you finally got the elusive Park 1 Balloon Chaser…

What do all of these things have in common?

Minus your strange dream, these are all sources in which you can pull ideas and inspiration from to design your amazing new custom vinylmation!  Now that you’ve decided that you want to start customizing vinylmations and you have gathered all the needed materials, the next step is the all-important design.  So, where do you start?

Unless you want to dive right onto putting your design onto the vinylmation form, paper is always a great starting point. You can get the vinylmation template to print or digitally design by clicking here.

So, here is a look into my design process. It’s kind of basic. First, you need to figure out what you want to design. I take the first idea that I am really excited about and run with it. I watch the movie the character was in, stare at Google images for a while and then I get to work on sketching.

I start with the faceless Mickey design and for the purpose of this tutorial I’ll do a basic idea and design Mickey. My best friend in drawing is my circle template, shown on the vinylmation template below:

After drawing a curved line for his pants, I create a template for his buttons. I draw a shape I like on cardstock, then cut it out. You can see the template sitting on top of the vinylmation page below.

After tracing the template, I have two great looking buttons!

To draw the face, I split the vinylmation in half with a line, drawing up from the line in the center of the feet with a straight edge (piece of paper, ruler, etc.)

Next I curve two lines in to make the borders of Mickey’s face. (The eraser can be your best friend!)

After drawing in the nose and mouth, next is Mickey’s eyes. A template similar to the one used for Mickey’s buttons can be created.

Then, I draw in the whites of Mickey’s eyes. Note: I think the eyes are the most important part of the vinylmation. I spend the most time designing the eyes and getting them as perfect as possible.

Last, I trace the design with a Sharpie pen.

I don’t color the majority of my designs. I prefer to have fun mixing paint until I find something I like.

However, when I do color one, here is what it looks like.  Now if you would like to win the framed sketch, simply comment on this article below and Sunday night we will choose a winner! We’ll have more details at the bottom of the article.

Here are some more of my designs:

The Fantasia 2000 Spring Sprite:

Baby Bambi:

That’s the conclusion of my design article. Stay tuned next week for How to Prep Your Vinylmation for painting!

Feel free to ask Aaralyn any custom Vinylmation questions below or let her know who you would love to see her create next.  Remember one entry per person and the contest ends Sunday night at 11:59pm EST. Finally when commenting, make sure your email is correct.  It will not be published, but we’ll be able to email you if you win.

As always, feel free to follow Aaralyn or you can check out her awesome custom Vinylmations at any of the links below

Twitter: @ArtistAaralyn


  1. Denise M /

    really interesting! Where does your inspiration come from?

  2. lISA lAVELLE /


  3. JustMeg /

    This is great! Ive been working on lots of designs, just don’t have vinyls to paint on! Soon though, soon…

  4. Thanks for commenting Denise! I draw my inspiration from all sorts of different things. A lot of my artistic style is drawn from the Japanese art of anime. I choose what characters to customize by looking at pictures and going with the first idea and character that I feel passionate about. (Unless it is a commission, in which case I look at pictures of what the customer wants and work with him or her throughout the process.)

    A lot of my inspiration comes from watching the films the characters are in and looking at a ton of pictures. I really enjoy customizing cute characters, so they have priority. 🙂

  5. Thanks Lisa and Meg! Meg, I can’t wait to see your designs once you start!

  6. Patti /

    Rhanks for the tips. My Dad is an artist and I’m going to ask him to make a custom for me (his first) for my birthday. These articles will really help.

  7. Thanks for the comment Patti! It sounds like that would be an incredible gift from him!

  8. Edith /

    I have always wanted to do a sketch book full of my ideas and designs but don’t have the time. Hopefully these tips will help me get started. Thanks! 🙂

  9. Thanks for commenting Edith! Good luck!

  10. Tomas /

    Great artwork, and the tips help out a lot. I always want to do a custom, but I’m just not artistic. I will try these tips.

  11. Tomas, thanks for commenting! If you don’t want to paint, there are SO many other ways that you can design a custom. I have seen some amazing customs with sharpies or paint markers, which to some artists have much more control that a brush. You can try different mediums. 🙂

  12. Crglrsn /

    Completely agree with going what you’re passionate with at the time. I have about three customs I’m working on, but have to go with what calls to me most and put the others to the side (for now).

    Great articles Aaralyn (can’t wait for the painting one) and you know how much I adore your Cuties series. Can’t wait to see what follows.

  13. Thanks so much for sharing this. I find all of your articles very useful.

    I would love to see Daffy and Porky as the “Duck Dodger of the 24th 1/2 Century.”


  14. Thanks a bunch for the kind comment! I can’t wait for my next cutie-pie characters either! I think my next ones will be a set of four 3″!

  15. Smack6102 /

    I always love to see the behind the scenes workings of artists. I love how you use the tools and talent you have to create such great out on the platform

  16. Thanks Alex! Maybe that will be a custom I will see from you in the future!

    Thanks for the comment Smack! Glad you liked the article!

  17. Gayle Hughes /

    Wow, your process is amazing. I have never painted a Vinyl, but, I would love to. I am a sort of artist, I have custom hand- painted clothing, but, never anything like this. Hearing what you do, even though I don’t think I could do as good as you, I would live to try it.

  18. Thanks Gayle! You should definitely try it! You never know what you are capable of until you try. You might surprise yourself. 🙂

  19. Great tips! (and customs 🙂 )

  20. Thank you Tayner!

  21. Henry C /

    I want to see LOTSO! 🙂

  22. Geez, I wonder what person made that remark…you didn’t even have to put your name! Thanks for the comment Henry. I have a feeling you’ll be seeing not one, but two Lotsos soon. 🙂

  23. Cheryl /

    Would love to see you do a Tinkerbell! Love your work!

  24. Thanks Cheryl! I might have to design her one day!

  25. Bethany /

    These designs are so interesting! I don’t have any vinlymations yet but I really want one!

  26. Thanks Bethany! Good luck starting your collection! They are lots of fun!

  27. MegSRP /

    Great article! I love looking at your sketches for the customs you’ve made and seeing how they’ve transfered from paper to the mold.

  28. This article was awesome to read!!! Thank you for going over your process!!!

  29. Thanks for the comments Meg and Evic! I’m glad you both like the articles!

  30. I absolutely adore the Fantasia 2000 fairy vinylmation sketch! And would love to win the contest. 😉

  31. Thanks Rob! Good luck!

  32. i love the look of mickey. you captured something special in his expression

  33. Thank you Ryan! 🙂

  34. I love your customs aaralyn~ still hoping one day i can get that beast custom, if it’s still around haha

  35. Good tips. I hope I win.

  36. Thanks Raja and Gram! And yes Raja, I still have him tucked safely away in my display case. 🙂

  37. Crossing my fingers today 🙂

  38. admin
    admin /

    The winner is Bethany (Post 18:45 April 18, 2012) . Bethany we will be in contact with you shortly to get your info to send you the Sketch. Congratulations!

  39. Bethany /

    Thanks guys! I am super pumped to get the sketch! So excited!

  40. Congrats Bethany!