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Create your own amazing emojis in Sketch

Learn how to use vector shapes and gradients to create your own emojis in just a few minutes

The Internet has given us a lot of great things — from connections with friends around the globe to cat videos. But something that the Internet has really popularized in the last few decades are emojis. Today, we’ll be teaching you how to make your own custom emojis that you can add to apps like Slack or WhatsApp, so you never have to go a day without expressing yourself exactly how you want to.

And before we dive in, here’s a quick look at the emoji we’ll be creating. Feel free to come back to it at any point in the tutorial to keep track of your progress!

After this tutorial, you’ll be able to recreate this emoji and build your own — have fun!

Ready? Let’s get to it! 👇

1. Create the head

First, press A to create an Artboard, and resize it to 400x400. Then press O and create a 300x300 oval shape. Don’t forget to disable the border!

Save your Artboard (including the oval!) as a template so you can skip this step in the future and jump right on the design!

2. Add some color

Next, apply a Radial Gradient to your oval. Align the gradient from the top-left corner to the bottom-right corner, and give the top-most point a #FEEBBO color value. Add a middle point and give it a #FDDF79 value. For the last point, use #EDA52D.

Feel free to use different color combinations to convey different states. For example, red for anger or blue for cold.

3. Create the mouth

Press O and create a 235x235 oval shape. Then, double-click or press to enter Edit mode and delete the top point. Now, adjust its height until you’re happy with it — this will be your emoji’s mouth.

Play around with different shapes to express a variety of emotions. If you pull down the edges of the mouth you can express sadness.

Tip: Hold the key while you draw your oval to lock its dimensions as you expand it. This will keep it as a perfect circle even if you don’t drag perfectly diagonally!

4. Give it some depth

For the mouth’s backdrop, add a #3C2727 color fill and a few inner shadows. We recommend the following values for your inner shadows, although you can play around with them until you find a setup you’re happy with:

  • 0x 20y 20 blur 0 spread
  • -26x 0y 50 blur 0 spread
  • 26x 0y 50 blur 0 spread

Did you know you can stack as many shadows as you want? Same goes with fills, borders and blurs!

5. Create and mask the tongue

To create the tongue, add another 200x170 oval shape and position it near the bottom of the mouth shape. This layer should be above the mouth layer you created in step three. Select the tongue shape, then hold and select the mouth shape. Then Control-click and select Mask from the menu. Most of your tongue shape should disappear inside the mouth!

In addition to the tongue, you can also give your emoji teeth. Insert some rectangles, round their corners to achieve the shape you want and add some colour and shadows to get the final look.

6. Add a Linear Gradient

Select the tongue again and add a linear gradient, making the top point #E64545 and the bottom point #F47A7A. Adjust the position of the handles on the Canvas until you’re happy with the result.

While we’re just using two color points in our gradient, you can add as many as you want.

7. Add some cuteness

Now it’s time to add some rosy cheeks. Press O and create a 90x90 oval shape. Give it a #F9A038 fill and set a Gaussian blur to 18. Duplicate the shape by pressing D and place the shapes at the mouth’s corners. D’aww!

If you’re not sure what exact value will look good, try using the slider. As you drag the slider, you’ll immediately see how it looks!

8. Add some eyes

Press L and draw a short line shape near the top of your face. Give it a #382424 fill and set the width to 8px. In the Inspector, set the end to Round, then double-click the line to enter edit mode, and click in the center to add a new point. Move that point up to give your line a slight curve. This will give your emoji eyes, so duplicate the shape and place them both where they look best to you.

You know what they say, eyes are the window to the soul! Try out different shapes, vary the height and play around with accessories to achieve completely different looks using the same face base.

This is just the start! Feel free to customize this emoji to your heart’s content, or try other designs with different expressions to show every emotion you want.

Have you created an amazing emoji with Sketch? We’d love to see it! Share it with us using the hashtag #MadeWithSketch.

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