Sharpie Monograms {Teacher Gifts}

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Staples, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia  #StaplesBTS http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

We're under the two week mark here for the big day. Have you finished your back to school shopping yet? We did, and the minute we got home from Staples the kids stuffed their new backpacks full of folders, sanitizer, notebooks, and more pencils than you would imagine a 1st grader would need.  Pretty soon my morning lunch-packing assembly line will fire back up, homework will find its way back into our evening routine, and school busses will slow my commute... and we're all excited. 

Part of the excitement for the kids going back to school is meeting their new teachers. I forget how much you love your teacher when you're six and four. Believe me, they do and it's so cute. So they were really enthusiastic when they found out I was going to doodle little monogram signs for them to give to their teachers on the first day. 

Lately I've been sharing some of my Sharpie illustrations on Instagram that I do for my day job and I thought today I could walk you through my process. It also got me thinking that I should start drawing more often for me (with a little encouragement from you guys too)... well for gifts and friends and things and not just work. So while the kids were stuffing our cart with safety scissors and glue sticks, I threw a few giant packs of Sharpies into the cart too. And -bonus- starting August 10th all Sharpie Fine and Ultra Fine markers and highlighters will be on sale at Staples while they last. I may need more.

Normally when I illustrate for work I don't plan anything. I usually don't even draw with a pencil first or measure anything. Wing it all the way. But since I was creating letters and numbers this time, I decided to print out a thin outline first to keep everything neat. I did a variety of the grades they are going into and the first letters of their teachers last names.
I usually start at one corner and work my way to the other breaking the space up into chunks and then filling in those chunks with more detail as I go.
I traced over the printed outline as I went too so the whole thing looks drawn and not printed. More personal and less like I cheated. ha!
Once the main object I'm working on is filled in, I almost always think "it needs something" and add little doodles that trail off to the outsides.
Like this.

The kids were busy at work with me making their own creations. Nothing like fresh markers to stir up some creativity. Only rule was, don't shake the table (or draw on your sister's face but I think that one goes without saying now... I think).

I actually illustrated a variety of K's, experimenting with different color combos. I think I tend to lean towards monochromatic or just black. While my daughter loved the combo for this K I thought it was a little too juvenile. I did another in oranges and yellows.

 She's already claimed this one for her room since, well, K for Kaley.

Here's version 2.
 And the combo I ended up liking much better.

After all of the illustrating was done, I sprayed two dollar-store frames a bright orange.

Then I hot glued ribbon to the backs. In my mind these will hang on a door knob so I made it long enough for that, but really I have no idea where their teachers will put them... door knob, trash can... you know, whatever. (kidding... I hope!)

And that's it. I really like how sweet and personal they are for very little money. Besides being a great teacher gift, these would be a really cute way to display a baby's name on a nursery wall too. Are you inspired to try it? C'mon! I know you can't resist a new pack of Sharpies. :) Happy back-to-school shopping!


  1. Gorgeous! Your so stinking talented!

  2. Your designs remind me of zentangles. I love the classic look of the black and white and the color pop of the colored drawing with the red frame. Great work!

    1. I just had to google zentangle and you're totally right! Never knew that was a "thing" before but they are really cool :) And yes, black and white is my favorite too. Thanks Kelly!

  3. What a fun idea. I don't have kids, but these would be great to make for our home! Thanks for sharing. :)