April 2021
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Today I launched Open Doodles, a set of free illustrations that embraces the idea of Open Design. You can copy, edit, remix, share, or redraw these images for any personal or commercial purpose.

I hope that this kind of resource makes it easier for designers to show the value of illustration in their mockups. Maybe you use these images as placeholders before you’re ready to hire an illustrator. Or perhaps this will encourage others to create their own kit and share it with the world.

Some of these doodles are direct scans of sketches I drew on my notebook during downtime or meetings. Somehow, doodling while on conference calls help me focus. The rest were first sketched on an iPad using Procreate, vectorized in Illustrator, made into a library with global styles in Sketch, and then exported as SVG and PNG. You can download the individual assets and source files on Dropbox.

If you want to learn the steps I take to make illustration libraries, I made a video showing my process.

I believe in the idea of Open Design. That the knowledge behind our craft should not be kept behind gates but rather freely accessible to the world. By teaching and sharing our skills and best practices, we improve the community and increase the value of design. Openly sharing our work invites people to collaborate, tinker, learn from each other, and grow together.

I don’t want to simply share a cropped static PNG at a finite resolution. The source files are available for people to download so they can see exactly how everything was done. I invite you to check the layers, inspect the colors, see how things were organized — look at my mess! Maybe by glancing at my untidy process, you get some bits to incorporate into yours or see if you would have done it differently. The opportunities to improve, build on top of, fix, and reinvent are yours to discover.

When I was starting as a designer, there was no one around me to teach me the craft, and I was broke as hell. I wanted to learn how to do digital art, but I had no money to get the programs. So, I had to pirate software (sorry Adobe) and even steal the CDs that used to come inside tech magazines. Mind you, this was in Mexico before the web was easily accessible. These CDs had demos of apps and some cool graphic design stuff. I learned so much from scraping all the content in these discs.

I once got caught and got arrested for taking one of these CDs. I was a teenager, so they let me go when my mom came to pick me up from the police station. She was so disappointed and I was truly embarrassed — I have never stolen after that. Looking back and seeing myself as a kid, I understand why I did it. I was hungry to discover new things, and I was willing to risk it all to get better at this thing that I loved so much. I now offer my stuff for free because I know other people are equally eager to learn and are looking for guidance, anywhere they can. I hope that opening my work helps them grow, get better at their craft, and make their parents proud.

I encourage you to make Open Design a part of your process and share your source material. Invite anyone to transform, copy, adapt, and reimagine your work — embrace the new opportunities that this could bring. Collaboration is the ultimate form of creativity.

If you want to go beyond what this set can do, I encourage you to hire an illustrator to help you tell your story the right way. Here’s a list of places in which you can find talented creative people to help you with your next project.

Go out and doodle!
Pablo Stanley


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