How To: Create Easy White “Sticker” Outlines Around Artwork In PaintTool SAI 2

If you want to watch a video tutorial on how to do this, keep an eye out for a new video on my YouTube channel (link in the sidebar).

While browsing around on FurAffinity and Instagram, I’ve found that a lot of artists (especially Telegram sticker artists) like to put a white outline around their art to make it sort of “pop” off the page. For some, it’s a way of making dark-coloured characters stand out when the artist knows that the commissioner uses dark-coloured themes in Telegram. More often than not, it’s simply an aesthetic thing.

So how do you do it?

Mordecai from Regular Show, artwork by me (

1. Make sure you have PaintTool SAI 2 open with your artwork of choice. You don’t have to mix down the layers, but I tend to do this when I’m done with the piece anyways, so it doesn’t matter to me.

2. Using the Magic Wand Tool, select the background around the character. After you’re done with this, do “Selection > Invert Selection” to just select your character. If your character has a background, just turn off the layer that it’s on. If you can’t (as you’ve mixed down all the layers), then skip to 2A.

2A. Again, using the Magic Wand Tool, select “All Similar Coloured Pixels”, set the “Range of Similar Colour” to something high (not too high, as we don’t want to select the background as well), then click around on your character. You can always use the Move Tool to move the selection around to make sure you got everything. If you didn’t, Ctrl+Z twice and try again.

3. With your character selected, do “Selection > Dilate Selection”. Zooming in on an edge of your character (as I’ve done here) might be helpful so you can see how thick the outline will be. How thick you make the outline of your piece is truly up to you, but I personally don’t like them very thick.

4. Do “Layer > Copy Layer” to make an exact duplicate of the layer (or group, for the more organized of SAI users out there) that your character exists on. Put this duplicate layer under the real layer, and feel free to name it something useful so you remember what it is later.

5. Making sure you are on the duplicate layer, use your brush and outline colour of choice to paint over everything. Since the selection is bigger than the character, you should now see a white outline around the character. In the image above, I deselected everything to show how it looks, but don’t do that. You’re not done yet.

6. Using “Selection > Dilate Selection” again, you’ll want to expand the existing selection around your character again. I was pretty liberal with the dilation in the image above in preparation for the next and final step.

7. Do “Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur”. Again, how much you blur the outline of your piece is truly up to you, but I personally don’t like my pieces’ outlines too jagged or too blurry.

And that’s it! Easy-peasy, right? Well, maybe not, but hey! At least you didn’t have to go back in and manually add it, right?

Feel free to share this post around! If this helped you, and you’d like to help me out, then consider sending me a coffee on my Ko-Fi!