Book Thoughts: Paint by Sticker: Create 12 Masterpieces One Sticker at a Time!

Paint by Sticker: Create 12 Masterpieces One Sticker at a Time! was a 2016 art book by Workman Publishing. The twelve art pieces consisted of a hummingbird, two rowboats, a goldfish, some sort of water or steel mill, a butterfly on a flower, hot air balloons, still life with fruit, wooden house with tree, a red fox, the head part of a horse, still life with sunflowers, and a train with billowing smoke. In recent years there has been a wave of new art books for adults. Most of these have been coloring books, but there are a few unique ones like this sticker art book. Maybe there are other books like this, but it was a new idea to me.

Like its name implies, Paint by Sticker took the idea of paint by number but replaced the paint with stickers. To do this, they subdivided each art piece into hundreds of numbered, tiny cells, either triangles (3 sides) or quadrangles (4 sides). In the back of the book were corresponding stickers to peel and stick in the appropriate cell. Finishing an art piece could be time consuming, but they all looked pretty cool at the end.  The art pages and the sticker pages could be torn out of the book for easier completion of the artwork.

There was a noticeable increase in difficulty as I went through Paint by Sticker. The first art pieces had fewer and larger stickers. By the end, there were more stickers, mostly smaller sizes. It wasn’t always easy to make it look like the sample picture because the stickers were not always the perfect size to fit in the cell. Sometimes they were cut slightly too large or small. In rare cases, the shape was slightly off. On top of this, it was hard to line up the edges of the sticker with the cell. By the end of an art piece, there were usually a few visible seams where stickers didn’t line up perfectly. The end result was that it looked like a mosaic. This didn’t bother me at all though. They looked good enough. The imperfections made it look more human and less like computer output.

One bad thing was how the sticker pages were sometimes not cut very well. I already mentioned some stickers not having the right shape, but on some pages the stickers were not cut all the way through. A few times I ripped a sticker while trying to peel it off. This was mainly a problem in the beginning when I wasn’t used to the technique. By the end, I was an expert and almost never had trouble getting a sticker out. I found it much easier to get them out by bending the paper on the edge of the sticker I wanted. Usually, the sticker would partially detach giving me a part to pull from. In cases where the sticker was not cut all the way through, I peeled the other parts of the sticker and then used my nail to gently cut the sticker were it was supposed to be cut. By the time I finished the last art piece, they were looking very clean. There were still a few seams, but they looked pretty high quality.

I thought it was a nice touch how the pages could be torn out of the book. It made it easier to finish each piece, but even better was how the artwork could then be hung up on a wall. Paint by Sticker was made for adults, but teenagers would probably be able to finish everything pretty well. The only requirement is patience. It can get pretty tedious when there are a bunch of tiny stickers to place. This book would be great for friends to casually chat while placing stickers. It very much fits in the same niche as the adult coloring books.

Overall, I had fun with Paint by Sticker and recommend it to anyone interested in easier art. It can take a while to finish the artwork, but it’s never hard. I received this book as a gift and enjoyed it, so I also recommend it for gifts. However, one possible problem is all the hunching over placing stickers can require. Several times I felt back pain after working on the book, but an elderly person might have more trouble. Keep this in mind if you plan on buying it for someone with back problems. Then again, they could tape the pages to a window, allowing their back to remain upright while they work.

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