‘Stay Proud’ Heart

From Original Pride Painting
to Stick-able Art

Pride rainbow sticker on a water bottle, heart shaped that say "Stay Proud"

Celebrate Pride 365 days of the year with new rainbow ‘Stay Proud’ heart stickers!
15% of profits will go to the Ruth Ellis Center who serve and provide support to local Detroit LGBTQ+ youth.

Pride 365

Pride is not just during June, it’s 365 days a year. However, it happened to be last June during Pride month that I experienced an intense urge to make a large painting to honor LGBTQ+ communities. As a queer identifying person, I felt frustrated by blatant bigotry and wanted to share some positivity loud and proud. One evening in a fervor after reading a particularly upsetting news article, I grabbed an old piece of bristol board and began to paint using gouache watercolors and big sumi ink brushes. The process felt cathartic. I didn’t plan the piece and it just flowed from the brush. The words “STAY PROUD” came to me during the painting and I free-handed the lettering in brush and ink. The letters were a little wonky due to the lack of sketching, but I loved the piece overall. The video of the process can be seen in my embedded Instagram post.

The Heart Remake

I was excited to make the artwork available to others in my shop, in some form. I reached out to my Instagram followers and took a poll to see if people would prefer to see the Pride heart as prints or patches. I received a lot of enthusiasm about patches, which was exciting for me since I LOVE patches. I started to explore options, looking for something reusable or recycled. No luck. It didn’t make much of a difference anyway because the original piece didn’t translate to an embroidered patch due to its intricate color gradient, and I’m not a fan of woven patches (yet). So I went to the next idea. During the polling, I received feedback from multiple people that they’d like to see this image as a laptop or water bottle sticker. This option seemed more accessible. But I didn’t like the current lettering wonkiness so I wanted to rework the image before printing… 

I decided to redraw the heart on recycled watercolor paper instead of bristol board, because it could handle the pigment and gradient better. Instead of gouache, I decided to use vibrant acrylic inks. By wetting sections of the paper, I could push the ink without muddying it in a puddle (easier said than done). The result had a lot of depth and movement. The new piece was significantly smaller than the original in order to scan it and digitize it. My learning from the original Pride heart artwork was to add in the hand lettering separately and combine the images in Photoshop. Just in case I had another wonky situation. For the letters, I used A-0 and B-O Speedball calligraphy nibs instead of brushes; a new experience for me. It gave me consistent width that could remain legible when shrunk to a sticker sized piece. After dropping it into Photoshop, I worked with some levels and saturation and there you have it! 

The Final Sticker

As with the patch concept, I wanted the final sticker to be as sustainable as possible while still being able to withstand use on a laptop, water bottle, bike, notebook… you name it.
These stickers are durable while being 100% GreenGuard Certified due to their sticker stock, matte coating, and inks used in production to cut chemical emissions. This is the best environmentally conscious option that can withstand both indoor and outdoor use.

These stickers are
• Tear resistant
• Waterproof
• Soft Matte textured
• 100% GreenGuard Certified
• Environmentally conscious

If you post a picture of your ‘Stay Proud’ heart sticker, be sure to tag me @renskstudio on Instagram or Facebook so I can share your image!