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The Student News Site of High School for Mathematics, Science and Engineering

The Echo

The Student News Site of High School for Mathematics, Science and Engineering

The Echo

The Student News Site of High School for Mathematics, Science and Engineering

The Echo

The Sticker Uprising

Original Art by Nicole Chen

Small, hand-drawn stickers crafted with tape and tiny slips of paper. You may have seen them on doors, room signs, walls, and stairways: they’re everywhere! These stickers feature a simplistic cartoon character with a lot of personality. They were drawn by Nicole Chen (‘25), who has the goal of fostering joy and silliness throughout HSMSE.


This is my interview with Nicole, which has been edited for clarity:


When did you start putting your stickers up? When did you start drawing them?

I started putting these lil guys up sometime in the middle of second semester—I started making them in general near the beginning of second semester. But the character was there before the physical stickers as more of a beta digital drawn sticker thing.


Why did you start making these stickers?

Boredom. That’s the whole reason why I started making them. No offense to physics class, but when it’s the last period and we’re learning stuff that I could catch up on with homework, it gets boring. I did have an issue with sleeping in class so I just started drawing: I can easily multitask with listening and drawing, so it worked out. Kept the brain a-workin’. When second semester hit and I got sat next to some masking tape, I figured it wouldn’t hurt if I just ripped some and drew on it. Kinda got that idea back when I was in elementary school and the teacher didn’t have any stickers to give us so she opted for tape and a marker. 

Putting them up was a more simple idea. I basically mass produced unique stickers—making up to like 5–15 every physics class—and my buddies couldn’t take enough to get rid of them. So y’know, slap and bam, I started putting them up: “make it everybody’s problem” kinda beat. Plus, I figured that these lil guys aren’t harmful—it’s not like they’re complete vandalism or anything political, so it’s completely a-okay to put them up.


What encouraged you to put these stickers up in school?

It was mainly the reactions to the stickers—I mean, I first made these guys just to make them and to stay awake in class, not to gain attention from others. But people seemed to enjoy them and what do you know—stickers galore. Plus, I knew that people would probably appreciate my efforts so it was worth a shot.


Where did the inspirations for your character come from?

Probably my sisters and other similar artists online. My sisters have their own lil character that represents them and they can easily be used to react in text or just doodling. And really, my two sisters have always been role models for me. If anything, they’re the whole reason why I draw today or really everything in general—


I have seen artists like @wasabiiiladyy, @cuptoast on Twitter, or @mhuyocomics on Instagram. Their art is amazing and I highly recommend checking them out. But it’s not their works that drew (heh) me to them but rather their quick sketches of their reactions. The artists I named are very well known for their emotion and funny reactions.

Oh, and there’s also just plain reactions I see in reply sections. You have probably seen those “Twitter reaction drawings” floating around—I myself have plenty of them saved. Very similar to the things I named before but without the names (people need to credit artists more ☹️).


What’s their backstory?

Once upon a time, there was me. That me was texting someone and I needed (or wanted) to reply to a message with a drawing. I was on the bus so my hand was not as steady, thus causing my circle-drawing-abilities to stagger. So I gave up and just drew an oval. Then, another problem! I didn’t have enough space for a mouth or eyes! So, y’know what I did? Gave up! And I just drew an oval with glasses and stupidly simple hair. My lil guy, right there, was born.


Do you have anything you want to say to your schoolmates?

A message to those guys? Uh, be cringe, be free. It’ll make this school more enjoyable and comfortable. Oh, and pick up an art hobby. Your expressive liberty will grow with it.


Do you plan on putting these stickers up until your graduation?

Probably—it all depends if I have a bit of tape and boredom in one of my classes by senior year.


Where do all the jokes on your stickers come from?

Honest to god, I got most of my jokes off of my horrible humor from the whole wide internet. Some of them, I just thought it would be cool if I made some idea into a sticker and hazzah! Some of them, I got off the internet and just made it school and sticker friendly. Some were inside jokes to my buddies, some were just me expressing my emotions, some were observations and things I see in my life, and some were just… dumb. 


These adorable stickers have now become an integral part of the school. Next time you happen to walk past some, take a careful look! They just might brighten your day with their little jokes. Isn’t it amazing how such small creations can have a large influence on our community? Maybe your little idea could turn into the next big thing featured in the Echo! Don’t be scared to try. 


*Small note: Nicole takes commissions, so go check her out if you enjoy her art style!

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