Paper Stencils.


Detail Decepticon!
Hello, Everyone.
As I usually begin a project with a stencil, either bought or made, I thought perhaps it's time I set out how I do it.
This is NOT the only way, but the one that I use most commonly.
1. Select your reference pic:
2. Look very closely at it to determine the light source's direction - this will guide you to where the light and dark areas will be.
3. Printing - Figure out how many copies you'll need for ALL the stencils you might need to make.
4. Layout - Look at what you're going to paint on, what size do you want your image to be and what programmes you can use to create what size image you need.Also, if you're wanting to alter the original to create a new one, this is where I would normally add stuff to my image, either my own stuff or another image.
5. Background Stencilling - now I use the cut out peices to shield my image during the background creation.
And finally,
6. Melding the images to finish the work. - tightening up the edges or foregrounds or other focal point.

These are the basic steps I use to create my works.
They may not suit all types of art or design, but they work for me.
I use an exacto knife, a hole punch, rules of various sizes and french curves for guides.
I am also getting quite a collection of Mylar curves and shields that I use to guide me whilst cutting out the stencils.
A few words on the stencils-
Being as they're paper they tend to be fragile if you make them too intricate, so only make them as a guide and not the definitive stencil like the one's you buy.
Paper is absorbent so spray VERY lightly over it, in the first instance.
Making multiple copies means that if you tear, damage or destroy one, all is not lost - you have a back-up!
Hope this helps you out.
Thanks for reading this far.
Almost forgot!
Keeping your stencil in place on your board. - My painting board is a piece of MDF 4mm with a Gal sheet of steel screwed to its front, this way I can stick my stencil and substrate to it with magnets. I currently use 4mm round rare earth magnets.
This way, I can move either my whole board or just my stencil wherever I want it to be.
If I need to position small or intricate stencils, I'll lightly spray it with spray adhesive [low tack is best] then put it on.
Remember to give it about 2-3 mins to cool off [ stick ] on the board before starting out, and check the edges of it for any excess spray - some of them tend to bunch up around the edges if you are a bit heavy with them.
These are easily removed with an exacto blade or craft knife, but be careful you don't knick the paper, as it will show up on your work.
This will require repair before you go onto finiishing up your project.
remember also to CLEAN your magnets as paint sticks to them as well.
I habitually clean them off with a tack rag immediately after or as I remove them from the board - otherwise they will leave paint residue on your work suface and need much erasing to remove these marks.
Thanks, again.
I hardly ever use a stencil , but when I do it is a paper cut out from the ref I use , like the last few mono's I did with a black background .
I did the graphite sketch first placed the stencil over the trace with little magnets and covered the background with black paint before starting on the art I allow under spray to happen as that gives the art a softer look and saves me work in softening the stencilmarks.
other than for this I never use stencils when I do portrait work
All my portraits are done with stencils made from printouts. But it is just for mapping. Absolutely no detail goes down with the stencils in place.
Thanks, AndreZa, I knew what it was called, but couldn't for the life of me remember it's name!Lol!lol
Here is the latest one I used. This is just to do the darkest bits. I don't use it after this stage. But I did trace it before I cut it. If you use the same stencil to trace and cut, you can cut exactly where you traced and have a perfect match.

Good tip, AndreZA.
I'll keep that one for future reference.
It will help greatly when it comes to re-alignment, especially if you need to sharpen up outlines, etc.
Nice job on the graphic, it's cool!
One thing, though.
How do you stop all those little "tags" from fluttering around as you spray?
Mine always generate a racket that sounds like a huge bunch of Cicada's, and allow underspray to boot!
I tape the mask down when I trace it and I make registration marks on the mask and on the surface. that way I can align it perfectly afte I've removed it to cut out the sections. I use very small magnets but even that are sometimes to big to go on the small stuff. I just hold it down with a sharp pencil. If you can't use magnet then a very light coat of spray adhesive does an excellent job. Sometimes too good because the raised edges gives you less of a stencil look.
This looks like a good place to ask my question, I am prepping aproject and I don't know weather to use frisket or paper stencils.
I will be painting on a metal panel off of a computer case, (have more questions on that later), I'm painting a portrait of Jason, Fri the 13th, will have the lettering also, working on the drawing now, I tried to outline the lettering o my frisket but pencil, pen, sharpie, will not write on it, do I just cut it over the drawing and attempt to apply it? Or use paper?
I will of course have to use multiple stencils.

I'll just go ahead and ask my other questions, do I need to sand the panel with some 800_1000 grit before painting? And of course I will try to clear coat it when done, thanks in advance for your help!!