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Tips and Tricks on Creating Stencils

Tips and Tricks on Creating Stencils

Hi everyone, today we're going to go back in time and continue a series of Quick Tips more focused on techniques and less on results. We already featured wheatpaste and spray paint techniques, so today I though about teaching you some cool tips and tricks on making stencils.I hope you guys join us on this exercise, even though most of you are more keen to do digital work please take a look at this as a way expand your graphic abilities and to recognize new ways of thinking.So, what are we going to learn today?Stencils are basically any sheet of material with cut-out holes that are applied pigment instruments, most commonly spray paint. The cut-out holes work as a template for previous designed graphics be placed on a underlying surface. More malleable materials as paper, cardboard, plastic are better to use on this technique, but depending on the number of times you might want to use it, a stronger material such as wood and metal sheets may be more handy. This may sound as a really complex explanation, so I decided to make this more visual and posted some artists that use and abuse of this technique: C215 Blek Le Rat BanksySo before we can start it out, here are some materials you may need: 1- Cardboard pieces;2- Razor rather than a scissor (will be explained further);3- Pencil, eraser and a little notebook;4- Rulers;5- A black and white printer;Parts of the stencil: Safety BorderI call it safety border because it's minimum distance you should have from the cut-out hole and the border, this it's not specific in terms of measure, it's more about a distance you should calculate in order to avoid any leak outside of the cut-out hole. IslandAs the name already says, Islands are independent parts inside of a cut-out hole, as you may notice shapes can't float, so that's why they need bridges. BridgeThis are the ligatures that make the island possible to exist on the cut-out hole, knowing where to make this connection may seen a bit hard at the beginning. Cut-out holeThis is the place where we place the pigment, it should be stretched and pushed hard against the wall or surface to avoid leaks and blurs.How to make a basic stencil:So,now your probably wondering how to make your first stencil. Let's start by designing some simple and solid shapes, I decided to make some sketches of the basic shapes (triangle, square and ellipse). Notice that I did solid shapes, only silhouettes, this might be boring, but before you get the practice of making cut-out holes, you will rather do this kind of stencil. Let's say this is "Level 1". Now with your razor and a ruler, make the cut-out holes on the shapes you designed. Try not to use a scissor, as they are not precise for this kind of work and you probably may have to cut outside the design, what will screw everything.How to make lines using stencils:After praticing some other basic shapes you probably will get bored of it at some point, it's time to go to "Level 2". So, do you remember the stencil parts I explained before? More specifically the bridge and the islands, this will be necessary in order to create more complex shapes. So, how would you do the basic shapes with only lines? The answer would be probably this: As you probably notice, in order to make the line just transform the inside of the shapes in big islands, this can vary depending on the size of the outline you want to get.Making letters:The same logic goes for making letters, you can make more solid and square shapes in the beginning like the sample bellow: With time and patient, you will understand how to apply the bridge/island technique on the letters too, it's like rendering but on paper.Applying the stencils:I supposed most of you guys never used spray paint, so here some tips before getting your hands dirty:First of all: don't get your hands dirty, you can use gloves as you will have to use one of your hands to stretch and push the stencil. Just a glimpse of how your hand will look like If you don't use any gloves. I also advise you to use a 3M gas mask with a niosh filter (with a black stripe) as spray paint always have some toxic fumes that can't be prevented with regular paper masks. Please take care of your health, you will thank me later. Talking about spray brands: My two favorites brands are Spanish Montana (the MTN 94 line more specifically) and Ironlak. These are paint created specially for aerosol art, so they have a really good drying, coverage and pressure. Both these cans are middle/low pressure, what I think it's better when dealing with stencils. A New York Fat Cap it's the most recommended spray cap for this technique, as it can range from thin to thick lines. Also the coverage of this cap is quite uniform, the one displayed on the picture is a Ironlak New York Fat Cap. Now this is really important: Your spray trace is determined by factors as type of cap, distance from the wall, pressure applied on the cap and speed of the spray. So here's a example that show the most common traces:1- This usually happens when you put your spray can too close to the wall, please notice that it makes a solid trace without any blurring. This kind of trace is good when you're making a Graffiti piece trying to fill letters, but it's not that good for stencils, as If you cross the trace on the same point more than one time, you will probably make it drip and that's not cool.2- This one is actually what I think it's the best for using stencils, not too solid and not too blurry. With a low pressure spray can you can do it without much hurry and worries about drips.3- You should avoid this one, unless you're working with gradients as on a realist painting. This trace happens when you put your can far from the wall, even If you push the cap harder you will see that it takes more time to fuel the circular trace. Not recommended for stencils as they usually blur outside the safety border. This is actually what I think is the best distance to get the second type of trace, don't forget to measure the strenght you put on the cap as it's one of the factor that will influence on making a stencil. Now for some instruction on placing the stencil: you can't just grab it with your fingers and try to fill thru the holes, this way you will only get some really blurred shapes, even If you spray correctly. You should stretch and push it against the wall, try to minimize at maximum the space between the stencil and the wall.Patterns:Lot of artists use stencil for creating patterns on their paintings, it's actually the best way when it comes to traditional methods as you can reuse the stencil many times. At first I would recommend you to create a more geometric stencil, as it's easier to create and have a good result. I decided to do this arrows as used on some street signs. Now just apply the spray, there's not great deal about it, just make sure you're not spraying over where you already made the stencil.But Marcos, I don't know how to draw - Making stencil with photos and drawings:That's funny but most person who create stencils are not virtuose artists, most of them don't even know how to draw actually. So here's some tricks you can do If you're one this persons. First grab a magazine cover with a picture on the front. Using a Sharpie or other atomic pen, mark all the shade of the figure. Later just cut the shades you marked, you will notice that they will give a volume to your stencil. Another way is to get a drawing on the internet, open it on Photoshop and turn it to black and white (command + shift + U / ctrl + shift + U). I decided to get this classic Mickey and cut only the head, as we should start with a simple shape. Later, with help of a white brush, I created the bridges for a future stencil. This is quite easy, later I just had to print and to cut the black areas with the razor. also can draw it, the Mickey head is basically three circles (one for the head and two for the ears). This is quite logic for anyone who already have experience in drawing characters. Don't matter If you drawed it or printed it, the important it's to define the parts you're going to make the cut-out holes. And here it is: ConclusionI hope you guys had a great time on experimenting these simple stencil techniques. On the next tutorial we will explore some more complex tricks involving this technique, that's it folks!

Graffiti Stencil Effect in Pixelmator

Street art and graffitti will always be part of the counter culture and an important way for artist to express their ideas in the big canvas that is the streets. WIth that in mind we will show you how to create a simple spray effect using Pixelmator. For this tutorial we will show you how to create a nice stencil spray effect of the Squarespace logo using brushes and simple filters. It's a very useful technique and despite the fact that it looks quite easy, the details are very important and might take you some time practicing until you master your design with this effect. Step 1 Open Pixelmator and create a new document. I am using 2560x1440 pixels for the size. After that place your logo or symbol in the center. I am using the Squarespace logo for the Dribbble context. Next thing to do here is import some brushes. I am using the T9 Dirty Brushes and you can download them here Once you download them just open the .abr file in Pixelmator. The brushes will be automatically imported to the brushes panel. To see them, click on the gear icon and select the preset. Step 2 Add a new document on top of the other layers and with the Paint Bucket Tool (N) fill the layer with white. After that go to Filter>Stylize>Noise. Use 100% for the Amount. Step 3 Go to Image>Desaturate. Step 4 Go to Edit>Free Transform. Resize the layer like the image below. Step 6 Create a marquee selection of the logo we added in the Step 1 one by simply clicking on the thumbnail of the layer holding the Command key. After that create a mask on the layer with the Noise filter by selecting the layer and going to Layer>Add Layer Mask. Step 7 With the Smudge Tool start deforming the mask of the layer to create some dripping ink. Also go to Layer>Blur>Gaussain Blur. Use a 4 pixels for the Radius. Step 8 Now make the logo layer visible on top of the noise layer. Step 9 WIth the logo layer selected go to Layer>Add Layer Mask. Again using the spray brushes start painting on the mask to hide some parts of the layer. The idea here is to make the black less uniform as possible. Step 10 Add a layer on top of the logo and again paint some spray splatters using the brushes we imported in the first step. Step 11 Add another layer on top and now create some dripping ink with the spray brush set we imported. You will probably have to rotate the layer so for each dripping use a separated layer. Group all layers used to create the logo. Duplicate it and hide one copy. After that merge one of the groups and change the Blending to Hard Light at 95% Opacity. Step 12 Go to Google Images and search for wall images with graffiti. Import one that has a nice area for you to place your logo, like the one I am using below. Step 13 Duplicate the texture layer and move to the top of all the other layers. After that change the Blending of this wall layer to Hard Light at 100% Opacity. Step 14 Duplicate the layer with the spray effect with the logo and change the order of the layers. Make sure the copy is on top of all other layers. Also change the Opacity to 80% Conclusion Here is the spray effect. Very easy and I am sure it is a technique that will be very useful for future projects. In our opinion here at Abduzeedo, a designer should be able to understand and create all sorts of effects, that will make it versatile and able to work with different audiences. Of course effects is not the most important part of the design process but it helps to visualize the ideas much quickly. Now it is up to you . Download the Pixelmator File Download the Pixelmator file used for this tutorial.

The Dark Knight Rises Stencil Effect in Photoshop

The Dark Knight Rises movie is a couple of weeks away and the amount of posters and viral images promoting the movie is quite amazing. There are some really cool ones and as usual we want to learn how they were done. That is the case of this Photoshop tutorial based on another promotional image for the Dark Knight Rises. So in this tutorial we will create a stencil and spray effect using basic filters and some brushes. The technique is very simple and I am sure you will use it in your future projects. Step 1 Open Photoshop and create a new document. I am using 2560x1600 pixels. After that let's use an image of Bane. Look up on Google Images for the right one. The one I used can be found at… Step 2 With the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) select just the head of Bane. Step 3 Duplicate the head layer just to have a backup. After that select one and go to Filter>Filter Gallery>Sketch. Click on Halftone Patter. Use 1 for the Size, 43 for the Contrast and Dot for the Pattern Type. Make sure you had Black and White for the foreground and background color. Step 4 Look up on Google Images for the Batman symbol. After that use it as the eyes of Bane. Step 5 Add a layer to use as background. Fill it with black and make sure it will underneath all the other layers. Select the Bane head layer with the Batman symbol and merge them into one. Change the Blend Mode to Screen and if necessary go to Image>Adjustments>Levels and increase the black and white inputs to make sure there are no greys. After that add the text "RISE" using a san-serif font in caps. Also increse the kerning to 125. Step 6 Duplicate the background layer, hide one of the layers and then select the visible one. Merge them into one layer. Duplicate this layer. With one copy go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur. Use 8.0 Pixels for the Radius. Step 7 Go to Filter>Noise>Add Noise. Use 30% for the Amount, Gaussian for the Distribution and select Monochromatic. Step 8 Go to Layer>Layer Mask>Hide All. Then with a spray brush from… start painting on top of the mask layer using white for the color. Step 9 Make the hidden layer of the step 6 visible again. Change the Blend Mode to Color Dodge. Go to Layer>Layer Mask>Hide All. Then with a spray brush and white start painting on the mask to make the layer visible. The idea of this stept is to give more detail on the Bane's head. Step 10 Repeat the same process to apply the effect to the "RISE" word. Note that there are some details like blurry edges and splatters. You can do that with the layer mask and the spray brushes. Step 11 Search from some asphalt textures on Google Images. The one I am using can be found at… Place the texture underneath the background layer that is filled with black. Change the Blend Mode of the background layer to Soft Light at 80% Opacity. Conclusion Add a layer on top of the others and using a spray brush with black, create a sort of vignette effect to make the focal point in the center. Our design is pretty much done and the technique we used to create the spray effect can be used for your future graffitti images or any sort of spray effect you want to create. Now it's up to you, have fun. Download the Photoshop File Click here to download the Photoshop file used for this tutorial

The Irreverent and Funny Street Art by Mr. X

A friend of mine, who is a great fan of Stencil and Graffiti, introduced me to one of the most interesting street artists I've seen lately. Mr. X is a really talented street artist with a remarkable stencil style. The amount of details he delivers on each piece are impressive. If you want to know more about Mr. X , please visit his Website or his Blog. Making Of Whales in Love from Sr. X on Vimeo. The Mind Cleaner, Sr. X from Sr. X on Vimeo. Niñooo // E1000ink + Sr. X from Sr. X on Vimeo. Vallequis from Sr. X on Vimeo. Revolt from Sr. X on Vimeo. Sr.X. from Fiumfoto on Vimeo.

Super Cool Creative Stencils and Banksy Promo

We've seen some pretty awesome examples of creative stencil works here at Abduzeedo, like the work of world famous artist Banksy. Today, we pretty much bring to you some awesome examples of super cool creative stencils made by various anonimous artists. Also, Banksy is been featured at the Bristol Museum, in Bristol, with a whole exposition of his work, which is really stunning and provocative. You may check the promo video below... and seriously, I would really love to attend it. Anyways, I hope you guys enjoy our selection! Cheers! ;) Banksy expo promo Our stencil selection

Stencil Inspiration: Easter AIG hunt by ABOVE

The street artist Above has just finished a huge stencil art with a very clear critic to the AIG executives and their greed. He believes that it is his best stencil work ever. If he says so, who am I to disagree? Check it out because it's awesome. I just finished painting this intense stencil that comments on all the AIG executives greed and wrong doings that is in the major media. I personally think this is my best stencil works.... Above is an extremely talented artist whose work can be seen all over the world. I had long discussions with him about his awesome Graffiti Tour to South America and the Sign Language Tour where he visited 26 countries. Every each of his masterpieces has a special message. Enjoy the many projects this young artist has done. Video EASTER AIG HUNT from ABOVE on Vimeo. Some Images

Stencil Inspiration

What's up, everyone? Well, this week I made a presentation in college about stencil. I've been a sucker for this kind of graffiti for some time now, and made 5 cuts until now, and plan to do more. Have you ever made a stencil? If you haven't here's a little push. ;) Making a stencil is really easy. You can find dozens of videos over youtube showing you the whole process. I've selected 3 of them. Check them out. Now, if you want any ideas on what to make a stencil of, I tell you: pop culture! That's my take for sure. Mostly I make stencil of classic movies, or iconical elements, like the Heroes eclipse. Check out a few images you could make a stencil of (I know you'll get difficulty getting a contrast out of these, but still, these would make awesome stencils): I hope all these videos and images make you stencil!! You'll really get into it! Cheers! ;)

Inspiration: PaperMonster

When we talk about urban life, one of the things that probably come to mind is sweet street art. Stencil, graffiti, stickers and all that comes between. And PaperMonster creates awesome pieces for your visual delight. PaperMonster's anticipated solo show titled "Main Course" for recently opened and contains over twenty stencil art including pieces on canvas, wood, plexi, and rare original stencils mounted on wood blocks. Each of PaperMonster's pieces bring together beautiful and complex stories told within the collage of paper and stencils. Be sure to catch the show clicking here.

Banksy tours America

Banksy is in the news again this week. First because he tried to donate a piece of art to the Labour Party in the UK and second because he is currently taking a tour across America spreading his politically-toned outdoor urban art. Banksy tried donating a piece of art to the Labour Party in the UK but unfortunately due to his anonymous identity they couldn't accept it. Read more about it here. Here is the piece that was donated: Banksy is traveling across America right now placing pieces of his graffiti art in cities that have experienced certain problems recently (and in history). On his website you can view his progress. So far he's been to New Orleans and Alabama. Can't wait to see where he goes next. Here are a select few from New Orleans and the last one is from Alabama: partial source: Wooster Collective

Streetart Inspiration Part 1: Banksy

Banksy is an awesome street-artists from Bristol* (England) and probably the most loved/hated. Im in love with his artworks since i bought his book "wall and piece". Check out the great stencil art he does all over the world. * Thanks to Abduzeedo-user "Simon" for recognizing the mistake. CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) are the surveillance systems that often are seen in London. And now recognize that Banksy painted this pictures right next to one of these cameras. Check out his portfolio