Tips And Tricks On Creating Stencils #2


Tips And Tricks On Creating Stencils #2

What's up guys? Following my last tutorial, today we're going to proceed with some more techniques using stencils. Just in case you missed the part one, you can see it here. The focus of today exercise it's more complex techniques as multiple layers and color.

So, I believe most of you have already done some stencils from our last tutorial, so just in case you may feel this exercises may be quite simple, remember to focus on the technique and not on the result, it's just a sample.

So 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;

6- 3 different color of aerosol spraypaint.

Multiple Colours Stencils

So people always ask me how could I achieve this effect on the layers, well, it's ridiculous, although it takes some care and patience to achieve.

So, let's get a previous stencil we used on our last tutorial, it don't have to be the "paz" stencil, but I would like you to use a more solid stencil, you will understand later.

Let's first find a surface to apply it. I decided to use a dirty and already tagged surface.

I already said this on the list of material, but just to emphasize: In order to make this technique possible you should have at least four different colors of spray paint.

I just made a flat base color to give more contrast to this piece, you won't need to this If you're applying on a blank surface.

Let's simplify this process: you're going to fix the stencil on the surface on the same position all the time, If you take it out, you will probably lose the application site and will look like a mess, so please make sure to pin it with a duct tape or masking tape.

Let's start by applying softly the first color, the trick here it's to aim to the stencil border, not on the cut-out hole itself. This way you won't get a massive amount of color, just a little gradient, don't forget that spray paint can get really blurry.

Apply the second color, try to use the same technique.

Apply the third color, try to use the same technique.

Apply the forth color, try to use the same technique.

And here it is, If you done the procedure as I told before, you should get this kind of fill, with more than one color and gradient. This a quite useful technique when trying to reach a exotic textures.

Multiple Layers Stencils

When I say multiple layers some of you probably got in mind Photoshop or Illustrator and I know why, because both programs work under layers logics, so If you're already keen with them, this creative process will be piece of cake for ya.

Basic shapes

This may look a bit boring as the output it's nothing gorgeous, but let's start by making a multiple layer stencil using the basic shapes we already worked with on our latest tutorial. Could you guys make scheme of how I got this result?

Let me try to be more didactic:

Let's think as Photoshop / Illustrator layers, when trying to make this simple black and white shapes you should first start with the white fill, so the first layer should have only the silhouettes. The second one will have the black stroke, but please don't forget to create the islands and bridges as I said on the last class, other wise you won't get this effect.

So, this is how your stencils should look like, it's really important to make this shapes with the same width and height, the only thing that will change it's the cut-out holes. If you're going to make them digital, then print and cut it, this should be no problem. Although, If you're a willing to try it all manually, the first thing you should do it's to get two sheets of cardboard and cut them with the same width and height.

Then, draw the first stencil shapes, make the cut-out holes. Now drop the first layer over the other cardboard sheet, mark the shape shapes with a pencil, almost as a stencil. Now you already have the same measures as the first layer, you just gotta make the strokes following the rules of making the islands and bridges to make the stroke shapes possible.

Now just find a surface to apply, please try to find one with a texture, as one of the main things we want to test here it's the contrast, so it would be pointless to do a stencil with white base layer on a white wall, did you get it?

So, apply the first stencil using a black fill, let it dry a bit.

Now this step it's really important: If you haven't cut the borders of your stencils with same width and height, for sure you will have problems here on trying to aim the stroke layer on it's perfectly position. So, If you haven't done it before, now it's the time, try don't make a mess.

Yep, it looked so simple when I just showed it first, but now you can see it take more time than you imagined. So I recommend to try this exercise a couple of times before you start making it with more layers.


Remember that we did a Mickey? I would be really happy If you still had that stencil, as now we're going to try the same technique but with a more complex shape.

You probably already noticed that the first layer it's always the simplification of all the drawing. Most of the cases, it's all about the silhouette and on this Mickey stencil it's not different.

The other layer it's same we already created on our last tutorial, just in case you can't remind how we did, please visit the tutorial. Don't forget to respect the islands and brigdes rules.

Do whatever technique you feel more comfortable when producing the stencil, I rather always draw the figure than just print and make the cut-out holes, but again, this is just me. After you made the cut-out holes, make sure that both stencils got the same borders width and heigth, it's the only way to make sure you will overlay them correctly.

Now this is basically the same process as the exercise above: Apply the first layer, let it dry, apply the second layer, done.

Four layers stencil

Ok Marcos, but how about a 4 layers stencil? Well, the more layers you use, the more complex will be the output and so the process to get there. So, let's try something really easy and later you can try it with more complex shapes as you wish.

If you paying attention, you probably already figured the way I created this eye figure. It's just 4 overlapping layers, I just made a scheme of how it is bellow:

Simple, isn't it? So here are the cut-out holes you should create on each of the layers. You can print it on 4 sheets of paper and cut them or you can do it traditionally as I'm going to show bellow.

So this is how I did it manually: First I cut 4 sheets of paper with the same width and height.

On the first one I draw a big wide circle.

Then just made the cut-out hole.

Now I just picked another layer and placed the first one over it, then drawed a smaller circle inside of the stencil.

Then just made the cut-out hole.

I repeated the same procedure for the pupil stencil, so just overlay the two previous sheets and draw inside of it.

Then just made the cut-out hole.

The eye reflexes were a bit boring to do, as part of them are not inside the other sheet cut-out hole. So what I did was to draw part of the ellipses I knew were going to be in front of the pupil.

Then I took the other layers of it and draw the rest of the circles.

Ok, so you might be asking yourself "Why the hell would I create the stencil this way?" . Well, Iknow this way may seem harder, but think that this is the best way to prototype and understand how it will work later, even with you work with Illustrator and separate it on layers, you will only see If it really works when you make it more tangible.

So now it's all about applying the layers on the correct order, that's why I just numbered them previously, this way you won't have the chance to make any mistake. Let's start with white fill.

Do the same with the red and black layers, one thing you should be really careful it's with the drying time, every spray paint has it's own drying time and, of course, this also depends on weather and the surface. The more wet and cold the weather and the more flat and non porous the surface, the more time will take to dry.

Don't know why, but more than one person already reported me that the last stencil it's the harder to apply. I think it's because not only you already built a structure and will feel afraid to make a mess in the end, but also because, at least in this case, this layer actually overlay part of the previous, so If you did not cut it exactly, you probably will fail.

Well guys, hope you all got till this point, now you're ready to start making your own multi layer stencils, I would be really glad If my tips and trick work and help you. Please feel free to send me a e-mail If you have any doubts, it was a great time teaching this knowledge.

Written by

Marcos Torres

I'm Marcos Torres, I'm a Graphic Artist from Brasil. You can know more about me at my Website, at my Tumblr or at my Flickr.