Way back, I started with one of Michelle's Street Team Crusades, where she encouraged us to cut our own stencils and masks. Not one to ever start with something easy, I did this:
It's a lion mask within a lion stencil within a shield mask.
I used it in the traditional way, pouncing paint through it and around it, which was cool but very static. And then I didn't do much with stencils for a long while. I occasionally used masks with my inks and sprays, but not a whole lot. I did a couple of things with paint, trying to use Michelle's drybrushing techniques and usually ending up with too much paint, like this:
Last Summer I got to take two fabulous classes with Michelle. And we did a lot with her new stencils, and we cut our own. And I was hooked. The techniques I had tried to learn from her blog finally clicked.
And once I came home, I decided to experiment a little more with layering and monoprinting with the painty side of the stencil, and that's how I did this:
The coolest part of this was painting a gray background and laying a stencil over it, then wiping through the stencil with a damp paper towel. That's how I got the lightest crosses. It's actually the blank canvas showing through.
I've gotten more adventurous with my experiments, hence the messy mushroom canvas and the Halloween tags:
Big mushroom masks cut from manila folders, layered with Michelle's quatrefoil stencil for spots.
Laid down a background, embossed through the stencil with clear embossing powder, and then darkened the tag, which the embossing resisted.
And Christmas was a great opportunity to use portions of stencils, and layer inks and sprays through them:
But all this time, I've been forgetting something that Michelle taught us in the classes. You can still draw through stencils. Remember when you were a kid, and you learned how to use stencils, and you traced the shapes through them? Or was that just me? Anyway, that's still a perfectly good way to use a stencil. So in the previous post you saw Mom's gift tag, where I started to remember that. This week, I spent some time with some stencils, a pencil, a Micron pen, and two Sharpies. Here are my experiments. I like the third one best.
What's cool is, it was a really simple way to test some layering ideas, and now I have some patterns that I can translate into ink or paint and still retain as much or as little of the pencil/pen/marker features as I want. The hash mark fill-in from the first one of these was kind of fun, and I can see where that might be useful in some compositions. But I loved mixing some filled in spaces with some outlined spaces like in the second and third photos. There's lots to play with here, and I have the feeling that the more I play, the more I'll discover.
When's the last time you played with stencils? Do you have some particular favorites? Do you make your own, or purchase them, or both?