Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Painting: Stencils From Digital Print

This tutorial walks the user through creating a two-layer stencil and acrylic paint composition at 7" x 7" though the size could be anything you like depending upon your project. 

1) The 7" x 7" printout of the composition to be stenciled is at hand. 

2) A 7" x 7" square is drawn lightly in graphite on the surface of your choice. Here a sheet of watercolor paper. 

3) The edges of the square are taped off with blue painters tape. I would suggest having more than one piece of tape for the border (you can see I got paint outside of this area in the following images).

4) A gradient is applied using a medium gray and mixing up to white at the top (wet on wet). If the first attempt goes wrong, let it dry and try again with another coat. LET THIS COMPLETELY DRY.

5) After the first layer of paint has completely dried, apply strip after strip of blue painters tape (overlap each piece a little bit in the same direction).

6) Cut down your 7" x 7" printout to get rid of any excess paper. Then tape it in place (covering the outer edges only slightly) over the acrylic gradient background. 

7A) Carefully cut through your printout and tape but NOT through your underlying surface (whatever paper you happen to be working on - the thicker the better with this approach). I highly recommend using a NEW BLADE for this or else you may not cut through the tape.

7B) As you cut make sure to cut into the outer tape slightly (the tape that is holding the printout in place) to assure your cuts go to the edge of the composition. Cut along the side of the composition as well to make sure there are no unnecessary connections along the edges.

8) Once you are totally sure you have cut through all necessary pieces you can remove the printout and tape that was holding it in place.

9) CAREFULLY use the tip of your X-Acto knife to peel back the selected blue tape pieces. Make sure to not pick too deep or you will pull up the paint and paper instead of just the blue tape. Go slow with this phase. 

10) If you peel the right way you can remove long strips at a time. If you are peeling and getting only single pieces of tape you have either not taped as specified above or you are pulling in the wrong direction. It will go much faster here if you pull longer strips up instead of tiny strips.

11) Here you can see all of the negative shapes have been removed revealing the acrylic gradient background in a selected area.

12) Another gradient going in an opposite direction is applied in acrylic paint, exactly as was done before but now over top of the complex blue tape mask. Let this dry completely.

13) Once the paint has dried peel back the remaining tape (revealing the acrylic gradient background again). Once again the tape should peel off in long strips (not short segments).

14) Here's an area that was messed up due to me rushing and not paying attention for a minute. To fix any issues like this on your own composition, take a tiny brush, add some matte medium or glue to the brush and apply to the underside of the damaged area. Press down to flatten.

15) I was very unhappy with my sloppy painting at the beginning of this so I decided to crop this down by cutting with my X-Acto knife and ruler - getting rid of the messy outer boarder as you can see below.

Here's the final version. Overall the painting, masking and cutting took about an hour or an hour and a half.

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