Category: Portrait Stencils

  • Let’s Stencil…Tupac

    Let’s Stencil…Tupac

    Let’s stencil…Tupac! In this series we take a stencil and try it out. The first time through, we just kinda paint it the way it comes out of the box. Then we get some ideas, and we modify the stencil sometimes. Or we leave out a layer. Or we paint it on a different colored […]

  • Birthday Card: Old But Good Stencil Trick

    Birthday Card: Old But Good Stencil Trick

    Here’s an oldie but a goodie: combining two stencils to make something new. I took this picture of Petia the other day (can you guess what we were doing?), and there was something about the way she was holding the birthday stencil that gave me an idea. Why not make a stencil of her holding […]

  • How Much Detail Should I Include in my Stencils?

    How Much Detail Should I Include in my Stencils?

    You’ve got the portrait about right, but you can’t really see that dimple in the shadow of his face. How much detail does a stencil need to include? In the end it comes down to taste. But there are some aesthetic and some practical considerations. I like the graphic look of a stencil. I like […]

  • Removing Extra Bridges from a Stencil

    Removing Extra Bridges from a Stencil

    You paint a stencil with bridges in it, and everything is cool until you get to the darkest layer, and WOW—those bridges really stand out. They stand out because the surface under the bridge is white, and when you paint black next to white, the contrast is really distracting. Take this example of an image […]

  • Filling In Gaps Left by Bridges

    Filling In Gaps Left by Bridges

    Most stencils need to have at least a few bridges. Without bridges, the islands in the stencil just fall out when you cut them. And when you paint a stencil with bridges, there are going to be gaps in the paint where the bridges were. You can address this by eliminating the bridges in the […]

  • What subjects make good stencils?

    What subjects make good stencils?

    What subjects make good stencils, and which ones don’t? Let’s put a pin in a list of bad / good and then talk through some examples. Bad subjects clouds landscapes artistically blurred photos black dogs rainbows and other gradients (unless the rainbows are cartoon rainbows, like this one) overexposed or underexposed shots loose group shots […]

  • Interpretative Portraits with Stencils

    Interpretative Portraits with Stencils

    Professional photographers capture the most important and interesting features of a subject. They use framing and lighting and perspective and lens selection to do all that. Some of those creative aspects of a good photograph also come out in a stencil. In particular, when shadows fall just right, those shadows are gold in the stencil […]

  • Stenciling Three Layers is Better Than Five Layers

    Stenciling Three Layers is Better Than Five Layers

    I love three-tone (light, mid-tone, dark) stencil portraits. They capture light and shadow really well, if the original photograph is good. Most people seem to opt for more layers because the preview looks better. But it’s advisable to tune your upload until the three-layer stencil captures the detail you want, and go with that. This […]