Three-color Traditional Stencil plus Halftone for Portraits that Pop: Kylian Mbappé

Stencil portraits are great. From portrait stencil cards to the classic three-tone portrait to making a wall of faces, there’s no more compelling image than the face of somebody you love. That’s why we keep finding more ways to make those portraits POP. Here’s the latest.

Halftone Portraits

From our earlier post, you probably know that portraits are typically a great use case for a grayscale halftone. For example, this team photo of soccer great Kylian Mbappé makes a great traditional separation; but there’s a lot of great detail in the grayscale halftone too. Wouldn’t it be great if we didn’t have to choose?

Combination with the traditional separation

The halftone is very dark at the points where the three-color separation is dark already, so maybe we don’t need to do anything to the dark area. But wouldn’t it be nice if we could add just a little bit of that sepia tone to the mid-tone parts of the image? That’s exactly what we did here.

See how the traditional midtone stencil has an organic boundary, and accomplishes shading with *color*, while the halftone accomplishes shading by changing the width of the line of the black paint?

close-up showing halftone overlay on midtone stencil

Check out the full process in the video below

Even better to combine midtone and dark in the traditional stencil

In these next portrait ‘trials’, we did a three-color separation, and then combined the mid-tone and dark into a single layer so that we just mask off any area we want to stay white (and bright). There isn’t a huge visual difference because the darkest areas of the image typically get hit by the dark bands of the halftone stencil. But it does eliminate any white shining through where the halftone bridges mask the surface; plus it makes the image easier to parse while you’re painting it.

Check the process videos below for more on how the color variations were painted.