Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Anatomy of a stencil, with apologies to airbrush artistes...

by Mike Worley

Most airbrush artists I've run into, at least those doing airbrush t-shirts and such, have a bit of distain for stencils. The feeling seems to be that stencil useage takes away from the "skill" or artistry involved in painting with an airbrush. I guess like anything, they can be overused, or become too much of a crutch. But I also feel that, when used properly, some really good things can be accomplished.

I think like any good use of media, playing to the strengths of a particular medium is imperative. My opinion. But equally important is the drawing in the early steps. Finding a balance of black and white to achieve likeness, structure, and dynamics needs to be incorporated, too. Hey, it worked for Alex Toth!

Since it's "Halloween," and we've been highlighting monsters, I chose as the subject matter the delightful monster who kills killers, Dexter Morgan as portrayed by actor, Michael C. Hall. Here's my initial stencil tracing, which was refined more by comparing it to the original source and photo, before putting the knife to it...


Here's what the stencil looks like after refining the sketch and then doing all the finished cutting...


The way I was shown by another artist, to get the stencil to work on shirts and so that it won't fray, is to build up layers of paint gradually...

Eventually, the color is built up enough, and at that point the paint is heat pressed into the fabric. The material for this is Pellon...


After which, it is wise to do the same thing to the reverse side...



Here's my first attempt at using the stencil on a shirt. My original concept for this is to try and do "blood spatter" since "Dexter" is both a forensic blood analyst and a serial killer...

Add a name, and maybe the thing is sell-able. If not, I made it for my daughter, any way, because she's a big "Dexter" fan. Nothing like making cheap Christmas gifts, eh?


And I tried it on a display square. Will it sell? I don't know. It's the last weekend at the park, and if the weather holds up, we might sell a few. After all, the idea IS to make some money. I just want to give things a different look...


I never did show how the "Edward Cullen" stencil could be used differently. Strangely, this past weekend, it was the "Jacob" image that sold better. Fans can be fickle...


And here's a sketch I dusted off to finish. It's for one of the girls I work with, and she's getting married sometime next year. She also wants a "nicer" one, more wedding like. And I've thought about doing it, but adding some Springfield denizens to fill out her wedding party. Maybe Duff-Man and Disco Stu for groomsmen. Maybe Patty and Titania for brides' maids. We'll see...


'Bye now, all ten of you who read this!

4 comments:

Len said...

dude that stacie drawing is awesome!

Mike Worley said...

It was the only thing at the last Cripple Con I drew that I liked. Was in a real funk that weekend, and couldn't seem to make anything come out of the pencil with any decency. I did a real crappy Simpsons version of Chris Chua that I'm going to eventually re-do. Didn't have my "A-game" that day.

I've also done a stencil version of Jim Morrison, but I doubt it will get a lot of attention. Probably should do a MJ since that movie is out.

Kim said...

I can't wait to see your Stacie drawing finished. It makes me giggle.

And Brandon and I LOVE the Dexter stencil. He would have had a blast selling those. :)

karimakandda sony said...

Thank you very much for this blog.
I may add that in this new bad economy, that
like minded people like you and many other airbrushers,
pinstripers, and custom painters, and me have felt alittle of a jolt.
airbrush t-shirts