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Stencils for Fast and Easy Effects – Video Demonstration

It’s no secret that I love and use stencils in my mixed media paintings. While many are my own custom designs, I also studio trial stencils from the shop to make sure they’re going to make your art more beautiful too.

These tag shaped stencils are a lovely discovery. Because they’re graphic and distinctive, they really add a nice sharpness and clarity to a project. I sometimes find my mixed media projects going a little fuzzy and a dose of graphic contrast is a great fix for that.

Here’s a quick demonstration of the Dress Form Tag Shaped stencil from the shop. The stencil design is 6 inches long  by 3.25 inches wide – a good size for smaller projects. They also work well either as a standalone design or as a supporting component where you use only parts of the stencil elements.

There are three designs in this series and they all play well together!

 

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Easy Stencil Solutions to Boring Art

How do you feel about stencils? Personally, I’m a fan!

Artful Stencils

Stencils add amazing complexity and patterns to your work without hours of numbing effort. By choosing your stencils carefully, you lay the foundation of a coherent and beautiful finished work. Patterns and textures work together to allow you to build on your own personal imagery and express your distinct style.

So, how do you combine different stencils so they work together instead of being a hot mess?

Choosing

I limit myself to three stencils and usually only one or two. Too many patterns – especially if they’re distinctive – starts to look mechanical instead of artful. Sometimes one really nice pattern is all you need. I like this brocade pattern and use it frequently.

When combining stencils, look for contrast in the sizes of the elements and the quality of the patterns and textures: linear vs organic, regular vs random, etc.

 

Placing

I like to use only parts of the stencil pattern on the paper. I’ll usually choose a portion of the pattern and place it carefully. Then, shift the stencil and use another part somewhere else on the paper. I seldom stencil the entire surface with any one pattern because it’s more interesting and visually appealing to have the patterns appear and disappear.

As you place your stencils, look for chances to highlight the focal point of your work and parts of the stencils your eye is drawn to. If you’re layering contrasting stencils, test the layered effect before you commit to your work because it doesn’t always look like you expect!

 

Painting

My experience is a lighter hand applying paint is best for several reasons. One is that it helps keep the stencil edges crisp. More than that, I like to keep my stenciling subtle, both in color and depth of paint. The muted low-key background effect adds a lot of interest without standing out. My favorite tool for paint application is the humble cosmetic sponge.

As you apply your paint, try for a sheer application so that the background is barely covered. Choose colors that are similar to the background or a little lighter or darker to help sink the stenciling into it. As you stencil, you can even wipe away part of it while it’s still damp to help blend it even more.

 

Stencils: Your Secret Tool Kit

I use stencils extensively in my mixed media work. And, I’m currently experimenting with ways to incorporate them into watercolor artwork and even three dimensional works like art dolls. They really are a secret treasure to solve boring art!

Here are some of my favorite stencils from the shop. All of these are sturdy, reusable Mylar, made in the US and in the studio, ready to ship.

 

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Print and Create! Printable Collage Sheets – Watercolor Strawberries, Leaves and Blooms

Strawberries! Let these watercolor berries and blooms breathe a fresh spring breeze into your creative projects. Just print, cut and collage the elements into your art journal or mixed media projects for bright berry fun!

 

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Creative Possibilities Stash Pack – Now with More: Papers, Items, Creative Fun!

Mixed Media Inspiration Kit

Artist Ephemera Mixed Media Kit

I was looking at a mixed media artist pack the other day and thought to myself – actually I just said it out loud because I talk to myself pretty much all day – you know what would make these even more awesome? More Creative Stuff!

So, that’s just what I did. I added more papers and more cool studio stuff to each kit so you get over 50% more creative goodness for the same price!

I still hand paint, pick and curate the items in the kit so they’re a sampling of the fine and unusual offerings from my personal stash. And, I’ll probably talk to myself, and you too, as I choose and coordinate your kit.

Go ahead and grab one today and make amazing things with it – I know you can!

 

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Use Stencils for New Complexity and Interest in Your Mixed Media Art Practice

Find new complexity and layers in your mixed media art practice. Stencils add depth and interest to your work. These perfectly sized tag shaped stencils are easy to use and clean.