Saturday, September 4, 2010

Stencil Self Portrait

I thought a stencil might be a good project to kick off the year. Typically I start with some a self-portrait project. This year I had my students make a funny and/or outrageous faces when I snapped their photo as a means to demonstrate facial expressions.
The students will learn the process of making a 4 color stencil print using shape and value.

Vocabulary:Value (light, medium, and dark), shape, registration, print, base, bleeding, and expression

The Process:
Step 1: Take a photograph of student, print a gray scale version of it, and make 4 copies. The size should be on 8.5" x 11" paper.

Step 2: The student will assign each paper the label of LIGHT, MEDIUM, DARK, or BASE. The student will then determine the appropriate value for each paper then use a marker to trace them out.

Step 3: Once the values have been traced, and approved by the teacher, the student will use an x-acto knife to cut out the shapes.

Step 4: Begin painting! The BASE stencil will be applied first (use either a LIGHT or a MEDIUM color). Apply the LIGHT value next, followed by the MEDIUM, and ending with the DARK. Allow 1-2 minutes for each color to dry between stencils.

I encourage my students to experiment with paint and paper color and alter the order of the stencils. Each student will submit 3 of their best prints.

Online resources: Stencil Archive Banksy Stencil Art


  1. Wow! Very challenging with 4 colours/stencils. I've only ever attem0pted one layer. Great results! Thanks for the link.

  2. these are fabulous. i'd love to see the 4 separate stencil drawing/cutting stages the students went through