this year i decided to make xmas gifts for all my friends. part of me wanted to make something special for everyone, part of me just wanted to paint. i chose stencils as the medium for a few reasons. one, i have little experience with them. most of my graffiti has been hand drawn on the fly. some people in the 'graff scene' seem to think that stencils are cheating. but i don't see it that way. it's just another method in the same medium.
after preparing you artwork (i did everything in photoshop) you will need to find the correct type of cardboard. stiff enough to not warp when wet with paint, but thin enough to be easy to cut. try and avoid the cardboard with the air bubbles in them. they are the most difficult to cut, and it's almost impossible to get very high detail with them. i like using the 'gift boxes' from retail stores. for these stencils i used boxes form dick's sporting goods, because they are a perfect thickness, and they are free. find yourself a good cutting surface. a desk you don't care about, a thin piece of wood, or one of those plastic drafting wheels. buy a new xacto knife or new blades for your existing one. this is one of the most important parts.
the sharper the knife, the sharper the image.
tape down your design to the cardboard and start cutting. take your time. and remember to follow the one rule of stencils: do not leave islands. by that i mean none of your design elements can be floating in the middle of the image. remember your entire design is cut in negative space on the cardboard. it's a hole or a series of them. so if there needs to be some detail within ones of these holes, the detail part must be bridged to the rest of the stencil.
after your stencils are ready to go it's time to prep your painting area. i prefer to paint outside, but since it's winter i had to use the garage with the door part way open. where ever you choose to paint make sure it's well lit and well ventilated. since i didn't want to get paint everywhere i taped up old newspaper on the wall and floor. find some trash and recycle it. i also suggest you wear a breathing mask and gloves.
so here's *most* of what i did this year. im not going to post the 85 unique prints i did of each design, just the canvas's.
cowboy bebop spike
jay and silent bob