I have a confession to make—until recently, I was afraid of stencils. Not that I had nightmares where they came to life and attacked me, or that I was trapped in a stencil box and couldn’t squeeze myself through the openings. I just didn’t know how to use them without making a mess. My paint would leak under the stencil and I ended up with a blobby mess. Sometimes it would come out light or uneven. And didn’t realize I could use a section…I didn’t have to use the entire stencil.
After taking a class last summer at the Ink Pad in New York City with Kelly Kilmer–where I not only made my own journal, but learned new journaling and stenciling techniques–I am fearless. I still make a mess sometimes (okay, often because I have what they call a “loose hand” and I tend to be a little impatient), but am having a blast playing with stencils.
When I got the new shipment of four Kalidescope AC stencils by Cecilia Swatton, I tried them out in my journal before I undertook any big projects. My process (as taught by Kelly) is:
1-collect 5-6 assorted papers as a journal base; tear or cut them to the desired size; glue down using matte medium. Select a central figure or item and glue that down.
2-Add a stencil or stamp.
3-Add handwritten or stamped text
Sometimes I just want to stop after I make the collage base, but I make myself push through to the second and third step. My inner critic is afraid to mess it up, but I almost always have interesting results when I get over my fears and push on to the stencil and writing steps.
Here are my three experiements…on the left is the journal page just with the papers glued down with matte medium. On the right, the finished page.
For the first journal page, I used part of a Chinese newspaper, a restaurant ad, and part of one of Kelly’s photoshop® designs that had a giant flower and handwriting. I added a fashion figure, and then sunflower, one of the kalidescope stencils, at the top and middle. I traced the outline of the stencil with a fine black marker, then used a white signo pen and a white sharpie oil marker over the dark areas and light gray marker over the light areas. I stamped on inspirational words from Dina Wakely using a black ink pad.
For the second journal page, I added a different fashion figure and then used the black orchid stencil with the white pen and a yellow marker on top. I added decorative white and yellow dots. It reminded me of a 1960s flower child–especially because of the flower on her cheek, so I added the word LOVE in the corner.
For the third journal page, I used a photo of some garden sculptures and a yet another fashion figure from a fall magazine. It reminded me of a young me…well, minus a few pounds and with quite a few extra inches of height! I added a royalty free butterfly from the Graphics Fairy that was in grayscale. It needed some oomph, so I added color with markers and watercolor and again used the white signo pen on sections of the sunflower and black orchid stencils. It looked kind of surreal, so I wrote the word DREAM around the page using the white pen, yellow marker and black marker.
In the weeks to come, please check my Artistcellar blogposts on Fridays to see what else I have made using Cecilia Swatton’s Kalidescope stencils and other AC products! And if you have a few extra minutes, please visit my blog…and don’t be shy, feel free to leave a comment, I love to hear from other artists. I recently added some pages to my blog, with tutorials, published work, and other interesting tidbits.