Making art from hand cut stencils

airbrushed art, handmade cards, pochoir, stencil art

   Daffs small

A while ago when I was experimenting with an airbrush to create images, I became quite frustrated with the length of time it took to apply each layer of colour.  This was because the ink or paint needs to dry thoroughly before applying a mask or stencil on top of the colour to protect it while other shapes of colour are applied around it to create the image.

I came across an airbrush system that uses marker pens in a holder which can be attached to a can of air or for best results, to an artist’s compressor.  This easy to use airbrush system inspired me to create the airbrushed images which I make from stencils which I cut by hand. Because the inks are more or less touch dry when they are airbrushed onto paper, this system is a very quick way of making images from my stencil very quickly.  Most of my stencil designs are for greetings cards, including Easter cards and Christmas cards, so this marker system made it cost effective to reproduce these designs as hand made greetings cards.

Unfortunately, the fine art laid paper I used to make the cards has been unobtainable for a long time, and the maker of the pens changed the shape of the holder as well as the pens, and the replacement pens were not the same colours as I had used in my cards.  So I scanned my designs, although it took ages to clean them up on the computer.  So at the moment I print the scanned images of my stencil designs onto digital fine art paper using archival quality ink.  Some of my card customers have told me they like to frame the card images so using very good quality fine art paper with long lasting inks means that the images when framed, should retain the vibrancy of the colours of the designs for quite a while.  The card I tend to use now is a paper made by an English paper mill which dates back several hundred years, who make very high quality water colour papers.  Their paper is made with several finishes to the surface, e.g. for pastels, painting inks, and especially for digital print which requires a different type of surface than paints or pastels.

I do hope to be able to re-introduce individually hand airbrushed cards at some time in the future.  I am still looking at my best options for new equipment and the new pens I have found are mostly different colours from those I used in the designs I originally created.  So when I do get started I will see what takes shape – whether I just create some new designs using new colours as well as designs which use simple colours, like black, or if I re-work some of the colours of the first set of designs which I made.  This may detract from or enhance the original stencil designs, I won’t know ’til I experiment with them, and it may be a little while yet before I start the new stencil project.

The designs are made from anything from one stencil to half a dozen or more, depending on the image and some people think that they are paintings rather than stencil designs.  I started creating these designs with a great influx of inner creativity.  I then discovered that the French call stencil artwork Pochoir and it was used very much during the first part of the 20th Century as a hand printing process for illustrations.

Until such time as I am able to start making my stencil cards by hand again, the original designs are available as printed images and can be seen on these pages of my website. Egg small

Here is a link to some information about stencil art (accessed 1st April 2015)


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