So goes the old adage:- my anime fandom is too old/uncool, so I must make my own fanart!

I really like stencil art, but am not rebellious enough to go desecrate the city streets. Cutting stencils out of heavy cardboard requires a lot of patience, so instead I've opted for generic computer paper. Of course, this renders the reusable manufacturing aspect of the stencil obsolete, as paper of a certain gsm weight can only withstand soaking so much paint.

This is, the disposable stencil. Sharpen your exacto blades.

Step 1: Find Your Reference Image!

Via Google images, for the win. Don't know what artists did for reference images before then.

Step 2: Tracey Tracey TRACE!

A lot of the time it seems like the life of a design student is tracing with the pen tool in Illustrator, but no kidding, its strangely cathartic in the way its reminiscent of an never-ending dot-to-dot puzzle, and you always end up with a pretty cool looking vector after all your hard work.

Sure, there's a mass of lines in the example, but I actually traced the 'separate colours' on a different layers so I could print them out on different pages. I think this step could easily be achieved using your basic MS paint too.

Step 3: Stencil- Printing and Cutting.

I fed my printer with grimy printed-on-one-side-already paper (I always do this but CAUTION: danger of jamming printer if the paper is too grubby/crinkled/ancient). I printed out a total of 7 stencils, separating them by colour, but I also shared some pages with smaller colour patches.

Grab your exacto blades/scalpel/stanley knife, and preferably with a cutting board, to keep your blade sharp and work surfaces intact, slice away.

No need to be unnecessarily neat, this is a pretty rustic piece of low art.

Now the 'outline' layer is the trickiest, and one should exercise the most uttermost care when cutting this stencil. Before you start, pencil in stencil 'joints'. These help your stencil stability and are placed most likely where lines meet and keep your lines fairly straight and rigid, rather than any curved ones.

Use your specially acquired artistic license to denote what lines should be completely abolished, or altered to suit your stencil whim.

You'll notice on the skin layer, there's two joints connecting the 'eye holes', which I later filled in with a brush. Also, I had to enlarge the 'eye sparkle holes' to make things work. Of course, there's no foreseeing what troubles you may encounter ahead!

Step 4: Printing Your Stencil

I guess traditionally, stenciling is done with a spray can in a dark alleyway in a dark Melbourne laneway. I do own two foam rollers, but these were destroyed after vigorous use and bits of foam kept falling into my pictures. You may utilise the above techniques as you wish, but spray paint would probably soak through computer paper.

This is- sponging stencil technique! Cut up your mum's kitchen sponges into finger sizes, and sponge away. Slow and steady is best. The sponge may stick to the paper because of the paint, so take care not to rip up your delicate disposable stencil.

You can use the same bit of sponge if the colours are complementary, as demonstrated in my paint palette, but otherwise, don't contaminate! Start with lighter colours like yellow and blue, then progress to stronger colours like red. It look better if the colours overlap properly.

Step 5: The Finale

I spose I could of used a lighter skin tone, but I hate mixing colours for stencils, because inevitably you'll run out of paint, and the colours will be uneven!

I likee it! Might do a Card Captor Sakura one next.
why does the stencil have to be "disposable"? if i did this i'd make it with transparency paper(the clear plastic stuff). it doesn't tear or absorb paint and (initially) you can see through it which might help aligning
Because I find paper much easier and faster to cut.. and the post modernity in it all is creating a useless, one-time-stencil that is both unique and is the ultimate destructable instructable.
I got a pack of vellum paper by nistake once. It is a kind of plasticy semi transparent stuff. not quite transparency film, not quite paper. I think it will work well for this type of stencil.
Nice! I've been wanting to do this for a long time, but with thicker paper or card stock. An idea worth trying would be to attach all the layers together in the corner in a way that lets them rotate, so you just flip to the next layer (especially if you want to do it quickly).
Since I did the layers in Illustrator, all the stencils line up perfectly if you keep it aligned to your page. Sponging takes some patience, but with card stock and spray paint, it could work!
Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet!!!!! Dude you rule. I have been looking for something like this for a long time. This will come in handy. >:)
Aw shucks, I just invented this technique out of necessity. Would love to know how it goes.

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