Have a character in mind? Excellent. Here's how to do it.
Step 1: Find a character
So just go on a search for images. Google is your friend here. That's how I found this image for the wizard from Final Fantasy.
Step 2: Outlines
For either method below, start a new file that is a printable size. I used 10" x 8"
I used Illustrator to trace the outlines with Live Trace. That process goes like this:
- Drop image into Illustrator
- Select Live Trace/Color 6
- Expand the trace
- Duplicate the layer as many times as layers you will need.
- On each layer, delete everything except for the color you want
- Convert all of the shapes to a black stroke with a white fill
For Photoshop or GIMP, you can do this:
- Make new layers for each stencil layer
- Trace the outlines of the colors for each layer
Step 3: Add registration marks
To do this just add a new layer on top and create two triangles in it. One on either side of the character. The farther away they are, the more accurate they are.
Step 4: Print each layer and cut
- Hide everything but the registration layer and the top color outline and print it out.
- Hide the top color outline, show the next color outline, and print it out.
- Repeat until you have all of the layers printed.
Now take out a razor and cut out all of the black lines. Fortunately, they're all straight so it's easy if a bit tedious.
Attached is the PDF for the wizard here.
Step 5: Prep the board with paint and wax
- Paint the board with a coat of brown paint
- Rub the surface with wax. I used a block of beeswax, but I've heard crayons work, too.
- Paint the board with a coat of off-white paint
Step 6: Registration tape
- Place stencil on board
- Put small pieces of painter's tape under the registration marks
- Take a black pen and outline the registration marks onto the painter's tape
Presto! You now have two registration marks that will guide your painting and won't leave a mark.
Step 7: Paint, paint, paint
Want to put your character more places? Do the whole thing again!
Want a grungier look? Add some splats and drips for good measure.
That covers the painting. For distressing there's one last step...
Step 8: Roughen it up