“Creativity is a highfalutin word for the work.”
Fraser Skullmaster Series Screamin II
Used properly, stencils can effectively achieve continuity in a design and save you a lot of time.Used improperly, they can create some pretty nasty remedial designs.
Next in the Skullmaster line is Screamin' II, a sideprofile image that is similar in some respects to the Frontal II stencil.
Wanting color, mix up a batch of blue/violet kandy. This gives you more depth than black does when dealing with a monochromatic. Start out by spraying the basic skull design that is apparent in the actual stencil. A little tape keeps the overspray at bay.
After peeling back the stencil, you can see the general outline of the skull, minus the jawbone. For this first one, leave the jaw off, and keep the standard â€œevil eyeâ€ in place. Use your airbrush to outline, and connect all the stencil marked lines.
With your airbrush, fill in the details, shading and shadowing the entire design to give it depth. This rendering with the airbrush also eliminates the â€œstencilâ€ look, giving the final piece of artwork a freehand feel.
A little background airbrushing for effect, and some hanging cob webs give the skull more character. Heck, just because you're using a stencil doesn't mean you have to turn off your imagination. I then sprayed in basecoat white for highlights. This brings out the details, and achieves more.
Using the same stencil, but with the eye masked off, airbrush in the same skull outline. This allows you to use the other eye in the stencil to give the skull a different look. The second eye is a more realistic, expressionless skull eye.
Mask off the stencil area around the jaw, and spray the jawbone in place. For this skull, the jaw is closed. The cool thing about having a separate jaw in this stencil is that you can place it wherever you like, giving the stencil a lot more possibilities.
After finishing with the stencil, connect all the linework with an airbrush. You can see that the skull already has quite a different look with the connected jaw and the different eye.
The freehand part of the airbrushing is the most important aspect of successful stencil or shield work. It's your freehand ability, and the unique ways you use the stencil that defines your artistry.
With the skull finished, create a radiant background fade, and freehand in a couple of crossed wrenches. This not only helps the skull design stand out further from the original stencil, but gives the entire design a retro â€œHot Rodâ€ look.
For the final skull design, use the same skull outline with the third-eye feature. The third eye is actually a star â€”sort of a â€œBootsy Collinsâ€ Funkadelic thing. This star can also be used to create a series of stars over the skull, much like the stars on the Frontal II stencil.
Open the jaw. Go through the same process of lining out the skull with an airbrush to eliminate all stencil gaps.
Render in all the shadows and details to reduce the stencil evidence. Remember, stencils are cool to use but not cool enough for you to advertise their use.
With freehand flaming going on in the background of the Bootsy skull, our last trick: a very handy positive cut-out for both the top and bottom rows of teeth. This comes in handy if the teeth end up too dark. Definite time saver here... and something that was not in the original Screamin design.
With the teeth properly punched out with white, freehand in the rest of the highlights, completing the third and last skullâ€”all derived from one stencil!
As I've demonstrated, there are some pretty interesting things you can perform with stencils. In the past two articles, I introduced three drastically different stencil tools. The Frontal II is a good example of a versatile freehand stencil that is limited only by your imagination. The Lucky 13 is much more detailed, but is limited for freehand work; you'll have to be creative in how you use it, and not how much you are going to modify it. The Screamin II is an improvement over the Side Facing Skull stencil from the first series. Which stencil is better? Neither, and paradoxically, all three.
It depends on what you're using them for. It bears repeating: use the right tool for the right job. In the next issue, we're gonna compare the new Multiple II with the original Multiple from the Skullmaster I series. Stay tunedâ€¦same skull timeâ€¦same skull channel. Paint to live, live to paint.