Yesterday morning I had the opportunity to meet Dolus, a South American urban artist based in Perth, WA., who I have to say, is pretty laid-back and has great experience in the field. He commenced doing urban art with graffiti and for the last 4+ years has been working with stencils.
Dolus has given me some of his best tips and advice for working with stencils, and guess what? I got them all for you.
- Choosing the right paper. You want to ensure that your stencil is created on a thick paper or thin cardboard. Not too thick so the cutting is not too hard to do, but strong enough so the template doesn’t bend too much.
- Keep your eyes open. Look around you and you might find interesting material to work with, or even a template already made for you. Dolus told the story of how he uses everyday objects like, for example, a doormat. I know that you might be thinking ‘mmm…a door mat?’ Yes, some rubber mats come with patterns that can be used as a background or give a little bit of texture to your work.
- Go cheap. You don’t need to spend a fortune to start creating stencils. Compare prices, materials, even get resources that you can recycle. You can buy materials in many different shops not just in art and craft ones.
- Use your body. The mistake of many when painting with aerosol, is to stand in one spot and moving the arm while doing the stencil, when instead of that, you have to move your whole body to follow the direction of your arm. By doing so, you will have consistency in your work.
- Don’t look for approbation. I believe this applies to everything you are passionate about. Remember why you are doing this. Do what you want and expect to be you the first person that is happy with the result.
- Don’t worry, be happy. Remember things aren’t perfect; when creating your stencil, especially if you are an amateur, you can get a few details not quite as you’d like, but try not to be too hard on yourself. Sometimes people might not even notice those ‘mistakes’.
- Get creative. Combine colours, patterns and images. Experiment with whatever options you have and you’d be surprise of the cool results you can get. Why not mixing images and letters? The possibilities are endless!
- Practice, practice, practice. Of course! If you don’t start you’d never know.
- You have options. Stencils can be done on any surface, and they can be any size you like. Start with something simple; use different techniques, paint and brush, spray paint, etc. Work on surfaces like canvas, butchers paper, even on a t-shirt. The more you do, the quickest you’ll feel more comfortable and develop your own style.
- Try Layering. Once you feel comfortable doing single layer stencils, you can start moving onto multiple layers. Use a different color for each layer you create, this will give you a more detailed result and the image will have more depth. You can add as many layers as you want.
An advice from Dolus is, to remember to have fun during the process.
You can find him on Instagram and check out some of his cool work: @_DOLUS_