Stencils Tag on this blog and Tools Overview

I've realized that I go back to printmaking and the idea of stencils with the regular intervals. But the first tag "stencils" and the first blog post here on this blog is from October 2020 when I decided to do the whole Inktober with this technique. You can view all of stencils-related posts by searching for stencils or clicking on this link.

October 2020 was approximately the time when stencils became a part of my regular sketchbook work - in black and white, in color, mixed with all sorts of other techniques and materials - since Sketchbook #130 and up to today's Sketchbook #149 I work on some form of printmaking every week, and more often than not - in stencils. I've answered many questions, taught classes both in person and online, and spoken about stencils in groups and individually yet never made a comprehensive post about my tools here on the blog. 

So today I will try to add some information about basic tools that I use. I am intentionally not including links to specific items or more intricate tools as I want this particular list to be as adaptable as possible to "let me grab what I have already" approach. I will probably make a more detailed post about particular brands at some point - as I am preparing one for the "Deck of Textures 2023" workshop handout.


Paper for Making Stencils:

- Printer paper is the main paper I use - just your ordinary Multipurpose Copy Printer Paper. 

- Semi-transparent paper (aka layout paper or tracing paper).

Tools for Cutting:

- Cutting Surface - often it is just a cardboard back of my drawing pad, but I am also a big fan of using cutting boards.

- Cutting tool: scissors and or cutting knife (box cutting / exacto knife - A).

Tools for Printing:

- Ink - any ink would work - the one you draw with, printing ink, marker with ink - they all would act a little differently and give you different results. The simplest way to work with ink is to pour it into a shallow plate or use a sponge soaked with ink and dip your tools in - B.

- Printing tools: I make printing tools out of erasers (C I) and use kitchen sponges cut to different shapes (II), sometimes taped to the back of the pencil (C IV). And also use a 2" mini foam roller (C III).


- Pencils or pens to add details and sketch your shapes (D).

- White marker or white gouache (E).

- Artist's tape/washi tape to hold my paper (F).

- Wet rug / wet paper towel to clean your hands - you will get ink on them.  

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