In this months video, we art-out with some custom templates. Lately I have been getting more and more obsessed with creating art with templates. And by templates I don’t mean some sort of stencil you are using because of the overall image it makes. I am using templates more like you would French curves- where you have to move the tool around to get it to make the curve you need on an image that is totally unrelated to the template you are using.

I suppose this comes out of my use of the lasso tool in photoshop as a quick mask that I can paint within. In a nut shell I am wanting to make bold moves with brushes, etc, while at the same time, protecting certain areas of the piece under these templates.

This is nothing new. Artists have been using templates since cavemen blew powdered pigment over their hand on a wall of a cave to leave a print, proof that they were there. In the 70’s and 80’s airbrush artists moved around torn jagged paper to make mountains.

Anything can be used as a template so long as you can lay it on your work and change the value around it. I’ve spent quite a bit of time acquiring and using stainless steel ‘sculpting scrapers’ as quick masks in my work.

They are an evolution over the paper templates I’d labor over with an exacto knife only to throw them out after one painting when they tore. And you can pull some fabulous edges with them. (Some of those are old spatulas, lol.)

But nothing prefabricated had enough of the shapes I desired, so I decided to make my own prototypes out of plastic, and see if I could create a face with them. Eventually I will have them made in stainless steel. I need a few more of them for the curves I was missing, but I am excited about what I managed to pull off with three custom templates so far.



If you are worried about every piece you make with the template having the same cookie-cutter shapes, fear not. Remember for the most part you are only using a tiny portion of a curve to make a mark. And that will add randomness. Also remember that like any tool, these will not do all the work for you. You will still have to draw or paint each piece on its own merits, these tools are there to support the overall vision. To illustrate this, here is another piece I created after the above, using the exact three templates.