In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to employ a skull stencil to airbrush a rudimentary skull design, thereby transforming the chosen surface with a facsimile of a skull. The objective is to make the skull appear as though it was not created using a stencil. To achieve this feat, avoid creating too many discernible lines, gradually augment the color and shape, and infuse creative artistry to bring the skull to life. The author of this tutorial, Don Johnson, is an accomplished airbrush artist.
Behold, the flaming skull stencil! It boasts dimensions of 5 3/4 inches by 3 3/4 inches and is primarily marketed for body art. Nevertheless, it’s a versatile stencil that can be utilized on a host of other surfaces such as helmets, bikes, and T-shirts, limited only by the boundaries of one’s imagination.
Why settle for a preconceived design when you can personalize it to your liking? The picture can be altered in any manner you see fit, from adding more flames to changing the eyes or even selecting a new background. The possibilities are infinite and you don’t even require artistic drawing skills to execute it. So go ahead, unleash your creative flair and create a unique flaming skull design that’s uniquely yours!
Behold the Flaming Skull stencil that looms before you in all its intricate glory. An undeniably durable masterpiece, this stencil is crafted from a robust plastic material that can withstand the test of time. While many stencils marketed for airbrushing today are pitifully thin and easily disposable, this magnificent creation stands apart. It’s an investment in quality that will pay dividends for years to come.
If you’re fortunate enough to wield this stencil, you’d be wise to encircle it with masking tape, creating a fortress of control that’ll make your task a breeze. Take heed: attaching the tape is just the beginning. Double up on the tape to prevent unsavory adhesive residues from foiling your masterpiece.
Prevent the scourge of over-spray from contaminating your artwork’s majesty by placing the masking tape frame just off the painting’s surface. It’s a subtle yet crucial detail that will prevent disaster.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that securing the stencil in place on all four sides will simply enlarge the border. That approach is a recipe for disaster, as it can often cause unwanted paint to creep onto the surface. Instead, leave the tape raised just off the surface, and enjoy the fruits of your bursty, perplexing labor.
Adding color to bring our stencil design to life
Now you can position the stencil where it needs to be on your painting surface. You can do this by using small pieces of tape to secure it in place. In this example, the surface being airbrushed is just news print. If it was metal, you could use small magnets to hold the stencil in place.
I am using an Iwata HP-CS airbrush and Golden Airbrush Colors water based paint to do this project. I am spraying at around 12 PSI.
The first color I will airbrush is yellow into the flames. When using a stencil like this, use the least amount of air pressure necessary to give you good paint atomization. Spraying from either the right or left side will usually lift the stencil and cause paint to get under the stencil cut out. So be sure to spray straight at the stencil; by straight I mean square at the stencil, not angled to either the right or left side.
I will use red to color the flames. I will put most of the red near the bottom of the flames, and it will fade up into yellow to create orange.
At this point, you can add some color to the eyes and teeth if you like. You can also use black to outline the skull, nose, and eyes. Be careful not to use too much black because it might make the eyes look too dark.
I secured the stencil to my surface. I did this by attaching it just at the top. This way, it would be easy to realign it if needed. If you flip the stencil up, you can see that we have started on the design. We did not need to use any drawing skills.
Now you just need to finish the design with freehand airbrushing. Remember to keep your airbrush pointed into the design so that the paint stays within the boundaries of the design. That’s a long way of telling you to control your over spray.
You can personalize your skull design by adding whatever you like. To make it easier, use a gravity feed airbrush like the Iwata HP-CS, HP-B, HP-C or Sata 3 airbrushes with a low air pressure setting. This will make it easier to do free hand airbrush on hard surfaces.
I made my design quick and simple. I added shading with black, a few cracks in the skull, and some smoke coming out each side. The smoke drifted off toward the top.
This is my finished piece. It’s not fancy, but it’s easy to do and you can make it unique by dressing it up in different ways.