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Artists use templates quite often. While to some it might
look like "cheating," there is an art to properly using and
positioning a template. Much of the work involved comes from
knowing when to and when not to use one. Some basic rules of
thumb when making these decisions are listed here.
- Try not to mix template lines with sincerely rendered contour
lines. The change in line quality between an honestly drawn figure
and a ruled template line is more distracting than an inexact
circle will ever be.
- Make sure that the template is the proper shape. Just because
you think you know that tire hubcaps should be round, does not
make a circle the proper shape. More often than not, what you know
to be a circle is actually an oval, and you are allowing your
judgment to cloud your vision with silly assumptions.
- Use templates of the proper size. The width of your pen or
pencil will make your figure somewhat smaller than the template
outline. Make sure that you allow for the width of you drawing
tool when selecting a template.
- Be careful of media bleed. Ink is especially notorious for
seeping under stencils and leaving unwanted messes. Shy away from
felt tip markers or other free flowing ink or paint tools when
using templates. Often it is better to use a template with a
pencil and then to ink the pencil line after the template is
Using a Template as a Painting
Templates can be used as stencils, but as with all stencils, they
do have a propensity for bleeding underneath. To minimize stencil
bleed, use brush strokes across the edges toward the center of the
stencil area only. Optionally, gentle direct downward pressure can be
applied to the brush to neaten the edges.
Brush strokes away from the stencil center and across the edge of
the template force unwanted paint under the edge of the cut out
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