Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Using Pam Carriker stencils to draw faces

I'm the first to admit that I have an addiction to stencils.  For so many years I wanted to draw faces but just couldn't do it.  Then I discovered face stencils.  When people look at my drawings they think it is difficult to do but it really isn't hard at all.  I thought I'd give a short tutorial on drawing a face with a stencil, one of Pam Carriker's, and then coloring it in using Ranger's Distress Crayons by Tim Holtz.  Here is the finished result:

I started by making myself a small book measuring 11" by 7" (when it is folded shut), it is just several sheets of Bristol paper folded in half and sewn up the middle.  I applied a light coat of gesso and allowed it to dry.

This is the stencil I used and traced it using a pencil.  I used Pam's color wheel stencil on the opposite page and this will be where I lay down my Distress Crayon colors.  Usually I label the colors with a Fude pen so I remember which ones I used.  Then I start adding color to the face trying to stay within a limited palette for the face and complimentary colors for the background.

I pencil in the eyes and brows, then I using a heavy outline in Distress Crayon Rusty Hinge.  It's going to get uglier before it gets pretty.

Now I'm adding Fossilized Amber, Vintage Photo and Dried Marigold.

I start blending with a baby wipe, trying to leave some areas white.

I brought in some white highlights with a White Sharpie pen.  I apply the ink and then use my fingers to move it around the canvas.  I can keep dipping my fingers in the color wheel on the right, I just keep adding water to my finger tips and blending it on the face.  If I want some hard line dark areas I use my Stabilo All pencil which can be blended with water also.

I fine tune her face and add complimentary colors to the background, this is a combination of Seedless Preserves, Wilted Violet, Chipped Sapphire and I added some Spun Sugar to her face and lips.  I used that White Sharpie to add the catch lights in her eyes and other highlighted areas on the face.  Then I took Seth Apter's stencil and used a baby wipe to lift off more color around her face.  Dyan Reaveley's number stamp with some StazOn Black ink completed the project.

Here is a list of all my supplies:
Distress Crayons by Ranger:

  • Squeezed Lemonade
  • Mustard Seed
  • Antique Linen
  • Dried Marigold
  • Fossilized Amber
  • Rusty Hinge
  • Vintage Photo
  • Spun Sugar
  • Picked Raspberry
  • Seedless Preserves
  • Wilted Violet
  • Chipped Sapphire

Stabilo All pencil
Micron Pen 05
Pam Carriker Stencils
Seth Apter Stencil
Dyan Reaveley number stamp
Gesso, Bristol paper, Sharpie white pen, paint brushes, water brushes, baby wipes

If drawing faces has been one of your dreams I encourage you to give stencils a try.  Every face looks different depending on your color palette, no two are the same.  Next week I'll share some of my other faces in this small journal.

Thanks so much for stopping by, I'm sending hugs your way ~ Renee


  1. I took one of Pam's classes, Renee, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Sadly, after the class I just put the stencils away and have forgotten about them until now while reading your post. It's pretty amazing when you start out with such a masculine stencil--likely because of the lack ofhair--and end up with such a delightful feminine face! What a wonderful job! I also love the touch of Seth!

  2. Very cool Renee! I really love how you made that stencil your own! well done! xx

  3. A lovely face and a fab tutorial!! Great use of those stencils!