Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Freehand Versus Stenciling. It All Depends On The Artist.

Not too long ago, I received a message from a sweet lady who had recently purchased a DIY Dog Mom Project. She thanked us several times over. She loved her decorative piece. Towards the end of her message, she said, "What I love the most is the freehand lettering and art. I wish more people would do this." I was deeply touched that she took the time to reach out and compliment the details I put into each piece. I needed to hear this. Why?

I know a lot of people who create beautiful pieces of wood decor. These pieces range from using reclaimed wood from old barns to new lumber or a combination of both. I appreciate and prefer handcrafted goods made out of wood. I know firsthand the amount of time it takes to cut down to size, sand, paint or stain, distress, add details, and everything between.

For the longest time, I struggled with the decision to do freehand lettering and art or use stencils. On one hand, I've been doing freehand lettering and art for over 30 years. In 5th grade, through 11th grade, I was in Advanced Arts. During my middle school years, my parents paid for me to take art classes from Larry Frates. Those classes were held downstairs at the Sundial Shop in Laconia, N.H.

On the other hand, I know a lot of artisans who prefer to use stencils for lettering and other painted objects. It creates a uniform appearance. Every "E" is going to look like the last "E." Every pawprint will appear the same.

As an artist, stencils are too uniform. They're generic. I can go to Target today and purchase a rustic looking wood sign with stenciled lettering. If there are 10 of those signs in stock, they're all going to look the same.

I'm not criticizing artists who use stencils. I'm simply stating my opinion. 

In the world of artistry, everyone has their preferences. That includes the artists and the people interested in purchasing their creations.

During this struggle of deciding whether to use stencils or continue with freehand, I had to keep this in mind. I also had to ask myself a few questions and answer honestly...

Would I be happy using stencils for lettering and objects?


Have I used stencils in the past?


Was I satisfied with the work I created using those stencils?


Would my freehand lettering and art be preferred by everyone?


Would my stencils be preferred by everyone?


At the end of the day, what should I do?

After asking myself that question, I had to exhale and sit back in my chair. Think. Reflect.

The answer didn't take long to surface.

Create your own art. Do what you've always done. Freehand. No artist caters to the masses. Instead, the artist creates their own stuff and attracts those who are interested. Keep doing what you're doing.

Enough said.

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