We have a dog-loving friend who lives in a building that does not allow pets. So he painted a happy, panting, cartoon canine on the wall of his foyer, and it's the first thing you see when you open the door to enter. We never tire of the faux beast's hilarious welcome.
We were searching for an easy way to do this ourselves when we came across Ed Roth's poodle stencil. It's not a particularly warm or fuzzy dog, but as we started exploring Roth's site, Stencil1, which has a hundred some-odd stencils that depict "iconic and eclectic images from the 70’s and 80’s," we were inspired by other great possibilities: an astronaut, a Sumo wrestler, a Go-Go dancer, apes. The hipster graffiti aesthetic and the street-inspired subject matter make Roth's offering unique. Where else can you find wall graphics in the form of turntables or semi trucks? Still -- maybe to broaden the line's appeal -- Roth includes some more poetic, nature-inspired options like birch trees.
What we like about the idea of detailing your walls with Stencil1's reusable, heavy duty Mylar stencils is that they can be a starting point for free-form creativity.
Work with any color or colors you can find in the world of paint; create a repeat pattern with just one stencil; collage stencil effects with other painterly techniques to create murals (like the one above). Stencils let you to go to town on your walls. Available online or in the Bay Area at Arch, Blick Art Materials, Cliff's Variety, Doe, Propeller, the SFMOMA store, and Stumasa.