New stencil/poster! Also, a brief, undocumented, rough tutorial on my process:
Step one: get a picture of your subject. High contrast is helpful.
Step two: remove all the background information. I actually did this very inefficiently this time by tracing it with a brush tool instead of just doing the polygonal select and cropping to it. Whatever. This picture is actually pretty cool.
Continuation of step two. I did this in the GIMP, which is free, open source software. Woohoo!
Step three: use the threshold tool (or contrast if you want more control) to reduce it to two colours. When working with only two shades, the background has to ALWAYS be contiguous. There can be no floating white in a stencil, so it takes a LOT of consideration for design or it's going to come out terribly. Also, making stencils is the only time you are ever allowed to indiscriminately stretch an image out of its resolution. What's on the image doesn't always affect what's on the poster.
Step four is a branched path. I'll cover both methods:
a) Divide up your image (should be very large), I do it into fourths usually. Crop the edges of the paper (I used an x-acto knife and a ruler) and tape them together to form your picture (packaging tape). The stencil paper is (when put together in this design) 18 by 24 inches, so your image should be no more than 16x22". Tape together the stencil film and tape the image underneath it so they line up.
b) Using an opaque projector, project your image onto a piece of bristol board and trace it with a magic marker. Then cut it out with a razor. Bristol board is harder to cut, but this takes out a couple steps and wastes a lot less paper and ink. I don't have an opaque projector, so I print mine.
Apologies for the quality, these pictures are from my cell phone in a poorly-lit basement. Also, I've been inhaling paint fumes for the past two hours.
Step five: cut it out. I go over it once with an x-acto knife to work out the details, including which I'll be throwing away and what to connect. Look at the hand and the bridge of the guitar for attention to contiguous detail. IT'S HARD. Then I go over with a sharper blade, which for me is a razor wrapped in a tissue. It isn't very safe, but it gets the job done. This step, depending on he complexity of the design takes two to four hours, I guess.
Incidentally, the film I'm referring to is blue stencil film, which I bought from Michael's for $4.50 for a pack of four sheets. To make stencils of this size, it usually takes four sheets. Whatever.
This looks a lot nicer in actuality, I swear.
Step six: paint it. I used newsprint for a canvas, which isn't recommended unless you're making a poster, as then the thinner the paper, the harder it is to get off (and thus the longer it stays). Based on personal experience, I don't recommend using newsprint and wheatpaste indoors.
I laid the stencil flat on my 18x24 newsprint and sprayed it vertically from about six inches away with glossy black spray paint, also from Michael's. It's usually better to go over on newspaper or a practice surface to see if you've any mistakes, but I just went crazy tonight. I purposely oversprayed in some areas to simulate shading.
Your project ends at the previous step if you're making actual art, but if you're making a poster to put up, step seven: cut it out again. I left a half-centimeter margin around as I'm putting this up on a dark surface with which black won't blend in well. This was just freehanded with an x-acto knife and I accidentally ripped it.
Anyway, I'd say it came out pretty well.