Guide to understand the XXI century stencil graffiti: artists, skills, ‘how to’…

stencil on the wall of a bus stop

Many of the most renowned contemporary art artists spent years before they mastered on a particular style. Their studio artwork is an example of how many times they had to try before becoming famous. Similarly, the stencil graffiti art is another interesting movement that is captivating the worldwide cultural audience.

According to, the global art market value was estimated on $64.12 billions last 2019. Part of that revenue belongs to Banksy, the most famous, yet unknown living artist. Moreover, he uses stencils as part of his technique. Did you know that his highest auction was sold on $12.2 millions?

Today’s article will inform you about this kind of street art elaboration. Let’s see what we will include in our blog:

What’s necessary to start practicing stencil graffiti art?

First of all, you should know that we all started with no knowledge. Consequently, whether you’re an amateur graphic designer or a stencil graffiti art lover, there is room for you!

Mastering the skills will take you time, but the more artworks you produce, the better outcome. Cooltourspain team members started that way, and we now lead our own stencil and street art workshops in Madrid.

Imagination & creativity

Banksy Sweeping It Under The Carpet
Banksy Sweeping It Under The Carpet

One of the most important values within the stencil graffiti art industry is being creative and full of imagination. You may observe others’ ideas, but the freshest the better. When you bring something new into the game, everybody will try to copy your style, but it will remain unique!

That’s why we would recommend you to follow your own tastes. Are you interested in comic books? Why don’t you use the silhouette of your favourite characters? These are other ideas that you could use in order to develop your own stuff:

  • Famous & relevant people,
  • Animals and other imaginary creatures,
  • Shapes & words.

Stencil graffiti art book

If you’re getting started in stencil graffiti art, it might be because you are interested in activism. Could you recall the last time you saw words or sentences about political upheaval, environmental crises or social inequalities?

Whether worldwide citizens have something to say or people create because they love beauty in the world, stencil art bursts the bubble of complacency and gets the message out there, quickly and as many times as necessary.

In case you were interested in purchasing a printed book with unpublished artworks from the best street art artists, we would recommend you to check the following product: The Stencil Graffiti Handbook by Tristan Marco.

Which materials are required?

stencil graffiti art box cutter
This is one of the most used tools within the stencil grafiti art movement

Now that you read about the basic characteristics, we’ll introduce you the different materials that are frequently used by artists all around the world. From Banksy to Brodbus, a local creator based in Madrid, Spain.

  • Computer & Photoshop: most artists get the layers for the stencil graffiti art with this software. You just need to posterize the image, and then edit it for just white & black colors.
  • Acetate & recycled X-ray films: these materials are perfect for the design’s presevation. Plastic is a long lasting element. Moreover, the thinest, the easier to cut.
  • Quality box knife: Although it’s important to have a quality tool, the clue relies on the cutting technique. Please do not move your fingers. Leave your hand still, and move the plastic layer instead. If you use the box cutter this way, you’ll get better outcome!

Who are the most important Spain based stencil graffiti art artists?

Taking into account that street art is a wide industry, we will focus on the stencil graffiti art community. Similarly to what happens with muralism or nature street art, there are very famous template creators within the contemporary art circuit.

They have worked for years in the shadows, painting their illustrations without permission in the streets. Their careers have boosted and private gallery owners request their artworks and services. All the effort and hard work pays off!

El Rey de la Ruina (Madrid)

Stencil graffiti art in Madrid city

He currently lives in Madrid, and you might recognize his style because of the hands, feet and hearts that he usually includes in the artworks. He draws them with the computer and then print them at a specialized stationery.

Once working in the street, he uses spray cans to paint. For instance, he used pink and blueish colors to create the patterns in the hand featured on this image. Furthermore, ‘Ruina’ always includes quotes with a social meaning. ‘Esta es mi única arma’ translates to ‘This is my only weapon’, and it refers to the power of self-belief!

Sm172 (Badalona, BCN)

stencil graffiti art in Spain

Caesar Baetulo is the artist behind the name SM172. He chose it because of his love for Latin language and it refers to ‘Badalona’ (the name of a city next to Barcelona). In the same vein, we will observe a graffiti influence. What did artists use in the past to identify their tags? Post code numbers!

Something to take into account about his profile is that he works during the daylight, not at night as some readers may think. Would you hide between people by daytime to paint or take the risk of being caught by police at night? He loves to create street poetry and connecting with people with his artworks.

The image you observed above represents a child holding the globe in his hands. However, the silhouette represented because of the light features two people together. Isn’t that smart?

Tdecoma (Salamanca)

creative design by Tdecoma

Last but not least, we will refer to a graphic designer from Salamanca who is closely linked to graffiti. Likewise, he is connected with the global sticker community. ‘Timi’ as most people address him, is an incredible stencil graffiti art master.

His style includes quotes for the end of war or children poverty. As you can find in this picture, Tdecoma paints on different surfaces. For instance, this photograph was taken at a workshop located in Frankfurt (Germany).

Cooltourspain’s opinion about the stencil graffiti art

We love it! It’s one of our favourite techniques. Moreover, we use it during our street art workshops in Madrid for team buildings and hen parties. People love practicing graffiti on their own and getting home with a nice present. Did you know that we use 100% cotton tote bags for our artistic experiences?

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