There are many things about stenciling that makes stenciling one of the most special forms of creative arts. One aspect of stencil art that makes it really outstanding is that stenciling is unbelievably old and as a matter of fact, it is one of the oldest types of art in record. Right from the time when writing itself was invented, stenciling had already been with us. Not many know how far back in time that stenciling has evolved and that is why this article will focus on stenciling over time and how it has remained incredibly enduring in the same world where some other forms of art died out.
Stenciling first grabbed the attention of millions across the globe when adventurers and scientists started stumbling on cave paintings in different corners of the world. Upon closer inspection and observations, it was discovered that the prehistoric humans made use of stenciling to make some of the most long-lasting pieces of art in the world. These prehistoric paints have been found on the roofs and walls of deep caves on almost all the continents from Asia to Africa to Europe to the Americas. Calculations by scientists revealed that some of the works of stencil arts done by prehistoric humans can be as old as 40,000 years – an impressive feat by all standards. Thus, it can be seen that stencil art is not a recent form of art but one that has been with humans since the dawn of time. The type of stencil form that was used for the painting in the caves is called hand stencils. In this type, the artist places his or her hands on the roof, floor or wall of the cave and then covers it up with the paints or pigments, and that was how the stencils remained for tens of thousands of years.
Having discussed the prehistoric part of the history of stenciling, the remaining parts of the evolution of history will be about what happened after the prehistoric era. A few centuries ago in China, Korea and Japan, legends let us know that stencils were utilized in using colors on fabrics and this practice was so widely accepted that it is still in use today. At about the same time, stencil started growing in Europe when some artists started investing all their resources in it. By the time printing became invented in Europe, stencil entered the next level as it was quickly used in the mass printing of books. The type of production done before European artists mastered stencils was considered unattractive.
It was possible to make use of stencils in the mass production of books and other publications because stencils do not have to be discarded after the first use. The same stencil items can be used over and over again. As an artist, you do not have to start preparing new stencils every single time work is to be done. This tradition made many artists to fall in love with stencils and this is still the same scenario that obtains today.