Excerpted from "Peter Kuper: Conversations," edited by Kent Worcester, from a 2009 interview with Kuper by Christopher Irving (pp. 76-77).
Your stencil style: How do you go about doing that?
Kuper: I photocopy my pencil drawings, and then cut a stencil out of the photocopy paper. I spray them with enamel spray paint, not an airbrush, so I can pick up one can, put it down, and then spray another fast.
How did you first arrive at using stencils for comic book art?
Kuper: My lifelong pal, Seth Tobocman turned me on to them. I was looking at an illustration he did this way and it rang my bell. It was apparently a very loud bell, because that was in 1988 and here, to this day, I'm still doing stencils. At this point, I feel like I want to move away from spray paint because of its toxic nature. The irony of doing pieces on our degraded environment using aerosol sprays is too much.
Spy vs. Spy is done in stencils, right?
Kuper: I did it in stencils when they asked me to try out for the job figuring they wouldn't go for it. I didn't want to try to mimic the style of [Antonio] Prohias', I thought that "If I'm going to do this, I'll do something that's different. I thought they'd thank me for my kooky approach, bid me adieu and I'd go on my merry way." When they said, "You got the job," I thought I'd probably just do it for a year. I'm in my thirteenth year of Spy vs. Spy.
Do you do these stenciled comics a panel at a time, or the whole page?
Kuper: I do it a page at a time. I usually spray a base in red and black. I spray the red paint first and then spray the black on top of it, which gives a glow of the red under the black. Occasionally I do more than one stencil per piece, but not that often. I'm experimenting now with rolling or brushing on acrylic paint with a stencil.
Later in the book, Seth Tobocman briefly mentions stencils in the 2014 interview with Steven Heller (p. 100)