Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Stamp carving + art journaling = fun evening ahead!

I've been invited by my good friend Melanie to demo stamp carving techniques for her monthly art journal club tonight. I don't do much stamp carving these days, but whenever I do, I am reminded of how relaxing and fun it is. I also love the actual carvings - a little primitive and rough.

Here's a quick background page I stamped with one of my carvings today, and on the right are some stamps I've carved over the years. I carved the owl last night, in preparation for this demo, but the swirly pattern made for a good background on the page above. 

All you need to carve a stamp...
Carving tool --
One with at least one U tip and one V tip - I like several additional tips for details, but those two are enough to get started. You can find them at any art or craft store.

Carving material --
I like Speedball Speedy Carve (it's pink).

Draw an image on your carving block -- or, if you don't think you can draw (you can, but that's a blog post for another day), you can transfer an image to the block.

Plain old photocopies work best, but you can use an inkjet image (the transfer will be lighter, but usable). Laser prints do not work.

Nail polish remover - the regular acetone kind
a cotton ball

Other tools/materials to have on hand: 
ruler, x-acto knife, scissors, scrap paper, ink pad(s) 

Cut out the photocopy image you wish to carve. Place it face-down onto your carving material.
Using nail polish remover on a cotton ball, transfer the image by rubbing from the back of the photo copy until it is saturated. Peel up a corner to peek and see if image has transferred. If not, keep soaking/rubbing until image transfers.

Decide which part of the image you want to keep and which part to take away (positive vs. negative space). I like to also leave bits of carving material at the edges to enhance the hand-carved look. Test the image by stamping onto scrap paper to see what emerges as you carve away pieces. Continue until you are satisfied with your carving.

It is not necessary to carve deep gouges to get an impression.
A V tip with a light touch will create the thinnest lines.
Deeper gouges and the U tip will create wider areas.

Practice will give you a feel for the material. I encourage newbies to start with something simple - a leaf, a heart -- something that is identifiable by it's shape and a few details, even if your carving technique is still rough. Select more detailed, challenging images as your technique improves.

Most of all, enjoy the process.


Marilyn J. Rock said...

Have fun! I'm sure the journal club participants will love this! xxoo

Peggy Beck said...

Really a nice workshop for everyone. Hope they all enjoy. I'm sure I would..

ArtPropelled said...

Love these, especially the swirly stamp. Hope your demo went well.

fran pascazio said...

Wish I knew you were guest artist, I would have ask Melanie if I could have come!!! I'm sure everyone had a great time carving.....