Swap-bot.com right now. In fact, I am hosting two of them. The swap that this hand carved cupcake swap is for is called "Hand-Carved Stamp & Card/Envie". The goal of this one is to carve your own design into an eraser or an artist carving block to make your own rubber stamp. Then create a card and envelope decorated with that stamp for your swap partner. You will then drop the stamp and the card into the envelope and mail it to them.
I decided to make a cupcake. So I drew it out onto a piece of paper with pencil, then turned the written side down onto the carving block and burnished the pencil onto the block. This results in a reversed image of the drawing so when it is stamped it turns out having the same image as the drawing. This reversed/mirror image of the original drawing is important when one incorporates words as a component of the stamp. If it is not reversed, the words would read backwards when it is stamped out onto paper.
I started carving on it a couple days ago. I did a little bit here and there between working on the computer and doing other stuff around the house. It made for some relaxing break times between other chores. At this point it is mostly finished, but I have yet to test stamp it. I know I need to do some tweaking around the letters, but want to test stamp it before I go too far with that. Right now I'd guess they look an awful lot like Flintstones letters . . . all jagged, uneven and maybe slightly illegible. I need to go downstairs and get my inks to do that. As you'll remember in a previous post I mentioned that I hauled all my arting-scrapbooking-drawing stuff down there in what I'm now calling the big "Queen Bee Scrap-Art Migration of 2011". Okay, not really . . . just trying to see it with a bit of a sense of humor! The queen bed is now full ensconced in the Yellow Room awaiting a new head-board and rails that should be showing up at the furniture store sometime today. At present it is piled high with boxes filled with Cloth & Clay Doll Flowers. I'm hosting a swap over there at Cloth & Clay Dolls right now, too. More on that in a later post; this post is supposed to be about the carved stamps.
So, back to the stamps . . . as I said, testing comes later today to see what I'm working with on this stamp.
I used a Staedtler Mastercarve Artist Carving Block for mine. It started off at 4" x 4" and the cupcake was positioned on it diagonally. I wanted to make it as large as possible from the block and still have some little tidbits of scrap left over to play around with. The corners came in handy to carve a few little extras: the leafy twig, the cherry heart and the arrow. Nothing has come to mind for the fourth little corner at this point so it remains to be seen what becomes of that.
I wanted it to be fairly large so it could be used as a notepad image. I plan on stamping out a whole bunch of memo pad images so I can enjoy this stamp awhile even after it leaves my house. I was unsure about the lines on the memo pad being curved like they are. But I decided to go with it as it seemed more artistically sound to mimic the curve at the bottom of the cupcake. I slightly curved the baseline of the text, but not quite to the same degree as the other lines because the letters seemed to visually appear to be falling down too much in the middle - they looked cramped. Hopefully that turns out to be a good call. I'll consider them more when I test stamp. I have it in the back of my mind I can always just carve them out completely if they look horrible - same with the lines. I am also considering cutting into the lines to make them dashed or a series of dots and dashes. I am concerned about them overpowering the whole image and think that will help to lessen their impact. There again, I will see about that later after testing.
Here is an image of the first photo without the extra photoshopping mark-up layer. I've seen some lovely images at some other blogs, and in books about blogging and image manipulation. Just thought I'd play around with that concept to see what I come up with. I have to chuckle at myself . . . I think I need to keep working to get better on the layers and additional mark-making. Yet, I post it for all the world to see anyway. Hee, hee . . .tell me what you think . . . is that kind of thing appealing or distracting? In a way I like the look. You often see it in mixed-media type work, shading the edges of pages in scrapbooking, primitive art, some print images and many blogs showing the Somerset Magazine influence. But other times I see stuff like that and think it just looks grungy and dirty like a distraction that should be left off. Maybe it depends on the setting or to what extent it has reached its grunginess. And again, I'm no expert at everything photoshop either. Perhaps it's just that I need more work at doing my version of it.