If you're good with a pencil and not design sotfware, you can do this. Although I finished this one off in Photoshop you still have other options. (See the end of my last post for some ideas.) I'm including this stamp in the IQS rubber stamp series although it was the 2nd rubber stamp I ever started working on quite a while back.
I work in several creative disciplines and take my work seriously. Too seriously sometimes so I try to mix in a few silly things now and then to keep myself balanced. I'm a bit of a perfectionist but vowed to myself to
keep correspondence fun!
I still can't believe I juggle over 20 pen friends. I do think this will not be forever. (I don't fancy that I can be that interesting to this many people.) With time being so limited for me I took my concept for this stamp to a fellow artist. One of my very own pen friends who's an animator! See the process sketches from concept to completion.
Commissioning artists is a great way to save time! I commissioned my pen friend to just get things started for me. I asked for unfinished work, just a sketch. I communicated that the end result would be an actual outline drawing. I told him I wanted a superhero of mail correspondence. I heroin, resembling me a bit... a 1/3 view. A character that would defend the art of correspondence! =) I asked for a hood and a mask. I presented a likeness of myself and some samples of some comic heroins and told him to interpret as he wished.
OH and I also told him to keep it smut-free. Apparently all the heroin comic characters are well endowed and flaunt it with an R rating! This was a family show! Sheesh. (Soapbox alert! When you commission an artist you don't make endless rounds of revisions. That's not included in the price. Ask up front how many rounds of revisions is included in the price and how much for each additional round. Convey what you're looking for clearly up front or be flexible about what you're getting in lieu of specifics.)
Above was his first sketch. I loved it! Especially his interpretation of the letters magically swirling about. I asked for some modifications. A small cape, no earrings (he did this because I wear ear rings all the time! =), and to place the pen in my right hand.
Above were his revisions. His work was done. It was now my job to finalize my vision and get it up to rubber stamp production standards.
I started by placing tracing paper over his sketch to create my new rendition (on the left). I blew it so you can see it better. (on the right)
Then I placed tracing paper over my own rendition to get out a few more kinks, like the hair and cape (on the left). I wanted a more stylized look for the hair so it would produce better on a rubber stamp. Afterwards I blew it up again to then start working on the swirling letters (on the right).
I wanted very much for the letters to represent what I really do with my ink nibs. Unfortunately, the letters I do naturally slant slightly to the right, thus when they are backwards (behind the heroin) they slant in the opposite direction. I didn't like this look at all! I tried several versions and fonts.
It wasn't working and it didn't help that I was running out of time because when I order my own rubber stamps I do them in batches to save on shipping. The other stamps were gifts I had to get into production. So I decided to forgo the letters... for now. BEFORE MOVING ANY FURTHER I went to the stamp site to take inventory of the actual size this would fit into. Creating it without the swirling letters would be more cost efficient as well, not as tall.
So I inked in my lines keeping careful account of their thicknesses. Strategically I wanted some thick and others thin. Remember, my mind works backwards, from the end result first. I was thinking of the rubber stamp itself and wanted to make sure the lines I created will not deteriorate quickly with use due to them being too thin. Besides, I knew my next step was to add in some "lined shadows" and I knew those lines would be even thinner then the ones I was inking in.
You can see above that I placed yet another piece of tracing paper on top of my last inked rendition to create the lined shadows I had in mind. However, the truth is what's in my mind doesn't always come to physical fruition at first attempt. Thus the new piece of tracing paper so I wouldn't mess up my neatly inked rendition. My plan is to marry the two together in Adobe Photoshop.
Yeah Yeah.... I was tempted to keep trying for the letters! Uhg. I eventually left it alone. Old habits die hard. (It's not easy keeping things light and free of perfectionism.)
Above you can see my Photoshop file with the different layers that will make up the final stamp. I scanned in my inked drawing and the inked lined shadows. Here only the "Shadows" layer is visible.
Oddly, I notice the right hand was a bit out of proportion from the rest of her. Minor, but it bothered me. So I copied the hand from the "Heroin" layer and placed it on it's own "Hand" layer to increase it a tad in size. The "Hand" layer has to sit anywhere above the "Heroin" layer to cover the original small hand.
Viola! Above is the final rendition with a copyright symbol. I placed the symbol in a fashion where I can sign either my first name, last, or even my pseudonym if I wish. Photoshop allowed me to increase the contrast and do things like move the nib up against the pen holder. Small stuff like that. That's why it's a "custom" stamp. You get to create it as you wish.
One of the reasons why I did eventually let the swirl of letters go is because I had always planned to have a "saying" of some kind go with this stamp. I figured it would really be too much text on front of an envelop.
I did however order them as two separate stamps so I could use them individually if I wish. One might say that I could have ordered them in one stamp and just ink the portion that I want to use, but with such a large stamp it would be hard to see where I'm aiming only portions the stamp. These are not transparent rubber stamps. (Perhaps I should tell RubberStamps.net to start offering them!)
Once my two files were final I uploaded and submitted my order:
4"w x 3"h $33 and 2.5"w x .75"h $9.50
They had the width and height transposed on one of them so I submitted it accordingly— sideways, but you can us the "Rotate" feature in their online interface to do this also.
Did you notice the "Youthful Heroin" postage stamp above?!
Aha, it's all in the details! =)
Many thanks to my pen friend Fabian for getting my idea started.This project was loads of fun. I do enjoy creating things from start to finish. It's satisfying to have an idea in your head and bring it to life. It took several months due to all my other endeavors, but satisfying still.
And now I get to use it!
Hello, I’m Nina, the maven behind the
IQS blog. I’m all about creativity (ya think?).
I work in several disciplines. So it's no surprise that the Art of Letter Writing would come knocking on my door. Smitten!
However, I did not want to simply add MailArt as a discipline to my website. Thus it became the IQS Blog within my site. And that is why there are TWO navigation menus. *Here’s a Tip: stick with the BLOG Menu in this Column. The main site menu will lead you astray into dark places where you will be screaming for help and no one will hear you.
• More Love Letters
• Letter Writers
• A Month of Letters
• Post Card Exchange
• Snail Mail Ideas
Remember paper planes?
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