Hi. I didn't want to make a stand-alone post, and I remembered seeing this thread pop up at relatively regular intervals, and it seemed like a good place to drop something I (just) made that I'm pretty positive about.
I know at least applewood probably remembers that I was experimenting with lino/stamp carving a few years back. I have continued to experiment. This year for Christmas I carved stamps to decorate my wrapping paper. The wrapping paper turned out well -- well enough for my mom to tell me about some other stamp-carving lady she'd read about in Oprah who also carved her own stamps and sold cards she printed online. Mom and I talked about hand-carved stamps twice actually and both times she had a different name or two of people who practiced lino carving and sold their stuff and who had websites which I could check out, if I wanted.
I did want. I was interested to see what and how other people were doing with lino that was sellable. I've had my etsy store continuously open for just over a year now and it has been a bust. I have lost money through the etsy shop hands-down, the entire year. I'm not exactly surprised or disappointed by this, as the etsy shop was always a bit of an off-the-rails venture for me, but it certainly hasn't helped me feel like I make anything art-wise that interests the masses, either.
One of the artists I looked had a different technique than my usual approach. This person would take an entire lino block or stamp block (a block the size of the card faces she was printing) and carve out an entire scene in the block. She used the carving to create black lines, and then colored in the white spaces with watercolor. Yesterday as I was messing around with stamps all day I decided, hey, why not, I have never done anything like this before, I should give it a try. All the lady's products were nature scenes and it made sense for my first attempt to do the same. (Mostly because, I had no other direction and "why not?" ref said.)
I decided I'd carve a fox, googled my way across this particular fox-picture, started sketching and shortly after, heck, I started carving.
After some intensive carving time, here's my end result (the print).
I am pretty darn happy with this. It's absolutely the most complex thing I've carved.
Next I am going to take one of the black prints and try coloring it in to see how that might change the finished product. Instead of watercolors I'll be using crayons (because I don't have watercolors and I've had a surprising amount of success with using crayons on art lately).
What's different/interesting about this piece and approach to carving is that, if you notice, there's a fair bit of solid black in my print -- uncarved lino. I don't think it would benefit this particular stamp to have the background fully detailed. I think a fully detailed background would distract from the fox, which is supposed to be the focus of the print. However, I bet there are other ways to deal with black areas (maybe just pattern them with lines or something) etc...
Well, let's just leave it at I have a lot to learn here, still. Also, it's worth noting that to use an entire stamp block to carve 1 stamp is...ridiculously resource-heavy compared to what I usually do (carve single image stamps out of a larger sheet and try to reuse scraps). However, I do have an untouched mounted lino block I got as part of a stamp carving set which is 4"x5", which means I will be doing another one of these full-image attempts someday in the future. I was thinking maybe a snowy pine tree, but now that I've carved this whole fox in the forest, a snowy pine tree might be boring.
I'll have to think about it.
Anyway, I'm glad this thread exists! It's good to have a place to share.
PS. Another stamp I carved yesterday, this one done in my "traditional" method and colored in with crayon: