Stamp carving attempt

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I’m really interested in making my own custom stamps and I have been for quite a few months (well, pretty much since I got my craft knife last summer).
I took a look at a few tutorials on various blogs and sites before giving it a go. I procrastinated for longer than I feel is humanly possible before actually starting. Months of actively avoiding doing something definitely cannot be healthy.

Anyway, I decided to just use an old eraser which I bought while visiting some old castle years and years ago. I have a snazzy putty rubber now, so there is pretty much no need for the average crumbly eraser. Bear in mind: crumbly rubbers and erasers will not work out well if you’re carving stamps from them. Since I am a definite beginner in the world of intricate designs from just a craft knife, I reckoned that if I chose a few letters that weren’t too difficult to cut then nothing could go pear-shaped (how wrong I was).

The first stamp I made was the word ‘NO.’ in block capitals. Let’s just say that it wasn’t a pretty sight. And it wasn’t nearly big enough (5x3cm) to make a big impact if I stamped it on someone/something. I cut the ‘O’ really badly and I’m sure that the stamp won’t last long before breaking. I then went for a slightly larger eraser and cut out ‘ILY’. I think it turned out okay, considering it was only my second attempt.

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So I’m basically going to be using the ILY stamp everywhere. Nothing is ILY free. I stamped my friend’s birthday card envelope (as you can see) and went a bit crazy on a sheet of paper (as you can also see). I also managed to score my white table because I forgot to put my cutting mat down at first and got black ink everywhere across it. I have a few ink pads from Hobbycraft that I will use religiously (black, dark and light purple). I’m sure my ink and stamp collection will grow. Stamps are actually addictive.

I’m probably going to invest in a larger block for carving rubbers (maybe this one) because I now only have putty rubbers and bad quality erasers that aren’t worth carving. And possibly some different knives and carving tools so that I can get more details into my stamps. Whale stamps are going to happen, for sure. But in the meantime, I’ll be cutting away at potatoes and corks to see what else works.

Thirty Days

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November was great – full of deadlines and stressful typing through the night. What am I talking about? NaNoWriMo, of course. It happens every year in the eleventh month (and sometimes in the summer months too) and the aim is to get creative and produce at least 50,000 words (yes, you read that right: fifty thousand) to create a novel. Within one month. That’s not even fair – I’m pretty sure that everyone who takes part has a life to get on with during those arduous thirty days. There is no time to write 50k words and succeed. At least, that’s what I thought until I won.

Yes, I won. It was my third attempt at NaNoWriMo, and definitely my finest. My first try at NaNoWriMo went well up until I hit 30k. I distinctly remember my laptop giving up on me then me giving up on my laptop and using that as an excuse for my lack of motivation and laziness. I actually had a plan that year (something about chess pieces, magic powers and a war) and stuck to it fairly well. Last year’s wasn’t so successful. I don’t think I even reached 10k, what a fail I was. Then we come to this year.

I convinced a friend to struggle through the month with me (they won too!) and soon realised that my vow to plan out my novel for this year (that I had made in August) had been broken. I decided to wing it completely and write whatever came into my head, hoping for a flash of inspiration each day. Anyway, I hit the 50k word count just after midday on the 30th of November. I think I danced around the house naked, but I can’t really remember.

The plot of my novel was awful – to be honest, saying that it has a plot is probably being too generous. Something about two people (Nox and a still unnamed girl) who lost their memories and have problems with certain limbs and their hairstyles (and names too, after I was criticised by many people about how corny the name ‘Nox’ is). So basically a novel full of rants, endless adjectives and adverbs, much dialogue and pretty much no action. It’s not completed yet, so there is still hope.

More to the point, the novel (currently named ‘Suppressed Memories’) included several creepy creatures that had tentacles, gnashing jaws and tufts of bloodstained fur. This was loosely based on a sketch I drew sometime last year on the front cover of a book. Since then, it has been scanned in and edited a couple of times. This was the first version; it has more details than the final one (which is at the top of the post).

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I don’t know which version I prefer – I like how clean the final is, but I feel as if the first version is nicer to look at. I entered the final version into my local arts and crafts exhibition anyway, after deciding that the first version needed a bit of tidying up (which turned into a complete redraw). I won first prize in my age category, but that was because no one else entered (I had a table to myself).

The creature is the cause of the loss of one of my character’s arms. Metal teeth mixed with soft flesh wasn’t ever going to end well, I must admit. It wasn’t too gory, but such fun to write anyway. So there, that was my November: thirty days of hunching over my laptop, sacrificing my real life in an attempt to beat NaNoWriMo.

Happy Halloween !!

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It’s that time of the year again, when knocking on strangers doors to ask for sweets is perfectly acceptable – happy Halloween! I actually got round to drawing some art for the day, which is a surprise to me.

Ignoring the chin, I’m really pleased with how this turned out. I spent a couple of days on it and used GIMP and MyPaint (but GIMP for a majority of it). I re-did the hands about five times and used tons of photo references of my own hands. And no, that is not cheating, I’m pretty sure no one can draw perfect hands without a reference of some sort. Admittedly, the background is extremely lazy, but I guess it makes the main focus of the picture stand out more.

So, since it’s Halloween, I decided to draw a witch. It sort of worked. The hat didn’t (hence the lack of hat – but who needs hats anyway?), and neither did the cat or broomstick. But the seemingly snitch-like magic glowing stone thing did! Witches these days need to have that extra cool glowing gemstone this girl has. Times are changing.

I entered a few Halloween contests on deviantart, but I haven’t yet picked up any prizes. To be honest, I feel like this piece only loosely connects to the theme Halloween anyway. But as long as I’m happy with it, that’s good enough for me. Another thing about deviantart: I uploaded this piece on it and reached over 100 favourites! *Celebratory music begins to play in the background* One hundred favourites is the most I’ve ever received so I feel awfully proud.

I admit that I didn’t do anything else for Halloween. I didn’t even hand out sweets and candy to trick-and-treater’s (is that even a word?), let alone see any of them. I guess I live in a very un-Halloweeny area. Though I did see a hilarious tumblr post about giving out candy on Halloween.

So, what did you do for Halloween ?

Trying out Kirigami

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I recently discovered paper-cutting and kirigami and have been quite interested in giving it a go. Kirigami is basically the art of cutting and folding paper (so like origami, but with cutting).

A few weeks ago, I got this book about Kirigami, with some great patterns that I can print out onto card to cut out and fold. I also got a hobby knife (with a few extra blades) and a cutting mat. Since I’m only a beginner, I got a really small mat in a set with the knife. The first pattern that I tried my hand at was a cute square basket. It took me a long time because I like everything to be symmetrical and perfect. I was super careful whenever I made a cut. To my irritation, the small shapes turned out to be irregular sizes (but you can’t really tell from a distance).

After trying out one of the easiest patterns in the book, I decided that I would definitely succeed at making the fish tea-light holder. Definitely. And it took me hours. There were two ‘fish bone’ pieces that I had to cut out. By the time I finished the first one, my hand was killing me. But the two ‘fish bone’ pieces were intact and I stuck the better one (aka, the one which I didn’t rip) on my pencil pot. The amount of satisfaction you get from completing one of these projects is definitely worth all the time and effort you put into them. The best bit is finishing glueing all of the parts together and leaning back in your chair, admiring the finished product. Please excuse the awful photos.

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Another thing I found out while cutting the fish box thing was that small curves are quite tricky to do. You have to control the knife and make a cut that goes through the paper, but one that follows the lines. I ended up improvising on some of the curves as I realised I couldn’t make it look that good if I stuck to the template. Once I get better at paper cutting, I’m hoping that I will be able to make my own patterns and print out templates. As I’m currently using the ones from the book, I have to scan them in and clean them up a lot on gimp.

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I also did a tiny fish place-name holder. I rushed it a bit so it wasn’t that tidy. A few days ago I went out to buy some more card (my 160gsm paper is running low!) and stocked up on coloured card. Next, I want to experiment with cards and more intricate designs. Some of the things you can do with card is amazing, just search ‘paper-cutting’ or ‘kirigami’ and you’ll find out what I mean. I don’t really have a steadfast hobby or ‘thing I’m into’, so it’s a great time to experiment and try new things out !

Hoodie Weather

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I had a go at drawing humans in a manga/cartoon style yesterday evening. It sort of worked…

It’s meant to be a self portrait of sorts but I didn’t get any features right (so now it’s just a person). The piece is based off the song ‘Sweater Weather’ by The Neighbourhood. Instead of sweaters, I changed it too hoodies. I don’t actually own any sweaters.
And I’m currently working on some realistic face picture. Which is very ugly. So I won’t post it.