I took the photo of my brother and made it greyscale then posterized it in two values. I also tweeked the contrast a bit before posterizing til I got an image I liked.
I used Speedball linoleum cutters, also dead cheap at Dick Blicks, like under $7 for a handle and 5 blades. I also used an Xacto knife to do intricate cuts.
When I used the Xacto knife I used it in a bevel so as to keep the material (soft-kut) as stable as possible. I will show you what I mean using this eraser. I place the knife on a bevel towards the area to be removed, then the next cut is beveled towards the first cut. The excess to be removed easily pops out.
OK, after removing all the material from the stamp, it's time to print a rough sample image to see what I forgot or what is too high and getting into my image.
The paper with the graphite is on the left, the rubber stamp is on the right and my first printing of the image is in the center. I see some high spots (on the forehead) and I take this opportunity to trim away "hairs". You can even see where the high spots have ink on them on the stamp.
This is a close-up of "hairs" on the first print. I also had forgotten a piece near the mouth so I cleaned it up and printed again.
Now I want to mount this stamp onto a rigid substrate so my fingers wont push too hard on the carved areas which are now thinner than the raised areas. This will give me nice stable uniform pressure when printing. I have plans for this stamp. I want to do multiple touching images a'la Andy Warhol so I want my backing to be the exact same size at the stamp to make calibration easier. You'll see what I mean when I make my prints. I used rigid 1" insulation board, rough cut a piece maked it with the stamp on it and made the final cut on my bandsaw (because I have one). A knife or razor will also make a nice cut.
I decided to use craft paint with a brayer just to see what it looked like. Interesting images. You could see the brayer marks which is neither good nor bad and the image was NOT crisp. Same reaction. It was a good first try. I now know I will do 3 over 3 - 6 images to make a 12X12" square.
Not really what I was going for but a good start. I am making this for a specific purpose but I have used stamps from photographs many other times as motifs in quilts.Here are a few.
OK. Now it's the next day and I really couldn't wait to start experimenting. On the first multiple print of the stamp, I had brayer marks which I actually quite liked. Here is the next print, done today, where I brayered the paint onto my glass plate and pressed the stamp into the paint to load.
Next I used a smooth foam brayer (4" foam paint roller) to load the paint onto the stamp. THIS is the color I most associate with my brother because he is a red head.
This method has given me the best definition and smooth color that I was looking for. Wish I had more paint this color. I will give it another go with fabric paint in this color later. Love the look and the format - 4 across.
Now this last one is with the same technique, foam brayer, with the dark brown which I accidentally poured onto the glass plate. It is the format I want to use for the art show 12X12 - 3 over 3.
I can't tell you how much I love making these stamps from images. I have done a friends dog and made a quilt all about her. It is such a wonderful way to pay tribute or just "go" with a motif. I hope you all have a ball.
Beth from Maine