Saturday, July 18, 2009

Twenty-Five Cents Worth

I have been long since finished with my contribution to the State Quarters swap, hosted by Lilac Butterfly. As most of you may know, I like to get my commitments done right away, while the idea and enthusiasm is fresh and alive in my mind. However, it seems that it is always the same with larger swaps; it is always difficult to get a carver/artist for every piece of the set, whatever it it states, alphabet, etc. This swap is no different, so I volunteered to take another state.

I chose So. Dakota. I like So. Dakota, and we just visited there on the Big Road Trip in the spring of '08. Sioux Falls was beautiful (and happens to be the birthplace of my beloved mother) and the (Laura Ingalls) prairie was something I won't soon forget - I love it. After I chose it, however, I discovered why no one wanted to carve the quarter.

Yes, that's right...Mt. Rushmore is featured on the coin. Ha! Well, I gave it my best shot. Those heads get pretty small on a 'coin' that is only 2" across, that's all I gotta say! Looking at it again, I could have added more detail to the bird's wings and I totally missed Teddy's mustache, but too late now - once that rubber's gone, it's gone, baby!

And below is the Washington quarter I initially chose - I really like the design, as it portrays the Pacific Northwest and our state so well.

I designed this one a little different, giving it an additional layer behind the detail. The larger size (2.5" x 3.5") enabled me to play with the lettering a bit, focusing more on the shadow that is created on the coin, instead of straight lettering like I did on the So. Dakota coin.

Speaking of lettering, I posted on an AQ thread recently concerning lettering. Most folks, it would seem, are a little intimidated with lettering, but I have always found it enjoyable (I think I just have a lot to say!) I started carving lettering with my very first stamp.

Anyway, here's the post. I was encouraged by a friend to post it "in a more permanent place", and I suppose my blog is as permanent as the Internet gets.
I like to carve letters and sometimes carve text just for fun. *nodding*

I agree to just think of them as shapes, but if you carve enough of them, pretty soon you will develop a technique or method for each letter. I think E, H and T are more difficult with the sharp corners that demand more precision than an S. O is an interesting letter, easy on the outside, more challenging on the inside. If I feel kinda lazy, I'll resort to my *gasp* pointy x-acto for the center (I place the tip in the center and spin the rubber against the slanted knife edge to cut out a little cone of material...careful, though - you can easily take out more than you intend!).

Of course, script is far more 'forgiving' than manuscript type fonts, in my view. The more curves, the better. When carving text, I always carve a line across the bottom of the text with my gouge, hitting the bottom curves of all the letters in the line, then do the same with the top. Then, I focus on each letter, usually right to left, sometimes just carving a line between each letter creating a border to work inside for each letter. (does that makes sense?) A little bit of determination and strong will also helps in carving letters. I always figure if Scoutdogs can do it, so can I! lol!

Anyway, there's my 2 cents, for what it's worth.
Actually, that's twenty-five cents worth, huh?


Mama Cache said...

You and these themes . . . man, you as good at writing about your carving as you are at carving . . . both excellent.

Glad to see the carving advice on here. Very clear. Very helpful.

Ari C'rona said...

They're both awesome, my friend! :o)

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