It was another great year of daily carving and printing! Here are all the stamps I carved in December:
Wow! The thing about #CarveDecember that shocks me every year is that it actually happens. I know that sounds silly, but December is a crazy month and I can never believe how totally productive I am during such a crazy month. It always sends me into the new year with great creative energy.
Now that I've had a few weeks to process everything, here are a few thoughts about this year's #CarveDecember:
- I learned so much from the guest teachers during 2020's #CarveDecember class. I didn't realize it until I started carving and printing, but I found myself going back to tips and ideas that those talented printmakers shared. And I even rewatched a few of the class videos to get myself inspired -- Sarah Matthews' day 3 video is a particular favorite of mine!
- Everyone is harder on themselves than they should be. I read sooooo many captions where people kicked themselves for "being behind" or not being "good at stamp carving" or some variation of that. You guys, I want to scream it from the rooftops: YOU ARE AMAZING. I think a lot of it has to do with insecurity -- "Oh, I better say bad things about myself before anyone else has the chance to. That way it will hurt less if they say something negative." NO! When you do that, you're simply bringing attention to something that no one else noticed or cared about. In 2022, let's all practice saying good things about the work we create.
- I answered the same questions every single day. Literally every single day. The good news here is that I'm crystal clear on the carving and printing questions that beginners have. I always point people towards Stamp Carving 101 or the tons of free online resources you can easily google.
- I make better stamps when I practice drawing. So much of block printing is illustration. The more that I have practiced drawing and identified my personal style of drawing, the better I've become at designing stamps. Drawing practice has even made me better at determining which parts of the stamp to leave and which parts to carve away because I have a clearer sense of what I want the finished print to look like. This is even true with pattern stamps.
- This year I shocked myself by loving the prompts. I think it's because in recent years, I have given up any pretense of needing the final image to represent the prompt. Instead, I am focused on using the prompt to kick off my brain. The prompt is a starting point, not an ending point. I think that's key.
- What I want to carve is evolving. I can design, carve, and print a small pattern stamp in about twenty minutes. It's quick and easy for me. But I'm starting to prefer to carve larger and more intricate blocks. And those take a lot more time. They're the kind of thing that you might work on over days. So, #CarveDecember may not be the time to work on those. Good thing there are 11 other months in the year!
- During December stamps enter into my artwork more than any other month of the year. They're in my art journal. They're on my collage paper. They're on my desk and on my mind, so I use them! I still use them other times of the year, but just not as much. It's actually why I started the #printinktober challenge! I wanted to force myself to get all the stamps out and use them!
If you participated in #CarveDecember: Hooray for you!
If you were happy to be a spectator: Thank you!
If you'd like to join in next time: You can do it! Check out THIS post where I share tips and resources so that you'll be ready in December 2022!
Thanks for stopping by!