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Old 07-21-2008, 04:20 PM
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KatherinePlumer KatherinePlumer is offline
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Oak Run, California
Posts: 233
Default Re: Katherine's Contest Submission (Scrimshaw woo hoo!)

Oops, I should have talked more about the art itself in the previous post, but I'll do that now instead. In my opinion, the artwork and the composition are just as important as the technique. You can't save bad art with fine technique. It's kind of like the old saying "you can't polish a turd." I have seen some incredible pieces (not just engravings, but paintings and sculptures and everything) that are "technically" flawless, but flawed in composition or the anatomy of the critter being portrayed. Like anything else, whether it's horse training, relationships, or building a great chicken coop (you know I have to get a chicken reference in here) you have to have a good foundation. If you feel you can't draw, perhaps it's time to learn. :yesnod:

The next step is getting the image onto the item that's going to be scrimmed. There are a number of ways to accomplish this, and I have used various techniques for different pieces, but since this is flat and not a weird shape, this is really simple.

I had already scanned the full-sheet image and shrunk that down to the size of the micarta.

So I cut out one of those printouts (just the outline drawing, not the shaded one), taped it to the micarta, and using my steel etching needle I poked holes around the outside of the bears and the tree (through the paper). I did NOT incise any background at this point. That would just make the image too confusing at this point, and since the background doesn't need to be super precise, I can just hand-draw that on later.

Ha ha, nothing like trying to do a left-handed photograph of myself, egads!

Periodically while doing this I'll lift the paper up and smudge a little ink on the micarta just to make sure I'm poking the holes deep enough. It takes a little practice. There's nothing like thinking you're done only to find that nothing came through. Or to have a really heavy-handed outline on a very fine piece.

See the holes through the paper?

So this is where it's at right now. The outline is there, barely visible but just enough to work with.

Here's a closeup:

I've never worked with micarta before, so this should be an adventure. I can already say it's hard to wipe clean, so we'll see how irked I'm feeling by the end of this. Or maybe I'll love it!

My original plan had been to do this piece in color. I changed my mind after deciding that attempting a blue sky and clouds on this very tan colored stuff would be a mistake and end up looking muddy. And, truth is, I really prefer the b/w anyway!

I will talk about tools and stuff in an upcoming post, and keep an eye out for the work-in-progress pics!