Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Digi Stamp Background - Mixing Rubber Stamping and Digital Images

I've been playing around with digital images a lot recently and decided I wanted to try mixing my rubber stamp images with digital backgrounds for the fun of it using my laser printer.  

So what's a "Digi Stamp"? - this is a digital image you would print rather than stamp with rubber and ink. Several rubber stamp companies sell "Digi Stamp" images along with their line of rubber stamps so I figured it was time for me to play around and mix the two to see what I come up with.

The large background and building is a digital image "digi stamp". 
The embracing couple and standing man are by Third Coast Rubber Stamps. 
The cobblestones are by VIP - Visual Image Printery Rubber Stamps.

I have created a large collection of my own Digi Stamp images by downloading and scanning clip art into my computer.  I've compiled quite a collection from Dover Clip Art books and other resources over the years and now I'm mixing these images into my stamping art.  The digital images will really allow me to do things I have not been able to do with just stamps alone; since now I can resize an image to suite my needs and incorporate images that I did not previously have in my stamping collection to make a scene.

So to create the above scene here is what I did.

 I Started by printing my digital image "Digi Stamp" so I could get a lay of the land on where I wanted to position my stamped images.  The background was printed to a size that would work with the stamp images I wanted to use.

Next I stamped my rubber images onto Eclipse Art Masking Tape paper and cut them out just inside of the stamped outline so I would avoid getting a halo effect when I printed my background. 

(Eclipse tape is a special stamping tape has a lightly sticky adhesive that will allow me to run these through my laser printer.  I did learn the hard way that you need to brayer the masks down really good before sending them through the printer.)

I then laid a fresh sheet of computer paper over the pre-printed background image so I could see where I needed to stamp my images.  I know it's hard to see but if you look closely you will see the faint image of my background under the area I was getting ready to stamp in.  A stamp positioner tool was essential to this process.  I can also measure and approximate where my figures need to be should I choose to use a heavier cardstock to stamp and print on.

While stamping my images I also need to mask off the standing man before stamping my cobblestones. Once this was done I masked off all the stamped images; brayered the masks down really well so they would not come off during the printing process and then fed the stamped paper into my printer to print the background.
(I figured out ahead of time how I would need to feed the stamped page into the printer tray so the background would print in the correct position).

 This is what my page looked like after I removed the sticky backed masks.

I started coloring the image using pastel pencils and decorative chalk but did not like how the cobblestones were abruptly ending so I...

 masked them back off and stamped more cobbles on either side to extend them out.
Luckily I could do this as an afterthought since there were no other images in the way.

after I scanned the above hand-colored image, it appeared a bit washed out so I enhanced the colors a little here and there in Photoshop to get my finished artwork.  This created a final image that was a true mix of stamp art and digital art and not a bad first try if I do say so myself.

 This adventure was a great learning experience since much of what I was doing was trial and error in figuring how to make all this work out.  For example, I learned you need to brayer the masks in place really well so they don't come off in the printer.  I had this happen on my first printing attempt and had to take the laser printer apart to find the little bugger had gotten stuck to one of my rollers.  However in the process I found that if you don't mask off an item you get a very cool ghost effect if there's not too much going on in the background behind your stamped image.

 This was my first print attempt where the mask came off the couple in the arch. It actually is kind of cool since it now appears as if they are ghosts rather than the flesh and blood lovers I was going for.  This error is now something I intend to use in the future when I do what a ghostly couple in my scene.

 This is the 2nd stamped and printed attempt where the masks were brayered down and stayed in place.

This is the original digital clip art image I used as a Digi Stamp Background.
This background image when printed measured 6 x 7 inches

Digi Stamp images have opened a new window for me since they have expanded my stamping possibilities beyond anything I had previously imagined.  Now if I'm working on creating a scene that requires a castle or chair or object I did not have in my stamping arsenal; I can pop in a "Digi Stamp" image to make it all work out.  How cool is that?

Grins and Giggles,

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