How to carve eraser stamps

When I first started carving eraser stamps early this year (2012), I knew only ONE other person locally (Lorra of Stars For Dreams), who was also doing the same thing. In the last few months though, crafting, and stamp carving especially, has been the trendy thing to do among twenty- and thirty-somethings in Manila (along with calligraphy and washi tape!). The DIY/handmade/crafting movement has been going strong for the last few years internationally, thanks to Etsy, and Manila has started to catch on. Crafting is not just for kids and little old lolas anymore!


Some of my rubber and eraser stamps.

I’ve sporadically been posting my eraser stamps on Instagram over the past few months and I’ve always gotten questions about where I get my tools and materials, so I thought of writing a post to answer all these. Then I thought, why not throw in a tutorial as well? Eraser stamp carving is pretty straightforward and I see people plunging into it immediately without a need for a tutorial, but in the course of carving my stamps, I’ve discovered some tips and tricks to make stamp-carving a little easier and more enjoyable, and I thought I’d share them with you.

This coffee cup stamp is the stamp I’ll be demonstrating in this tutorial.

coffee-is-love.jpg

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Christmas 2012

Non-committal, demographically-neutral holiday lettering, an excerpt from an ongoing project

 
How was everyone’s Christmas? 🙂

My December 25th is always spent with two sides of the family– lunch with relatives on my mom’s side, and dinner with relatives on my dad’s side. It has always been that way ever since I can remember. It’s set in stone. The days leading up to Christmas, though, is always a mish-mash of activities– Christmas shopping, gift wrapping, last-minute project-rushing… Three weeks before Christmas, I was working on a project (which I don’t want to talk about in detail just yet) and its deadline was several days before the 25th. I worked on it practically non-stop and when it was finished, I heaved a sigh of relief, sent it off to the universe (whut?), and sat down to wrap some presents! Time to get into the holiday spirit!

My free Christmas 2012 printable gift tags in use

 
I used pattern paper to wrap my gifts in, and I also used my 2012 printable Christmas gift tags. I was planning to print the gift tags on sticker paper but I realized I didn’t have any sticker paper on hand. I printed them on regular paper instead and ran them through my Xyron sticker maker, that nifty purple device pictured above which I bought several years ago. It applies a sticky adhesive underside on anything flat you can get through the machine.

Here’s how my packages ended up, with washi tape and paper twine trying to disguise the wrinkled mess. I call it sloppy chic. Did you know those four packages all have the same thing inside?!

My free Christmas 2012 printable gift tags in use
I can’t wrap irregularly-shaped packages.

 
Vanya, an online friend from the early days of the millennium, also used my 2012 printable Christmas gift tags to wrap her gifts. Look at hers! So neat =\

My free Christmas 2012 printable gift tags in use

 
In the meantime, Marlou downloaded my 2011 printable gift tags and used that instead, on recycled magazine pages. Clever! And still neater than mine.

 

Tags courtesy of Reg ;)

 
I gave myself a Christmas present, too. I took off several items from my wishlist on Amazon but of course, I didn’t bother to wrap it anymore (and what, feign surprise when I open my own wrinkled gift?) 😛

book.jpg
The 2013 Artist’s and Graphic Designer’s Market, which I purchased along with another book, Blog Inc. (and several toys for the cats). Stepping up my portfolio and self-promotion efforts this coming year!

 
Looking forward to a new year, as I do every year! 🙂 Stay safe, everyone, and stay away from firecrackers 🙂

Sushi and Tiger, and other cats in my life

Whiskers

 
Let’s get this out of the way: I am a crazy cat lady.

Some of you might have noticed a brown tabby cat in my recent Wordless Wednesdays. That’s Tiger, just one of two cats I have. The Illustration Friday drawing prompt for last week was WHISKERS, and while I missed the deadline (hihi- didn’t have time to blog then), I thought it would be a good time to introduce you to my cats as they will be showing up a lot in my work (they already have, actually).

My cat, Sushi

 
This is SUSHI (7 months old). A few months ago, my family and I moved to a new house. Sushi lived in that house; a stray born on the construction site. She never left because the construction workers kept feeding her their leftovers. They named her Maria with a Filipino accent (pronounced “Mar-ya”) and I would see “Maria” hanging around the workers and trying to play with the tape measure when they were measuring stuff. When we moved in and the construction workers left, Maria stayed behind and I changed her name to Sushi (well, it was Susie for a few weeks before I remembered I wanted to name her Sushi). I was happy to finally have a cat I can call my own 😀 Sushi is very affectionate– she likes to sit on laps and will sit there until you push her off, but she also likes to scratch and bite if you pet her for too long.

My cat, Tiger

 
Then there’s TIGER (6 months old). I got Tiger from a friend a month after I adopted Sushi. I came home one day with a new cat, then sneaked her in upstairs to my room (like a 7-year old!) so my cat-hating family (my dad, especially) won’t throw both of us out into the street….. Now my family doesn’t hate cats anymore, and in fact they’ve taken a liking to Tiger in particular as she is super sweet and extremely well-behaved. She’s not a lap cat like Sushi is, but you can pet her as much as you want and she’ll neither bite nor scratch no matter how annoyed she gets. Hahaha.

Crazy little cat lady
Apparently, I was already a crazy cat lady even at 3 years old.

 
Before Sushi and Tiger came along, I’ve already made a number of doodles and sketches (see my Tumblr sketch blog) featuring cats:

Cat doodles
Cat doodles
Cat doodles
Oh yes, I already had a cat name picked out before I even knew I was going to get a cat.

 
I love cats– they’re so entertaining and amusing and I like how, unlike dogs, they only do things because they want to, and not because another person expects them to. They have a mind of their own and don’t care what others think. Cats probably appeal to me because I’m like that, too (also, I like sleeping). When I grow up, I want to be a cat. All they do is eat, sleep, play, poop, and sleep some more. Sounds good to me!

It’s been 3 months since I’ve been an cat owner (cat slave? I clean their litter box and flush down their poop and spend my money on cat food and vet expenses) and more and more, cats have found their way into my sketches, doodles, Instagram photos, and even finished work.

Cats\
 
Cats

 
Some illustration advice I received recently which I’m passing on to illustrators, designers, and other creatives who happen to be reading: “If you want to do _____, have _____ in your portfolio.” Makes sense. Personal work also leads to paid work, so here’s to more doodles and drawings of cats (cat haters be warned!), for fun and profit! :3

Do you have cats, too? I wanna see! Post a link to a picture below or share a photo of your cats on my Facebook page 🙂 (Note: my cats are spayed, so don’t bother matching up your tomcats with mine– we’re not accepting kitty suitors :P)