First attempt at Scrimshaw

leroytwohawks

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This is my first attempt at Scrimshaw, after getting my Wart Hog handle from ChrisB a few months ago I knew I wanted to try my hand at it. It turned out looking a little more like fur than feathers then I wanted, but I guess that will come with practice. Any advise and comments are more than welcome.:big grin:

Thanks,:tiphat:
Kevin







 
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Steve223

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It looks pretty good to me! Kathrine Should be able to help you with those feathers, Hers are as good as i have ever seen.
Steve
 

Andrew Biggs

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Hi Kevin

I do have some advise for you but first we have to talk about the elephant in the room.

What you have done is pretty bad and doesn't really bear any semblance to the artwork.

So lets look at a few things. The first is the artwork that you started with. When you transfer, or draw the artwork onto the thing to be embellished...............it must be accurate. And I don't mean sort of accurate....I mean deadly accurate!! This is especially true if you are a beginner because you don't have the ability to do anything on the fly. Even seasoned professionals go to a great deal of effort to get their design right on the piece before they start cutting or scratching. If your artwork is bad then you are doomed from the start, so do whatever it takes to get it right.

That brings us to the cutting (I know it's scrim but the same principles apply) You must follow your guidelines accurately. Sure you can make minor changes but exercise caution before you do because that is the purpose of good artwork. You have completely ignored the shape and form of the feathers and by not following them you have created a mess. You also have to think about the size of what you are engraving/scrimming. The reason your feathers look like fur is because you have used far too long stokes for the size of the artwork. Your lines need to be a lot shorter, and I mean a lot shorter, basically little more than extended dots. If the bird was a Yeti then you may have gotten away with it............always remember the texture of the subject that you are engraving/scrimming

The devil is in the detail..........and so it is with engraving/scrim or any kind of artistic endeavour. Study light, shade, form and texture and try to apply them to your work. Immerse yourself in books about drawing and photos of engraving and scrimshaw and quite a bit will stick through osmosis......slow yourself right down and exercise some patience as there is no hurry to finish the job........but most of all, study and understand the artwork/drawing in front of you.

Pick up a pencil and paper and start drawing and copying pictures, animals, scrolls or whatever. You will learn more about scrimming and engraving by doing this one simple thing.

How to fix it..............Sand it off and start again taking into account what I've told you. Chris' warthog handle deserves better and you are capable of better work weather you know it or not. :)

Cheers
Andrew
 

Sam

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Kevin: The bad news is that Andrew is right. This didn't turn out so well. The good news is that you can sand off this pretty little knob and start over! The only thing I'd add is to practice drawing the bird on paper first. Once you've worked out all the nuances of detail and shading on paper, you can then apply what you've learned to scrimming the knob. I would also advise finding a better example to copy as this drawing isn't so good.

You can get some ivory micarta to practice on. I think it's a pretty decent material for practicing scrimshaw, but maybe someone with more knowledge can comment on that.

Whatever you do don't get discouraged. You can definitely do this with a bit of practice. / ~Sam
 

leroytwohawks

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I want to thank you Andrew, and Sam, for your advise, when I did the transfer I lost most of the detail and didn't make a print to look at till it was to late.:eek:
But I knew as you said I could always sand it off and start over. I need some better tools to work with on this type, I was using a sewing machine needle and it would flex when I tried to make any marks, and that got frustrating. So I guess I'm up to sand and redo.:big grin:

Kevin
 

Marcus Hunt

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Kevin, your ordinary gravers will work; you don't need to use a needle. You've gotten some great, honest advice from Andrew and Sam. Remember, feathers form just as hair and fur do, so when you're constructing any sort of animal you have to take into account that it's 3 dimensional and work accordingly. Luckily you could sand off this handle and start again but on some items you mightn't be so lucky.

I don't think a warthog ivory handled graver would last long in my workshop. If it didn't smash from the regular dropping it would get, it'd be scratched to pieces by the other tools on my bench!
 

KatherinePlumer

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Hi Kevin. I'm glad you're able to start over on this, unfortunately sometimes that's what it takes. Take your time with the original drawing, and take your time with transferring the image, you want to be sure you can see enough of it to be able to work on it!

I thought it might help you to see the tools I use. I know everyone's different, so I'm certainly not saying these are what has to be used, they're just what I use (and they're normally not that organized!). ;)



Top: a pencil. I don't use it too often, but sometimes there's a need
Bottom: a very fine point pen. If I get lost, I draw some lines on the surface so I don't lose track of my image. It wipes off with water.

Middle row left to right:
1) Airgraver with a bulino point. (I don't think geometry is particularly important for scrim, go with whatever works for you, I'm going to try this out with a needle point too). I don't use this as often as you might think, but it's a hand-saver for areas of solid dark tone, and I use it for borders and lettering.
2) steel etching needle in a pin vise, wrapped in leather to make it more comfy to hold. This is not very sharp, it's a scribe tool. I use it to make very faint lines, basically to draw my image on there while I'm working (because I tend not to transfer all the detail of the original drawing, it gets too busy and I'm comfortable just re-drawing it). The lines do not cut the surface, do not hold any ink, and buff right off.
3) sharpened #11 x-acto blade in a pin vise (I love these pin vises!). This is my line tool. I cut lines toward me, I don't engrave them away from me. It's a very very very fine point. I suppose a person might want a wider line tool sometimes too.
4) sharpened sewing needle in a pin vise. This is thick needle, there is absolutely no flexing. And it's crazy sharp. I use this for making the image transfer (poking through the printed image into the surface of the ivory) and also for fine detail.
5) carbide tipped etching needle in a home-made holder. This thing is great, very comfy to hold. This is the tool I use most.

Remember, lines not only indicate tonality, but also form. Follow the curve of the form to give it depth.

Good luck with round two! Careful, it gets addicting. :big grin:

-Katherine
 

Andrew Biggs

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Hi Kevin

Don't worry............we've all been there, done that :)

Next time your at the hardware store buy a few extra sheets of "wet n dry" automotive sandpaper in grits from 320 - 1500......... 400-600-800 being used the most.

You'll soon learn that it becomes your best friend on the work bench :)

Cheers
Andrew
 

leroytwohawks

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Thanks Katherine, I have several of the tools you show, I do like your home made handle. I need to find some better needles, stiffer to work work with I was getting alot of flex in the one I was using. And I'm not giving up.:thumbs up:

Kevin
 

Charlie

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That is a very good likeness of "Woodstock's" older brother.

He's in prison doing time for the next few years, but when he gets out, he gonna clean up a bit.
 

Charlie Long

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My first attempt at scrimshaw makes your bird look like a masterpiece.

I suggest that you do some practice on some less valuable material; there are lots of flat plastic materials that can hold a very nice image.

I also suggest trying dots instead of cuts or scratches. You get in much less trouble with dots. Start with an outline of widely spaced dots, then freehand it when filling the gaps.

I like to work on flat surfaces. Maybe this breaks from tradition, but it is what I like to do. Doing what you like to do is what a hobby is all about, isn't it?

I haven't figured out that URL thing, or I would send you a picture.
 

vanknife

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Kevin there is an old Chinese proverb that says, "Fear not to proceed my son even if you proceed slowly but fear to stand still"

Cheers

"VAN"
 

kcrutche

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Kevin

First I would do as Charlie Long suggests and practice a something besides your new handle.

When I am going to take on a project such as this I print my image as large as I can on 8 ½ by 11 paper.

Then I tape a piece of clear plastic over the printed image (taping just the top edge).

Then using a fine tip pen (I use a .25 Rapidograph but a extra fine felt will work fine) trace the outline of the image.

Slip a new sheet of paper between the printed and traced image and rescan into CorelDraw.

Now you can resize and print to make a transfer (I use Epson Work Force 30 printer, 3M laser Transparency Film, Durabrite Ink and Tom's Transfer Magic for my transfers).

I have made a transfer image for you Just resize a necessary.

The lines on the transfer image are to show an area to cut, use the printed image to see exactly how to shape your cuts.

Hope this helps.

Ken


 
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ron p. nott

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Kevin !!!! I am going to be as kind as I can ..... It looks like a drowned chicken , not good and dont tell any body that your where one of my students .. keep trying I know you can do it .. ron p
 

Bunic

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Kevin,

Man is this the place to be! If you can take the hard truth from the pros, eat a little humble pie, and then go back to studying and hard work, I believe you'll get to where you want to be in the shortest amount of time and with the fewest complaints from the folks with the money. Carpe dime (Seize the money!)

I'm following you even closer now!!! Hang tight! You're getting there...
 

leroytwohawks

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North Eastern PA by the way of Texas
Well everyone I was hoping this chapter was behind me, as I posted this 3 months ago but thanks to someone who won't be named "Charlie":rolleyes: It has all come back to haunt me. I've given up on scrimshaw for a while till I get more practice in on my scrolls and drawing.

And Ron at least I can tell them you showed me nothing on scrimshaw, so your reputation is still safe with me.:big grin:

Kevin
 

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