Great tips from Sam Alfano


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Dec 18, 2014
Black background relief engraving is one of the most luxurious and expensive (and time consuming) styles. Sometimes the budget won't allow for this so an alternative is a background-less English style like the scroll on the right.

Not sure if it's really an English style or not, but the cuts are similar to English fine scroll where a deep beveled cut creates an area of negative space, or background, between the elements. Western brightcut uses a similar approach but the cuts are done differently.

It looks good and cuts much faster than full relief engraving, so keep it in mind for a future project.
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Some common shading errors I have seen with the line direction going every way but the right way as in the top example.

In the bottom row you can see how the shade lines point to the green dot which is the point of growth of the leaf. Keep 'em pointed to the point of origin of the leaf and you will have a much smoother flow to your work. There are exceptions, but learning this will put you on the right track.
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Design evolution.

Example 1 starts out ok but ends in failure attempting to force scrolls to fit, ruining their spiral.

Example 2 isn’t terrible, but those two scrolls facing each other is not agreeing with me.

Example 3 shows a c-scroll to the rescue. In difficult design situations, the c-scroll can be a great solution.
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