Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tutorial: Digital Stamping

One of the latest craft crazes is going for those who haven't tried digi-stamps or wondered what they're all about, I hope this blog post will help explain them. (Note: at the end of this post will be live links to the blogs and Etsy stores of the digital artists whose digistamps were used for the cards here.)

If you Google the term, you'll find a number of postal-related links. But in crafting, digital stamping requires no stamp pad. No physical stamp. It's done with a digital file, printed out onto cardstock! (Not sure why it's called stamping, other than that the images are similar to those you'd find made of rubber or acrylic!)

Though sometimes called "clip art," that term does digistamps a great disservice. Clip art in many cases is the cheesy art available in Word — but digital stamps can be quite elegant! All the stamps used in the cards shown on this post are digital won't find a single one of them in Word! Artists of all styles are making digital stamps nowadays, and they're worth a look, even if you love your ink and rubber. 

Digital stamps are most often sold on Etsy or on a stamp artist's blog, and occasionally in online stores as well; many digiartists give away occasional freebies, to try to tempt us into trying them out! These are digital files, so once purchased, they're downloaded to your computer, and you can print them again and again to make more cards.

A few benefits of digital stamps: the price is right—they're typically a lot less expensive than rubber or acrylic, require no shipping charges, and they take up no shelf or drawer space! And one digital stamp can be resized to suit your layout, large or small!

A little bit about digifiles: You'll most often be given a link to a jpg that will look LARGE in your internet browser. That is because the files are either very big at 72dpi, or a smaller size but a higher resolution. The internet requires renders images at 72dpi—but if you print out a card-sized 72dpi jpg, you'll get a really blurry image. (If you download a thumbnail image, it will be really blurry when printed; be sure you're downloading the largest image available.) The image you download should show up in Word or other software at a reasonable size, even if it looks huge in IE or Firefox.

Resize the image in Word or other publishing software that you use; make them whatever size you typically like for your stamped images, large or small. I recommend setting up a sheet with multiple images (so you don't waste space on your cardstock!), leaving space enough around the images so you can trim them or diecut around them. Print on cardstock you'd normally stamp on - and color the images with your usual medium. You may need to experiment with how that medium handles the ink in your printer. (If your printer heats the paper to set the ink, let it cool completely before coloring!)

An important note: PLEASE read up on the Angel Policy for any digital stamp designer whose work you're using, whether purchased or free. Some require © information to be printed on the back of the card with their information and url on it; OWH requests that all cards donated honor those policies!

Cardmaker Linda L emailed with a link to Elizabeth Dulemba's site—she's a children's illustrator and since I'm one as well, I was thrilled to connect with Elizabeth and feature her art here. (Check out her books, they're awesome!) She's allowing us to use her illustrations for cards for OWH for free! How awesome is that. She has a lot of great images for kids cards—many are drawings to inspire them to read! I can't tell you how many of these images I've downloaded and started coloring! (Copics, look out, here we come!) Here are a bunch of cards made with them....what's your favorite?

Elizabeth very specifically asks that we include information on the backs of our cards directing people to her site; I printed the information and adhered it to the backs of mine.
Image used with permission
© Elizabeth O. Dulemba
Children's Book Author/Illustrator
Visit to learn more
and download more coloring pages.

Links to digi sites featured above:
Phindy's Place (baby hugging bunny rabbit)
Elizabeth Dulemba (fairy reading books) *print her ©info on back of card
Heather (God bless ewe) *freebie still available
Mo's Digital Pencil (kids with military hats)

Now it's your turn! Go to one of the digi sites and download an image—and make a card with it. Come back here and leave us a link so we can all go visit!


SuzAnn said...

thanks for posting this, I was wondering what the policy was for digistamps on OWH cards. I'm off to check out those sites!

Seongsook Duncan said...

In recent, I have been playing some challenges with some freebie digital stamps. I realized that it helps me create new designs of cards for heroes. It also helps me introduce OWH to others. I love Elizabeth Tulemba's images, too. Thanks for the coloring tips and information.

Rufus said...

The link that I posted is actually to Elizabeth's blog, where she posted one of my cards today! And, of course, talks about OWH, since I told her that's where that card was headed.