Watching You Tube videos on journaling (example: Julie Fei-Fan Balzer), I found many artists used hand-carved stamps in their work. I recently read Julie's Carve, Stamp, Play: Designing and Creating Custom Stamps in which she explains how to design, carve, and combine original stamps. I also read Gloria Page's Art Stamping Workshop. Gloria lists materials for creating hand-carved stamps and how to stamp on paper, fabric, and alternative surfaces.
Both books are encouraging and informative. Many years ago I did some linoleum block carving, but my experience is limited, so the books were helpful.
I already owned a Speedball linoleum cutter (an antique?) with various tips, but I needed a block. I used a Speedy Carve rubber block as Julie recommends in her book. She writes "it skates the perfect line between firmness and softness and doesn't crumble". It carves very easily, is flexible, and feels very much like pink eraser material.
I drew my original design directly on the rubber with a Farber Castell pen - keeping in mind the design will print in reverse. Here you can see the block before it was carved.
After carving the rubber using mostly the #1 tip (small v) in the cutter, I did a test print. Now I can go back to the block and fine tune the design. I'll do as many test prints as necessary until the stamp is complete.
Hand-carved Stamp, 2015
2 1/8" x 3 1/4"
2 1/8" x 3 1/4"
Speedy Carve, #1 cutting blade
The next goals are to create some blocks with designs that I can repeat multiple times to make a larger design........... and to practice cutting!