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Topic: Father's Day papercutting  (Read 7249 times)
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« on: July 08, 2010 05:24:30 PM »

I made this papercutting for my dad for Father's Day. The quote is from Moby Dick, which is one of his favorite books. Here's a picture of it framed:

(Click on the photos to see bigger versions!)

While the rest of the species is descended from apes, redheads are descended from cats. - Mark Twain
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« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2010 05:32:51 PM »

I LOVE this! Great job!

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« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2010 06:00:00 PM »

Beautiful - I love the colour paper you chose too!

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« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2010 07:54:59 PM »

Wow! That is amazing.

"Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains" - Jean Jacques Rousseau

"This book doesn't have any answers!" - The Simpsons Movie

« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2010 08:31:52 PM »

WOW! That's so awesome, I love love love it! How did you do it all? The intricacies of the grass/people/trees/text far surpass my expectations of even the sharpest of xactos!

Check out my infantile blog! http://juliadawn.blog.com/
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2010 01:30:11 PM »

Thanks everyone! Cuttie, I've done a bunch of papercuttings at this point, and I've developed a technique that works pretty well for me:

First, I design it on my computer. I'm much better with the computer than with drawing by hand, and I like to use clip art for the main design elements. (I'm far better at bricolage than at actual original design, sadly.) For this particular design, I searched through hundreds of photos on Flickr of little kids on their fathers' shoulders until I found one that looked approximately like what I was envisioning. Then I traced it in Photoshop using a stylus on a tablet monitor (my university's, not mine, alas) and added the silhouettes of trees (clip art I found online). I did draw the grass and "tickleweeds" (as I called them when I was little) myself in Photoshop, and I added the curly hair to the kid (who had originally been wearing a big hat).

Next, I invert the colors. Usually I've been designing in black on a white background, and I flip it so that the part I want to cut away, rather than the part that will be the final design, is the shaded part. Depending on the color of the paper you're using, the shaded part should be anywhere from a light gray (if you're using white paper) to black (if you're using darker paper). Basically I make it only as dark as necessary, because I don't always cut all of the printed parts away and I don't want it to show through.

Next, I print the design onto the paper I'll be using. My favorite paper for papercutting is The Paper Company's "metallics" paper (I get it at Joann's). It's a bit thicker than standard paper but not as thick as cardstock, and it's got a nice plasticky texture that makes it cut smoothly. (It plays well with laser printers -- dunno about inkjet.) I cut my designs from the back -- that is, I print the design out on to the back of the paper, so that any leftover bits of ink won't show. This means I have to reverse the design so that it prints backwards (kind of like making an iron-on design for a shirt).

Then I just sit down and cut out the parts with ink on them! I use a regular Xacto knife with a pointy blade; I've tried special knives with rotating blades and ceramic blades and whatnot, but I find I get the best control with a standard knife with a fresh blade in it. I cut on a small rotary cutting mat. I try to do the smallest bits first because if you leave them until last they'll just make you crazy. ;-)

The finished design was about 8"x10", so it's not quite as intricate as it might look in the photo. Really, it just takes a lot of patience and tolerance for sore fingers. I think it will be a while before I attempt grass again, though. :-)

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« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2010 08:19:36 PM »

I envy your patience and precision. I love this but I'd very likely chop off something important... I definitely would not have letters as nicely done as yours. It's really lovely.

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« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2010 07:34:59 AM »

I am 100% impressed with the lettering. I'm so bad at cutting straight lines haha.

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