The Bewitching Hour by Sharon Schuman

Many sources of inspiration can trigger a stamper’s creative process. A background paper started things off for The Bewitching Hour by Sharon Schuman of North Las Vegas, Nevada.

“I created the background on a gel plate using yellow, orange, and purple acrylic paint, as well as two paints from Dina Wakely—Cheddar and Lemon. I also brayered a little gesso on the plate. My brayer’s old and the rubber has developed issues, which is how I account for some of the weird lines and squiggles showing up on the typing paper I used. With this technique, I never know how the final result will turn out; but this time I could see that the purple area created a perfect sky. My go-to for black ink is Versafine Onyx Black. I mounted the typing paper on yellow cardstock because I felt it made the sky pop.”

After coloring the children images, Sharon did some skillful shadowing with both a regular lead pencil and a black Stabilo. With her finger, she rubbed and pulled color into areas where she wanted shadows to appear. “I am particularly proud of how it turned out because I’ve never been good at shadows, and this just seemed to go my way.” She considers her good fortune as a “likely tribute to my love for Halloween.”

The costumed children image came to mind right away when she learned of the issue’s theme. Originally together, she cut the children apart to convey the idea of a big sister being forced to take her brother trick or treating.

“She doesn’t see the spooky witches from another century, but he does. Or is it all in his mind? I like to think she dared her brother to walk through the graveyard! I hope I conveyed the idea that he was more scared than she was, but I have to credit Beeswax for the great expressions on their faces.”

The tombstones are die cuts, but the children were fussy-cut. “I have special scissors for tiny, detailed figures. They are small with very sharp blades. I’ve learned you either like to fussy-cut or you don’t. I happen to enjoy this process. When I take my time with something, it calms me down, and the end result is my reward.”

One final tip from this creative stamper: “Make sure you ink up a sponge and then go over all the artwork’s edges with black ink. Leave no white showing.”

The Bewitching Hour by Sharon Schuman
(Stamp and product credits: Boy and girl—Beeswax; creepy witches—Tim Holtz; fence—unknown; gravestones die cuts—unknown.)