When Creative Opportunities Present Themselves

Julie Fei-Fan Balzer is a powerhouse of artistic ideas and motivation.

Printmaking artists, art by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer
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She’ll be the first one to tell you that “there are no mistakes, only creative opportunities,” (tweet this) as she advises in her book, Carve Stamp Play. As you’ll see in this excerpt, printmaking in particular is all about taking these opportunities to explore and to play with both the process and results.

“Many people are intimidated by stamp carving, believing that it requires a certain amount of perfection,” Julie goes on to say. “I strongly disagree. Stamp carving actually requires flexibility and a relaxed attitude. When I’m carving, I create plenty of ‘creative opportunities’ for myself along the way. The important thing is to remain flexible, embrace the opportunity, and move forward. I’m not making perfect stamps; I’m making authentic ones.”

Printmaking Technique: Inking with a Stamp Pad

Inking with a Stamp Pad by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer

Whether you’re inking with paint or stamping ink, I recommend placing the stamp face up on your work surface.

1. If using a stamp pad, dab it onto the upward-facing stamp.
2. Check to make sure all of the areas you want to print are fully inked. You may have to dab the pad multiple times.

Printmaking technique: Inking with paint or printing ink
Julie’s printmaking tips: With smaller stamps, I sometimes press the stamp into the rolled-out paint. Also, printing ink covers more area than acrylic paint, so you can use a smaller amount.

Inking with Paint or Printing Ink
1. If you’re working with paint or printing ink, squeeze a small amount onto a sheet of palette paper. How much paint or printing ink you use depends on the size of the stamp you’re using and how many times you want to print it. A small stamp being printed once may need only a dime-sized amount of paint or ink; a larger stamp being printed multiple times may need a much larger amount.
2. Use a brayer to roll the ink evenly across the palette paper.
3. Once the brayer is loaded, roll it over the upward-facing stamp. I like to roll both up and down and across the stamp to ensure full coverage. ~J.F.B.

“Perhaps you’re nervous that it will be difficult,” Julie says. “In all the years I’ve taught carving, no one has ever said, ‘This is a lot harder than I thought.’ Rather, students have often exclaimed how much easier it is to do than they previously thought.” 

If only all art was like this! If you’re ready to learn more printmaking techniques, get this exclusive kit and start making your own “creative opportunities.”

Love the marks you make,


Blog, Printmaking


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