Stamps; For Beginners and Beyond
I have been contemplating an article that explains and showcases the power of stamps in the dA community for some time, and it seems almost appropriate in light of recent events, to create this article now.
This article aims to cover common questions around stamps, and provide links to resources, for creating stamps. Not only does this article aim to target beginners or those that do not know about stamps, but it also aims to feature some of the most creative examples of how artists have managed to do so much with such a small canvas. This article can even provide tips and inspiration for seasoned and experienced stamp-makers, whilst encouraging the appreciation of stamps by everyone all-round.
So what are stamps?
I'm sure this is a question that many of you encountering this article are already asking. Stamps are small, pixel creations (traditionally 99x56px in size), that originate from right here on dA (the idea came from TheRyanFord). Stamps are primarily made to present a quote or message in text, although they can combine and or primarily comprise of an emote, pixel art, animations or photos. Stamps are commonly used to show support of other deviantart users, anime/mangas, favourite foods, colours, music, anything; you think of it, and there's probably a stamp out there to support it.
Example of a stamp;
Ah! I see! So what's so great about these little stamps then?
Well! It is often thought that stamps or other small deviations are not as creative as other artworks, simply because of their physical size limitations. However, I challenge all artists to look at the size limitations of stamps and to use every ounce of their creativity to be as exciting and original as they can within those few pixels! As the feature later in this article will show, there are plenty of examples to be found of stamps which go further than just a clever message typed on a template.
Great! I want to get started and make my first stamp!
Wonderful! It's always good to give something new a go, and stamps are no exception! First up, you will want to take into account a couple of important tips for successful stamp making;
Transparency is almost always essential for a well-made and useable stamp. To understand more about transparency, have a look at this tutorial to see the difference between a stamp that contains transparency and those that don't. I can't stress to you enough the difference in quality between stamps that have transparency at the edges of their borders and those that don't, and in fact, many of the stamp groups on dA won't accept stamp submissions that don't contain it.
Stamp templates can mean the difference between a neat stamp and one that is outside the normal size expected of stamps, since users who try to insert a stamp into their collection will have trouble doing so if your stamp is many pixels bigger or smaller than all the others placed around it. I'll get to some good templates I recommend for beginners and pros alike in a moment.
Animations within stamps are perhaps one of the best ways to create a stamp that is really unique and stands out from all the others, however this means you should take into account which program you are using, since you will need to be able to save your stamp as something like a gif or png (png only for transparency, not for animation, however gifs allow both).
The message or theme of the stamp are important, so think about how you are going to design your stamp from the start, it takes more than getting a nice template and typing out a couple of words or slapping a picture in it. For instance, consider the design elements you can work with, including the border colour, inner glow and other layer properties options (depending on program you are using), font and last of all the content of the stamp, wether solely text, or a mixture of emotes and images as well.
Great tips! Now I think I'm really ready to make a stamp!
Here we go! To get you started straight away, some of the stamp templates I would recommend for stamp making;
Ok I've started making my stamp, but I think it needs something a little extra?
So here we have some features to give you some inspiration and ideas. Firstly, here are some examples of static stamps;
Examples of stamps featuring emotes;
And examples of stamps with animation;
I've made my stamp, what do I do now?
You want to get your stamp promoted so that others can discover it and use it to decorate their profiles or journals! The best way to go about this, is to join some stamp groups and submit your stamp to the group gallery. Here are some stamp groups that would be good to consider joining;
I'm really excited about stamps, how can I work to improve them?
This is great, you've made your first stamp, or maybe you are already a regular stamp maker. That's brilliant, but don't be satisfied with just that! Let's have a look at some tutorials that could help inspire you to create even more interesting and fun stamps;
How To : Make a Basic Stamp by Mr-Stamp
Stamp Animation Tutorial by MenInASuitcase
A Stamp Making Tutorial by GibbyGibson
Animating a Pixel Sparkle Tutorial by LittleKai
Pixel Art Tutorial - Shading by Kiwinuptuo
Pixel Icon Character Tutorial by Fiveonthe
Pixel Art Tutorial for MSPaint by mocha-san
Pixel Art Tutorial by Cheila
GIF Animation with The Gimp by tgfcoder
Emoticon Animation Tutorial by MenInASuitcase
Emoticon Shading Tutorial by LedMaiden
Secret Shading Tutorial by MixedMilkChOcOlate
Shiny Emote Shading Tutorial by Bad-Blood
Exploding Emote Tutorial by Bad-Blood
Spinning Beams Tutorial by MenInASuitcase
Shine Animation for GIMP Tutorial by el-L-eN
Prosaix's Sexy Shine Tutorial by prosaix
Hey wait, some of those tutorials aren't even about stamps!
This is because I challenge all deviants who think stamps can't be more than just text to think bigger than just a witty message or complaint as the subject for a stamp. By looking at some tutorials, you can broaden your skills and introduce entirely new elements to your stamps. Don't ever settle for ordinary stamps! Make them as extraordinary as you can and just keep going!
Some Notable Stamp Makers
This deviant is thoroughly dedicated to promoting the DeviantArt-Related Category within which the Stamp category itself currently resides. He produces his own stamps, is a recognised contributor to the group and regularly organises news articles featuring stamps.
A deviant who was just recently been promoted to senior status on dA for her hard work promoting and encouraging the creation of emoticons. She is a lovely and helpful deviant, who doesn't let others influence how she creates her own unique style of emotes and stamps. Her stamps often contain very thoughtful messages with appropriate emotes to match.
Otherwise known as Indae, and also a good friend of mine, she was voted best static emoticonist for 2010, and has a separate account for her stamps. She makes use of lovely colours, fonts and emotes, showing thought and care with her stamp designs.
Another deviant dedicated to participating in the group and featuring Pokemon themed stamps regularly. HIs dedication to producing and promoting stamps encourages and inspires those who are featured to continue their stamp making.
This deviant (previously known as CommanderLuminaire), has been a powerful supporter and creator of stamps. He invented things called lil' badges, as a smaller and more space conserving alternative to stamps, as well as providing custom box codes for pages and a myriad of stamp and button templates. He is also the founder of the group.
The founder of the wonderful , he is a great supporter of stamps and stamp makers, and is always looking to accept and feature stamps within his group. The group is a great place for beginning and regular stamp makers to find a warm welcome and some feedback. dA--bogeyman also creates a large number of stamps himself, covering a huge variety of subjects.
Links to Stamp Related Articles
Confirmation that as of the time of writing this article, stamps are still eligible for DD features
Weekly Pokemon Stamp Feature: Issue #001 - The first in the series of articles featuring Pokemon theme stamps
Pokemon Stamp Feature Issue #001 - The first in a new series of Pokemon theme stamp features
Project Educate - Stamps Edition
Project Educate - Stamps Feature
Drop into dA-Related
Stamps of 2010 - The Favourites
Hey wait, I don't have a subscription and want to use stamps still!
In order to use thumbnail codes in comments or journals, you need to have a subscription to dA. Since there are plenty of people who don't have one, there is another way around this. Groups such as explain all you need to know about plz accounts and provide a list of categories of the stamps you can use. If you are a stamp maker yourself, you might consider looking into plz accounts and perhaps make some so that other users can enjoy using a well made stamp in their profile or journal (although plz accounts are not for everybody, certainly don't go harassing stamp makers to make accounts for their stamps if they simply choose not to).
How to find a thumbnail code
Information on the benefits of purchasing a dA subscription
I want to support great stamp makers and their stamps!
Well there are a number of ways you can do this! You can;
Create a support stamp for that stamp maker
Suggest the stamps to be featured in stamp group favourites or galleries
Leave a supportive and kind comment on a stamp explaining why you like it so much
Use the stamp on your own page for others to see
Create a journal feature or news article featuring a bunch of great stamps
Interview a stamp maker for a journal article
Start up a stamp making contest to get the creativity flowing
Suggest a stamp for a DD
This last one in particular can be an extremely effective way to give a stamp and stamp maker more exposure. See these links in order to learn about DD features, and how to use your voice on dA to suggest features;
Who selects the Daily Deviation and how is it chosen?
What is a Daily Deviation?
What do I do when I disapprove of a Daily Deviation?
Keep in mind these key things;
Stamp suggestions should be sent to BurgerBunny
You should check to make sure that the artist has not already recieved a DD within the last three months (by entering someusername.deviantart.com/dds/ to see what dates any previously recieved DDs have)
Daily Deviations are features that gain more exposure for an artist and their work. Since it is not an award as such, keep in mind which pieces you think are really appropriate for suggesting (such as a paricularly well made stamp by a relatively unknown deviant, as opposed to a very famous stamp by a famous user that a lot of people already know about).
It is helpful to add a little description within your note to the gallery moderator that lets them and everybody else know why you think that stamp is special enough for a feature ('I think this stamp is an excellent example of - ')
I just want to finish off this article by thanking all those who contribute to the stamps category, you really do brighten up dA. Please note that if there is something you feel I have missed in this article and want added, I do not have the ability to edit once published, so I apologise for that .
I want to leave you all thinking about how you can go out and make the stamps category and stamps themselves greater. Many people look down on the stamp category, and see them as lesser than other forms of art, but I will say this;