Stamps; For Beginners and Beyond II
You may have read an article some time ago called Stamps for Beginners and Beyond. That article was an effort to explain the category and it’s history, and how to get started, how to improve and how to enjoy it to it’s fullest. Since then, the article has become a little outdated, and therefore I have decided to come back to it and write a new version, so that even more people can discover the fun and creativity involved in stamps.
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 emoticon, 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 that 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, and .gif for transparency and animation).
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. You can also search the Deviant Stamps category (under the main category Deviantart-Related) for other templates until you find some that inspire you as well.
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;
Pixel Art Tutorial - Shading by Kiwinuptuo
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. Bylooking 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
A deviant who has taken the stamp scene by storm with their creative and varied stamp designs. It's well worth a look in their gallery, especially if you like pixelled stamps.
A deviant whose been delighting and amusing the community with her wonderful and charming emoticons and stamps for a long time now, I couldn't go through stamps without giving her a mention. If you take a look in her gallery, you'll be sure to find at least one emoticon, stamp or inspiring quote of interest to you.
Although perhaps best known for his epic emoticon scenes and animations, Web5teR has made some truly eye-catching and remarkable stamps. His talent with emoticons is clearly featured throughout his stamps and gallery.
A deviant again more widely known for her pixel art skills, she's also made a unique impression on the stamps category, with her style instantly recognisable and very popular among stamp users. Her gallery is not just a haven for adorable pixel artworks, but also has some pixel resources to help you with your own pixel and stamp creations.
Links to Stamp Related Articles
Hey wait, I don't have a subscription and want to use stamps still!
Since the last edition of this article was published, thumbnail codes have been allowed for non-premium members almost everywhere on the site, with the exception of the Artist's Comments section directly underneath submitted deviations. To use a stamp, you need to find the thumbnail code, sometimes there is a small button in the upper right, but there will always be one further down on the right, where you don't need to press a button to see it (thus making it easier to find).
How to find a thumbnail code
If you are interested in being able to use them everywhere, here is some information on getting a subscription. Remember that even with one, you are limited to 6 thumbnail codes in the Artist's Comments section.
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;
FAQ #61: What is a Daily Deviation?
When suggesting stamps for DDs, it's important to consider the following things:
I'd like to finish off this article by thanking everyone who contributes to the stamp making, using and admiring community here on dA, it's a wonderful and unique category, which is still continuing to grow over time. I hope to see more people challenge themselves to try out this seemingly limited medium, and to push it beyond even your own expectations.
I will leave you now with an extract from the end of the first edition;
"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;