Turning a goofy photo into a cool stamp

making stamp out of a photo
Last summer I visited my good friend in Chicago and got to meet her 9-year-old son for the first time. Turns out we have a lot in common. Like mother, like son! He's smart, curious and creative. We both like to draw, play video games, ponder big questions. And we both enjoy acting a little goofy. 

For instance, when we went to a local thrift store, this happened.
original photo
For his birthday a few weeks ago, I decided to turn this photo into a stamp. It was a timely decision, since I had just reached the part in Julie Balzer's book where she shows how to carve a photo stamp.

To prepare the image, I isolated the part of the photo I wanted to use -- his oversized sunglasses and oh so pouty lips. In Photoshop Elements, I removed the rest of the background (a slow but not difficult exercise since his face and hair contrasted with the background.) I had to fill in the top of this head to eliminate the shoe dent.
Then I desaturated the image and applied a cutout filter. I added text (in hindsight, I wished I'd typed "dude" instead of "man.")  With a pencil, I copied the image onto tracing paper. I rubbed the graphite onto a rubber block and then started carving.

making stamp out of a photo
Here's an impression made from the final stamp.
making stamp out of a photo
For fun, I duplicated the image in different colors. Yep, gotta work on my alignment.

making stamp out of a photo
Kinda cool, hunh?