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Scrolls and a Self-Portrait, Hand Engraved
work by Ron Smith

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 Published in: 2015 Archives

If someone asked you to engrave your own likeness in metal, would you be up for the challenge...or a little apprehensive?

Self portraits can be tough, but Ron Smith of Texas is nothing short of a master when it comes to hand engraving and art. This self portrait, engraved on a GRS vise for the 2005 Grand Masters Program, is a fine example of how to capture your best side (and signature cowboy hat) for hand engraving.

Smith, who has written and published two books on scroll design for hand engravers (Drawing & Understanding Scroll Designs and Advanced Drawing of Scrolls), knows how to make a design work with many elements. The focus on this side of the vise is the portrait, and Smith frames it quite nicely with an ornate scroll border. But he doesn't stop there, adding gold inlay to both the border and portrait. Smith also allows the scrolls and leaves to flow into the frame. This adds texture and interest to that would otherwise be negative space around the portrait.

The rest of the vise is covered from side to side with Smith's excellent scrollwork and inlay. Notice, too, the gold inlay on either side of the custom key. Instead of adding inlay to the entire scroll that fills each of the interior corners, Smith leaves the majority of the scroll's backbone untouched — a nice touch!

Have you done a self portrait in metal? Send your hand engraving project to featured@grstools.com and your project could be featured here! Keep your gravers sharp.


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