I finally got back to the black and white animals I wanted to do. Pandas are an obvious choice, of course. But he had to wait in line behind the zebra and the penguin before he got his turn. It took me a while to settle on an image that was going to read clearly, yet not be too cute. Too often pandas are dismissed as sweet and simple. I wanted to capture something more handsome and real.
I will immodestly admit that as soon as I stamped him I said (aloud), “I love you.” I was very pleased with how his fur came out. Instead of thinking of the white as negative space that needed to be carved away completely, I stopped myself from being too meticulous and stayed with the “grain” of the fur. This effect gives him a certain texture and depth.
(Below is a picture of him before being carved. Before the rubber meets the road, so to speak. It is a mental exercise to imagine the positive and negative spaces contrasting.)