Perfecting Tombstone Rubbing

There are many different stages when it comes to perfecting tombstone rubbing and mastering the technique and learning or observing the art-form are some of the important aspects that every hobbyist must consider. There are various ways of getting to the level where you can head out to any cemetery, where tombstone rubbing is allowed, and practice your hobby with almost mechanical precision.

While the ideal situation is where you can observe a master craftsman at work and learn the tricks of the trade from them, finding someone who lives near you or someone you can visit regularly to understand the art is quite rare. Like most hobbyists, you might have to resort to other forms of learning and that includes videos and books, all culminating with you practicing the art of rubbing on other objects before heading out to rub an actual tombstone.

Learning the Art of Perfecting Tombstone Rubbing

There are many avenues available for individuals to learn about tombstone rubbing and no matter how eager you are to get out there and start practicing it you need to go through these materials first, before anything. Books are always easy to obtain and you can buy them off the Internet if your local bookstore doesn't carry any.

Some of the books that will really move you along quickly include "Reproducing Relief Surface: A Complete Handbook of Rubbing, Dabbing, Casting and Daubing", by William J. A. McGeer. This is a book that focuses on a lot more than tombstone rubbing - it targets the technique of rubbing or dabbing, amongst other techniques, as a whole. It gives you the knowledge you need to practice your skill on any relief surface, and has a special place for tombstone rubbing. The author has modified several age-old techniques to make them perfect for today's hobbyist, giving you the ideal platform to start off, and all of it is beautifully explained and illustrated in a concise book.

"Oldstone's Guide to Creating Rubbing", by Glen K. Marks, is another great book that deals with the techniques involved in rubbing. Once again, the book is generally about the technique but also talks extensively about tombstone rubbing, monumental brass rubbing and more. Oldstone Enterprises is one of the oldest and best known suppliers of materials used in rubbing, so you can trust this well-illustrated book to highlight all the key elements with great accuracy. Another gem for perfecting tombstone rubbing techniques!

Some of the other great resources, in book form, include "To Rub or Not to Rub", by Bertha B. Wakin and "Early American Grave Stone Designs", by Elmer L. Smith. The latter contains only photographs of early tombstone rubbings, without text, and is a great guide to those looking for perfect examples of the final result.

Other than books, the Internet has a wide range of articles and videos that will take you through the process with great detail. While the hobbyists demonstrating techniques may not always be the best, those perfecting tombstone rubbing will realise that it's all about time and practice. So use these videos only to understand the technique and if you happen to come across some of the gems that are available online, then you should be able to come out a better hobbyist at the other end.

Practice the Art of Perfecting Tombstone Rubbing

Like any skill or technique, perfecting tombstone rubbing also takes time and effort. However, most hobbyists tend to rush into the final stage of rubbing actual tombstones before they understand the techniques; before they can identify different kinds of tombstones, and before they know what they are doing or what they are supposed to do. Simply reading a book or watching a video will not make you skilled, even though it will give you the knowledge - only practice can do that!

When practicing, always remember to start at home, on other things like rocks with a lot of natural relief surfaces or other objects that are solid enough but not necessarily made out of stone. The more you practice, the better you will get and the more you will understand how various elements like the rubbing wax, the paper, the masking tape and other elements work together. You will develop an understanding of each of these individual elements and that will help you in perfecting tombstone rubbing techniques when you actually start working on a tombstone.

Eventually, it all comes down to why you want to enter the hobby of tombstone rubbing and how much perfecting tombstone rubbing techniques will help you in that process. If you are just pursuing it to maintain souvenirs of your hobby, then you might not want to spend too much time in the details but if you are serious about maintaining records or want to follow it up as a profession, as many artists might, then you will certainly find a greater need for perfecting tombstone rubbing techniques.

Know why you want to pursue this hobby, get all the materials you need to pursue it, gather the knowledge and, then, you can begin perfecting tombstone rubbing techniques.

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