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The Essential Guide to Drawing Scrolls for Engravers, Jewelers, Artists and Designers, by Sam Alfano (DVD)



Universal DVD, 80 minutes

1 in stock



“Sam is truly one of the greatest designers of ornamental scrollwork in the 21st century.” – C. Roger Bleile, Author of American Engravers and American Engravers – The 21st Century

 “Sam, you’ll always be the JEDI of scrolls in my world, one cannot refer back to your work enough.”– Jeff Parke – Engraver

“Sam: Thank you very much for the DVD with your lessons in Scroll work. It’s exactly what I was looking for. You did me a big favor. The great thing you achieved is to put the whole thing in order for people like me. Starting with simple clear designs followed by a development of that with clear explanations. Then later on you explain what is possible with these basics. Every step is clear and I could follow you perfectly with my pencil and paper (and eraser!). You managed that I have drawn my first scroll as I would like it to be. This is an inspiring video. To achieve your experience in this way for others to use gives me a jump to the next level without following the long road you and many others took. In my opinion, this DVD will be purchased by both non-engravers and by starting and struggling engravers too. It is a great asset to reach the next level in scroll design.” Hora Siertsema – Engraver, jeweler, the Netherlands


Watch and learn as Sam Alfano unravels the mystery of designing ornamental scrollwork. 1:20 DVD which includes chapters on basic, intermediate, and advanced scroll design, point errors, and leaf fold-overs. Learn variation in scroll elements to make your designs more interesting while achieving a proportional balance. Avoid common design errors and learn to shade for a rich, three dimensional look.

Scrollwork doesn’t have to be complicated and confusing. Once you learn the process you’ll be able to create your own designs, opening up a whole new world of possibilities. Grab your pencil and sketch pad and follow along. You just might be amazed at the results.

The testimonials continue……..

“I watched the DVD all the way through this morning. It was great! I learned a lot of the little things I didnt know yet like connecting cap lines to leaf lines. I feel like I have a more COMPLETE understanding of scrolls now. I have been drawing a lot of scrolls the past month or so. While this one is far from perfect, it is a big improvement. Great DVD Sam!” – Johnny Schipp – Jeweler, Engraver

“I recently purchased Sam’s DVD and have reviewed it end to end…..and can’t wait to view it again. I love that style of scroll but never had the time to learn it on my own—-I’ve got a full time gig. Learning the new stuff isn’t as easy as just sitting down with a pencil and just drawing it. There are rules that need to be found out. That takes trial and error. Trial and error = Time. Sam explained the rules….Those little things you don’t necessarily pick up when you visually study them on your own. Rod’s review was “spot on”. This is a fabulous DVD. Own it!” – Brian Powley – Engraver

“If you’ve ever wanted to know the thought process behind drawing proper scroll work, this is the DVD for you!

After watching this you will better understand exactly how and why the elements are placed in certain and precise locations to achieve a balanced, flowing design. The lessons are clearly demonstrated, carefully explained and are much easier to understand than simply looking at scroll work on your own and trying to figure out why it looks so good and how the artist went about it. You’ll learn both in a very detailed yet concise manner. This is the ultimate learning recipe for drawing beautiful scrolls; the only other ingredient needed is your imagination.” – Tim Wells – Engraver

“EXCELLENT! Very well presented- great voice, good explanations and beautiful drawings- got lots out of it from the basic scroll, too! Absolutely awesome presentation! From the beginning to the end, it flows as great scroll work should!!!! That’ll get watched LOTS!”

– Cloudy Kennedy – Engraver

“Sam has produced a video on scroll drawing that is a home run. The over head birds eye view of a Sam while he is drawing gives the viewer an excellent view of what is going on at the point of the pencil. You are taken from the beginners eye through advanced scroll design. Thanks Sam. Your video has helped me develop my scroll to a new level. I review this each time I start a new design. It really works for me.” – E. L. Sandy Popovich – Engraver, Gunsmith

“The progression of the chapters flowed very nicely. It was very easy to follow along with a sketch pad and could be done with no previous knowledge of scroll design. The point errors offer an excellent source for self critique and the leaf fold-overs are a great example for adding variation to a design without jeopardizing the correct structure. In the advanced scroll design chapter is was great to see the growth of the scroll from beginning to end. I was also able to screen-shot it and print it; a flat, gray scale image is nice to have to examine at a full page scale. Like your tool sharpening video, I can see myself playing this dvd when I get to those “why is this not working” moments. This video definitely gives you all the rules needed to understand and design scrolls properly, and a check list of must have elements. I will recommend this to all my friends that are artists and designers.” Emily DeLorge – Engraver

“Sam Alfano, has given me the privilege of previewing his new DVD titled “The Essential Guide to Drawing Scrolls”. It has 6 chapters covering… 1: Basic Scroll Design; what makes a good scroll, leaf lines, cap lines etc. Then on to 2: Point Errors, 3: Intermediate Scroll Design, 4: Shading Leaf Elements, 5: Leaf Fold Overs, 6: Advanced Scroll Design. It’s great being able to follow along with a pencil and paper as Sam makes these concepts so basic and understandable. There is no metal cutting on this DVD, only the solid drawing skills needed to create elegant scroll work. The Chapters move in a logical progression and before long, you begin to truly UNDERSTAND the differences between good scroll design and those that fall short. It is a DVD that many a newcomer, (and some not so new) have been looking for.” – Mark Sedlak – Engraver, cameo carver

“This is an excellent video for anyone from rank beginner to the more experienced scroll designer. I’ve already picked up some nifty nuances that I’m eager to incorporate into some projects. I highly recommend this video to all!” – Neal Martin – Engraver

“I’m not sure you even know the powerful tool you have given the engraving group. The more I watch it the more value I see in each pencil mark you make .I got my copy yesterday. So my evening was spent learning the proper way to do scroll design. This by far is one of my most powerful tools in doing my basic designs. Like Sam, I seem to learn faster by watching than by reading. This DVD is well worth the investment.

Thanks Sam.” – Glenn Anthony – Engraver

A review of 


The Essential Guide to Drawing Scrolls:


This forum and others are international, and happily intertwine the full spectrum of engravers from world-class, fine-arts masters, who will embellish guns, for example, that may end up being as valuable as your house, full across the spectrum to raw beginners who have assembled a few tools, and are gung ho to cut metal.

It is a great time to be practicing the art/craft of hand engraving. A short time ago is was difficult to get guidance, or to learn by following traditional apprenticeship paths, seeking out acceptance from long established firms. I like apprenticeships, and served seven years starting at age 15 in my initial trade as toolmaker. However, I would not like to deny my engraving colleagues the opportunity to start learning and improving their skills after, perhaps, retiring from a long career in some other field, and once leisure and choice are on the menu, today’s opportunities to learn engraving have been transformed by forums, online video teaching, short training courses by recognized masters, and by DVD teaching tutorials.

So it is with enthusiasm that I invest in DVD’s for my engraving reference library. Sure, I love to meet face to face with some of my engraving heroes at various exhibitions, and training sessions, yet some of us are cash strapped, or limited in the time we can take off, so DVD tutorials can be a real blessing, both for those with a limited budget, as well as those like me who, from choice, get value from quiet home study. Furthermore, the trend is toward high quality video and thoughtful preparation. We all like that.

Sam Alfano’s lastest teaching video: “The Essential Guide to Drawing Scrolls” was a no-brainer purchase for me, as I knew it would be good. I made my purchase and recently I sat down to enjoy watching my first run through, and I know it will not be my last.

Every conceivable style may be found in hand engraving, however scrolls make up at least part, and sometimes all of many masterful works, so what more typical elements could one choose to study grace and flow.

The pacing of these scroll drawing lessons is important, and I think Sam has hit the right tone in his delivery. I can only guess how many teaching lessons he has delivered around the world, and I must assume that his clear delivery, comes from a lot of experience with what works in his many engraving classes to small groups. This might be a good time to acknowledge that I got booted by Sam into the lively and generous world of engravers. After wandering in the wilderness, trying to reinvent the wheel on my own, Sam took a chance on me, and I flew to spend a one on one week with him in his studio. Later he encouraged me to go to shows and trainings, I took a deep breath and jumped in. The water felt just fine, and I have not looked back. My engraving output is limited, as I practice another trade, but I have a passionate interest in hand engraving.

Listening to Sam’s voice on the DVD was just like he was in his own studio, encouraging, with a “yes you can” inflection that gets through to me at a subliminal level. I would like to think I have made some progress since those days in his studio, I am having fun, yet honestly I think I am still on the lower end of the totem pole of engraving. Hence I can get a lot of value from watching well delivered lessons that start from the beginning, and this DVD does.

The lessons are delivered in three chapters, beginning scroll principles, intermediate, and advanced. It is all done starting with a blank 8.5 x 11 page, pencil, and eraser. Some of us draw our ideas out large, and some like to draw small, at the scale they will engrave, usually with some magnification. I like to draw big, and then scan and reduce, why, because when holding a pencil, the bones of your hand and associated sockets can act as a sort of natural compass that may often sweep smoothly with radii of a few inches. For me, drawing those radii at small scale need more complicated finger movements. I could be wrong, what do you think?

Here is the other great advantage with the DVD, you can press the pause button at any time, look at the screen and draw what Sam has been outlining, the better to understand his approach. He works freehand throughout, and you see that even an experienced master stands back, looks for the form and beauty, and often makes small adjustments with eraser to sweeten up a line. We learn to appreciate that a good backbone is super important, although it is just one darn line. And, oh yes, that scary stage of shading, you know, when you are pretty pleased with your design, then comes the shading choices that will give depth and interest, well the ‘king of shading’ knows it is a challenge and takes you through the process in detail.

The observing mind is asking itself, “Am I adhering to some general rules of form?”, and the emotions are simply looking and asking, ” Is this design attractive?” Here I am quoting Sam’s colleague, Diane Scalese, the bright cutter. Soon you will be trusting your own eye, as you use these lessons to springboard out into your own new designs. All accomplished engravers ask the simple yet penetrating question, “is this design attractive?”

The DVD sets us on the right road to seeing the principles at work with regard to form and balance, by demonstrating from start to finish three ‘attractive’ scroll designs in increasing complexity, and ending with Sam placing the pencil into your hand with an encouraging, “Go for it!”

I like this DVD, and recommend it for your reference library. – Rod Cameron – Engraver, flute maker

Additional information

Weight 0.5 lbs