Wait. You mean to tell me there are rules for creating? Oh, I know, I know. There are rules for creating everything. We also call these "rules" by other names which are less annoying to anarchists-- instructions, guides, timesavers, helpful hints. Despite the title of this post, I do appreciate these rules. Otherwise, I wouldn't have a clue about using a file to smooth the edges of a piece of copper pipe I've cut apart and flattened between an old sledge hammer and another hammer. Rules are useful guidelines, especially once you realize why someone bothered to write down the rules in the first place.
Ever think about that? Rules for creating get written or passed on by word of mouth because someone experimented and discovered information they wanted to remember and share. Thank you to any person who has ever done this. You are appreciated for your knowledge and generosity.
Yes, rules are invaluable to artists. Rules pinpoint a place to start your process, whether it is melting glass or etching copper or any other artistic endeavor. Life experience, school, books, and online information all give us the base upon which to build our creations. For instance, my newest art adventure involves trying to shape and patina copper to use with my glass sculptures. As usual, I'm a year or so behind trends, and lots of people I "know" from the glass world have already mastered this copper art.
C'est la Angie's vie... like I said, I'm almost always at the back of the curve of new trends. The back of the curve is most likely where I'll stay this time, too. I like to use the internet and occasionally purchase a book to learn some basic information. From that point, I start stumbling in the dark and experimenting on my own. This technique? Fail. Another technique? A tiny bit of success, then another fail. Technique number 3 (or 4, or 57)? Fail, then a success, if I'm lucky. Can I repeat that success once it's been achieved? Ha ha ha! Heck, no, because by that time, I've forgotten I got to that point.
Ah, but there is a good thing about this stumbling. Eventually, I make something I like. Even though it won't be what I pictured in my mind when I started my quest, I will have gained a bunch of experience and will have the fun of putting the piece into a bigger project. That is what will happen with this less-than-perfect, but still appealing, piece of copper pipe in the picture.
P.S. The "rule" I bent with this pendant involves using a pencil to trace over the swirl and stick figure etchings to make them standout more. Then I sprayed it again with the clear acrylic paint.
P.P.S. Here are some of the links I found while experimenting. They may, or may not, be useful for what you want to do. At least, they'll be a starting point if you're interested in dabbling:
Also, try googling Instructables plus copper etching... sorry, can't get link to copy.