The difference between excellence and mediocrity with stamped artwork begins the minute the ink hits the paper. You can have an excellent design that no-one will ever notice if the images on the paper are not clear and fully inked. It is one of my pet peeves to see splotchy images because I know that it can be avoided easily.
After the rubber stamp manufacturing process, a thin layer of residue remains on the rubber that needs to be removed before using your stamps. This is especially important with bold or solid images.
Below is a comparison of two images stamped from my balloon; one before conditioning and one after. I made a true effort to really try to get a full image when stamping the "before" image. This side-by-side comparison of the same stamp after conditioning really shows the difference:
Below are several ways to condition your stamps before you use them to help the ink to grasp the rubber and transfer to the paper in the best possible way. These represent the various ways that I use personally to condition my stamps.
Personally, I think this works the best. The solvent in the StazOn cleaner is strong enough to remove the film on the stamp. I like to douse my stamp with the solvent, rub it several times on my stamp scrubber, then clean it again with my regular stamp cleaner.
I use this method frequently. Gently sand the stamp with a sanding block in one direction, then 90 degrees in the other direction. Then clean with stamp cleaner. This method tends to freak people out, but honestly, a gentle sanding does NOT hurt your stamp.
This was the way I originally learned how to condition my stamps. This is a great solution for removing the film, but it takes some elbow grease! Rub your eraser all over your stamp, then clean with a stamp cleaner and scrubber.
After conditioning, test the stamp by inking and stamping again. If the image looks blotchy, condition the stamp again before using. One additional note -- It is critical that good paper is used for bold stamps. Cheap paper will look blotchy no matter what! I hope these tip help YOU get better images!