Getting a design
Craving is a huge part of leather work. If you want to master leather working you start with carving. It takes a lot of time and practice to get it down, but it is definitely worth it. I would start out with finding a leather design you like. You can draw one yourself or you can find some out there on the internet. Elk tracks studios has some great free designs you can download. Once you have a design you transfer it into your leather. I normally use tracing paper and put it on top of wet leather to leave the imprint of the design. I know some people use a pencil and draw right onto the leather.
Using a Swivel Knife
Once you have your design transferred you take a swivel knife and cut out the design. Using a swivel knife is all about how you hold it, You have more control if it sits higher on your finger, right below the top knuckle is the prime spot for me. When it is on the upper half of your finger you can move it around those curves in the design easier.
Beveling and Stamping
Now that you have the design cut out it is time to grab your mallet and start pounding away. You start with a bevel tool and bevel all of the edges of your design. When you start out beveling pick which parts are background and that will help you decide here to bevel. Make sure you glide your bevel as you pound to create a smooth design. Throughout this process make sure you periodically damp your leather to keep it easy to stamp. I normally use a spray bottle and squirt the area I am working on, this way it keeps the leather wet but never soaked.
Once the edges are brought out with a bevel it is time to decorate. Using different stamps add dimension to your petals and leafs. I use a round smooth tool and guide it from the top of the petal to the center. Use a circle stamp to add to the middle of the flower. Lastly I grab my swivel knife and make a few more cuts to add a little more texture to my flowers.
The following steps are how I learned to carve leather and are only the basics of everything you can do with leather. Depending on the design you are using it depends on what kind of stamps you use to add texture. Most of it is personal decisions letting your creativity flow. To make the design pop, you can always add a pattern back stamp to push down the leather surrounding the design. I recommend using a simple project such as a coaster to practice your leather carving.