If this design looks familiar, it's because I already made an archery arm guard like this:
However, since that was my first one ever, it was meant to be a piece for practice and experimenting, and learning how to dye leather rather than paint it! There were a lot of mistakes with it, so I learned from them and made another one using what I learned.
Some things I changed/improved upon:
The edges on the first arm guard were not cut straight, because I cut them with shears. With this one, I used a ruler and a utility knife, resulting in a perfectly straight edge. Imagine trying to cut a piece of paper exactly down a straight line using scissors vs. a ruler and a knife - that's basically the difference.
I didn't case (wet the leather so the interior is damp) the leather correctly on the first, so the tooling I did was sloppy. I also was using a straight swivel blade which was way too big, so I wasn't able to get the detailed lines necessary for a design like this. In the second one, I made sure to use an angle blade and cased the leather correctly, so the tooling is smooth. You can see the difference especially in the shape of the falcon's face.
I didn't try to get so exact and detailed with the dyeing in the second one, whereas in the first one, I was trying to essentially 'paint' with the dye. I also tried to shade with the dye in the first which didn't work out very well. Sometimes simpler is better! I also removed the leaves from on top of the falcon, to simplify the design even more.
With the first arm guard, I created straps with buckles, which ended up being very rough and scratchy, and pinched when put on. For comfort, I used eyelets and lacing for the second one. The drawback is it's hard to tie tightly with one hand, but I will be using a cord lock (like you have on hoodies) to make it easy to tighten.
I didn't shape the first one correctly, so it doesn't curve nicely like I wanted it to. With the second one, I curved it around as the dye was drying and secured it with three rubber bands. When the dye dried, I removed the bands and the arm guard kept its shape.
I like them both, but all in all I am much happier with the second attempt! This is a 7-oz piece of vegetable tanned leather, hand-carved and dyed with various alcohol-based and water-based leather dyes. The only paint on this is the green of the leaves, and the tiny white highlight on the eye. This arm guard is my own personal one, which I may use if I do outdoor archery. Right now I'm shooting indoors, so I'm using a boring (but functional!) fabric one.