Archives for November 2013

Pyrography Feather Border 1

Pyrography Feather Border 1

We have spent the wpyrography feather border by Lora Irisheek working on an in-depth wood burning for the Ceremonial Mask Pyrography project.  Today let’s look at a small portion of that project and how you can easily create a feathered border design to decorate a box lid. This Feather Border project will take you through the steps of tracing your pattern, shading the feathers, creating a drop shadow that lifts your pattern off the background, the detailing steps to the feathers and fur, and how to add coloring with colored pencils.

This is a long posting, but I wanted to share this project over just two days.  Please, bookmark our blog so that you can return at any time to work through and complete this free pyrography project by Lora Irish.

Pyrography Feathered Border 1

Pyrography Feathered Border 2

 

Supply List:

9″ x 10″ birch plywood board
220- or 320- grit sandpaper
graphite paper
pencil and ruler
variable temperature wood burning unit
ball tip pen
spear shader pen
curved shader pen
masking or painter’s tape
brown paper bag
artist quality colored pencils
gloss or semi-gloss spray sealer

Prepare your wood blank

Lightly sand your wood project using 220- or 320- grit sandpaper to remove any loose wood fibers and imperfections.  Sand with the grain of the wood to avoid creating fine swirl scratches that sandpaper can leave.  Wipe the wood surface with a dry, clean cloth to remove any dust.

On a scrap piece of the same wood, leather, or gourd media that you will be burning create a sepia practice board scale that is divided into ten units.  We will be using that scale throughout this project for the tonal values and temperature settings.

Trace the pattern

feather board pattern by Lora Irish

Click and save a copy of this free pyrography pattern by Lora Irish to your computer.  Print a copy to use in this tracing step.

Measure the geometric line design on the pattern. Use a ruler and pencil to mark the geometric pattern to your board.  This geometric board is a simple 3/8″ thick line, a 1/8″ unburned margin, and a 7/8″ wide line of triangles.  A seven triangle repeat measures at 6 3/8″ on the inside edge of the board.

Center the paper pattern to your board and secure one edge with masking or painter’s tape.  Slide a sheet of graphite tracing paper under the pattern and trace along the outlines using an ink pen.   Check that you have all lines transferred and remove the pattern paper and graphite paper.

Wood Burning Step 1 – Shaping the feathers

Click on any of the project images for a large image that you can save to your computer.

Pyrography shading for a feather

The first step for our feather border is to create the basic shape or curve of the feather.  This step uses a spear shader, the long pull stroke, and a tonal value setting for medium-pale.  Each side of the feathers is an upside-down cup.  From the center feather shaft the feather side curves up to the center line of that part of the feather and then drops down to the outer edge.

Begin your spear shader strokes at the feather shaft and pull towards the central area of the feather in a long, curving line.  The stroke will naturally be darkest where you begin your stroke and fade into a very pale tone as it nears the mid-portion of the feather side.

Use the spear shader and the long pull stroke to work long lines into the fur clusters at the top of the feathers.  This shading is worked where one cluster of fur tucks under another and is pulled from the tucked point of the cluster towards the outer edge of that cluster.  Again, allow your stroke lines to curve.

The beads are shaded along the sides, working towards the center of the bead using the long pull stroke and spear shader.

Wood Burning Step 2 – Shading the edge of the wood burned feathers

shading the edge of a wood burned feather

To curve and shape the outer edges of the feathers use the spear shader on a slightly hotter temperature setting for a pale-medium tonal value.  Place the side of the spear shader against the outer edge pattern line and burn long pull strokes that curve towards the center area of the feather side.  Match the curve of this series of strokes to the curve of the strokes made in the previous step.  Each feather side should now go from dark along the outer edge, gradually fading to a pale or unburned wood tone at the center of the feather side, and then gradually darken as it nears the feather shaft.

Wood Burning Step 3 – Shading the leather strings

wood burning a feather border pattern

Using the spear shader and the long pull stroke, shade the leather strings at the top where they wrap around the two feather shafts, and below the feathers in the beaded area of the leather.  The shading is worked from where the leather tucks under either the feather or into the bead, then pulled towards the center point of that section of string.  Use a pale-medium to mid-medium temperature setting for this step.

Shade the feather shafts using the long pull stroke.  The darkest shadow on the shafts falls on the left side of the feather.

Wood Burning Step 4 – Creating a drop shadow

Creating a drop shadow in your pyrography projects

A drop shadow is worked in the background area of the design and pushes your elements visually off the wood.  This step creates those drop shadows on the left side of the feathers and leather strings.  They are created with the ball tip or looped tip pen, a pale-medium tonal value, and either a solid-fill stroke texture or a tightly packed scrubbie stroke.

Drop shadows are never darker than the tonal value of the area that is creating them.  As we develop the feather in the next few steps you will see that the outer edge of the feather will have a tonal value about two steps deeper than the shadow we are now creating.  Please refer to the finished pyrography project at the top of this post.

The wider the drop shadow, the farther  from the background your element hangs.  Narrow shadows place your element close to the background.  Note in the image the point on the far left feather shadow and the point on the actual feather.  The space between these two points defines the distance that the actual feather is from the background wood.  This space is a visual measurement or reference.

The amount of air space between the shadow and the element defines the distance of the element from the board.  The leather strings hang free – do not touch – the background.  We know that because  the shadow does not touch the leather string.  The beads do touch, lie against, the background.  We know this because the shadow touches the bead and is only a partial circle, not a full shaped  shadow.  In the feathers, returning to the left feather point, we know that this feather does not touch the background because the two points – feather and shadow – are so far apart.

Tomorrow we will begin the fine detailing in the feathers and creating the fur clusters.

Thanks for reading – Lora Irish

Ceremonial Mask Pyrography Project 5

Ceremonial Mask Pyrography Project 5

For the final steps in this Ceremonial Mask Pyrography Project we will be adding the fine line detailing to the feathers, leather, and fur in this Native American folk art styled pattern.  The bars and speckling will be worked in the hawk feathers and we complete this five part free wood burning project.

Ceremonial Mask Pyrography Project 1
Ceremonial Mask Pyrography Project 2
Ceremonial Mask Pyrography Project 3
Ceremonial Mask Pyrography Project 4
Ceremonial Mask Pyrography Project 5

12. Shade the Feather Shafts and Sticks

Ceremonial Mask Pyrography by Irish

Using the ball or looped tip pen burn the spots, speckles, and stripes into your feathers.

Stripes are created using a slow motion and the long line pattern, working directly over the thin curved shader lines made in the last step.  The slow movement of the pen intensifies the tonal value of the burn.

Speckles and dots are created in a simple touch-and-lift motion which leaves a medium sized dark value dot on the wood.
Vary the decoration patterns of the feathers.

Note that the final tonal value of the far left-side edge of the face and the background feather that touches it are almost identical.

13.  Add the Twine Accents

Ceremonial Mask Pyrography by Irish

Lower your temperature setting back to the #3 medium-pale to #4 dark-pale range.  With the ball or looped tip pen shade the long, straight hair sticks, working from the twine knot towards the outer tip of the stick. The bead line is worked at this point.

The twine is worked by burning small s-shaped line strokes along the string, to suggest the individually twisted strings.

A texture can develop on your pyrography when you are working large, dark tonal value areas as the high temperature can raise the grain of the wood.

To remove those small grain lines, crumple an 8” square of brown paper bag into a loose ball.  Briskly rub the crumpled paper over your burning.  The brown paper acts exactly like extremely fine sandpaper without scratching or damaging your burning.

14. Spear Shade the Hair Clusters

Ceremonial Mask Pyrography by Irish

The hair is worked in clumps for the basic shading, then individual hair strands are added.  These next two steps are identical to the steps that created the feathers.

Using the spear shader for long, pull strokes, and a tonal value setting of #3 medium-pale to #5 light-medium, shade the hair clumps.  Work your pen tip from the area nearest the face towards the outer edge of the wood.

The last half to one-third of each clump is left unburned.

15.  Detail the Hair Lines

Ceremonial Mask Pyrography by Irish

For this last step – burning the individual hair lines – you can use the spear shader on its edge, the ball or looped tip pen, or the curved shader.

I chose my ball tip pen on a hot tonal value setting of #6 mid-medium to # 9 mid-dark, using slow movement to create the dark hair lines.

Note in the photo that each hair line begins close to the face and is pulled towards the outer edge of the board.    Allow extra air space as you move outward with your lines.

With the burning complete, clean up any remaining pencil tracing lines with a white artist eraser.  White erasers contain no dye coloring which can stain your burning.

16. Finishing Steps

A.  At this stage you can add coloring if you wish.  Watercolor paints and watercolor colored pencils provide transparent pigments that tint your burnings without diminishing the tonal value work.

Ceremonial Masks are carved from wood and accented with natural fibers and feathers, their main color hues falls in the rust, brown, and black colors.  These are the exact color tones that we have already achieved with the pyrography work.  For this reason I have chosen not to add any additional coloring.

B.  Clean your work well using a white artist eraser.  This removes any pencil graphite left from the tracing steps and any dirt or oil from your hands.  Wipe the work well with a dry, clean cloth to remove the eraser dust.

C.  Lightly sand your work with a crumbled ball of brown paper bag.  This will remove any loosened wood fiber.

D.  Sign your work, either with your ball tip or looped tip pen on the front of the work or with a permanent marking pen on the back.  Include the date, your town, and your country.

E.  Use a spray sealer, following the directions of the can, to give a UV protection, waterproof finish.  Several light coats, with amble time between coats to dry, works best.

Thank you for joining me in this Ceremonial Mask project.  If you have questions or would like to submit a .jpg image of your finished mask burning, please contact me at LSIrish.com.

 

Ceremonial Mask Pyrography Project 4

Ceremonial Mask Pyrography Project 4

Feathers, leather, and fur are common elements found in Native American folk art.  In our Ceremonial Mask Pyrography Project will we work through the wood burning steps to shape, shade, and detail all three.

Ceremonial Mask Pyrography Project 1
Ceremonial Mask Pyrography Project 2
Ceremonial Mask Pyrography Project 3
Ceremonial Mask Pyrography Project 4
Ceremonial Mask Pyrography Project 5

9.  Spear Shade the Feathers

Ceremonial Mask Pyrography by Irish

Map the shading areas of the feathers using the spear shader, the long pull lines stroke, and a tonal value setting between #3 medium-pale and #4 dark-pale.

I worked the each side of the feathers in two parts.  The first shading began at the edge of the central feather shaft and was pulled towards the outer edge of the feather.  In the second session I laid the spear shader at the outer edge of the feather and pulled towards the center.

This makes a pale central line down each side of the feather creating a rolled or curved impression.

Following the photo, work the background feathers slightly dark with more long pull strokes than the foreground feathers to tuck them under the higher feather.

10.  Scrubbie Stroke to Even the Feather Shading

Ceremonial Mask Pyrography by Irish

Remaining on a temperature setting for a #3 medium-pale to #4 dark-pale tonal value, change over to your ball tip or looped tip pen.

Work several layers of tightly packed scrubbie strokes over the shaded areas of the feathers to create an even, smooth, and gradual shading for these areas.

11.  Add Feather Detailing

Ceremonial Mask Pyrography by Irish

Thin, tightly packed lines are worked into the sides of the feathers to show the individual feather lines.  Work each line in a gentle curve that starts high at the central feather shaft and drops down towards the outer edge of the feather.

For this step you can use the ball or looped tips, with light hand pressure, and a quick pen movement across the wood.
The spear shader also creates thin, fine lines when you use this tip on its edge.

I used my curved shader, which not only burns extremely thin lines it literally cuts those lines into the wood.

Adjust your temperature setting for a #5 light-medium to #7 dark-medium setting, depending on the tip that you chose.

 

Tomorrow we will finish up by burning the hair clusters.  Thanks for reading, Lora Irish.

 

Ceremonial Mask Pyrography Project 3

Ceremonial Mask Pyrography Project 3

In this section of the Ceremonial Mask Pyrography project we will complete the mapping steps to shading the face.  Using a ball tip pen and the scrubbie stroke we will explore how to make any shading into an even, smooth graduated shading.  The black tone solid-fill areas to the face will be added to create areas of dramatic contrast with the unburned white highlights in the cheek, nose, eye lids, and mouth.

Ceremonial Mask Pyrography Project 1
Ceremonial Mask Pyrography Project 2
Ceremonial Mask Pyrography Project 3
Ceremonial Mask Pyrography Project 4
Ceremonial Mask Pyrography Project 5

5. Continuing the Left-Side Shading

Ceremonial Mask Pyrography by Irish

Begin this step at a tonal value setting of #3 medium-pale.  Work the long pull strokes using the spear shader along both sides of the outer nose ridge.

Shape the lower area of the right-side cheek and the cheek areas adjacent to the outer nose ridge.  Establish the shading surrounding the raised elements for the eyes, eyebrows, and chin area.

Raise your temperature setting to a #4 dark-pale and still using the spear shader in long pull strokes, strengthen these shaded areas to create dark areas at the corner of the eye elements, along the left-side cheek at the outer nose ridge, and at the left-side mouth corner.

6.  Overlay the Mapping

Ceremonial Mask Pyrography by Irish

In the last three steps we have mapped the main areas of shading in the face.  Because poplar takes a burn stroke quickly and because a spear shader stroke begins dark and fades to a pale tone through the pull, the facial shading at this point is uneven, and patchy.

To smooth the shading to a gradually changing tonal value shading move to your ball tip or looped tip pen.

Beginning on a tonal value temperature setting for a #3 medium-pale use either the tight scrubbie stroke or a tight curl pattern to work over your shaded areas.

Continue with the ball tip pen, and the tight scrubbie stroke, slowly increasing your temperature setting up to a #5 light-medium to blend in the darker tonal values as shown in the photo.

7.   Black-Fill the Eyes and Mouth

Ceremonial Mask Pyrography by Irish

Ceremonial masks are most often carved from wood and include areas of geometric decorations that are cut into the facial areas.  In our pattern that includes the decoration on the forehead and the cheek diagonal line work.

As the sunlight reaches across an indented line it will leave a very dark shadow inside the trough of the cut and a highlight on one of the edges of the cut.

As you work this step leave a thin unburned line of #1 tonal value on the high side of the decorative cut lines.  Follow the photo for the placement of these highlight areas.

Using the ball tip or looped tip pen, the solid fill dot pattern, and a #5 light-medium to #7 dark-medium tonal value, fill the forehead pattern, eyes, cheek decorations, mouth.

8.   Make Minor Adjustments

Ceremonial Mask Pyrography by Irish

After the mapping steps and blending steps are completed it is a good time to set your project somewhere on your work table and take time to look at the face as a whole instead of as small shaded areas.

Approximately one-fourth of your face should be in the unburned to dark-pale tones for highlights.  The next half  of your design should fall in the mid-tone range from light brown to deep medium brown.

The last fourth of your pattern should be in the dark to solid-fill black tones.

Check List:
1. Do you have smooth, even, gradual shading?
2. Have you established dark shadows at the corners of the eyes, eyebrows, and left-side of the mouth?
3. Have you created a wide range of tonal values?

Thank you for joining me today, more tomorrow.

 

Ceremonial Mask Pyrography Project 2

Ceremonial Mask Pyrography Project 2

Pyrography Mask Project by IrishThis project begins with the transferring and tracing your pyrography pattern to your wood plaque, a brief discussion of poplar as a pyrography wood, and we will start the first shading steps in the face of this Ceremonial Mask Pyrography Project.

Ceremonial Mask Pyrography Project 1
Ceremonial Mask Pyrography Project 2
Ceremonial Mask Pyrography Project 3
Ceremonial Mask Pyrography Project 4
Ceremonial Mask Pyrography Project 5

Creating a Practice Board

Working a practice board before I begin my main project is the most important preparation step I can take.  On a scrap piece of the same media that I will be burning my large design I can experiment with my pen tips, texture and stroke patterns, temperature settings, and the speed I move my burning pen.  I will even work small portions of my large design to establish my shading and shadows before I go onto the main work.

For this morning’s practice board I have chosen a simple daisy pattern, worked on birch plywood.  The practice board is found on Simple Shading in Wood Burning, Daisy Pattern.   For the first shading steps of our Ceremonial Mask design we will be using long, pulled strokes made with the spear or curved shading tips.  The daisy pattern uses that stroke line and will give you the opportunity to learn the stroke before you begin your mask.  Learn more about Practice Boards in Pyrography and Tonal Value Sepia Worksheet.

1.  Transferring your pattern

how to trace a pattern

1.  Using 220- to 320- grit sandpaper, lightly sand your board to remove any imperfections or small, loose wood fibers along the edge.  Work your sanding with the direction of the wood grain to avoid cross-grain scratches caused by the sandpaper.  Remove the sanding dust with a clean, dry cloth.

2.  Click on the full size – 9″ x 8″ – pattern and save a copy to your computer.  Print one copy for tracing.  Fold your printed pattern along the center of the face, matching the sides of the face.

ceremonila mask pattern

3.  Turn your pattern to the back.  With a #2 or softer artist pencil rub the back with an even, dark coating of pencil graphite.

4.  With a pencil and ruler, mark the center vertical line of your board.

5.  Align the center fold of the pattern paper with the center pencil line on the wood.  Secure the pattern paper on one side using masking or painter’s tape.

6.   With an ink pen, trace along the pattern lines of the design.  Lift one corner of the pattern paper to check that you copied all of the design.

7.   Remove the pattern paper and tape.

8.  With a #2 artist pencil you can add extra feathers, raffia strings, or bead lines to your design to enhance your pattern.

For more information:  How to Transfer Your Pattern to the Wood, Creating a Pounce Pattern, and Enlarging and Reducing a Pattern

Mapping the right-side of the face

2. Mapping the Right-Side of the Face

Poplar is extremely soft wood and indents easily along the burning lines.  When your project is complete you will be able to physically feel the texture on the wood left from the burning strokes.

To keep the physical texture to a minimum, the first step in shading any area is to map the tonal value with a spear shader, low temperature setting, and long pull strokes.

With the spear shader pen tip on the flat of the shader, and a #3 medium-pale tonal value setting,  shade along the top right-hand sides of the raised elements in the face with long pull strokes.

Shade cheek areas around the top edges of the diagonal face decoration lines.

For more information: Mapping your Pyrography Pattern and Simple Pyrography Shading

Ceremonial Mask Pyrography by Irish

3. Mapping the Left-Side of the Face

The light source for this project is set in the upper right- hand corner of the pattern.  This places the brightest highlight on the mask’s upper right-side of the forehead and on the right-side of the nose ridge.

Using the flat of the spear shader and a #4 dark-pale  to #5 light-medium tonal value temperature setting, shade the left-side of the face using long pull strokes.

During this step I did not work the left-side of the nose ridge or the left-side of the raised elements of the face. Note that a pale, unburned area is left inside the diagonal lines on the left-side.

For more information: Pyrography Steps for Portrait Burning

 4. Mapping the Left-Side of the Face

Ceremonial Mask Pyrography by Irish

The light source for this project is set in the upper right- hand corner of the pattern.  This places the brightest highlight on the mask’s upper right-side of the forehead and on the right-side of the nose ridge.

Using the flat of the spear shader and a #4 dark-pale  to #5 light-medium tonal value temperature setting, shade the left-side of the face using long pull strokes.

During this step I did not work the left-side of the nose ridge or the left-side of the raised elements of the face. Note that a pale, unburned area is left inside the diagonal lines on the left-side.

Tomorrow – Tues, Nov. 5, 2013 – we will continue working on the face shading.  Hope to see you in our virtual classroom. Please add any comments, questions, or thoughts!  You input is very welcome.  Thanks! Lora Irish