Burning Animal Hair and Fur Textures
Step 1: Study your subject
Wood burning animal hair and fur can seem to be a huge task to new pyrographers. So we will look at a few simple techniques that make the project both easily managed and dramatic.
Let’s take a few moments and study the cow portrait wood burning. Notice that there are many different lengths of hair and texture of hair for this cow. An animal’s hair length and texture can change in different body areas.
1. The hair along her neck and shoulder is short and lies against the skin.
2. The hair inside the top edge of her ears is the longest hair on her face.
3. The cluster of hair at the horn base is the next longest area.
4. She has a star of hair between her eyes that is a medium long length.
5. The remaining facial hair is rough and clumped into small clusters.
Step 2: Transfer the pattern, Define the darkest areas at the centers of the hair clumps
When I began the drawing for this burning I marked the hair by defining those clumps and clusters of hair. In the early stages of the wood burning I treat each clump as if it were one unit or element, not as individual hairs.
My birch plywood has been well sanded. The sanding dust was removed with a clean lint free cloth. Next I rubbed the back of my pattern paper with a soft pencil, taped the pattern to my board and used an ink pen to trace the cow portrait to the board.
My first stage of burning on the face is at a medium heat setting to establish the darkest areas of the fur clumps. Those areas are where the fur is tucked under another clump of hair or where you can see down to the skin area. Create a medium color tone, you can darken these areas later in the work.
I used a variable temperature wood burning tool on a setting of 5 for my system. You can also use a one temperature tool and control the coloring by using a smooth quick stroke with your tip.