Starting with a Colored Photograph
Many times as a wood burner I will have a colored photograph or colored image that I want to create into a wood burned design. But it can be confusing at times to determine exactly what tonal value I need to burn for a particular color in the photo or pattern. By creating a sepia value scale I can determine exactly what tones of brown I need to burn into my design to match the original photo.
The Mule Deer carving is a deep carved relief work which was painted with acrylic artist colors after the carving was completed. The photo of the colored carving will be used as the sample photo in this tutorial.
Print a copy of the colored Mule Deer image with your computer’s printer. For the best results use a high quality gloss paper and the highest ink setting that your printer allows.
Gray Scale or Gray Tone the Photograph
As wood burner we do not work in color but instead in how dark or how light a shade of brown wood burning an area will be. These light and dark shades are called tonal values. Light areas are called pale values as they contain more white than black. Dark values are the reverse, they have a higher black content than white. Notice in the gray scale version of the Mule Deer photo that his face is made up of light or pale values where his body is created using medium and dark values.
With a graphics program or photo editing program change your colored mule deer photo to a black and white or gray scaled image. If you do not have a graphics program print a copy of the gray scaled Mule Deer that you will find by clicking on the Close Up. Again, use the best quality paper and best setting on your printer’s ink.