Monday, 19 March 2012

Creating Images

Hi all
Sorry that this post is a bit late but I have been working hard on publishing the second book in the Fishing Detectives series.
It is called Bun In The Oven and is now available on kindle. click here for more details.

Right, let's get back to the pyrography. Creating images and adding them to a piece of wood for the purposes of pyrography is challenging, not least because the wood you will be working with will be an odd shape. However, the process is fun and satisfactory results can be achieved in two ways. The first and most difficult, especially if you want to create a repeat pattern, is to draw the image straight onto the wood using a pencil. If you make a mistake, pencil can be erased from wood in just the same way as it can from paper. This method may seem like the simplest method for creating images especially if you are good at drawing. However, if you aren't good at drawing and you are working with repeat patterns, as in the trinket pot on the right, you may find method two better.

Having said that, to use method two you need to be reasonably comfortable with using imaging software. I use photoshop elements and find that is more than able to cope with anything I would like to do.

In the rest of this post I will go through the process I use for creating repeat patterns like the leaves on the trinket pot above.

Step 1 On my sketch pad,I draw the outline of the image that I have in my head and modify the design until I am happy with it.I guess you can appreciate how difficult it would be to draw the pattern above onto the the trinket pot because by the time I'd drawn the pattern and repeated it there would be no chance of the pattern joining up once I had gone around the pot. So let's move onto the second step.

Step 2 I measure the circumference of the pot and then create a new image in photoshop that fulfills the size requirements. The size of the trinket pot was 17cm in circumference and I decided on a pattern that was 1.8cm tall.

Step 3 I scan my drawing of the leaves pattern and then copy it onto the the new image I have created in photoshop. Once that is done I can start to play with it by altering the size etc.

Step 4 I copy and paste the image as many times as required to fill the space on my new image. Once this is done I know that I have a repeat pattern that will go around the trinket box sucessfully.Step 5 I print off a copy of the image

Step 6 I transfer a copy of the image onto the trinket pot using trace down paper. This is similar to tracing paper but works in the same way as carbon paper. I find that it is beneficial to stick the trace down paper and the image I am transferring with masking tape. I do this to make sure that nothing moves during the transfer process.

A note of warning here; I tried using carbon paper to transfer an image onto wood prior to doing some pyrography work on it and it was a disaster. Carbon paper does not erase, so if you do not burn through all of the marks you have made on the wood they will show through in the finished piece and make it look scruffy.

Step 7 Remove the image and the trace down paper and you should be left with a copy of your design on the wood ready for your pyrography.

The process I've just been through may seem a little complicated, but once you have mastered the techniques involved you will find you enjoy the design aspect as much as the actual pyrography.

If you need any help with understanding the process described above or any other help with pyrography issues please don't hesitate to get in touch. If you would like to see more of my pyrography work please click here

I sell some of my pyrography work on if you would like to take a look, here is the link
Finally, if you would like to find out more about me or my books click here.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Pyrography: Adding Colour

Hi all,
In the hands of a skilled pyrographer the iron can be used to create an endless number of shades that give life and vibrancy to the image. The darkest colour tones, which can be almost black, are created by leaving the pyrography iron tip in one place for a longer period of time or by increasing the temperature setting of the iron.
However, some subjects are more easily brought to life with some subtle colour.
Having said that, care needs to be taken to not spoil the pyrography work by just colouring it in like a child's painting. Using colour with pyrography is definitely a case of where less, is more. Above you can see a fox that I did with my pyrography iron on a solid piece of wood. It really came to life after I'd used water soluble pencils to liven it up.Last week I showed a picture of a pyrography honey pot and that shows just about the limit of how far I would go with adding colour. A picture of the honey pot can be seen on the left. The bees and flowers were coloured using water soluble colour pencils. I then sprayed the pot with a can of vanish to seal the colours before brushing on a further two coats of vanish. The reason I sealed the colour with a spray varnish was because, if I'd used a brush to put varnish onto the watercolour pencils, it would have either smudged the colour or made it run. Once the spray varnish has dried, normal varnished can be brushed on without any danger of ruining the work.
Sometimes if a solid colour is required, like the red hearts on the trinket pot on the right, I will use artists' acrylic paint. However because I am painting directly onto wood I always use a base coat of white before putting the colour on top. This makes the final colour shine through and gives a much more vibrant finish..

I am currently working on another wildlife piece but this time I am using wax based coloured pencils to give it a bit of zing. If all goes well this week I will put a picture of it on my next post. Also in my next post I will explain how I go about creating the images that I use in my pyrography work.

If you would like to see some more of my pyrography work please click here.
If you would like to visit my discounted pyrography shop at
Finally if you want to find out more details about me or my books please
click here.