Wednesday, 8 March 2017

My Method

Hi all,
I said in my last post that I would explain how I go about getting a pyrography design burnt onto a pen. Here goes.

The whole thing really starts in my head. I get inspiration from the most unlikely places, but once I get an idea I write it down or make a quick sketch. It is easy to think that I will just remember my idea, and sometimes I will. However, more often than not in days gone by, if I didn't write it down I would just forget it.

Anyway, nowadays I'm a bit more disciplined, once I have an idea, at the soonest opportunity I do a sketch of it in a book that I keep especially for my pen designs. It is a small sketch book and I have two pen designs per page.
First I draw the outline of the pen like the one on the left above. Then, I do a pencil sketch of my design. Once I am happy with the design I ink it in with a fineliner pen. This gives me a pretty good idea of what the finished pen will look like. It would be nice to be able to trace the sketch and transfer it straight to the pen, but due to the shape of the pen I find it impossible. The best way I have found is to use the sketch as a practice piece and draw the image again straight onto the pen with a pencil.

This is probably the hardest part of the process because of the shape of the pen makes it difficult to draw on. The good news is that when it comes to the burning process it is actually much easier. The reason for this is that the tip of the pyrography iron digs into the wood as it burns, and this makes it easier to do the drawing than it did with the pencil.

One of the best tips I can give you is to leave your pen attached to the mandrel while you do the drawing and pyrography work off the lathe. This will give you something decent to hold onto while you do your work on the pen.
Here is a photo of the actual pen that came from the sketch above of the pen with the harebells.
Here is another of some bullrushes (reedmace) and one with some leaves.

Here are the pens that I produced from those sketches.
Here are two more
I haven't turned the one on the left yet, but here is the one on the right which features some tulips.
And here is two more. I haven't done the one on the right yet.

So that is how I go about getting a pen design from my imagination onto a pen. They are all burnt using a Peter Child machine with a spoon tip which in my view is essential.

I burn the outlines of the images first on a medium heat setting to avoid over burn. Once the outline is done, I turn the heat up a fraction and shade in the background using a circular motion. Another tip is to blow on the iron tip as you make contact with the wood, this will help you to avoid getting dark black scorch marks on your work wherever you put your tip down first. It also helps to keep your tip moving, it is better to go over an area twice rather than to try and burn it too dark in one pass.

Like everything else in this world that is worth doing, practice as much as you can and the movement of your pyrography iron will soon become second nature.

Please feel free to use any of my designs above, all I would ask is that you send me a picture of your creation. If you have any questions please feel free to ask and any comments are welcome.

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