Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sand Cats

sand cats graphite pencil drawingMy daughter was getting National Geographic Kids for a while, and occasionally in an issue they would include these animal fact cards with lesser-known animals. One day, an issue came with card of a sand cat - a very small wildcat from the deserts of Africa and Asia. I had never heard of them before, but the photo was just adorable! Growing to only 5-7 pounds, these cats are nocturnal, sleeping in burrows during the heat of the desert day. They are not endangered.

This drawing was done with only graphite on smooth bristol paper. I have been using bristol vellum for most of my work, and wanted to try out the smooth version. I like it very much, but the real test will be when I try charcoal on it. Because of its smooth nature, there is not much for the bits of charcoal to grab onto. My test scrap shows promise, though, and perhaps one of my next charcoal drawings will be done on this new paper. In the meantime, however, I still have a commission to finish before Christmas and several in-progress pieces on the table first.

Have a very happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Woodburned Lions

white lions pyrography woodburning drawing
I finished this piece about a week ago, just before I went on vacation. It is the first pyrographic work I have put on this blog, but it won't be the last. I have several others in planning phase, and I need to buy some more wood.

My original plan with these lions was to extend the dark background almost to the edge and have it wrap under the grass area. I carved a groove where the edge of the burning is now, so there would be a thin light line around. But when I got to this point, I liked how the unburned wood acts like a frame, so I left it as it is.

The original 14"x11" piece is available for purchase.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Tools of Pyrography

pyrography burnerSince I started posting my pyrography in progress, I wanted to show the tools I use to make these works. First, there is the power unit. I use a Razertip system with a single pen (double pen systems are also available). There is a power switch and a heat setting from 1 (just warm) to 10 (red hot). The pens are plugged in and there is a holder on each side to secure then pen when you are not using it.

pyrography pensThere are many types of pens, but I have these six. The power unit came with the regular skew, which is like a knife. Because it is so large, I don't use it much. I prefer the small round skew which is easier to manipulate and to make curved lines. Skews are sharp and will actually cut into the wood with enough pressure. There are two shaders, flat and spoon shaped. The flat shader is best for getting a nice, even tone in a large area, while the spoon shader works best for smaller areas. The writer is made for just that - writing. It creates a thick but easily maneuverable line. I like the ball pen for detail work and signing my name. It, along with the small round skew, are my two favorite pens.

Learning to do pyrography is like learning any new medium. It takes a lot of experimentation to figure out what works and what doesn't, but once you get the hang of it, the results are rewarding.

I'll be offline all next week, so hopefully I'll be able to post my finished lion pyrography when I return.