Hummingbirds Pyrography Artwork wood burning

For Christmas I created a Hummingbird themed piece of pyrography art for my brother.  I didn’t have any great pictures to use, so I had to search the net for something suitable.  While I found a lot of interesting images, there wasn’t one that called to me.  Instead I ended up printing lots of images and creating a composite design for this artwork.   This blog is going to talk about the Hummingbird pyrography artwork creation. 

Click on the image to the left to watch a time lapse video of the artwork being created.





This photo shows the composite design I created on the board.  I used 4 different images for this design; 1 each for the hummingbirds and 2 for the flowers and greenery.







When I started my search I knew I wanted trumpet vine flowers and Anna’s hummingbirds.  Searching for both items together, didn’t yield a lot of useful images, but separate searches did.  Anything I thought would be useful I copy/paste into a word document.  So this photo shows the hummingbird images I liked. 






I ended up with numerous trumpet vine images.  I was after flowers and leaves at different angles.








Here are a few more I liked. 

With each image I like I printed it off and then began arranging the images on the board.  I cut up images to use small sections, layered them, rotated them, etc., until I had a general composition I liked.    No, I didn’t take a picture of the composition.  As usual, I don’t even think about things like that until I start writing the blog.  By then it’s too late as I’ve long since tossed all of the images I cut up to create my composition. 





After I burned in the trace lines on the wood, I began burning in the areas I wanted dark. 







Continued work.






Burning in the really dark areas was rather fun in this artwork.  It became interesting to me to see the flowers and closer leaves emerge from the chaos of lines.






Even though I was primarily working in the really dark areas, I took care of this little flower bud since I was burning in the left corner of the artwork.






Normally I bounce around a lot in my artwork, but with the hummingbirds I mostly worked from left to right.







Here’s a progress photo.









In this photo I’ve got the upper left corner done and I’m currently working on a lower dark leaf along the left edge of the artwork.








I had to use a writer pen tip to burn in the dark areas behind some of the small flower buds.





Now I’m burning one of the larger flowers.







Continued work.







Flower done and I’m back to working on leaves.







 There was a lot of layering going on in this artwork and that ended up being one of the main reasons I liked it.








Working on more flowers.









Continued work.









I did rotate the board around a lot as I worked.  Most often this was to keep my pen in optimal position while burning, but it also allowed me to view the artwork from a different angle. 

After you look at a flower for a while, it becomes familiar.  If you rotate the flower, now it doesn’t seem as familiar, so you look more closely.  Maybe you’ll notice different things that you might not have noticed before.  I find this can help me determine if a flower, leaf, etc., needs more work.




As I said before, I was working my way from the upper left towards the right.  I did switch back and forth between working along the upper edge of the artwork and the bottom of the greenery.







I’m burning in the little flower buds.







And now I’m working on another of the larger lower flowers.






I started working on the lower hummingbird first.








Having watched the hummingbirds around my house, I doubt that this scene I created would ever happen in the real world.  At my house, if two hummingbirds get within 5-10 feet of each other, one of them chases the other off.  For such a small bird, they are extremely territorial.





Continued work on the hummingbird.







I loved how easy it was to create the look of the tiny layered feathers on the head.  I burned a row of small blotches that almost touched along the back edge of the head.  Small blotches are what you get when you touch the shader pen tip to the wood, hold in place for a second (actually a lot less than a second), and then lift the pen tip straight up.    After I burned the first row of blotches, I then burned another row next to it.  I continued to burn rows of tiny blotches until I had the dark head area filled in.



Along the side of the head the feathers were paler, since the light was striking them.  I did the same basic premise as before, but help the pen tip in place for half the amount of time I did with the dark blotches.   For something that was easy to do, I thought it created a realistic look.






In this photo I’m darkly burning the tiny feathers on the top of the wing.






And working a little on the tail feathers.








Here’s a progress photo.









I’m back to working on the foliage as I wasn’t 100% sure how I was going to burn in the feathers on the back of the hummingbird.   When I’m unsure of something, I find it’s best to work on another area as I let my brain ponder the back feathers.




Continued work.








Continued work.







In this photo I’m working on the leaves along the top of the board.







More foliage work near the top of the board.







Continued work.






Continued work.







Here’s another progress photo.








Working on the dark feathers around the face.






Continued work on the face.







Starting on a few of the feathers on the body.






Using a micro writer pen tip to add the fine details around the eye.






Also used the micro writer to burn the shadows under the feathers on the throat.






Shading in the feathers on the hummingbird’s throat.






Working on the wing.  The feathers on the wing were white, but I had to darken them up more than I really wanted because white on white doesn’t show well and I wasn’t planning on doing much with the background.





Working on the hummingbird’s body.







Continued work.







Nearly done with the body of the top hummingbird.







Burning the tiny covert feathers on the wing.






Working on the leaf above the hummingbird.






Continued work.







A little more work on the hummingbird’s body.







Here’s another progress photo.  While I like the complexity and look of the hummingbirds among the trumpet vine, I’ve discover that my overall composition has a problem; it’s top heavy. 

The upper left corner is really dark and it just fades to nothing in the lower right corner.   This means I either have to cut the board down or fix the background.  I didn’t want to cut the board down, so I decided to do something with the background.





The idea that came to me was to burn irregular patches of blotchy color on the background.   I know, this sounds attractive.  Not.  But I had to try something.





Here’s how the artwork looks after the upper right corner had some blotches of color added to it.  I darken the background behind the hummingbird’s belly, so it would show up.  I like the contrast better between the belly and the background, but I’m still very undecided about the blotches.






As I contemplated the background some more, I went to work on the lower hummingbird.  I started with the tail.






Continued work on the tail feathers. 






Working along the back of the hummingbird.







Coloring in the wings.







Continued work on the wings.






Here’s how the artwork looks with both hummingbirds done.  I’ve decided that I have to continue adding the patches of blotchy color, but I also decided that I need more foliage.  

To do this, I grabbed the images I had and started sketching on the board.   I want to point out how AWESOME it is to be able to add pencil work and know that if I don’t like it I can erase it without damaging what I’ve already done!  This is a feature in pyrography I don’t have when drawing.





I burned in sketches that I liked and tried again with ones I didn’t.  In this photo I’m finishing up the leaves I added in the upper right corner.






Then I started on the lower left corner adding more leaves.






Continued work.








Here’s a progress photo.  I like the additional foliage, so I decided to add more to fill in the space on the lower right side of the board.








As I didn’t really like the dark ‘blotch’ behind the belly I’d done for contrast, I decided to add some leaves instead.  I made the new foliage a little darker and didn’t add as much detail as I was trying to make it appear in the background.






Now I’m working in the lower right corner burning in the foliage.






Continued work.






Another sprig of leaves being added.






Continued work.






Finishing up.







Here is the final artwork. 













Some of you might feel a little intimidated by the idea of creating artwork using parts of multiple images, but I can tell you it’s not that hard.  Start small at first.   For example, the image I used for the lower hummingbird didn’t show the entire flower, so I used another flower as a reference to complete the flower.    You can do something like that very easily.   Or find a picture of a hummingbird you like and add a flower and maybe a leaf or two around the hummingbird. 

That’s it for this blog.  I hope you enjoyed the progression of the artwork.

Now to answer a couple of questions I get asked frequently.  This artwork was burned on basswood that measures 10.5 x 10.5 inches (26.7 x 26.7 cm).  It took me 23 3/4 hours to complete the artwork.  

Until the next blog,


Apr 20, 2018

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