I was sent a copy of Lora S. Irish’s book, “Little Book of Pyrography: Techniques, Exercises, Designs, and Patterns” to review. This blog is my review of the book and in it I will explore the good and the one not-so-good of the book. I will also offer the skill level I feel the book is applicable to.
Full Disclosure: But first, I need to provide a full disclosure. I did not purchase the book and, other than the value of the book, I am not being paid for this review. While I do provide a link to the book on Amazon (below), I do not receive compensation of any sort from the sale of this book.
Amazon: Little Book Of Pyrography
This book is literally what is says, a “little book.” Despite its “little” size, it is packed with a LOT of information. Lora touches on everything you need to get started in pyrography including a list of basic supplies, different burners, and assorted materials to burn on.
Lora covers the core information you need to know without cluttering the book with unnecessary information. For example, she explains that there are two basic burner styles; fixed-heat and variable-heat temperature control. She explains the basics of both styles and features available. What she doesn’t do is waste space discussing the differences between the various brands of burners currently on the market.
I thought she did a great job covering an assortment of mediums to burn on. Lora covers several varieties of wood and other items like gourds and paper. Plus she provides guidelines, when needed, to prepare a medium for burning. For example, she goes into detail on how to properly prepare a gourd to render it safe to burn on. With leather she provides guidelines to help an artist get better burn results.
Lora has a very distinctive style of artwork. What really impressed me with the book is how she shows any type of burner can be used to create the artwork; including inexpensive craft burners that do not have temperature dials to adjust the heat output. She does this by providing exercises that allow the artist to discover the capabilities of their burner in such a way they can consistently replicate the results. Plus, she actually shows the burn results with both fixed-heat and variable-heat burner, so the artist gets a visual guideline for comparison.
All of the artwork in the book is based on the use of lines, stippling, and layering. This photo is just one example of a basic burn stroke layered to get different tones or darkness levels. She thoroughly explains how to achieve tonal ranges from light tan to dark brown. Her methods are such that anyone who wants to learn can do so in a fairly short order.
The projects start with the featured book cover artwork using the artful application of lines burned in different directions. From there Lora introduces additional concepts to create more textures and gradually increase the difficulty level. Each new concept has several projects so you can gain useful practice to master the skill she is teaching.
Later in the book she explains how to analyze a photo and provides her own artistic interpretation of the photo. Combining this with her previous exercises and techniques helps get the artist ready for the challenges at the end of the book. As Lora states, “with the basic instructions in this book and a little practice, you will soon be able to woodburn any project with confidence and expertise.”
There are numerous projects throughout the book with written instructions to teach you the skills you need to know to tackle the instruction-free patterns at the end of the book. The patterns vary in complexity and offer many opportunities to use the concepts Lora has presented. As if that wasn’t enough there are also extra patterns available on the publisher’s website.
My only slight issue with the book is that it is hardbound and I think that makes it harder to photocopy the patterns the book contains.
Obviously the publisher realized this and they provided a link so you can access the patterns on their website. I did not check this out as it required setting up an account.
Great book for Novice & Beginners.
Once the artist is at the Intermediate level or above, I’m not sure the book would offer new concepts or ideas, but it might be worth it for the numerous patterns it contains.
Novice. This is a person who has never tried pyrography, is just getting into it, or has very limited experience in the art form.
Beginner. This is a person who has some experience in pyrography. They are starting to gain an understanding of the basics.
Intermediate. This is an experienced pyrography artist who has mastered the basics, but is still working on becoming proficient in the more advanced burn styles of pyrography.
Advanced. This artist can replicate almost anything they see with little to no instructions.
Expert. An artist of this level can replicate anything without instructions.
I would HIGHLY recommend the book to someone who is thinking about getting into pyrography or someone who has recently gotten into pyrography. The book covers a LOT of basic information that touches on everything to get started in pyrography. Lora’s pyrography exercises and techniques are easy to understand and she provides a lot of examples to help you master the art form. I think the book is well worth the price and I wish this book had existed when I started in pyrography.
Until the next blog,
July 16, 2018
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