Pyrography Art Davy’s Dragon wood burning fantasy art

In this blog I’m going to discuss the Davy’s Dragon artwork I did.  The dragon is based on a drawing by Davy of Davy JY Art with a Pen.  Davy was kind enough to let me use one of his drawings and render it in pyrography form.  I had a hard time picking a drawing from his many fantastic creations, so I whittled down the choices by omitting drawings of characters from movies or TV shows.  Even then it was still tough to choose, but my love of dragons prevailed and I chose his ‘The Dragon’ drawing. 

You can watch a time lapse YouTube video of the artwork being created by clicking on the image to the left.

A quick word about Davy’s drawing before I get started; this is not a competition. 

Instead this is about how two artists will create different looking artwork even though the subject matter is identical.  The wide range of art interpretation is an aspect that makes viewing art enjoyable to me.  

So who is Davy you ask?   Davy is an artist on YouTube who works primarily in ink and he has this fascinating method of drawing that is mesmerizing to watch.  Basically he starts his drawing as a really rough sketch and then adds these random squiggly lines to over the sketch.  It actually reminds me of someone just scribbling on a piece of paper.  He adds layer after layer of squiggly lines building up the depth of his drawing.  When he is done this piece of art emerges that looks 3D and has so much texture and tonal variation. 

This is Davy’s Dragon drawing that I based my artwork on, and if you’re interested in watching him create it, here’s a link to the youtube video:

Here’s a link to his youtube channel:

Davy and I have gotten to be YouTube friends.  He has a wonderful wit that matches his drawing skills, and I highly recommend checking out his channel.

Ok, I’ll start talking about my version of the dragon.  I took his drawing and used that as the base for the sketch on the board.  Then I burned in the pencil lines for the area I planned to start working on.






I used circular motion to burn the skin on the face as it is great for creating a random mottled type of texture.






I have the shader in optimal position as I burn along the outer edges of face to start creating the shadows.






Back to burning on the top of the head and adding some dark brown to the far side to push it further into the background.





In this photo you can see how increasing the darkness level of the skin around the back horn pushes the area further into the background.






I can do the same thing with the eye and the bony brow ridge above it.  I’m darkening up the eye, but leaving the brow ridge much paler.  This makes it seem like the ridge is sticking out over the eye.






Here I’m burning the area in front of the eye to a dark brown color  and this will really make the area seem like it is further back from the ridge edge than the eye is.






Now I’m burning in the dragon’s eye.  I left a gap along the edge of the iris as this is where a spot of reflected light will be located.






Working on the lower eyelid.







I made the iris a tan color with a dark border and I’m currently burning in really thin lines on the iris to mimic how people’s irises look.






Defining the nodules on the lower eyelid with a writer pen tip.







Adding shadows under the nodules.







The texture on the face was created using circular motion.  In this photo you can really see how burning dark under the brow really pushes it into the background.





There are some repeating themes in the artwork like the thin lines I burned over all of the ‘rounded’ pipe lines like the lips.






The mottled texture on the skin is another repeating theme found on many different areas of the dragon.





I had fun working on the nostril opening because there were a lot of features to create in such a small area like the raised ring surrounding it and a recessed skin flap opening.





In this photo I’m working on creating the illusion that the skin flaps curve inward slightly.






A lot of the textures I use in pyrography are created via layering different types of burns.  So the forehead started out with a layer of circular motion to give it a slightly mottled texture.  Now I’m using a writer pen tip to burn elongated figure eights over the surface to add a hint of scales to the head.





In this photo it’s a bit easier to see the figure eights I’m drawing onto the head.





Afterwards I burned over the area again to darken the head and emphasize some of the individual scales.





I’m starting the foundation of making the teeth look like they are so large that the lips mold or conform around them.






With this photo you can see that I’ve left the center above the teeth paler than the sides.  Currently I’m finishing up adding a base layer of color and texture to the skin.





The skin around the horn is another example of using light and darks to create the illusion of depth.  I left the top of the skin next to the horn a lot paler than the area just below it.  The darker area below creates the illusion of sides that frame the horn.  Since I use gradient color that transitions from the dark sides to the pale top, I created the impression that the skin curves inward at the top.



Finishing up the nostril by adding color and the thin lines on the raised ring around it.  Also the skin flaps have been darkened up making them look recessed.





Adding the thin lines to the upper lip.







Burning the mouth opening to a dark brown or black color.







Using circular motion to burn the mottled texture on the lower jaw.







Increasing the darkness on the skin between the teeth.







Continued work.  As you can see, the increase contrast makes the skin look like it’s conforming around the shape of the teeth.






Finishing up the lower jaw.






In this photo I’m just starting to burn on either side of a pipeline that runs down the neck.  Pipeline is not a great descriptor for the feature, but I just can’t think of anything else to call it.





Along the upper section of the neck there were these rows of textured gills or scales.  Again, I have no idea what to call them as it’s a fictional character, but for simplicity I’ll stick with gills.





I created the gills by burning thin arching lines over each row and then burning dark pull-away strokes along the edges.







Like most things in pyrography, I can do the steps in almost any order to create the texture.  With this row of gills, I’m burning the pull-away strokes along the edges first.





Then I burned in the arching lines.






In this photo I’ve rotated the board to along the left edge of the gill rows.






I burned the bottom of each gill row to a dark color to make it look like it is curving inward.  The direction change on the row lines helps further this illusion.






Davy’s drawing had the pipelines framing the gills extending all the way to the pipeline on the center of the throat.  When I started burning in the area I had the idea to connect them together. 







Adding the mottled texture to the area between the gills and the center pipeline.






I loved the little horns at the top of the gill rows.  Davy draws wonderfully creative dragons.





I burned short dark pull-away strokes along the right edge of the horn to make it look like it was curving downward.





I also added the curving lines over the surface of the horn to help it tie in with the rest of the dragon.





Finishing up the pull-away strokes along the right edge of this horn.







The pipelines between the gills were burned to a dark tan color, but I made sure to keep the color irregular or a bit blotchy here and there.





Working on the skin between the gills and the center pipeline.






The skin on the neck changes just past the gills, so I’m burning in the guidelines that will eventually become the shadows areas on the neck.





I made sure that the shadowed areas on the neck aligned with the area between the horns along the top of the neck. 






I wanted a different texture along the side of the neck past the gills, so this is my transition area where the initial texture ends and the new one will begin.






I’m using a shader pen tip to burn in elongated figure eights to create scales.  I worked in one row or area between vertical guidelines at a time.






Then I burned over the skin to give it color.   In a way it reminds me of corn on the cob. 






Continued work.






I darkened up the skin just above the center pipeline to make it look like it is curving downward or inward.





Continued work.







In this photo I’m burning on the center pipeline, but as you can see, I burned in the throat.  I really didn’t like how this area turned out.  I initially burned it to a tan color and then added a layer of zigzags to give it a touch of texture. 





Adding another layer of zigzags to darken up the throat.





With the throat essentially done I didn’t like how pale the center pipe line looked, so I’m re-burning over it to darken it up considerably.  I’m also adding the thin curving lines over its surface.





After I had burned over the surface of the neck, the scales I had initially burned in were hard to see, so I’m burning back over them with a ball pen tip.  I’m using a ball pen tip because I wanted a thick line that is a bit softer than what I’d get with a writer pen tip.




Afterward I used a shader to burn over the lines to give them a touch of a layered look.





Darkening up a horn along the top of the neck.






Re-burning over the skin on the neck to darken it up some more.






Burning dark along the edges of the rings around the horns will make them look rounded.




Finishing up.






I actually decided that I had made the horn rings too dark, so I “erased” them a touch to lighten them up.  Then I burned the horns to a light tan color and I’m just finishing up burning thin lines on the horns to give the impression of little cracks on the surface.




Working on the horn that protrudes from the lower jaw.  Currently I’m burning on the skin next to the horn.





Now I’ve added the color and I’m finishing up the texture on the horn.






Adding a slight shadow to the bottom of the lips so they look curved.






Finishing up the teeth.  The teeth were burned just to give them shape and color, but I didn’t add the lines like I did on the horns.  I wanted the teeth to look smooth like enamel.





The large horns were creating by burning a combination of thick and thin lines.  The thick lines were kept in the light to medium tan range.  The thin lines were in the dark tan to medium brown range as they represent cracks.





Continued work.







Burning in the small horns on the head.  Each ring was burned like I did the two on the side of the neck, so the edges are darker than the center of the ring.  The contrast makes it look rounded.





Then the horns were burned to a light tan color and thin lines added to give then texture.





With the large main horn, I also darkened up the base to give it more shape than the little horns.






Now I’ve started working on the second horn.  Again I’m using a combination of thick and thin lines to burn it in.





Continued work.







Lastly, I’m adding layer of short semi-dark lines to the neck to see if that will improve the texture on the neck. 






I mentioned before that different artist tend to create different looking artwork even if the subject matter is the same, and the composite photo below shows this.   

There are many similarities between the two pieces of artwork, but there are also many differences.  Speaking of differences, if I were to create this artwork again, I doubt very much that the two burns would look identical.  In fact, they don’t.   I lost all of the video clips from the original burn and I had to start over so I could create a video for YouTube.  Below is a comparison of the first and second version of the Dragon. 


As you could see, there are similarities and differences between both of my burns.   There are things I like about each version and things I dislike, but that’s true of every single piece of artwork I’ve ever created. 


Now to answer a couple of questions I get asked frequently.  This artwork was burned on basswood that measures 12 3/4 x 10 inches (32.4 x 25.4 cm).  It took me 14 3/4 hours to create the first rendition of the artwork and 10 hours for the second one.  I had a lot of fun working on this and discovered some new textures to add to my repertoire.

Until the next blog,


May 24, 2019

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