In this tutorial I will explain how to create the stylized rose artwork. The steps needed to create the rose can be use on any rose design and you don’t need a reference photo. The artwork is from the side of a harp that my husband, Todd, built. He wanted a Celtic knot with roses on it, so the rounded lines you see behind the rose are part of the knot work. I was rather pleased with how the rose turned out and I loved the fact that I didn’t use a reference photo. My goal with this tutorial is to provide you with the basic steps to replicate the look.
Here’s a photo of the harp sides after I was done doing the artwork. I had to create a mirror image of the artwork on each side of the harp. The sides were made out of maple and measured 29 3/4 inches tall (75.6 cm). The sides taper and the widest area is the bottom that measures 6 inches wide (15.2 cm). There are a number of roses on the pattern. The techniques I will share with you in this tutorial are the same techniques I used on each rose.
Now, let’s get to work.
SKILL LEVEL: 1
- Writing tip
- Shading tip
- Attached pattern (shrink or enlarge as needed) Roses Pattern
About the pattern
The pattern contains all of the different rose designs I used on the harp, but it doesn’t include the Celtic knot. While the pattern includes all of the rose designs, I’m only going to detail the steps using the largest rose. The steps do not change, so it would be rather redundant to cover each rose.
STEP 1 – PREP THE WOOD
Then thoroughly wet the board by misting it with water or running it quickly under the sink faucet. Let the board dry and then sand again.
This will produce a super smooth surface, and the smoother the surface is the better the burn results will be.
STEP 2 – TRANSFER PATTERN TO WOOD
I use the tracing method to transfer all my patterns to my projects. It’s cheap, easy, and gives me control on what I want to include. Print off your pattern on lightweight paper (standard copier paper is perfect), coat the back of the pattern with a graphite pencil, position on the wood, and trace over the pattern. Make sure to check the trace results for accuracy before removing the pattern.
Then burn in the trace lines and rub over the surface with a pencil eraser to remove any residual graphite.
STEP 3 – ROSE
Each rose was created using a basic 4 step process – 1) burn pull-away strokes on all edges of the petal, 2) burn over the area between the edges (if needed), 3) add any shadows (if needed or wanted), and 4) add extra texture (if needed or wanted).
The basic goal is to burn in each petal so the edges are darker than the middle of the petal. The other goal is to ensure each petal stands out from the adjacent petals.
Let me clarify what I mean by ‘center of the petal’ as I’m not talking about the visible center of the petal. Instead, I mentally visualize the spot where the petal connects to the rest of the rose. Then I place a mental dot in the center on the connecting line. My mental dot is represented by the red dot in the photo. Then I burn all of my strokes so they curve towards that dot. The yellow lines indicate the general curve and direction of my burn strokes.
Continue to burn pull-away strokes along the right edge of the petal. Vary the width and darkness level of the strokes. Some of my burn strokes are so thin that they could have been ‘drawn’ with a pencil. Others burn strokes are a thicker as I use the entire flat of the shader to create them. This combination of thin and thick lines that vary in color creates the texture I’m after.
If the center of the petal is too light, then burn over it to darken it up. I didn’t burn my pull-away strokes long enough, so the center of the petal was mostly un-burned. I definitely needed to burn over the center to darken it up.
Note that I didn’t want a shadow on this petal, so the 3rd step didn’t apply. Also, this is the only petal that I didn’t burn pull-away strokes along the seam edge (I’ll explain that in a little bit). Lastly, I was okay with the texture, do didn’t feel the need to add more. You have to look at your petal and decide if you need to burn some thin lines to create more texture.
Before I start burning, I first mentally visualize the center of the petal and the direction the pull-away strokes will need to be burned. The red dot represents the petal center, and the yellow lines indicate burn direction.
Pick a side and burn pull-away strokes along the edge of the petal. I started with the right side. Just like before, start the stroke on the edge of the petal and pull it in a curve towards the center of the petal.
I’m adding a shadow by burning pull-away strokes that start along the inner or seam edge of the rose. The seam edge is where this petal touches another petal. Start the stroke on the seam edge and pull it towards the outer edges of the petal.
Shadow might not be the best word to describe what I’m doing. Essentially I am darkening up the inner edge of the petal so that it provides contrast with the adjacent petal.
For some reason I did not get the petal the yellow arrow is pointing to on the video. It gets pull-away strokes burned along the inner and outer edge. You could probably leave the petal off of the artwork too.
The next petal is the lowest petal on the rose. Again, for me I find it easier to first mental visualize the spot where I will be pulling the strokes from along the outer edge of the petal to the center.
Start burning pull-away strokes along the inner or seam edge of the petal. This will begin the darkening process to create some shadows. I also use the razor edge of the shader for some of the burn stroke to create texture.
This is as far as I got before the camera memory was full and I didn’t notice it. Fortunately I finished this petal and noticed the problem before moving on. As you can see from the photo I applied a layer of pull-away strokes along the inner or seam edge of the petal.
Here is a progress photo of the rose. Pay attention to where I’m adding shadows. Notice how they are located along inner or seam edges? This serves two purposes; 1) contrast for the adjacent petal, and 2) creates depth. The darker burns get ‘pushed’ into the background and it makes the petals look like they have shadows on them from adjacent petals; this combination gives you depth in the artwork.
Remember that one of my goal is to make sure each petal is distinct from the others. I accomplish that with contrast. So with this petal I kept the left or outer edge might lighter than the inner or seam edge. The outer edge of this petal is touching the dark inner edge of the adjacent petal, so keeping the outer edge light ensures it stands out.
Again, move onto another petal and burn pull-away strokes along the edges of the petal. With the middle petals, I don’t visualize the center of the petal. Instead I just cover the petal with curving burn strokes.
The board I was working on was really long and a bit awkward, so I didn’t rotate the board often. If it is easier, make sure to rotate the board as you work. You want the pen tip to stay in optimal position when you start each burn stroke so your petal edges stay nice and clean.
STEP 4 – LEAVES
We’re done. Did I accomplish my goal of keeping the tutorial simple? I love to hear from you, so leave a comment.
As I said before the wood I burned on was maple. There were a total of 14 roses and lots of knot work to do, so it took a bit to get all of that work done; 27 hours worth of work. How long each rose took I do not know, but I would guess the larger ones took 3-4 hours each.
Until the next blog,
June 21, 2019
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