In this tutorial I’m going to explain how leaping trout lake artwork that I burned onto a maple cribbage board. The artwork is more stylized versus photorealistic, but I think a stylized version is easier to replicate. Plus the subject is a popular theme, so makes a wonderful gift.
I’m only going to explain how to create the trout and the lake in this tutorial. The distant mountains and tree covered hills were created using the techniques that I explained in great detail with my Mountain Lake tutorial.
Reader submitted artwork at the bottom of the blog.
SKILL LEVEL: 1
- Writing tip
- Shading tip
- Pattern (enlarge or shrink as needed) Leaping Trout pattern
- White Charcoal Pencil (I use either General or Conte a Paris)
I will be using terms like pull-away strokes. If you are unfamiliar with my terminology, I have a blog that explains; Using the Shader Pen Tip.
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.
STEP 3 – BURN THE OUTLINE
STEP 4 – THE TROUT
STEP 5 – THE LAKE
Then start filling in the lake using horizontal zigzag strokes. Zigzags are lines that are burning in a back and forth or left / right direction. I find the strokes are easy for me to burn in a vertical direction, so I have rotated the board to enable me to burn that way.
Now start burning zigzags along the edge of the land mass on the right side of the lake. I recommend rotating the board in different directions to see which direction is the easiest for you to burn zigzags.
Use the tip of a sharp pointed knife, like an X-acto knife, to scrape a thin line along the edge of the land mass. The purpose is to let the viewer easily see where the land ends and the water begins.
Since we are creating choppy water, keep the reflection very minimal. I burned in the basic contours or outline of the mountain along with a couple of vertical lines to give a vague impression of mountain features.
Then resume burning zigzags on the lake. You might have noticed that I don’t have a white line along the right edge of the land mass. For some reason I didn’t create the white line until the very end on this side.
Use a white charcoal pencil and draw along the edges of the spray. Also draw a couple dots near the upper edges of the spray. This is not an absolutely necessary step, but I find that it helps me easily see and avoid the areas I don’t want to burn on.
Now add some color to the front of the spray. Again vary the color slightly. Tip. I am actually burning really small semi-vertical zigzag strokes on the water, but I from the feedback I’ve gotten, zigzags are one of the more difficult burn strokes I use. Instead, you can tap the flat of the pen tip to the water to get the same effect. Just make sure to tap the pen so the lines are almost vertical.
We’re done. I started burning the leaping trout onto cribbage boards that people were ordering for Christmas presents. I lost track of how many I burned, but it was definitely a popular theme for a bit.
I hope that I was able to explain things well enough so you could follow along and that the trout design will be useful with your art projects.
Now to answer a couple of questions I get asked frequently. This artwork was burned on a maple cribbage board that my husband created. The artwork measures 4 ½ x 2 1/2 inches (11.4 x 6.4 cm). It took me 2 1/2 hours to complete the artwork. That said, this is not a race or contest. I only put how long a project takes me as I get asked that question a lot. You may get this done faster or slower, but that doesn’t matter. What’s important is you’re learning to create pyrography artwork, and hopefully having fun while doing so.
Until the next blog,
July 12, 2019
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This wonderful piece of artwork was done by Trish. Trish is has created a lot of pyrography art and really incorporates a lot of detail to her work. I love all of the water droplets or spray around the tail. Fantastic job keeping the drops of water white. Trish, thanks for sharing with us.
This fantastic artwork was done by Martin. I love Martin’s creative take on the artwork like his addition of the house. The water spray from the leaping trout is awesome as it looks so explosive. It makes me feel like the trout really lept out of the water with considerable force. Very well done, Martin, and thank you for sharing with us!