I was sent a copy of Minisa Robinson’s book, “Woodburning Realistic Animals” to review. I have admired Minisa’s work for a number of years, so I was excited to receive this book. I enjoy learning how other artists create their work. Plus there is always the opportunity to pick up a new technique. This blog will cover my review of the book and the skill level I think you need to have for the book to be a good value.
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 (below) on Amazon, I do not receive compensation of any sort from the sale of this book.
AMAZON – Realistic Animals
As I said before, I have admired Minisa’s work for a while and one of the reasons is that she can create very realistic art using a craft burner.
Craft burners are what I prefer to call the solid point soldering iron type of wood burner. Now I do want to point out that Minisa has a temperature control on her burner, which I think is essential for realistic work. Otherwise you can’t get the tan colors, or not as easily.
Like I said, Minisa uses a craft burner, but she also has a wire tip style burner too. She does state in her book that she prefers the craft burner and does the majority of her work with it. As she puts it, “The artist uses the tools; the tools don’t make the artist.” Amen sister! Having the fanciest pyrography machine in the world will not make you a better artist if you don’t know how to use it.
To help you learn what a wood burner is capable of, Minisa provides a chart showing a wide assortment of designs create with different pen tips. Then she proceeds to explain how she each design was created. What’s more, she does this for both types of burner; solid and wire tip.
Furthering the information on how to use the wood burning is the Features Studies chapter. In this chapter Minisa breaks down different aspects of the animals (eye, fur, whiskers) and explains how to create that feature. For the fur she delves into different types of fur and provides a number of photo showing how to create the fur texture and some burn strokes to avoid. This chapter is ESSENTIAL for being able to complete any of her projects that are found later in the book, and, depending on your experience level, you may have to refer back to this chapter numerous times.
All of the previous instructions help prepare you for the animal projects. With each project, a reference photo and pattern is provided, and a full-color fairly large photo of Minisa’s artwork to help guide you along.
The steps are broken down into photos showing what to burn in that step. Below each photo is a darkness level chart and written instructions. The darkness level chart lets you know how dark you should be burning for that step. If color was added to the artwork, the last step in each tutorial covers what color(s) were used and the type of color (pencils, ink, etc).
Each photo shows the areas to burn for that step, and this is where you may need to refer back to the ‘Features Studies’ chapter to get a better understanding of the type of burn stroke(s) to use to create the needed feature like fur.
In addition to the 12 animal projects in the book, there are other chapters that I think some people will find helpful; like the Working with Photos. In this section she discusses places to get photos, what sort of things to look for in a photo, and how to adjust the photo using Adobe Photoshop. She even covers how to use the photo to create a pattern or template on the wood.
This is a good book for someone who is a beginner or intermediate level artist who is looking to improve the realism in their artwork.
I think a novice artist would find the book of interest, but the tutorials might be challenging to follow along with. My husband, who has very little experience in pyrography and I would put him in the novice category, read through the book and felt that the tutorials are well beyond anything he could do.
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 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 found parts of the book to be very interesting like how Minisa creates several versions of the reference photo to reveal or emphasize different details of the subject matter. Minisa’s way of breaking down the steps in each tutorial is a lot different than my style of writing, but, again, I found that interesting. Overall, I think Minisa provides a lot of useful information in her book, but the tutorials might be very challenging for those with little experience in pyrography. That said, I’ve learned the most when I’ve pushed myself to try harder projects.
Until the next blog,
Aug 30, 2019
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