Last year I collaborated with Happy Angel Drawings on a Halloween themed piece of artwork. Happy Angel had created a cute line drawing and I turned the drawing into pyrography artwork. This blog will discuss the creation of the Halloween Word artwork.
Click on the image to the left to watch a time lapse video of the artwork being created.
Happy Angel does a number of transformation drawings where she starts with a word and transforms it into a drawing. This composite photo shows the word Halloween before and after she transformed it into a line drawing or cartoon as she calls it. Here’s a link to her video: Halloween Word
The first thing I did was transfer the line drawing to a piece of wood and burn in the pencil lines. I didn’t use a very large board, and I wanted to keep the characters as large as possible. To help accomplish this, I moved the owl up from where Happy Angel had drawn it.
Here’s how the board looked after I was done burning in the trace lines.
I started with the owl in the upper left corner of the board. I altered the eyes slightly to make them more rounded instead of almond shaped.
Then I used a shader to burn zigzags on the crown. This is the same process I use to create fur.
Working my way around the owl’s face burning zigzags. I re-burned as needed to darken up areas and give shape to the face.
I filled the owl’s chest with small clusters or bursts of zigzags. Basically I burned a few lines, moved to a nearby spot, and repeated the process.
Here’s how the owl looks so far, and, as you can see, I’ve just started working on the wings.
With the wings I burned in rows of zigzags, but I make sure the rows curved.
I did burn alternating rows of light and dark markings on the wings. Plus the lower wings I burned in guidelines down to the tip or end of the wing. Afterwards I will each section between two guidelines with alternating light and dark patches of color.
The branch was burned to a tan color and then I used a writer pen tip to draw short, slightly wavy lines on it to represent tree bark.
Here’s how the owl looked once I was done.
The next character I worked on was the witch, and I started with the shadows on her hat.
Then I added color to the rest of the hat, but kept it a bit on the rough side. That’s just a way of saying I didn’t try to create really smooth uniform color.
For the hat brim, I used pull-away strokes to give it color. Again, I didn’t try to get smooth uniform color.
Next I tackled the hair. Happy Angel tends to have characters with long flowing hair and I’ve come of associate it with her style of drawing.
Finishing up the hair.
With the witches robe, I used a knife tip (rounded heel) to burn pale lines on the area.
My goal wasn’t to add color, but instead to fill the area with lots of long lines burned in close to together.
I rotated the board and burned lines in other directions too.
Burning all of these lines created a crosshatch pattern on the robe, but because the lines are so pale it’s hard to see. I do want to mention that if you do this technique on plywood, make sure to keep the lines fairly shallow. Burning really deep lines might reach the glue level. You never want to burn or heat glue as the fumes can be irritating and sometimes very toxic.
After creating the embedded crosshatch pattern, I used the flat of the shader to burn over the robe and reveal the embedded design.
Finishing up the robe. I like the subtle texture the embedded crosshatch creates. It reminds of a coarse linen fabric.
I didn’t do anything fancy with the skin. I just gave it a base layer of color and called it good.
I did add little dark lines along the joints on the fingers.
In this photo I’m burning in the eyes using a standard writer pen tip.
Lastly I’m burning around the teeth in the mouth.
Here’s how the witch looked once I was done.
Then I started on the gentleman pumpkin by adding inner lines along the facial features to give the pumpkin thickness.
Afterwards I darkened up the eyes, nose, and burned in the stem.
I switched to a shader pen tip and started burning in one section or rib of the pumpkin at a time.
To create depth or 3D shape, I burned each section so the right edge was much darker than the left.
In this photo you can see how this technique produced a ribbed look on the pumpkin.
When I burned in the facial features I left the border I drew in unburned for contrast. To me the unburned border represents the flesh of the pumpkin that you would see on carved pumpkins.
Working on the bow-tie. I just love how Happy Angel gave this pumpkin man an outfit Count Dracula would love.
As I work, I am constantly thinking about contrast. The witches robe is a dark tan color, so I wanted the cape to be much darker for contrast.
Finishing up the cape.
Again, with a consideration to contrast, I burned the shirt very pale and the collar on the vest very dark. The vest collar is several shades darker than the cape, so it stands out.
I had a flash of inspiration, if you will, and decided to burn thin dark lines down the rest of the vest. It gave the area some color and a bit of texture.
With the cane, I burned in alternating sections dark, but I used pull-away strokes, so this created a highlight along the center.
I also lightly burned along the edges of the pale section. The contrast of dark edges and gradient color to the center highlight gives the cane a rounded look.
The last thing I did was use a micro writer pen tip to burn in the buttons and to add marks where the fingernail starts.
Here’s how the boy pumpkin looked once I was done.
The last character was the girl pumpkin, and I started by embossing deep dots or divots into her dress using an embossing tool.
An embossing tool has metal prongs with small round knobs at the end. They are used for card making, but I’ve found that they work on wood; the softer the wood, the easier it is to do.
Then I burned in her adorable curling lock of vine.
I also created segments on this pumpkin and burned them in individually.
In this photo I’ve rotated the wood so my pen tip is in optimal position as I burn along the edges of the segments.
Here I’m finishing up shading the pumpkin, and, as you can see, I’ve darkened up the facial features.
Next I started on the dress. I used the flat of a shader to burn over the embossed dots to reveal the pattern. This gave the girl a polka dotted dress that was quick and very easy to create.
With her arms I just quickly burned over them to give them a little color.
I did have a problem coming up with an idea for the middle of the dress, but I eventually came up with the idea of vertical stripes. I began by burning in dark vertical lines.
Afterwards, I filled in area between the sets of lines that were very close together.
Then I burned over the rest of the area to give it a little color.
The last thing I did was burn in the little bow in her hair.
Here’s how she looked once I was done.
This photo shows the entire artwork after I was done…or thought I was.
Todd, my husband, kept asking what the things attached to her hat where. I didn’t know, but told him glowing orbs. For some reason these little orbs just bothered him, but he did come with up a good idea, and that was to turn them eyeballs.
So I penciled in some eyelids, irises, etc. to transform the glowing orbs into eyes. In this photo I’m burning in the eyelids.
I thought it would seem silly to keep the eyes on her face, so I darkened those up.
Then I switched to a standard writer pen tip and burned in the irises.
Finishing up the eyes.
This photo shows the final artwork.
I had a LOT of fun with this whole project. I really enjoy using the line drawing that I didn’t have to create and adding pyrography to it. It was almost like using a coloring book.
Now to answer a couple of questions I get asked frequently. This artwork was burned on Birch plywood that measures 6 x 8 inches (25.4 x 25.4 cm). It took me 4 1/4 hours to complete the artwork.
Until the next blog,
Oct 11, 2019
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