The horse pyrography turned out really well but did present a few challenges I want to go over. When working with wood and burning dark, creating contrast is important or everything is just going to blend together.
As with all of my wood-burning projects, I use the tracing method to transfer all my patterns. It can be a bit time consuming but it’s easy, inexpensive and gives me more control of what to include.
Once the pattern is printed, I tape the pattern to the piece of wood to eliminate movement and I can check what I did or didn’t trace. Once it’s taped, I lay down the graphite paper and begin tracing the pattern with my stylus.
I started with the fence to lay my foundation of creating the dark contrast I wanted to do the horses. Again I prefer to work in sections as that helps me stay in the rhythm of burning.
When making fence look like wood on a wood-burning, it’s important to have light and dark sections so you can see where the bark is or if there’s knot or a hole. I work from the edges inward as that allows for the middle to be a little lighter and create the shape.
In this section I started with the mane and tail hair and filled in the shrubs, rocks and some of the grass. In order to keep it as real as I can, I never outline my work unless it’s a building as they tend to have sharper edges but in general outlines can actually diminish the work.
Adding layers of different colors make the muscles and other areas stand out. If you were to outline this it wouldn’t look quite as good. In some instances, I create a small burn line and then work off that to create the shading.
And here you can see what I mean, on the back legs of the second horse, I created simple lines for the definition of the muscles – sometimes that works out while while at other times, adding layers of shading work best.
And here’s the finished horse pyrography piece before adding the frame that this piece of wood came with. Initially, I wanted one of the horses to be a lot darker but that makes the definitions really hard to stand out.