Would you like to give a gift from the heart this holiday season?
In this DIY Woodburning Holiday Ornament – How To Shade tutorial I am going to share with you the techniques I use for shading so you can make your art pop off the wood.
DIY Woodburning Holiday Ornament – How To Shade
For my woodburning art, I use a TRUArt professional woodburning detailer with digital temperature control.
The model I use is the Dual Pen Professional Woodburning Detailer.
Its is a 60W tool with digital temperature control and 50 premium detailing tips.
What Wood Should You Burn?
Deciding what wood to burn can be a challenge. All wood will burn differently, and some wood is toxic to burn.
So please do some research to learn if the wood you are interested in burning is safe for woodburning.
The most popular woods for pyrography are:
Basswood – Basswood is my favorite wood to use for my rustic woodburning. They come in different sizes and shapes and can be purchased online or in most hobby stores.
Poplar – Is used by many artists for photorealism art. It is a hardwood and is easy to burn. I use poplar for my rustic signs. You can purchase poplar wood on most hardware stores like Lowe’s or Home Depot.
Birch Plywood – I use birch plywood for rustic ornaments I burn on. It is more challenging to burn, but with practice, you will get a feel for it. It is crucial not to burn into the glue. Burning the glue can cause health problems. I purchase my ornaments at Wood Craft Supplies.
I have searched for a long time trying to find a hobby store on a woodcraft supply online site that carried the products I was looking for.
I discovered Wood Craft Supplies about a year ago, and I could not have been happier. They have everything I was looking for and more. The prices are very competitive, free shipping when you purchase a certain amount, and the quality of the product is perfect.
Burn The Contour Of The Subject
The first step is to burn the contour of the subject you are going to woodburn.
The contour is the outline of the subject.
You can sketch the object on the wood ornament with a pencil or use graphite tracing paper.
Tips for burning the contour:
- Use a low heat
- Do not press hard on the wood. Just use the weight of the woodburning tool you are using.
- Let the heat create the line
- Move the woodburning tool slowly if you want the line darker or move the woodburning tool faster if you want a lighter line.
Identify Where The Light Is
After you have your shape burnt, you will want to identify where the light source is coming from.
Five Elements Of Shading:
Full Light – This is the area on an object where the light source is hitting it at full strength.
Halftone – This is the area on an object that is the middle value. It is neither in the direct light or shadows.
Core Shadow – This is the darkest tone of an area on the object where light is blocked from hitting the object. For example, it will be where the sphere curves away from the light but not at the very edge of the sphere.
Reflected light – This separates the darkness of the core shadow from the darkness of the cast shadow. It is a lighter value that outlines the edge of an object.
Cast Shadow – This will be the darkest value on your drawing. It is the opposite side of the light source and blocked by an object. For example, it will be where the sphere meets a surface on the opposite side of the light source. This is the area where light does not hit.
How To Shade With A Woodburner
The shading concept will be the same no matter what medium you are using.
The darkest areas of an object are where the light is not hitting.
The lightest area of an object is where the light hits the object.
The only difference with using a woodburning tool is that you can not erase or paint over a mistake.
- Follow the tips outlined for burning a contour
- Start burning where the darkest area is and work towards the lighter areas
- Do not go too dark at first
- Make an area darker by going over the same area you have burnt. Repeat this until you have the desired value you are looking for.
Below is a video that shows me adding a shadow to Christmas bells.
Visit Drawing Tutorials for more art lessons.
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