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Burning with colour!

Updated: Aug 22, 2021

This is a bit of a special project for a couple of reasons!

1) It's the first time I've experimented with adding Derwent colour pencil to my pyrography drawings.

2) The very same weekend I finished my website, one of my closest friends completed something that was inspiring, incredible, and touching.

Over the last 12 months she has run a total of 1000 miles to raise money for Force Cancer Charity. You can read all about her massive achievement by clicking on this link.

So, with lock down coming to an end, Rache completing her incredible goal (and my need to draw things).... I got to thinking perhaps I could create something especially to sell to donate towards the charity.

Yes! That's right! I actually have a piece for sale! Amazing but true! If you are interested in owning this lovely piece please contact me - I'm not sure how long it's going to be available for.

Here's how it was made:

Firstly there's the messy, noisy, but really quite fun bit.

This is Sycamore and it’s a really nice hardwood to draw on, It measures approximately 20" x 12" in size.

To ensure I get the super smooth drawing surface I'm looking for, I first sand the wood then lightly spray it with water and allow to dry and repeat.

Doing this raises the grain of the wood and means that when the final finish is added (or any liquid such as varnish or paint for example) the grain has already risen and been sanded back so there will be no unwanted "rising" effects.

I may do this a couple of times until I'm happy.

With the wood prepped and sanded it’s time to get started on laying out the drawing onto the wood.

I draw a rough outline of the whole image onto the wood just the same as I do with any pencil drawing.

Marking the most prominent features when drawing the outline helps me to keep everything in proportion and hopefully in the right place as I navigate my way around the drawing.

Finally, it's time to start burning! The process is almost the same as drawing in pencil -by this I mean it still shares the same principles of shading and I still have to be thoughtful of line direction - maybe even more so as there's no using an eraser when burning onto wood!

The darker that the line is required to be I can either turn the temperature up or slow my pen stroke speed down. Too much of either though leads to thicker lines than desired so finding the right combination early on is key therefore I generally start off in a place where dark lines are needed (for a few sneaky practice lines).

Here's how it evolves up to the point where I'm ready to add the colour with Derwent's "Coloursoft" pencils

Now, at this this stage I was pretty happy with the the final pyro piece but I wasn't finished yet!

This was always going to be first attempt at introducing colour to my pyrography and although I've been drawing for a couple of decades now and have total faith in the capabilities of Derwent's pencils - sometimes my enthusiasm doesn't always match what I have in mind!

But, just as always, i wasn't disappointed with the ease of which the pencils took to the surface. The fine lines burned into the wood had created tiny grooves - much the same as if I had used an embossing tool!

The versatility of these pencils with their softness - yet ability to still hold a point allowed me to draw as if on paper, blending where needed, filling the "embossed" lines made by the pyrography tool or lightly layering around them.

Firstly, I apply the colour quite blocky and as more of base colour to tone down, its almost there....but not quite....

So now I need to bring it down a level, I was quite surprised how vibrant these colours showed on top of the sepia colours of the burned image on the wood!

Now, those lovely vibrant colours are looking a little more blended, I just want to add in some very slight highlights here and there and I believe my first project with pyrography and Coloursoft pencils has been a success!

Here it is.

Titled "Embrace" - measuring 20" x 12"

Drawn using a pyrography kit and finished with the all important Derwent Coloursoft Pencils for added extra.

Photo Reference Bob Brewer

For more of my art click here:

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