Basic Woodburning Strokes and Textures

Wood burning strokes, patterns, and fill textures

There are so many stroke, pattern, and fill textures that you can create in your pyrography, your burning palette is almost unlimited.  When we add the tonal value changes – pale cream through chocolate black – and how open or tight each stroke pattern is worked there is no design or pattern that can not be accomplished with our wood burning pens.

pyrography stroke guide

The wood burning stroke guide, above, shows just a very few of my favorite texture, fill, and stroke patterns.  Every pattern shown can be used to create smooth graduated shading, solid fill, and detailing lines.  This practice board is divided into the patterns or strokes that each of our pen tips make.

The sample squares that are shown were worked with an extra-open stroke pattern so that you can clearly see how each pattern fill is created.

Each pen tip profile makes a specific stroke pattern

wood burning pen tips
The pen tips, above, are manufactured by Colwood.  Pen tips top to bottom: curved-edge shader, looped tip pen, micro-loop pen, square shader, and the spear shader.  Each manufacturer names their pen tips a number or name unique to them.  Please visit your wood burning manufacturer’s website for their specific, proprietary name.

Thin line fills are best created with a ball tip or loop tip pen.  These two pen tips burn a slightly wide, even line so they are perfect for tight scrubbie stroke fills, solid touch-and-lift dot pattern fills, and packed line shading.

The spear-shaped shader has a spoon or spear shaped burning tip that is bent at an angle from the pen handle.   This places the flat, wide area of the shader directly onto the board for long, pull shading strokes.  You can use this pen tip on its edge, giving you a wide area of the tip for your burn strokes.  As you pull the spear shader edge across the board it naturally starts the stroke at a dark tonal value that slowly pales as you pull away from the starting point.

The curved-edge shader has a thinner metal tip than the spear shader.  Used along the wide edge of the belly of the curve, this shader also creates easy-to-make graduated wide, shaded line strokes.  Hold this pen along the sharp, pointed edge of the pen and you can burn extremely thin lines, even cutting and sculpturing the wood.

The square shader is a specialty pen tip that is a joy to use in any of your wood burning projects.  This tip has a thick wire, bent at right angles, to place a large amount of hot metal directly onto the wood.  It burns wide, even colored strokes that fill large areas quickly.  Worked on one edge of the tip you can burn long, thick-to-thin grass and hair strokes.

 

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