Simple Pyrography Shading

Simple shading using contour and position


Every element within a wood burned design has some tonal value shading to create the three dimensional effect.  That shading is determined by the contour or shape of the element and by how that element interacts with the surrounding elements in the pattern.

General contour shapes can include spheres or ball shapes, ovals, faceted gemstones, tubes, flat planes, squares and rectangles and pyramids.  By shading an entire element based on it’s general shape you create the three dimensional look of that element.

Every design pattern contains a foreground, mid-ground and background area to the design.  Foreground elements or areas are those that are closest to you in the pattern with no other element overlapping.  Background elements lie the farthest away with no element behind them.  Elements that lie behind other elements but in front of another element falls in the middle ground area of the design.

As a general rule of thumb for a simple burning foreground elements will be the palest tonal values of the design with mid-ground elements in the mid-tonal range and background elements as your darkest values.   By combining contour shading and position shading you can work any line pattern into a quick and easy wood burning.

What is the elements general shape?

Determine the general shape of each area of the pattern.

The body of this Sea Dragon has a tube shape just like a garden hose. The highlight area of the body flows along the center line where his scales are closest to you.  This makes the center row of scales the palest tones for this element in the design.

As the sides of the body move away from you his body becomes shadowed.  The outer edge rows need to be darker than the center row to roll the body into the tube shape.

I am working on birch plywood and am using a standard writing tip throughout this project.

I have worked this mapping stage using fine lines and a low setting of 5.  Where the outer row scales tuck under the center row I have added a little extra shadowing.

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