Beginner Wood Burning Techniques & Shading 2021 [Updated]

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Guide to Pyrography Techniques & Shading For Beginners 2021 [Updated]

Understanding basic techniques and shading will help you improve your project quality and skill. dupo-x-y CC BY-SA

Pyrography, or wood burning, is the art of burning images and patterns into wood surfaces. This artform involves using many techniques to achieve different shading, textures, and dimensions in the image being burned.

The wide array of techniques to learn can seem intimidating to beginner pyrographers, but with the help of video tutorials, learning wood burning techniques can be accessible to all. The more techniques you learn as a beginner, the more high-quality projects you will be able to complete.

It is important to spend time learning and practicing the following pyrography techniques so you can quickly advance to more complicated projects and designs.

Walnut Hollow Deluxe Woodburning Kit with Woodburning Pen, Patterns, Color Pencils and Instructions
  • This set has all a beginner needs to learn Woodburning (Pyrography) including a reusable Pen, and...
  • Also includes 4 Points (tips), 2 Wood Plaques, 6 Pencils, 8 Patterns & 2 Alphabets, Stand and...
  • The simple instructions teach you how to use the Points (tips) for bold outlines and subtle shading

List of Beginner Wood Burning Techniques & Shading

The following are six of the main technique categories for wood burning. Most of the projects you encounter will involve one or more of these techniques, so becoming familiar with them will be beneficial to you as you progress in wood burning!

1) Basic Outlining


(Outlining tutorial begins at 4:46)

The most basic technique in wood burning is outlining. All projects use some sort of outline to begin making the design come to life. Use a spear or universal pen tip for outlining and take your time drawing your lines.

This process is really similar to drawing with a pen or marker, just trace along the wood using one long, even stroke. The harder you press into the wood, the darker and more defined the line will be, just like when writing on paper.

2) Silhouette Filling


(Filling work begins at 3:10)

This technique involves filling in your design completely instead of applying any sort of shading. Essentially, the main design will be all black with a lighter background. This technique is great for beginners because it is easy and creates a really sharp finished product.

Use a flat, gradient tip or another wide tip and work with medium heat to avoid harsh burn lines. Work in circular motions to create a smooth, even finish.

3) Creating Gradients/Shading


Use a shader tip and use low heat for light shading. Work quickly in circular motions to maintain a light shade. To make darker shading, turn up the heat and continue working in circular motions. Shading can also be achieved by pulling your pen tip across the wood from one side of your work to the other.

This method can be trickier because it can cause darker burn marks. Dotting on the wood can also be used to create shading. Make small dots on the wood and turn up the heat for darker shading.

This method is extremely effective and gives a unique finish. The dotting method provides a lot of control, but is more time consuming than other shading techniques.

4) Hatching


Hatching is an easy alternative to shading. Use a tracing tip and work in one direction at a time. Draw thin lines in one direction and then cross hatch with lines going in the other direction to create a darker effect.

Hatching can be used for shading in small or large areas and in a wide range of designs.

5) Texturing


Applying texture to your wood burning design will give it more dimension and an interesting feel. If you create a lot of animal and nature designs, knowing how to create realistic fur, hair, feather, and scale textures will make your artwork come to life.

Use a skew tip, shader tip, or flat tip to create infinite textures. For lighter texture, use faster strokes and less heat. For darker, more pronounced texture, press harder into the wood and apply more heat.

6) Creating Backgrounds


Backgrounds can be made using shading, filling, or dotting. Use the skills you are most comfortable with when starting background work. Filling in the background completely using a torch or a wide pen tip is one of the most common methods for background work. Use even, long lines to create a smooth and even background.

Shading in various areas can also give an interesting effect to a background. Keep the area around your main design light and add darker shading to the border to bring the visual focus to your image.

Dotting is an old technique, but can be achieved with a round pen tip and a lot of patience! Different projects require different backgrounds, so experiment with what works best for you and your design.

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