My Second Stab at Pyrography

My Second Stab at Pyrography

Several years ago, I procured an inexpensive wood-burning iron and decided to take a red-hot stab at creating pyrographic art. The results were mixed, to say the least. It was challenging and somewhat frustrating.

But I do have fond memories of sitting out at a picnic table in my yard, surrounded by trees and birdsong as the Wisconsin wilderness shook off the last chill of late spring. No better time to explore artistic boundaries, amirite?

And I have to admit that what the finished art lacks in, well, craftsmanship, it more than makes up for in spirit. Looking at these images again instantly transports me back to that sunny afternoon.

I’ve dedicated the current season of my artistic career to exploration. Just making fun shit for the heck of it — usually in front of a camera.

While I’m not quite over my black velvet painting phase yet (perish the thought), the desire to burn lines in wood has been growing within me for several weeks.

The Obligatory Origin Story

Somewhere in the back of my subconscious, seeing the FANTASTIC hot-poker artistry of “Etched in Embers” sparked (see what I did there?) this desire to give wood burning another go.

Meanwhile, I doodled a damned fine Bigfoot sketch while holding up my end of a 90-minute conference call at my day job.

Can you see where this is headed?

I simply HAD to immortalize that hairy, caffeinated bastard in wood.

Prepping the Surface for Burnination

Utilizing an old-ass piece of used carbon paper, I traced my original sketch onto a small wooden plaque. Like many artists and crafters, I have boxes of shit just lying around waiting to be turned into art “someday.” This plaque was one of several in just such a “someday box.”

Due to either the sorry state of the carbon paper or the fact that I had already sat down and begun filming before I realized I didn’t have a proper pencil, the tracing left much to be desired.

So I busted out a red colored pencil and freehanded the sketch onto the board.

If I’m being honest, I like the lively, rough aspect of the original sketch better than the redraw, but what can you do? Trace it a second time? F that.

With the new sketch in place, it’s time to start burninating!

The Pyrographic Process

Quick note_ It’s very important to decide which size and style of tip you want to use BEFORE heating the iron.

Mistakes were made.

Whether it was the quality of the wood or of my new woodburning iron (I couldn’t find my old iron, so splashed out for a new kit - then almost immediately found the first one), this attempt at creating burny art seemed to go more smoothly.

My biggest frustration was that the iron didn’t seem to hold a constant temperature. Some lines melted in like buttah while others required more time and pressure to make a similar mark.

And damn is it rough on the wrist!

But overall, I was very happy with the result.

From here, I added a literal splash of walnut-colored wood stain, a few dabs of watercolor and some India ink.

Then I crossed my fingers, held my breath, and hit the finished mixed media art piece with a coat or two of spray varnish.

Gotta say, I’m really pleased with how it all worked out.

I can totally see myself making more weird and whacky wood-burned art in the near future!

Check out the full process video below!