Burning clouds is a commitment.
However, sometimes the hint of clouds is all your artwork needs. In these instances I use a simple method to suggest light puffy clouds in a clear sky.
It is a simple process and can be pulled off effectively if you are light and delicate with your shading. In my Pirate Ship Project (available for purchase on my webstore in mid July) I use this technique to fill in empty space behind the ship.
In this article I will share with you the simple steps to create this style of clouds in your burnings. This is important because you will not always want to burn an entire sky, an simply outlining clouds and plastering them all over not only looks amateur, but can ruin your entire burning.
So here is one approach to creating some simple clouds without having to obsess too much or work too hard.
Draw in cloud tops as shown. You can create a master pattern (like this image) and transfer it to your wood, or lightly pencil them directly on your wood. Make sure they are only the tops and not any bottoms. The minute you add bottoms you commit yourself to burning a whole lot more.
As you draw in your clouds keep them slanted to one side or another just like the sample image. This will create a more realistic illusion as we use this little trick. If the clouds are not slightly slanted and are instead puffy, you again commit yourself to more burning than necessary. If at all possible copy what I have on the Pirate Ship project and simply adjust them to your design.
Turn your heat down low and use a shader to create the cloud shape. Now gently pull the burn from the outer edge of the clouds as shown. Begin your burn at the edge and pull horizontally out toward the sky allowing the burn to fade naturally.
Blend these fades by continuing to pull horizontally until the burn fades. You may wish to slowly speed up your stroke to create the fade.
NOTE: Remember that you are burning the sky and not the cloud itself.
Also notice that the clouds are staggered and do not actually connect. This is what supports the illusion. I also shade both on the left and right depending on which side of the ship I am burning. This gives the final image a finished look without ruining the illusion.
In this article I have shared with you how to quickly and easily add clouds to any burning. The only caveat is that the clouds must be simple, cannot connect, and need to be slanted. When using this technique remember that ‘less is more’. Keep it simple and you will be amazed at the subtle beauty of the final burned sky.
If you have enjoyed this article and would like to learn more about Pyrography be sure to sign up for my FREE Burning Basics Video series.