Drawing on Leather


When we learned about different techniques for making impressions on leather (specifically, vegetable tanned leather), a wave of ideas immediately went through my head. Coincidentally, I was able to find a starter “pyrography” hobby kit at a crafts fair a couple of months ago, and I was able to practice on a bunch of scrap pieces of vegetable tanned leather to see what sorts of strokes, lines, and effects I could create.

My favourite and (arguably) the most ‘compatible’ with the leather is a pointillism drawing technique–as seen in the strip second from the left, on the face. The regular line drawing technique is okay to use if you’ve got a pretty steady, light hand; otherwise the pyro tool burns the leather and drags it a little bit, leaving small gouges at times. I tried a hard gouge-and-drag effect on the rightmost strip, like a rain effect or some cosmic streaks. And a lighter gouge-and-drag effect was used on the hair. Light shading is possible but harder to sustain because the pyro tool gets hotter and hotter and so the shading may not stay even, and runs the risk of also burning the leather too darkly.

For some samples of the pyro-drawing experimentation, I’ve compiled a short time-lapse video:


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