Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Copper Tooling - Bird and Swan

This piece was "tooled" about 15 years ago, when I was a prolific amateur artist in my art teacher's class in secondary school. It was a period when I drew most because
1) I was forced to every week for art lessons as part of my fine academic education,
2) I had much more spare time to concentrate on learning new methods of creating art :p

Anyway, I thought to put these two copper pieces up because they were related to my previous post of "Hatch" which featured an illustrated aircraft that is copper and bird-like.

I remember just starting with two simple tools - a wooden tool that looks like a bread knife, and a piece of copper sheet. A simple ball-point pen is crucial too, for drawing or tracing this bird onto the sheet. I turn the sheet over to the reverse, started pressing onto the body of the bird, tree and leaves. Then persevere in carving it out into a 3D shape, with textures. When my art teacher approved of my work, I stuck chunks of plasticine at the back to support its shape. We proceeded to mount the copper on a thin wooden board and wrap the edges around the back so that it doesn't cut.

My teacher then taught us to apply a chemical (I forgot the name but I think it's this one... Liver of Sulphur) to blacken the background with a brush. It turned black almost immediately. The important thing is to polish the bronze copper part and varnish it quickly after it's dry to preserve its colour so that no part of the copper turns green.


This is my second piece of copper tooled illustration. I copied this from a picture on a calendar and I remember this was a lot of hard work, pushing out the small feathers, branches and leaves to make them into nice forms. It was really fun to add the texture of the feathers and get it all shiny after polishing it.

Trivia: I've always been interested in the swan and I've found out last year that the swan is highly regarded as the king of wisdom and knowledge in India.

:) pixy

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