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These are the basic steps to turn a photograph into a wooden piece of art for years of enjoyment. My book contains more indepth information but this should tame most of your curiosity.
You must first start out with the photo. Delete the background unless it works for you and then turn it into black and white (like so).
Next you need to play around with the contrast and brightness to get the desired pattern.You will notice floating spots that you will have to join such as the subjects ear and the part by the subjects right eye.
Compare the finished product below with the pattern and original and you will agree that not all of the detail is there, but the character is present and the owner of this piece was able to notice the likeness right away and he loved it. I use a spiral blade from start to finish. It is said by many that it is difficult to keep a spiral blade under control. When you get used to it, it's as easy as the next blade. It saves you time and effort and you can see from all my work that you can indeed control it. I've found that if you print out different brightness levels and put the patterns on top of one another and apply light to the back of them you can trace some of the features that you otherwise would have missed on the first print out of the pattern. You just have to play around with it and you will get the idea.
I am exposing my secret to you because when I first started scrolling it was hard to get going.You buy the book at Sears or somewhere for beginners and they are basic patterns.You cut out a duck figure and you learn the feel of the saw and after that you are hungry for a challenge. There are people out there who have excellent patterns to sell, but the simple process that I have just shown you will let you use your mind to create pieces that no one has ever seen before. It may be true that you may not be skilled enough to crank out dozens of these to sell at a craft show, but even if it takes you weeks to get around to creating a portrait of your child or loved one or favorite pet, it will be worth all the effort at the end and you will amaze yourself at what you can really do on a common scroll saw.I could have been stingy and not said anything,but my goal is to try new paths and to try new techniques and I would like to take you with me.You can be a step ahead of the competition by creating almost art forms on your saw.This is truely a great hobby because it will take you as far as you are willing to go and there will still be miles of road ahead of you.Enjoy my fellow scroll sawers and dont forget to visit my guest book before you leave to say hello or to give me feed back on my site (and) or work. Thank you for your time.