Midnight Frolic

Patterns & Projects

Midnight Frolic

Minimal line work sets a lunar tone in this frosty forest scene

By Deborah Pompano


Full moon nights have a watchful, meditative quality to them. For me, this feeling is amplified in winter, when fallen snow muffles the small sounds typical of the forest. I’ve kept the burned lines and dark areas fairly minimal in order to help convey the brightness of a moonlit night. Add interest with a little watercolor paint as desired; the beauty of this piece lies in its muted tones.

Burning and Painting

Place the pattern on the blank, and carefully follow the pattern lines using graphite paper and a pencil. Outline the deer, rocks, stream, and larger foreground trees with a small writing nib on the medium heat setting. Reduce the heat setting and add the interior tree lines, deer’s fur texture and facial details, and smaller background trees with the same nib. Note: Do not burn the moon; that will be painted later. Then use a shading nib to add shadow areas to the hollows of trees, the deer’s face and haunches, and the distant foliage along the forest line. Sign your work with a writing nib of your choice. Add paint. Keep the watercolor paints somewhat diluted so your woodburned lines show through. Blot the paint with a clean paper towel anywhere the color is too thick. Once dry, spray on light coats of a clear satin lacquer. Display as desired.


Click here to download the pattern

Materials & Tools


• Basswood plaque, such as Walnut Hollow basswood country round: 8″ (20.3cm)-dia. (enlarge the pattern to match)

• Graphite transfer paper

• Pencil

• Watercolor paints, such as Winsor & Newton: burnt sienna, burnt umber, cadmium red light, cadmium yellow light, cerulean blue, Naples yellow, raw sienna, thalo blue, titanium white, ultramarine violet

• Clean paper towels

• Finish, such as clear satin lacquer


• Variable temperature woodburner with nibs: writing, shading

• Watercolor paintbrushes: assorted




Get the Fall 2020 Issue

Purchase the Issue

For more articles like this, subscribe to Woodcarving Illustrated magazine.

Magazine Subscription
Plus! Get digital mini magazines in your e-mail between printed issues.

Comments are closed.