Bark Leather Bracer Help
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Author:  Bammock [ Tue Apr 08, 2014 1:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Bark Leather Bracer Help

I am designing armor with a tree theme and have a fun idea for the gauntlets, but need some help. I want the forearm portion of the gauntlets to look like tree bark (think oak). The leather I am using is 1/4'' thick (14-16 oz).

Are there any artists out there that can give suggestions on how to accomplish this look? My first impulse is to shave off the surface to get a rough appearance, carve out shallow ravines, dye it dull brown, then dry brush some gray over the top of it.

I am also considering going for a stylized look that is simply reminiscent of tree bark. Not quite sure how to do that without making the leather look like an attempt at cracked earth, but I will try a few sketches.

Any advice or alternative methods would be appreciated.

Author:  Derian [ Tue Apr 08, 2014 3:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bark Leather Bracer Help

Cool idea. I think the first method would be a lot more difficult to pull off. I personally would go for the stylized approach. Get a swivel knife if you don't have one, and use that to tool lines in. Add some effects with a beveler and use carefully applied brown, dark brown and black dye to get the effect you're looking for.

In either case, I would absolutely try this out on a small scale on some scrap first to make sure you can get the effect you want before diving in to the bracers themselves.

Author:  Brutus [ Tue Apr 08, 2014 7:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bark Leather Bracer Help

I think 2 layers of thinner leather might be the easiest way to achieve this look. The bottom layer would be your traditional bracer shape, and the top layer would consist of small irregular-shaped bark scales. Maybe just sew each scale to the under-bracer in the middle to make the outer edges curl up a little and give it a very 3D effect. Some of the scales might even overlap a bit. As the bracer curls around the arm, it would make a very cool effect. I'd dye the under-piece black and do the scales dark brown.

Author:  Brutus [ Tue Apr 08, 2014 8:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bark Leather Bracer Help


Author:  Bammock [ Wed Apr 09, 2014 11:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bark Leather Bracer Help

That is definitely a great stylized piece. It's a different direction than the oak and willow bark I was considering, but the result is gorgeous. It looks like the lines were done with a v-gouge. I'm guessing the color is antique dye, using resisting techniques over the knots and black dye in the deep cracks. I have enough scraps around that I will probably try several stylized and realistic approaches before cutting into my final project.

After seeing the results of the antique dye, I am definitely using that for my project. The v-gouge technique also seemed to work very well for the deep, narrow grooves.

This is the style of bark I was thinking of.

Author:  Brutus [ Wed Apr 09, 2014 11:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bark Leather Bracer Help

I found that pic as well, and that was the gist of my first reply. Then I googled it and saw those other pieces and thought they looked cool as well if you wanted to try something simpler. I think adding bark-shaped "scales" on top of a thinner piece would give you the most oak-like bark. If you attached them in the center (leave the edges to do what they want) they would "curl" up as the bracer wraps around the arm, and I think it would have a really cool effect. Please post pics as you make progress!

Author:  Sir Thurat [ Wed Apr 09, 2014 12:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bark Leather Bracer Help

I have nothing to contribute, but please post your progress as you get along. This is cool stuff.

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