I used to do woodburning with a single temperature pen, similar to a soldering iron, that I purchased at a hobby store. I had some success with it and you can create some nice stuff with it, but that is probably due more to the talent of the user than the quality of the tool! Pyrographis technology has improved since then and after a lot of reading, I decided to spend $130 on a variable temperature unit with a replaceable tip pen. Wow! Tremendous difference, like going from crayons to pen and ink! The details and effects you can get with just a few tips is pretty amazing.
On some pieces, I use it for a lot of shading and other purposes. But for caricatures, I use it to outline areas to prevent paint from bleeding and also as a “hot” knife. I can burn fine lines and patterns like the beaded areas and the veins on the feathers with more detail and definition than I can with gouges or knives.
Even though they will be painted over, you will still see the subtle patterns beneath the paint. I need to finish up a few details, like straps and such, and may add some ermine tails and a medicine bag, before I start putting the paint on.
Hopefully, I can get started painting him this weekend! Thanks for looking!
-- Mike P., Arkansas, http://mikepounders.weebly.com