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My latest project- engraving related


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Here is my curent "very complex" project- the lady of the lake on a DHC custom fretboard. The old shell dots were removed, the new inlay and ebony pieces added, and the radius is something compound 16 or so (maybe 12, I never check- jackson style? ) to 10 as you go down.

The "lady" is really Dave's wife, Jeannie.

He sent me photos of her in variouse poses, and I worked from them for the art you see here. Basically she was a model for the inlay.

I still need to inlay the very bottom water ripples, the "magic" going out from her hands around the sword, and finish the engraving. I normally inlay everything at once, but I wanted to see how the ebony hole fill pieces would look after the initial inlay. I will blend them in after with the "magic" (gold, silver, gold/silver wire, some small shell) and you'll never know there was any holes plugged. Of course I can't go near the engraved areas with sandpaper, so it will take that much longer.

Her right hand and arm is done, parts of the left are done, and drawn in with pencil, I will re-draw each engraved area untill I am happy. That could take hours.

The hair is done, and the water is engraved around each piece to "bolden" the inlay. I do this with every piece normally. It evens out any slightly odd seams, and makes the pieces stand out a lot more as distinct. When done properly it does not implie "gap" at all. It blends everything together.

The engraving you see here took already at least 5-6 hours.

I am saving the face for last, as that may take up to 12 or more hours alone.

Pics again soon.






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Looks great!!

Stupid question - what is DHC?

The figure looks a bit too muscular to be 'portrayed' as a female within the inlay form IMO

Is she muscular in real life or is that just the way the scene was supposed to look?

Looking forward to seeing the face done. If you ever have time to do an engraving tutorial or something like that, please, please do it! As we discussed earlier, no one seems to be willing to share this kind of info.


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Thanks Guys.

All I can say about the body shape is that is came off a real photo, and it's not altered in any way. I am not going to post the image due to it being a private photo. Thanks for understanding.

DHC is Dave Howard Custom guitars.


He built my killer whales theme inlaid guitar for me, and he's a great freind and luthier. His guitars are beautiful. I have done a few inlays for him, that are on his site and mine. I also helped design a sleek body carve he now uses. I'm doing this guitar for him as payment for him building me my whales guitar. The body is getting a rather large DIFFERENT looking dragon as well.

The less it looks like any other dragon inlay I have seen so far the better. To me they all look alike.

I am really going for a modern fantasy art type look. Sleek, lethal, yet diginified and intelligent. :D

More photos as this progresses.

And as far as writing a book goes thanks, but I rather make inlays!

You can probably go back in all our posting and get plenty from that.


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OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! what a water effect! thats incredible! everything about that is incredible! you should write a guide to this stuff!

yes, you must. Right now I'm learning how to cut pearl/inlay/engrave. I mean you HAVE to (not really) write a tutorial on this, especially the engraving/water effect type stuff. I have an idea for a dna strand going all the way up the neck... now i want it splashing out of water and at the first fret it becomes some sort of "beast" the dna of a beast...

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lol thats harsh he didnt mean nuthin' by it!

Yeah, I'm pretty sure he didn't "mean nuthin' by it." As I'm know you (snork) didn't mean anything by your previous (acrylic) posts... but look at the backlash you (snork) encountered.

Don't you think that was quite an insensitive statement to make about Dave's wife? On a public forum? Listen to your mom: "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."

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Hi Guys.

I'm going to moderate my own post here..

Thanks everyone for the wonderful compliments! It's far from done too, so that's real nice of everyone- SECONDLY..

PLEASE .. can we stop talking about the female figure in the image?

Please.. Look at it for the inlay, not the woman. I may have not given her the best proportions either.

I can tell you from my photos she is a very beautiful person!

Wait until it's done to get an opinion, then when you have it.. if it's not really positive please known how you feel, and don't share.

I was hesitant to post this before it was completed.

Please respect that.

thanks to you all.

I am not unhappy, or upset. Just giving you a bit of thought..

renablistic, I like the DNA idea, it sounds very cool! Maybe I can help you with the design..

Thanks all. Craig.

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I have no doubt that Craig made an extremely accurate replica of the image he is working from. It's obvious from looking at his work that he has excellent control and a rare ability to bring inlay to life. I think it is awesome and I'm really looking forward to seeing more.

Oh - by the way - how did you cut such an accurate straight line for the sword? That is really hard to do in my opinion.

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It was simply drawn using the proper tools.

I think many people think of "art" as meaning a drawing is completely freehand drawn without any help or tools.

The straightness came from using a ruler side as a drawing straight edge. You'll notice the sword is three seperate pieces divided at the fret lines. I only had a smaller piece of sterling silver so I had to make the sword long enough by cutting three seperate pieces. I then glued them together and took the glued edge and sanded away any anomolies from that. When the frets go in you'll never see the lines, they'll be cut through. It will look like one long piece of material, especially since silver is completely homogenouse in color. And of course if any part of your work is not up to standards, do it over!


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I have to say, this inlay is very nice, your work on the hands is what has particularily drawn my attention. I find hands and faces to be the most difficult images to render, whether in drawing, airbrushing, or painting. I've got a mermaid I'm working on right now that has an intense amount of engraving as well, she is a fair bit smaller than the woman in your picture though, I'm a little nervous about the face in all honesty.

I think what amazes me the most is your rendering of water, this one, and your falling leaves one the water is incredible. I have an inlay of 2 killer whales I think I might send you a copy of and see if you can help me with a nice rendering for the water, I need it to appear to be rising with the whale bodies as they jump from the water, I kind of like what I have now, and the customer loves it, but something a little "splashier" would be nice LOL!!!!

Great work once again!

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Thanks LGM

I too always get nervouse when engraving.

I am just going to take as much time as I need on the face. Rendering a face of this detail level requires a lot of drawing, redrawing, and patience. Done right it may look pretty good, done a little wrong it will look totally wrong.

I would love to help you with the killer whales. I have tried to make an art out of inlaying water. I have a long way to go I think. I can draw it out and map it out materials wise for you. I can even supply some materials if you need it.

I'm sure you already saw these right?

The water is implied by the silver dust horizon line. This is one of my earlier works, I would most likely if I had to do something similar again do it differently, using extremely thin shell pieces.

I debated adding eye detail engraving on any of these, but finally decided that from the distance I am trying to imply on these animals it would look off. I may have been wrong. Not too late to change it on the fretboard, but the headstock and guitar is completed already.






Thanks, Craig.

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