Leland,When engraving the tail on whitetail deer or cottontail the outline of the tail is ware you want to place the engraved lines,hope this is of help to you.A good book on How to Drawing Animals by Jack Hamm I recommend for students. J.J.
Thanks JJ you told me about the Hamm book years ago and I use it. I have the rabbits engraved but the tail looks flat and I didn't want to add lines that takes away from brightness. Probably doesn't matter after bluing it won't look white anyway.
Leland we are talking values here and contrast. To make something dark you use a combination of number of lines/dots and depth of said lines. In contrast if you want something to look lighter or whiter you would use less. Also visually it also depends on what it is next to in order to make it seem lighter or darker. In simple terms, use less lines than the area that surrounds it thereby making it seem lighter or whiter.
Hope this makes some sense.
I agree with Marty. The illusion of white on steel is a mater of contrast. I do believe however that a burnisher can make the metal appear lighter and even whiter. I blew up the previous photo for illustration. Look at the “white” lines in the belly. Those are burnished marks. The cape/neck is also made to appear whiter with a heavier use of the burnisher.
JJ Marty and Dan thank you for the tips. I used the burnishing technique that Dan suggested I thought it would be easier to correct if I screwed up. Dan your 94 is very nice. JJ are you talking about agate stones for burnishing?
Marty said"Also visually it also depends on what it is next to in order to make it seem lighter or darker. ".
For a perfect example of this , look at Sam's self portrait engraving on one of his posts. Note how the background is very dark compared to his face. This makes his face and shirt seem much lighted or whiter.