Practice sticks, study sticks, whatever you like to call them. These 1" blocks are 6" long and I normally put about three faces on them. This is not only a great way for me to practice carving expressions but also a way for me to play around with painting techniques as well. I use 1" because it's an easy size to play around on and it doesn't take up a large amount of space if being kept out at the desk or work bench.
So if you never have, give it a shot, get some 1" blocks or whatever size you like to carve and give it ago, see what you can come up with.
It all began with this little guy; he is 4" long but only 1 1/4" wide. He was a fun little carve and I was happy with hoe he came out. About the time I was carving and painting him up a friend of mine and fellow carver sent me some butternut wood, a few corner cuts from 3" block 12" long. Well this one piece looked really nice and I got this thought in my head that I could re-carve the design of the little guy on this big piece of butternut and so I did.
With him being 12" long I figured I had plenty of room for some extra detailing and so I gave him a flight cap and goggles as well as the long folded cap. Of course if he was going to have a leather flight cap he would probably be a smoker so I gave him a cigar as well. I don't normally carve anything this big and at times I pondered why I was but in the end I was happy with the design and carving. Hope you enjoy him as well.
My second effort into publishing is now available on Kindle; it will soon be available in paperback as well. This was a wonderful project looking back on my cartooning efforts and deciding what would be put in the book. If you have the Kindle unlimited plan you may view the book through that program.
Recently I was asked my procedure for carving the nose and eye area, so I will share my response;
When carving the nose right
after I have cut the lower line where the tip of the nose and then cut an angled
line for each nostril flare area I take my ¼ #7 gouge and cut up
towards the area where the eyes come meet. I then take my 3/16 #9 or 10 gouge
and proceed to open up the eye area. When I do this I always cut all the way
through from one eye socket to the other across the bridge of the nose. The time we got together Dwayne Gosnell was carving a nose area and he started setting up the eyes when he said "what if have a oops moment and you accidentally go too deep" and cut out a
chunk of wood at the bridge of the nose. He then continued on with the
eyes and the nose making the "oops" moment part of the new design. Well I have made this oops moment a part of my carving
routine to make myself be sure to go deep and to get real depth.
Every carver has a different approach and uses different techniques to achieve the look he/she is going for, this is simply mine.