One of the exercises used in teaching the Rule of Three of Facial Proportions and how to open up a block of wood with the primary landmarks of a face uses the progressive steps face study depicted in the photo above. Each step is demonstrated by the instructor while the students carve each demonstrated step. The demonstrations cover the basic steps of 1 through 5 in the photo above with additional demonstrations by instructor of a variety of the mouth with or without teeth. The finished detailing as depicted in step 6 is done by each student at a later time. The instructor’s demo face studies accumulate following each class which are finished with detailed carving at a later time to complete each face. The result is the variety of faces as depicted in the following photos.
It will be observed that there are many that show toothy grins since most students wanted to see a demonstration on how to carve teeth. A big toothy grin requires a proper foundation by carving deep smile lines arcing in a wide arc on either side of the mouth mound which is also carved into a horse shoe shaped arc for the dental curve of the teeth. A deep triangular cut is made at each corner of the mouth to allow for carving the teeth to appear to disappear along the dental curve into the sides of the mouth. Teeth are carved larger and fewer than normal in order to give the appearance of teeth without trying to duplicate the actual number of teeth. Sometimes only the top row is enough teeth with a sight opening between the row of teeth and the bottom lip. Upper and lower teeth can be carved for another effect or a tongue can be carved in the open space between upper teeth and lower lip. A pirate’s mouth can be carved with the appearance of talking out of the side of the mouth. Teeth can be carved with some missing or with crooked teeth. The two front teeth are predominate and the teeth on either side of the front teeth are stair stepped shorter and smaller as they curve back into the corner of the mouth and disappear into the triangular open space.
Other treatment of the mouth mound is to carve generic lips with a smile, a frown or a sneer. A mouth can be carved with a cigar in the corner of the mouth between the upper and lower lips. A hat or cap can be carved along with various treatments of hair and beard. The initial use of this exercise is to practice carving a basic face in a fairly shallow block of wood that result in a half round or relief head and face. The practice of carving a study face like this is to learn the basic cuts necessary to carve a face in order to apply what is learned in the exercise to be applied to carving a face that is envisioned to be a particular kind of face of a planned carving theme.
“Every carving project is a learning and practice carving” and as the Old Carver sez, “KEEP CARVING AND CARVING WILL KEEP YOU CARVING.”