Posted by: woodbeecarver   in Carving Projects, Tutorials


The first Dream Fish was carved in 2011 as gift presentation to a fisherman friend.  At the time it was challenging carving project in which it was learned that “Challenge is a teacher of unlearned lessons.”  Anytime a carver begins a new carving project it becomes a “learning exercise” of transposing an imagined subject into a tangible carving. Another lesson learned along the carving journey is what is learned in carving the subject for the first time will guide carving it the second time to expand the learning potential.  So, it was when a commission came to carve the Dream Fish another time a renewed challenge of relearning while carving from a distant memory that new lessons opened during the carving process.  Such a positive experience led to carving another Dream Fish to expand the “challenge learning lessons.”  These two Dream Fish carvings will lend themselves to offering brief informative observations by way of photos of the carving process along with brief descriptions of explanation.


The first Dream Fish carving begins with a photo of the original carving of 2011 as a background study. The three photos above show the beginning shaping of the six inch tall by an inch and three quarter block of basswood by carving a notch around the bottom to outline the base.  Next is carving the top area into a dowel to make room for the hat and head leaving one front corner that will become the fishing rod. The second photo shows the top of the hat brim and crown carved to basic form. The third photo show the bottom of hat brim carved with the head portion carved to shape of head going up into the hat.

The next six photos show the progressive shaping to basic form progressing towards carving in the details.


The next eight photos show the detailed carving including close up of specific areas of interest.

The challenges of the Dream Fish include carving the full figure of the fisherman with the fish pressed up against his right front. Carving behind the fish and between the fish and fisherman included deep undercutting of relief carving.  The other challenge was to carve the delicate fishing rod and line so that retained its strength without looking to bulky and was strengthened by soaking the thin and weak areas with super glue.

With the first lesson of carving the first Dream Fish completed, the next phase is to carve a second Dream Fish using the freshly carved first carving to guide in carving the second which will be paired up with the second in the next series of progressive photos.


These five photos above mirror the steps that were done with the first carving from the beginning block through carving the dowel shape for hat and head, carving top of hat and then carving the head going up into the hat. Once the hat and head are established then the rest of the block is divided with three horizontal lines around the block to indicate the Rule of Three Body Proportions: Shoulder ~ Waist ~ Mid Knees.  The Rule of Three Body Proportions will guide in drawing in guidelines for the body parts on all four sides as indicated in the next four photos below.



The next series of photos will highlight the style of knives used in making various shaping slicing cuts in key areas.  These knives are designed by the Wood Bee Carver for the most effective way to do Whittle-Carving emphasizing the slicing cut using a curved cutting-edge blade.  The blade is a serpentine scimitar shape with the business end being a crescent moon curvature at the end of an extended tang.  This shape stresses the use of the cutting edge being used in a slicing action while applying the physics Law of the Lever principle of the fulcrum and lever action for greater control.


The next series of photos show the progressive shaping of the body and the fish while the face awaits final detail shaping.




The final six photos begin with a blank face and then the face completed as the last detailing feature of the carving process.  The two Dream Fish fishermen stand proudly together awaiting the final coloration of a monochrome finish of Raw Sienna artist oil paint thinned with boiled linseed oil to be viewed in the next blog posting.




The posting of carving of the first Dream Fish may be viewed by clicking on 2011.





This entry was posted on Sunday, July 9th, 2023 at 2:17 pm and is filed under Carving Projects, Tutorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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