Posted by: woodbeecarver   in Tu Tor Plus, Tutorials

Face Study

One of the exercises in the “A-B-C’s of Face Carving” is to begin with a half inch thick by two and half inch by an inch and half rectangle block of basswood.  A grid is drawn to divide into three proportions vertically and horizontally to learn about the Rule of Three proportions.  Next the corners of this rectangle are whittled away to begin shaping an oval depicting the half of a hen egg shape.  On the face of the oval a vertical center line is drawn which is followed with a horizontal line at the top of the middle third proportion representing the eyebrow bone structure.  At the bottom of the middle third proportion a V line is drawn to represent the flair of the nose nostrils. (As illustrated in the top illustration in the photo above.)

The bottom half of the photo above depicts the progressive steps for opening up the major landmarks of a face. Number 1 has the drawn guidelines to guide for doing Number 2 by making notch cuts for the eyebrow opening on either side of the center line followed by notch cuts for the bottom of the flair of the nose nostrils.  Number 3 shows the area underneath the eyebrow notches are scooped out along each side of the nose.  Number 4 shows three cut triangular cuts made in the top corner of the eye mound area and also at the outer edge of the nostril notch that will begin to form the beginning of the smile line and the upper portion of the dental curve and the mouth mound.  Number 5 shows the form of the upper eye lid with flat facet sloping down to the bottom of the eye mound made with notch cuts.  Also the smile line has been accentuated along with the mouth mound established. Number 6 shows a completely carved face.

Face Study

The photo above shows eight steps of carving a study face to give a visual path to follow by duplicating each step. The duplicating of these steps is the part of the student carver imagining how each step was accomplished by doing a practice face.  The best learning is to do the trial and error approach of trying to figure out what cuts are needed to create a similar look as in the illustrated face carving steps.  Such self-discoveries are of more value than having everything spelled out.  That is why practice carving is so important in learning on one’s own that which becomes a part of the carver rather than having to refer back again and again to the precise step-by-step instructions.

Face Study      Face Study Face Study       Face Study

The next series of photographs above are of study faces that were a by- product of the instructor’s carve along instructional go-by for doing the preliminary steps during a class.  Those instructional pieces served their purpose and now have been completely carved to become visual examples of various faces that can be carved following the initial steps of carving the basic landmarks of a face.  Each face becomes a visual tutorial to imagine how the various expressions were carved and how each face can have a personality of its own by subtle ways of shaping the wood while carving.  Observation plays an important role in learning to become a better face carver.  Observe carved faces, observe cartoon faces, observe photographed faces, observe other people’s faces and most important observation is to study one’s own face in a mirror.  We can observe a lot just by looking and then using those observations while practicing to carve faces.  Out of the practice will come another observation that the “more you carve the better you carve.”  Carve what you see and look to see what more to add to the carving practice.

Remember, “Would be carvers would be carvers if they would carve wood.”


This entry was posted on Saturday, February 15th, 2014 at 4:09 pm and is filed under Tu Tor Plus, 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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